Friday, September 27, 2019

Muslim Voters Will Soon Transform Moscow Even More than They have London, Mironova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 23 – There are approximately 500,000 Muslims with the right to vote in Moscow, they’ve already claimed their first electoral victory, and as they are increasing at roughly120,000 a year and come from poorer and less secular countries, they are going to transform Moscow in the future more than they have London already, Anastasiya Mironova says.

            The recent debate about the number of Muslims in the Russian capital triggered by Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin’s suggestion that there are three to four million followers of Islam there in an important way misses the point, the Russian journalist says, because the age structure of the Muslims is different (

            While indigenous Russian Muscovites form perhaps nine million of the population over all, at least a third of them are children or the elderly, she says; but most Muslims are working age.  And so if there are three million Muslims in all, only 300,000 fall into these categories, something that means there are perhaps 2.7 million Muslims of working age.

            That means the real relationship between working-age Russians and working-age Muslims is just over two to one, six million to 2.7 million respectively.

            But even more significant than that is the relationship between non-Muslims and Muslims among voters.  According to the Central Election Commission, there are 7.3 million registered voters in Moscow. “It is obvious that Muslims among them are still small but already somewhere around 500,000.”

            And that number has already been sufficient to elect Magomed Yandiyev as a deputy to the Moscow city council (cf.  “This became possible,” Mironova says, “not because around Krasnaya Presnya live so many supporters of ‘smart voting.’”

            “No, guys, it happened because there are simply so many Muslims there.” 

            Moreover, she says, “in the future, there will be more. The incomes of workers in Russia have been falling for a long time, inflation and the destruction of the ruble have made our country unattractive for many.” Thus, those who are remaining are choosing to become citizens and thus voters.

            As a result, “If before 2014, the number of arrivals from Central Asia who planned to remain forever in Russia and in particular in Moscow was comparatively small, today it has grown. In the future, these people will receive Russian residence permits and passports” – and they will vote.

            According to Mironova’s calculations, the number of Muslim voters in Moscow has been growing “at a minimum” of 120,000 to 130,000 a year and will increase even more with the simplified citizenship procedures that go in place next month, qualifying in many cases by marriage. In four or five years, Muslim voters will amount to a million in the capital.

            “Tajiks, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz almost don’t drink, work hard, and thus are popular as husbands. The result of such marriages in turn are new Muslims. In mixed families where the husband is a Muslim, the children become Muslims without any discussion.” And that will push the number of Muslims and ultimately Muslim voters up fast.

            The way in which Muslim voters can change a city can be seen in London which now has a Muslim mayor, Mironova says. But the situation in Moscow is more problematic: its Muslims aren’t from “secular Turkey or Azerbaijan.” They are “primarily citizens of countries with low levels of education and health care and where fundamentalism is flourishing.”

            Their needs and demands will be different, and those will affect voting patterns in profound ways – and ultimately the actions of the city government. “Literally in a few years, these people will give the capital approximately a million voters who speak Russian poorly and who in their own motherland see nothing besides Asiatic autocracy.”

            “Muslims will elect Muslim deputies and Muslim mayors,” Mironova says. After the next elections, the Moscow city council “could have from five to ten deputies from the Caucasus and from Central Asia.”  They are certainly going to want more mosques and other things Muslim as well.

            And that, not the total number of Muslims people are now debating about, is how Moscow is going to become Moskovabad, the Gazeta journalist says. 

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