Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Hostility to Russia’s First Non-Russian Beauty Queen a Clear Departure from Internationalism of Soviet Times, Central Asian Portal Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 23 – Many Russians reacted with hostility to the election of a non-Russian or in truth a woman who was the product of an ethnically mixed family as Miss Russia, attacking her in online comments and making it impossible for her to make the career that others with that title have made.

            Given that the Russian Federation like the USSR is a multi-ethnic state, the Living Central Asia portal says, it was only a matter of time until someone other than an ethnic Russian would be selected as a beauty queen in that country (

            This actually occurred six years ago, the portal continues, when Elmira Abdrazakova, a student from Kemerovo Oblast was chosen as Miss Russia. “Despite her obviously eatern name, she isn’t from the Caucasus, isn’t a Bashkir or Buryat but from an ethnically mixed family – her father was a Tatar and her mother, an ethnic Russian.

            Most who win this coveted title quickly make a big career on television or in movies. But this hasn’t happened with Elmira. In fact, “almost nothing has been heard of her” over the last six years, prompting the question “why?”

            Abdrazakova was in fact born in northeastern Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar Oblast where ethnic Russians at the time of her birth formed more than half of the population but lived more or less peacefully with Kazakhs and Tatars. That resulted in her parents marriage, but this union proved unsuccessful.

            As a result, the three-year-old Abdrazakova and her mother moved across the border to Russia’s Kemerovo Oblast whose long-time head was the ethnic Kazakh Aman Tuleyev.  Her mother succeeded in getting her and her young brother good educations; and for her work as a parent, she was honored by the regional authorities.

            But getting the title of Miss Russia proved as much a problem as a springboard to better things, the Living Central Asia portal says. “Many people could not come to terms with the idea that the main face of Russia should be a girl of mixed blood.”  They felt a Miss Russia should be an ethnic Russian and they let her know that.

            Elmira was shocked by the reaction which fortunately died out over time, and she was able to get on with her life, not as she planned as an actress but as a model. 

            “On her example,” the portal continues, “we see how far present-day Russia has shifted from the Soviet ideals of the recent past. Friendship of the peoples then was not only the official policy but an accomplished fact of international relations. Thirty or forty years ago no one would have said a girl from a mixed family didn’t have the right to be the first beauty of Russia.”

            Had anyone done so, “both ordinary people and government officials would have become angry” and condemned such “xenophobia.”  But unfortunately, the same thing is not true today.

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