Friday, September 20, 2019

Udmurt Scholar Gave his Life ‘Not for Udmurtia but for Russia,’ Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, September 16 – Albert Razin, the Udmurt scholar who committed suicide by self-immolation to call attention to the threats to his national language, in fact “gave his life not for Udmurtia but for Russia,” Vladislav Inozemtsev says; “and if we do not listen too his dying voice, we will be committing a mistake more dangerous than any state crime.”

In a comment for the Kremlin without Towers telegram channel, the Russian economist and commentator says that is because by his action, Razin called the attention of the world to real danger: By its actions against the non-Russian languages, Moscow is threatening the survival of the country (

“Russia historically was formed as an empire, and like the empires of Western Europe, it had both settlement colonies and territories controlled by purely military methods.”  The Russian Empire didn’t end in 1917-1918 for two reasons: the Bolsheviks proclaimed that nations had the right of self-determination, and they dispensed with what had been its ethno-national nature.

Inozemtsev continues: “the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990-1991 but Russia alas did nto change its imperial nature. Within it remained both the settlement colonies beyond the Urals who are more ‘colonial’ now than they were in Yadrintsev’s time as well as the territories of the North Caucasus seized in colonial war.”

And the Russian scholar pointedly reminds his readers that “the fraction of Russians in the population of Ingushetia now is less than was the fraction of British people among the residents of Kenya in 1955 or the French in Indochina in 1952.” 

But the most serious and dangerous development after 1991 was “the disappearance of ‘sovietness’ which allowed the population of the country at least formally to consider itself ‘a new historical community of people’” and replaced it with “’the Russian world’ with its ‘genetic code’ and Orthodox religion.”

This “new construction,” Inozemtsev says, appears to be “very unstable.” In Sooviet times, “’the subjects’ were exclusively the national republics, one of which was called Russian. The subjects of the Russian Federation are more than 20 national formations and more than 60 territorial ones.”

“The Soviet Union was a treaty-based federation from 1922 until its end: the Russian federal treaty of March 31, 1992, was suppressed by the super-presidential Constitution already in the next year.  The system of Russia’s so-called ‘federalism’ is nominal – nowhere in the world do the subjects of a federation have such limited authority.”

Moscow is convinced that a country in which 78 percent of the population belongs to the titular nation is “guaranteed” from any disintegration, “but the reality is more complicated than it seems,” the Russian economist continues. 

In contrast to the empires build by European states, the Russian one did not expand and contract in a “pulsating” way, something that ensured they would remain flexible.  Instead, it “expanded constantly and long along lost the necessary flexibility” needed to adapt to new circumstances.

“78 percent may seem a good argument for an empire, but 22 national republics within the country reduce this to nothing. By not recognizing this, the powers that be are leading the country toward a catastrophe.” But Albert Razin understood it, Inozemtsev says, and he thus died “not for Udmurtia but for Russia” as a whole.

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