Monday, October 15, 2018

Putin’s Having Jewish Friends Doesn’t Mean He isn’t an Anti-Semite, Nevzlin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 15 – “The fact that Putin has Jews among his friends does not mean that he isn’t an anti-Semitie, Leonid Nevzlin says. “Stalin had Kaganovich as a friend, but the two of them exterminated Jews.” At the very least, Putin is prepared to use anti-Semitism for his own purposes just like any other anti-Semitic leader.

            The co-owner of YUKOS, himself a Jew by nationality, says he draws these conclusions on the basis of several recent events, including the threats Jews have received after the downing of the Russian aircraft in Syria and the attacks on Russian nationalists whom he knows to be anything but anti-Semitic (, reposted at

            The first, he says, as an obvious provocation, a direct continuation of the tactics of Stalin and the NKVD who viewed threatening Jews as a good way to divert anger at themselves and thus remain in power.  The second reflects a widespread misunderstanding that all Russian nationalists are by definition anti-Semites. This simply isn’t true.

            Nevzlin says that he knows several of those nationalists whom the Putin regime has gone after; and “among them, there are no anti-Semites.  A Russian nationalist isn’t necessarily an anti-Semite. He is a nationalist in the same way a Jew is a Jewish nationalist: He puts the interests of his people at a high place after the interests of his family and has a clear national self-identification.”

            That allows him, the businessman says, “to respect other peoples while loving his own people and being concerned about it.”  He adds that he is “a Jewish nationalist and a Russophile. I grew up in Russia; I am part of Russian culture.” Just as all Russian nationalists are not anti-Semites, so too not all Jews are Russophobes.

            “We nationalists have our disagreements, but they are as nothing in comparison with our problems with the common enemy which wants to destroy all of us and which in fact has established in Russia a regime which we can call Nazi-like.” Consequently, it is irrelevant and wrong to claim that Putin is not an anti-Semite.

            Jewish nationalists like genuine Russian nationalists know a provocation when they see one, and both groups are prepared to complain very loudly in order to prevent the situation from getting worse, Nevzlin says. Indeed, they expect such provocations and want to expose the perpetrators.

            Those propagandists who represent the criminal regime and call themselves Jews are “traitors to both the Jewish and Russian people.” The Kremlin may hope that Russians will accept what such “scum” say, “but I think that the Russian people is sufficiently wise not to fall for provocations and not to go along the path proposed by the powers that be.”

                “Citizens, comrades, friends,” the YUKOS co-owner concludes, “be vigilant.” 

Is Moscow Getting Ready to Crush Ingush Protests or Reminding Chechnya Who’s In Charge?

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 15 – Eyewitnesses report that a large Russian military column was seen today in Daghestan near the Chechen border, with some suggesting that this is the first step in a crackdown on Ingush protests, now in their 11th day, and others that it is a show of force by those in Moscow who want to remind Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov where power in the region lies.

            Israeli analyst Avraam Shmulyevich says the purpose of the column is unclear but the equipment on view is more appropriate for military action than crowd control and that consequently this Russian move may be designed to send a signal to Chechnya just as Moscow did in 2014 with Tatarstan after the Crimean Anschluss (

            That was the most dramatic but hardly the only development in the Ingush crisis over the last 24 hours.  Among the others:

·         Ruslan Gorevoy, a prominent Moscow commentator, floated the idea that Moscow should oversee the reunification of Ingushetia and Chechnya – they  had been one republic before 1991 – both to end the controversy about borders between them, to prevent the conflict from growing and to restart the regional amalgamation campaign (

·         Oleg Kozlovsky, a representative of Amnesty International in Magas, was kidnapped by masked men who identified themselves as employees of the republic security services, according to people who saw the action. Amnesty officials called for his immediate release and for those responsible to be brought to justice (

·         The Ingush events are beginning to attract more attention in the mainstream Moscow media, although not yet on television.  today offered a long and detailed discussion of the conflict and why it has persisted so Kommersant long (

·         The organizing committee of the Ingush protest has selected the delegation that will meet with Aleksandr Matovnikov, presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus federal district tomorrow (

·         Demonstrations and expressions of support for the Ingush protests are coming in from across the North Caucasus, from Georgia and even from the Russian city of Volgograd, an indication that the Kremlin’s efforts to control information about the protest in Magas are failing (

·         The protests again today reiterated that they will not end their protests until the border accord is annulled. That means that as of Wednesday, they will be putting Yevkurov in a difficult position as his government has given permission for demonstrations only through that day (

·         Law enforcement agencies said today that the demonstrations had been completely law abiding and that there had not been a single detention or warning of an administrative violation so far (

·         The demonstrators got their cell phone networks back – shortly after Yunus-Bek Yevkurov had his telephone call with Vladimir Putin who told him to speak with the protesters rather than disperse them by force (

Stalin’s First Act of Ethnic Engineering – Dividing Tatars and Bashkirs – Still Working, Aysin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 15 – The current tensions between Ingushetia and Chechnya, two closely related Vaynakh peoples, are a reminder that it is often the case that “the more closely peoples are related, the more tensions between them that are likely to arise,” according to Kazan Tatar political scientist Ruslan Aysin.

            In 1920, he says, Stalin used this tendency to divide the Tatars and the Bashkirs lest they form a united Idel-Ural state that would be more difficult for Moscow to rule. The Soviet ruler created two republics and played up the tensions that inevitably arose among them to keep them apart (

            When the Soviet Union collapsed, Aysin continues, many hoped that Tatarstan and Bashkortostan would be able to look past these tensions and cooperate with one another to promote not only their interests as closely related Muslim Turkic peoples but also to help build the federal system in which not only they but others could flourish. 

            But the watchdogs on the Kremlin towers “weren’t napping,” he says. “Individual politicians began to set Tatars and Bashkirs against one another,” even when there were relatively good relations among those at the top. The principles Moscow used were the same as before: play the ethnic card given the existence of minorities in each republic.

            “In 2002, relations between Tatarstan and Bashkortostan became tense below the waterline, and the ship of friendship began to go to the bottom. Throughout the 1990s, Ufa in essence had ignored the Tatar question,” or more precisely sought to play it down by reidentifying 300,000 Tatars in Bashkortostan as Bashkirs.

            Not surprisingly, Tatarstan leaders were furious, and over the next few years, the contacts that the two had developed from the end of Soviet times one came to an end “at practically all levels.” Indeed, it often happened that Tatar social groups weren’t allowed into Bashkortostan, exactly as Moscow hoped.
            The situation if anything became worse after 2010 when the new republic leader, who has just now resigned, sought not to move in new directions but simply to continue whatever had been doing.  As a result, the problems that had arisen in the early years of the decade simply multiplied and became worse.

            “No one sought to approach their resolution in a systematic fashion,” Aysin says. As a result, the two republics were not able to form the “Kazan-Ufa axis” many had hoped for; and that cost both of them and Tatarstan in particular much of the influence it had had as a promoter of federalism in the 1990s.

            And that only became worse, the Kazan political scientist says, when Bashkortostan shifted from being a republic that more than paid its own way to one which relied ever more heavily on subventions from Moscow. Given that, Ufa couldn’t defend its own interests led alone make common cause with Kazan.

            One can only hope this will change, Aysin says; but the arrangements that Stalin introduced at the dawn of Soviet power are still exerting a powerful influence on political life in the Middle Volga a quarter of a century after the USSR ceased to exist, an influence that works not against the center but almost exclusively for its benefit.