Staunton, January 26 – “’The Great Russian chauvinist-nationalists’ who “’play the leading role in the administration and in general in the establishment of Russia” are ready to welcome the Russianization of numerically small people because they don’t understand that the country as a result loses a lot,” Sergey Arutyunov tells Kavkazr’s Alena Sadovskaya.
For this and other reasons, the Moscow ethnographer says, “from a first-rank world power, [Russia] has become a second-tier one and likely it will become a third-rank country precisely as a result of the levelling of national differences” (kavkazr.com/a/zalog-preuspeyaniya-natsii-v-etnicheskom-raznoobrazii/29000665.html).
Arutyunov who was born in Tbilisi in 1932 and is now a professor at Moscow State University and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences made these comments in response to reports that the Buryats have joined the Ukrainians and Belarusians inside Russia as nations who are rapidly losing their national languages.
The Buryats are being “Russianized,” he says, noting that “in Moscow, there is a large Buryat diaspora of some 10 to 15,000 people” and the majority of them now speak Russian. They retain some attachment to their culture, but “in essence, these are Russian children – only with slanted eyes.”
According to the Moscow scholar, Russia’s “main loss” at the beginning of the 20th century, one that “even today catastrophically is reflected in the cultural level of the country” was the emigration of Jews as a result of pogroms. Now fewer than 300,000 remain, and the ones who have left have helped other countries not Russia as a result.
Many Russian Jews went to the United States and today “they form a significant portion of the American elite,” Arutyunov continues. They have contributed mightily to the growth of that country. But they have been lost to Russia. And that matters profoundly because cultural diversity is the basis for “the flourishing of every civic nation.”
Those countries which are the most multi-ethnic and multi-cultural as a resource of the influx of immigrants have “the best prospects,” while those which homogenize themselves ethnically are condemned to backwardness.”
His native Georgia “was and in part remains a very cultured country because it was multi-national, but now Georgia is becoming a country populated only by Georgians and thereby condemning itself to backwardness,” Arutyunov says.
“I am a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciecnes. I think that it would have been useful to Georgia in a cultural sense had I remained where I was born and lived my life there. But I left Georgia at 18 because I have an Armenian name an thus did not have prospects there.”
He continues: “In Moscow, I made a good career, and the Russian nation in essence profited from what I have written and done, just as it has benefitted from the multitude of other Armenians from Armenia and Georgia. Had I 60 or 70 years ago come to the US, perhaps I would have done even more. In any case, I did not make a contribution to Georgian culture.”
Countries which try as Russia now is to make themselves monoethnic are depriving themselves of a good future. That should be a lesson to Russians especially since in Moscow some want ethnic Russians to dominate the country just as Hitler wanted Germans to dominate Germany when he was in power.