Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Emerging Post-Soviet Siberian Identity Resembles Early American One, Omsk Artist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 6 – Damir Muratov, the artist who designed the United States of Siberia flag that has been displayed in exhibits and in demonstrations in various cities, says he is involved in coming up with a new language that reflects the distinctiveness of Siberian culture rather than promoting any independence movement.

            Nonetheless, he says, “Siberia still remains a colony, with most of its people consisting of those who fled or were exiled from elsewhere. There was no serfdom in Siberia and so the mentality here is somewhat different from European regions of Russia.” (

            In addition, Muratov says, “one should not forget that the national composition [of Siberia’s population] is extremely varied: one should not talk only about Russians say or only about Tatars. And so this really in a certain way recalls the early United States, as I have symbolically presented in my picture” of a Siberian flag.

            This flag, despite the claims of its opponents, is not the banner of any Siberian national movement, the artist says. Rather one should see it as “a flag which unifies Siberia’s creative people” who feel tied to the region but want to give it a new language and a new way of viewing the world.

            Muratov says he is skeptical of any plans for independence, despite the natural wealth of Siberia, given that the 15 million people who live in the region are so widely dispersed. More important, he continues, “the Siberian people is only just being formed,” a process that really has begun only in “the era of the post-Soviet space.” 

            Siberians, he continues, believe that they will always live in this region even if they go to Russia or Europe for a time; and they want a language to distinguishes them from others.  They want their lives to be interesting and dynamic on their own and not as a copy of anyone else’s. What happens next will depend on what officials do and “the psychology of local residents.”

No comments:

Post a Comment