Saturday, January 9, 2021

Most but Not All Russian Nationalists are Anti-Turkish and Anti-Muslim, Sidorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 7 – Overwhelmingly, Russian nationalists have a negative view about Turkey and Islam, viewing both as threats to Russia’s geopolitical position and domestic stability. But there are some exceptions, ranging from Russian converts to Islam to nationalists who view Turkic peoples and Muslims as potential allies, Vadim (Kharun) Sidorov says.

            Sidorov, who is one of the ethnic Russian converts to Islam and was a regional leader of the National Organization of Russian Muslims in the early 2000s, surveys the exceptions to the general pattern in a detailed new article (

            He points out that many Russian nationalists who were supportive of Islam and Turkey in the 1990s and early years of this century have changed their views in the period since, either because they have been affected by Kremlin policies that have turned them from opponents of the regime to its supporters or because of anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel.

            But there are still some Russian nationalists who for principled or tactical reasons call for a more positive view of Islam and the Turkic world both internationally and within the Russian Federation. Indeed, Sidorov says, tactical considerations often determine whether underlying views emerge or not.

            He gives as an example Aleksandr Dugin, the Eurasianist leader, who has long argued that Russia as a state reflects both Slavic and Turkic elements and thus both Orthodox Christian and Islamic ones. At times, he appeared so positive about this that he was viewed as a friend of both. But at others, he adopted a very hostile line.

            Similar tensions are reflected in the words and actions of less prominent figures; and they likely explain why pro-Turkic and pro-Islamic trends within Russian nationalism are likely to remain marginal except at times when the Russian government itself chooses to make those part of state policy.

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