Sunday, July 8, 2018

Echoes of an Old War – Descendants of Boers whom Russians Backed Now Moving to Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 7 – More than a century ago, many prominent Russians went to South Africa to fight on the side of the Boers, the Dutch Protestants opposed to British rule. Now, some of the descendants of the Boers are coming to Russia, an exodus that a Vzglyad commentator says reflects what he describes as almost a genocide against whites in South Africa now.

            The history of Russian involvement in the Boer War has attracted some interest among historians (For a celebration of that involvement and a bibliography, see Apollon Davidson and Irina Filatova, The Russians and the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 (Cape Town, 1998) at

            So far, however, Eduard Birov’s article yesterday in Vzglyad is the only prominent one devoted to the decision of some of their descendants to move to Russia, an article that is important because it suggests how Moscow will use this migration as an ideological theme (

            Putin’s Russia has cast itself as a defender of Christian civilization against Islam from the south and the radical secularism of the West, a pose that has won it support from Christian fundamentalists and the right in many countries, including not unimportantly the United States; and this has made it easier for some in these countries to push for rapprochement with Moscow. 

            But now Birov has highlighted what is really going on: Russia is positioning itself as the last defender of the white race against attacks by members of other races, a much more visceral and perhaps among some white activists more powerful message however morally repulsive it clearly is. 

            The journalist reports that some 15,000 Boers are now prepared to move to Rusisa, although only a handful have done so up to now. The reasons for this migration, he says, lie in what has been going on in South Africa over the last 20 years: “attacks against whites by the Negro population” which he says “with each passing year, ever more recall genocide.”

            According to Birov, in the last year alone in the Transvaal, there have been 345 attacks by blacks against whites and 70 people have died as a result. This comes on top of “the hundreds who have died over the last decade” and “the thousands who have suffered,” about whom “no one is collecting statistics.”

            But despite this, he continues, “international human rights organizations and freedom loving Western media demonstratively prefer not to speak about the suffering of the Boers, limiting themselves to dry reports and communications.” They fail to note that what is happening in South Africa is the rebirth of “something like apartheid but now against whites.”

            The Boers have been leaving South Africa as a result and mostly seeking to settle in the West, Birov says; but “being religious people who retain traditional values, the Boers have encountered a lack of understanding in the post-modernist West where everything traditional is driven into a corner.” As a result, they are now seeking to come to Russia where that isn’t true.

            “The traditionalist and anti-globalist Boers oppressed by black racissts and not accepted by liberal Europe see their salvation in Russia as the bastion of the last healthy forces of the Christian world,” Birov says. Their “choice is not simply about a suitable territory for leaving as about spiritual issues.”

            Moving to rural areas in Russia is no easy matter for anyone, he continues; and those who do so like the Boers are not looking for an easy life. What they care about is coming to a country which is today “the antipode of the decaying and unjust world order” that has allowed them to be oppressed.

            “They see in Russia a defender of the Gospel and of traditional values, including the principles of the equality of peoples and justice,” Birov argues. As a result, “Russia is fated to become a new Ark, which will remain the only place not harmed by the destructive forces of chaos and in which all the remaining healthy forces of humanity will find a home.”

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