Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Non-Russian Struggle for Language Rights about Freedom Not Just Russians, Alpaut Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 25 – Reducing the efforts of non-Russians to preserve their native languages to the struggle of these peoples with Russians is “stupid,” Ramazan Alpaut says.  Instead, “this is a struggle for freedom and not simply for self-preservation, for the right to decide for oneself and retain the capacity to make choices.”

            In a Facebook post today, the IdelReal commentator says that the failure of people to understand this reflects the fact that “the language of the empire is Russian, and many Russians, not without state assistance view the struggle by the peoples of Russia for their languages as a struggle against Russians” (facebook.com/Brukenburger/posts/10216168136849492).

            “But there is another reason,” Alpaut continues. “Russians themselves are victims of the empire but often many of them do not understand this. Freedom is not simply the chance to live in one’s own language. The empire has instilled in them subservience by destroying all that is not consistent with the general line.”

            This in turn leads to a situation in which “the people to a significant degree has lost its ability to organize itself, if indeed, it has not lost that already altogether,” he argues.  That is what the empire requires from other ethnic groups which still have managed to preserve this ability.”

            According to Alpaut, “all this is clearly illustrated in the case of the Crimean Tatars. They recently landed in Russian realites. And what did the empire do first? It banned the representative organ of the people. Such freedom simply isn’t an acceptable part of Russian realities.”

            “And many Russians, looking at the angry Crimean Tatars, sincerely do not understand why they act the want they do and do not want to become like all other Russians. They do not understand because the imperial has ground them down and made them submissive. But this is not the path of progress,” the commentator continues.

            Alpaut argues that “the state must be developed but it can be only when its citizens have critical thinking, when they are capable of organizing themselves and resolving their problems. But Moscow is afraid of this: it is afraid of losing its monopoly on something. But that path leads to regression, for development without freedom is impossible.”

            Today also brought reports about two additional developments in Tatarstan that will limit that possibility for Russians and Tatars there alike.  On the one hand, it was learned that the Vechernyaya Kazan newspaper, created in 1979, will cease operations on December 31 (idelreal.org/a/29675411.html).

And on the other,  the Tatarstan authorities have blocked the IdelReal portal in republic ministries, the State Council, the Supreme Court and other government facilities, thus shutting themselves off from a Radio Svoboda project that has been providing people in the region with information they cannot easily get elsewhere (idelreal.org/a/29673810.html).

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