Staunton, July 5 – Many commentators have long predicted that the Duma elections will exacerbate ethnic tensions in the Russian Federation even though ethnic parties are prohibited and the FSB exercises tight control over most political speech. But so far, with the exception of some protests by Tatarstan about the status of that republic, these predictions have not come true.
Now, however, there are indications that the elections do in fact threaten to exacerbate ethnic feelings albeit in a way few observers have attended to. That is, the upcoming vote is prompting Russian speakers in non-Russian republics to complain about Moscow’s failure to lay down the law to the latter.
A group of Russians and Russian speakers from Bashkortostan, Buryatia, the Komi Republic, and Tatarstan have come together to lodge an appeal, as “defenders of the Russian language in the national regions of Russia” to the country’s political parties and movements” (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2016/07/04/etnolingvisticheskij_konflikt/
But the signatories of the appeal assert that “our demands are just and correspond to the Constitution which guarantees equal rights to all citizens throughout the territory of the Russian Federation.”