According to surveys conducted in Siberia, 25-30 percent of Siberians want immediate, complete separation from Russia and 60-70 percent want equal autonomy, while only 10 percent are satisfied with the current status of Siberia within the Russian Federation.
The polls, taken regularly by social and political organizations such as Regionalist Alternative for Siberia (CCA), New Roads of Siberia, and the Siberian Movement, illustrate an increasing interest in separation or greater autonomy from Moscow.
Siberia contains around 11 percent of the population of the Russia Federation–around 20 million people–while it provides the Federation with a disproportionately large amount of revenue. Of the revenue made on exports from Siberia, around 80 percent is reported to proceed to Moscow.
Around 70 percent of Russia’s total exports came from Siberia in 2012. Besides oil and gas, Siberia is rich in metals, mineral, wood, and paper and pulp products. According to analysts, if Siberia ceased paying Russia from its export revenue, it would be the richest region or among the richest regions in the Federation, causing some Siberians to adopt the slogan “Stop feeding Moscow” and adopt a green and white Siberian flag from a brief period in Siberian history when the region was independent.
While Siberia is rich in natural resources, the working wage in Siberia is lower than in Moscow, while the price of food is almost identical. The living standard in Siberia has declined since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the mortality rate has increased by nearly 30 percent. migration from Siberia to other parts of the Russian Federation has increased.
Also since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Siberians are reportedly travelling more often to China and Japan, rather than Moscow or Europe. Siberia’s economic ties are also said to be increasingly better with Asia than with Moscow or St Petersburg.
By Day Blakely Donaldson