Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Backers of Putin’s Amalgamation of Two Buryat Districts with Russian Regions ‘Enemies of People, Writer Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 17 – Many have forgotten about Vladimir Putin’s regional amalgamation campaign in which he sought to fold small non-Russian regions into larger and predominantly ethnic Russian ones. Indeed, that campaign seems to have run out of gas or at least not be one of the Kremlin leader’s current priorities.

             But those who were subjected to it have not forgotten or forgive these actions, few if any of which benefitted the non-Russians involved or even prevented a further marginalization and deterioration of their status and well-being. Indeed, in at least one case, Putin’s actions of almost a decade ago have left bad feelings and may have political consequences in the future.

            In a comment on AsiaRussia.ru today, Buryat blogger Yevgeny Khamaganov says that his nation has been plagued by “mankurts and collaborationists” throughout the last century, but among the worst, he argues are those who supported “the destruction of the Ust-Orda and Agin autonomies in 2006-2007 (asiarussia.ru/blogs/9948/).

            He says that for him and presumably for many other Buryats, “the litmus test” for Buryat leaders is their role in and attitudes toward that early act of Putin’s amalgamation campaign. He identifies six groups which span the spectrum from complete and total opposition to those who sold out their nation for money.

            The first group of Buryats are those “who actively struggled against the liquidation [of the two autonomies] using various methods of rights demonstrations to secret operations.” Among them are one who died after making a passionate speech against Putin’s plan and another who was removed from his job.

            The second group, Khamaganov continues, “are those who did not actively get involved in the process but signed letters against unification or otherwise spoke out in favor of preserving autonomy or even helped covertly.” For these two groups, he lists current political figures who took these respective positions.

            The third group are “those who remained silent or who suggested that they knew an alternative way to resolve the situation. The fourth are those who surrendered on the assumption that they had no choice even though their Buryat nation was against.

            The fifth group, he says, are those who “actively supported the destruction” of the autonomies. Khamaganov says he is not naming those or the ones in the fourth group because “these gentlemen may end up in court.”  When that happens, their names “will become known to all as “direct and obvious enemies of the people.”

            And the sixth consists of those who may have opposed amalgamation in fact but who worked for it because they were paid. The commentator says that he “sincerely hopes that these people regret what they did … and will try to exclude even from their memoirs this shameful fact of their biographies.”

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