Staunton, May 24 – Over the last five decades and especially in the early 1990s, ethnic Russians have been leaving the North Caucasus in droves, making the non-Russian republics in that region increasingly homogeneously non-Russian and making their integration with the rest of Russia far more difficult, Abdulla Istamulov says.
If Moscow wants to keep them as component parts of the Russian Federation, the director of Grozny’s Center for Strategic Research and the Development of Civil Society says, then it is “obligatory” that Moscow encourage ethnic Russians to return to live and work in the North Caucasus (kavtoday.ru/article/5420
Many in the North Caucasus were led astray by the siren song of freedom and independence. “There was no understanding that we are all tied together in economics and politics and that if Russia leaves, Uncle Sam will come via the Turks.”
“I always told our leaders that if Uncle Sam comes, then gay clubs will come as well. Who will you be then, Chechens? You will disappear. Let’s leave with t hose with whom we have lived. They aren’t banning your faith. You can make a career. It is profitable for Chechens to live in Russia,” the Grozny commentator says.
It is critically important that Russians come back to the North Caucasus. Earlier programs intended to promote that didn’t work: money allocated for them disappeared without effect, and the wrong people were chosen. More than that, many of these efforts failed to take into account the reaction of local people returning Russians would be competing with.
There is little doubt that this kind of Chechen declaration of loyalty to Russians is exactly what the Kremlin wants to hear; but Istamulov’s insistence that if the Russians don’t return, the North Caucasus won’t remain within the borders of the Russian Federation must spark concerns that not everything in that region is to Moscow’s liking.