Staunton, March 14 – The most important indicators of where the Russian state is moving on nationality issues are often not grand pronouncements by Kremlin leaders but apparently small moves on what many will view issues of little importance. An example of this is the renaming of a newspaper in Khakassia, a small Turkic republic in the Russian Far East.
Today, the oldest Khakass-language publication in the republic dropped the name it had been using since 2008 – “Khabar” – and went back to the designation, Khakas chiri (“Khakass Land”), that it had been using since 1991. (Earlier in Soviet times, it had used names like Khyzyl aal (“Red Village”) and Lenin choly (“Lenin’s Path”).
In reporting this development, the Nazaccent portal says that “readers had not supported the last changes [in 2008] and for long years, together with the editors, had tried to return its former name, even suspending publication” on occasion (nazaccent.ru/content/32493-edinstvennoj-gazete-na-hakasskom-yazyke-vernuli.html
(windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/kremlin-looks-ready-to-re-start.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/03/will-jewish-ao-be-absorbed-by.html).
If that is the case, going back to this name could represent a defense of the existing situation by republic leaders – or alternatively, it could be Moscow’s way of ensuring that other Turkic Muslim republics in the Russian Federation won’t respond to any move against Khakassia because they may now not view it as close to them as they did.