Staunton, September 14 – Russian officials are concerned that private media outlets in the various non-Russian languages of Daghestan now have move readers and viewers that Moscow ones and that Daghestanis prefer to get their news even about Russia as a whole from local sites, something these officials say represents “a threat to national information security.”
That is how Sergey Snegiyev, Daghestan’s deputy information minister, described the situation at a conference in Kaspiisk earlier this week, noting that 53 percent of all Daghestanis turn to social networks for news and 30 percent read private republic-level media instead of Moscow outlets (kavkazr.com/a/dagestanskie-yazyki-v-internete/28733746.html).
A major part of the reason for this is that many Daghestanis appear to prefer to read news in their native languages rather than Russian and that Makhachkala spends money to support such media outlets which in turn do what they can to make their newspapers and sites of particular interest to their target audience.
But however that may be, the most important consequence of this trend is that Daghestan, the most Muslim of all the non-Russian republics in the Russian Federation, is moving away from the Russian information space at a speed and in ways that Moscow officials seem as yet incapable of controlling.
That in turn highlights the importance of these non-Russian outlets not only for the population but also for those who would understand what is happening in Daghestan and other non-Russian republics. Russian-language sources are of declining value for both the population and the analytic community.
And finally – and this may be something not far from the minds of many in both Moscow and Makhachkala – this shift from the Russian media to the non-Russian language media represents a recapitulation of what happened in many non-Russian union republics at the end of the 1980s, just before they became independent countries.