Staunton, September 26 – Tatar activist Almaz Imamov, who seeks criminal charges against Academician Valery Tishkov for promoting superiority of Russian over non-Russian languages and thus exacerbating ethnic tensions, says prosecutors in Naberezhny Chelny have asked the investigative committee to look into the matter (idelreal.org/a/30185320.html).
The case was prompted by an article the ethnographer and close advisor to Vladimir Putin published earlier this month in Izvestiya. (For background on the case, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/09/tishkov-continues-his-campaign-against.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/09/tishkov-must-be-held-legally.html.)
But in fact, it reflects the feelings of many Tatars and other non-Russians that the former nationalities minister is the point man in what they see as Moscow’s efforts to reduce the rights and status of the non-Russians as nations, strip them of their national republics, and equate them to ethnic groups in the West.
Consequently, what may seem to be a small issue, especially given the near certainty that the authorities even in Tatarstan will not pursue these charges, is something much bigger because it is about the future of the non-Russian nations and of federal arrangements in a country that calls itself the Russian Federation but is one of the most centralized states in the world.