Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Moscow Again Mobilizes against ‘Pan-Turkic Threats’ among Russia’s Turkic Peoples

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 3 – A group headed by a Chechen activist has received more than 8.2 million rubles (110,000 US dollars) as a presidential grant to counter what it says are “pan-Turkic threats” to the Russian Federation that have been inspired from abroad and that are infecting the younger generation of the Turkic-speaking peoples of the country.

            The project, organized by the center for Support of the Stable Development of Civil Society which is led by Azamat Mintsayev of the Association of Chechen Social and Cultural Unions, also is receiving 3.2 million rubles (40,000 US dollars) from the organization itself (idelreal.org/a/29468256.html).

            The organization promises to use these funds over the next two years to conduct “systematic work with the Turkic-speaking youth of Russia “in five directions,” Ramazan Alpaut of Radio Svoboda reports, scientific, cultural, literary, sports, and business, and to create “an All-Russian Social Movement of Turkic Youth” to be called Inci.

            It specifies that “one of its chief tasks” is “’the reduction of the role of external influence on the Turkic-language youth of Russia.’”  This is the latest in a series of such efforts including Turkic language festivals for young people in Ufa and Kazan, the capitals of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan, over the last two years.

            The language the organization uses to describe its tasks is Russian, an indication that it hopes to create a Russian-speaking Turkic youth who may view themselves as a community but who do not link their future to the broader Turkic world, even though at present relations between Moscow and Ankara are relatively good.

            “The authors of the project,” Alpaut continues, “consider that ‘a pan-Turkic threat’ exists in Russia” and cite as evidence of this large social network groups, including the Single Turkic People, Azatlyk, and Bashkort and the formation in Kyiv earlier this year of the Free Idel-Ural Political Movement, which seeks independence for the Urals and the Middle Volga.

            One of the new project’s prime targets appears likely to be the Tatar-Bashkir Service of Radio Svoboda.  That service, founded in 1953, was long jammed by the Soviets and has been declared “a foreign agent” by the Putin regime which continues to work to impede its journalistic activities (svoboda.org/a/28899758.html).

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