Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Free Idel-Ural Movement Calls on Turkey to Intervene with Moscow

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 20 – The Free Idel-Ural Movement has appealed to Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to intervene on the behalf of the Turkic and Finno-Ugric peoples of the Middle Volga the group represents as well as for all other non-Russians inside the Russian Federation to end the repressive measures Moscow continues to impose on them. 

            In the appeal, the regional activists point to numerous examples of restrictions on the civil, ethnic, and cultural rights of Turkic and other peoples and calls on Ankara not to remain silent in the face of this continuing Russian onslaught against its fellow Turkic peoples in particular (

            “Our movement constantly tracks the situation in Idel-Ural [the Turkic name for the lands between the Volga and the Urals] regarding the way in which the Russian authorities deal with the rights of the indigenous population. We are forced to conclude that our peoples are facing ever greater difficulties in preserving their national identity,” Rafis Kashapov, a co-founder of the group says.

            “From year to year, the situation has been getting worse. The activity of ethnic parties, the annulling of the registration of numerous social organizations and the closing of outlets of mass information” have all payed a role.  But what is worse is that Moscow views our retention of ethnic identity and attachment to Islam as evidence of “disloyalty to the Russian Federation.”

            Kashapov, who has been granted political asylum in Great Britain, tells Ramazan Alpaut of the IdelReal portal that “Moscow proposes that the peoples of the Volga region ‘drink tea, dance and since,’ while these people are ‘striving toward national self-determination.”  Only if influential countries like Turkey intervene on their behalf can the situation be saved.

            The Free Idel-Ural Movement was created in Ukraine in March of last year by Kashapov who is also a member of the All-Tatar Social Center (VTOTs), Bolyaen Syres and Ozhomason Kirdya, both of Ukraine’s Erezya diaspora. It is committed to the non-violent pursuit of state sovereignty of the Tatars, Bashkirs, Udmurts, Mari, Chuvash, Erzya, and Mokshans.

            The group’s appeal to Turkey is part of its drive to attract the attention of the West to the plight of these peoples. It has announced that to that end it will picket Russian embassies in Great Britain, the US, Ukraine and Turkey, specifically focusing on Moscow’s new attacks on Internet freedom.

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