Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Moscow isn’t Doing Enough to Combat ‘Plague of De-Russification’ Abroad or at Home, Magomedov and Boykov Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 17 – Until recently, Moscow largely capitulated to moves by foreign governments to de-Russify their countries by taking down monuments, changing street names, and reducing the amount of attention to Russian language and culture, Iskhan Magomedov and Igor Boykov say.

            But even now, the Daghestani biologist and Moscow writer say in a Svobodnaya pressa commentary, this “plague” continues to spread and has already reached into the non-Russian republics of the Russian Federation, albeit usually in less dramatic and challenging ways that has been the case in foreign countries (

            Daghestan is an obvious case, Magomedov and Boykov say. In its capital, streets have been renamed, eliminating those of Russian figures Soviet and pre-Soviet, and inserting in their place the names of local or Islamic heroes. Elsewhere, the situation is even worse: Statues to Russians like Pushkin have been taken down because the person memorialized is Russian.

            Indeed, they insist, “a covert struggle with Russian culture is being conducted.” And across the republic, local officials are carrying it out with the support of at least some in the population and without the clear expression by Moscow officials that such actions are completely unacceptable.

            This elimination of symbols, the two write, “is one of the means of destroying historical memory” and rewriting the cultural code of the people. What that can lead so is very much on view in Ukraine. But if Ukraine as an independent state since 1991 can do almost anything regardless of what Moscow wants, the non-Russians within Russia shouldn’t be able to.

            When one considers what has been taking place in Daghestan without much comment or action by Moscow, one is compelled to ask, Magomedov and Boykov say, whether those in power in the Russian government in Moscow “in the depth of their souls do not consider it to be Russian territory.”


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