Staunton, June 4 – Many analysts have looked at demographic trends and concluded that sometime toward the middle this century, Muslims will outnumber Russians on the territory of what is today the Russian Federation and thus be in a position to shift that country in the direction of an Islamic state.
But now a Russian philologist, Nikolay Podsokorsky, argues that the transformation of that country could come much sooner. As he put it in his blog yesterday, “Russia could become an Islamic state already in ten to fifteen years,” in part because of the dynamism of Islam and in part because of Moscow’s policies (philologist.livejournal.com/7576643.html).
He begins by noting that “Islam is step by step becoming the dominant religion of the planet,” pointing to the conclusions of the Pew Research Center, the projections of both Muslims and non-Muslims about the influence of Islam in the future, and new dystopian novels which are appearing in Europe.
“Similar prognostications,” he writes, “exist with regard to Russia as well, all the more so since the present-day Russian Orthodox Church is actively supporting the Islamization of the country and of Orthodoxy” and the Kremlin’s commitment to the defense of “traditional values” and opposition to “blasphemy” open the way to an Islamist approach.
Moreover, Podsokorsky writes, “one of the most popular and strongest Russian politicians today is the head of Chechnya, academician and hero of Russia Ramzan Kadyrov who is considered as one of the most likely successors of Putin as president” of the Russian Federation.
According to the philologist, “Muslims at present are one of the most passionate of all religious groups, and considering the trend of development in Russia … it is not difficult to imagine that already in ten to fifteen years, Russia also could become an Islamic State,” not a small one but one with nuclear weapons and a set in the UN Security Council and with shariat courts in its major cities.
There are certainly straws in the wind: Not long ago, the governor of Tyumen oblast called for a new translation of the Koran to reflect “both religious dogmatics and the realities of contemporary life.” And last week in Yekaterinburg, prosecutors said they wanted to examine the Jewish Torah for examples of extremism.
“In general,” he continues, “the idea of an Islamic state,” one in which there should be “a holy war with unbelievers … is being advanced very well by present-day Russian propaganda with its doctrine of the besieged fortress and of blasphemers as the chief enemies of society.” All one need to do is substitute Islam for Orthodoxy to make Russia an Islamic state.
Ever more young people in Russia are attracted to Islam and have gone to fight for ISIS abroad, but “now this religious plague has come to Russia as well,” with young ethnic Russians like Varvara Karaulova of Moscow State University being attracted or at least recruited to support an Islamic state not only abroad but at home as well.
The existence of a growing number of such people means, Podsokorsky says, that “the Islamic state is hardly a mythical and distant threat but a danger which threatens us here and now.” And what is especially disturbing, he continues, is that for all its words against ISIS, “the Islamic state [in Russia] is being built by the efforts of secular and church politicians from the current Russian Federation.”
That is a consequence of “the clericalization of Russian society from above” that more Russians and other should be thinking about lest the situation get even worse.