Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Moscow’s Persecution of Ethnic Minorities Threatens Not Just Them but Russia’s Neighbors as Well, Ukrainian Deputies Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 24 – Moscow’s persecution of nations and national movements inside the Russian Federation both reflects and promotes the dissemination of chauvinist and imperialist attitudes and militant rhetoric which threatens not only the rights of those peoples but all the national security of Ukraine,” a group of 13 Verkhovna Rada deputies says.

            They are calling on the international relations committee of the Ukrainian parliament and the Ukrainian foreign ministry to consider steps that Kyiv can take to call attention to and try to block Russian oppression of non-Russians inside the Russian Federation not only because it is right but because it is in Ukraine’s national interest (idelreal.org/a/31220447.html).

            The 13 urge that Kyiv “publicly call on the Russian Federation to end its assault on the rights of indigenous peoples, including the artificial reduction of the spheres of the use of the languages of such people, the prohibition on the use of Latin script … the prohibition on the activity of nationality parties, the closure of national groups, and legal persecution of activists.”

Since 1991, the Ukrainian government has focused attention on the Ukrainian communities in the Russian Federation, the so-called “wedges” such as the one in the Far East (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/kyiv-takes-up-cause-of-ukrainian-far.html).And in May 2019, the Verkhovna Rada directed Kyiv to support them and other non-Russians.

On that effort, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/05/ukrainian-parliament-calls-for-new.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/non-russians-inside-russia-more.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/12/kyiv-to-focus-attention-on-moscows.html. These new appeals suggest that Ukrainian parliamentarians want to expand such activities.

Attention to minority nations in the Russian Federation just as was the case in Soviet times was a two-edged sword. On the one hand, such attention did give these peoples hopes that they had support and could hope for a better future. But on the other, it often allowed Moscow to justify its crackdown by suggesting that these nations were alien foreign agents.

Consequently, any new campaign by Ukraine, however welcome it may be, necessarily must be carefully designed lest it play into the increasingly xenophobic and revanchist hands of the Putin regime. One can only hope, however, that this initiative in Ukraine will be followed by efforts in other countries.

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