Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Buryats Burn Russian Flag in Protest against Moscow's Renting Land to Chinese

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 23 – Hundreds of Buryats have demonstrated against the renting of Russian land to Chinese farmers by burning a Russian Federation flag and declared that “what the Chinese are doing with the land in China itself and near Novosibirsk is an absolute evil,” according to Euro-Asia News (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=56CAF49BC47E3).

            There had been protests last summer against the renting of land to Chinese farmers both by regional officials and by ethnic Buryats (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=55AD12F28484A). But the latest demonstrations suggest that the population is even more angry now given that Moscow completely ignored its earlier demonstrations.

            Chinese production, the protesters say, “does not pass through any quality control procedures, but as a result of massive Russian corruption, it is turning up on [Russian] tables. And because of its cheapness and the greed of Russian bureaucrats, it is also appearing in kindergartens and schools.”

            The Buryats are especially upset that the Chinese farm managers have brought with them their own workers rather than hiring local people and that these people collectively are forming “ghettos in which flourish the importation of drugs, prostitution and other forms of contraband” again at the expense of local people.

            “The laws of Russia typically do not operate in these places,” the demonstrators say, adding that unless the situation is corrected, they will “demand holding a referendum on independence.” Moreover, they say, “if the powers that be in Buryatia want to develop agriculture, let them focus on that themselves.”

            The Buryats have no love for their southern neighbors because “they know [them] much better than do the local powers that be who are drowning in corruption and inaction.”


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