Staunton, March 24 – The Internet and especially social media have allowed non-Russian republics to reach out to their diaspora communities within the Russian Federation and abroad, a trend that has received much attention. But these media are also allowing disaporas to have an impact on these republics, an influence that may prove even more important.
That is because these diaspora communities are often more radical than the populations from whom they have come either because their current location is the product of Soviet deportations or oppression or because, as often happens, those born or living in a different milieu may hold on to their own ethnicity more tightly and be even more nationalist than others.
The impact on diaspora communities beyond the borders of the Russian Federation has been carefully studied in the cases of the Circassians and the Crimean Tatars, but that of non-Russian diasporas within the Russian Federation or the post-Soviet space on non-Russian republics has received less attention.
Now, as a result of diaspora reactions to and statements on what has been taking place in Ingushetia that may change. Ingush groups in Kazakhstan (fortanga.org/2019/03/ingushi-kazahstana-obratilis-k-deputatam-ns-ri/fortanga.org/2019/03/moskovskie-ingushi-vyrazili-svoyu-trevogu-v-svyazi-s-situatsiej-v-ingushetii-video/) are now more active.
In both cases, the statements of such groups are much tougher with regard to the recent border concessions by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov to Chechnya than are many of those made by Ingush activists inside Ingushetia and are being covered and thus spread by Internet media inside the republic.
Such diaspora activism is important for at least two reasons. On the one hand, it does provide greater support for the opposition within the republic. And on the other, and perhaps even more important, it underscores the importance of the non-Russian republics for their titular nations regardless of where their members live.
At the very least, this channel deserves more attention than it has been given by scholars or by national activists, especially as Moscow’s pressure on the republics increases. It may become just the resource the non-Russian republics need to defend themselves by expanding the republic issue to the nationality question more generally.