Monday, November 11, 2019

Non-Russian Activists Picket Russian Missions Abroad, Call for Independence

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 5 – Yesterday, as some Russians marked the Kremlin-backed National Unity Day, non-Russian activists picketed Russian missions abroad to demand independence for their co-ethnics at home and to show that at present, November 4 is in fact “the Day of Russian Chauvinism” ( and

            Among the cities where such demonstrations occurred and during which participants unfurled banners declaring in various languages that “the Kremlin kills native nations” were in Turku and Helsiniki in Finland, New York in the United States, and Kyiv and Kharkiv in Ukraine ( and

            In Helsinki, the non-Russian protesters were joined by regional activist Andrey Romanov who carried a sign declaring that “the Urals will be Fee!” and “Free Idel-Ural.”  In Kyiv, those in front of the Russian embassy held up signs again in various languages insisting that “we are not one people” regardless of what the Kremlin says. 

            Among the immediate demands the Kyiv demonstrators made was for the formation of aa independent investigation of the case of Ramil Shamsutdinov, the soldier in the Russian military who shot eight of his fellow soldiers because they had mistreated him apparently for his ethnicity and religion. Shamsutdinov is a Tatar and a Muslim.

            The demonstrators said that such a commission should include representatives of the Union of Soldiers Mothers Committees, the PACE commission on legal questions and human rights, and representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation.

            Those who assembled before the Russian consulate general in Kharkiv held signs in honor of Albert Razin, the Udmurt scholar who committed suicide to call attention to Moscow’s destruction of his native language. One speaker there, Vadim Pozdnyakov, told the grup that “the national republics in Russia must acquire independence.”

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