Staunton, May 21 – For decades, Moscow has kept Siberians in line by raising the threat that China will dominate or even occupy their land; but that threat no longer is effective for many east of the Urals who now see that Moscow is a far greater threat to their future than is Beijing, Tatyana Vintsevskaya says.
Consequently, Vladimir Putin’s threat to beat the face in of anyone seeking to take what he views as Russian lands at a minimum is no longer effective and may even be counterproductive for two reasons, the Siberian native who now lives in emigration says (region.expert/sibite_off/).
On the one hand, “the current [Muscovite] empire in fact lives at the expense of Siberian resources,” taking away the region’s enormous natural wealth and sending back a pittance in exchange. Thus, for Siberians today, Moscow is a bigger threat to their interests than Beijing could ever be.
And on the other hand, Vintsevskaya continues, Siberians “see all too well how the Moscow Kremlin is handing over our Siberia to China.” It isn’t a land grab by the Chinese but the sacrifice of Siberian territory out of greedy desperation on the part of the Putin regime in the distant Russian capital.
Putin’s regime refers to its approach to China as “’geopolitical friendship against America,’ but [Russia and China] are only ‘becoming friends at he expense of the Siberians,” as ever more people in the region see and recognize themselves as victims of their current rulers than as potential victims of some future one.
“The popular flag of Omsk artist Damir Muratov for ‘the United States of Siberia’ is not a banal desire to ‘join with the US, as Moscow imperialists treat it. Instead, it rests on “a deeper historical parallel, a consciousness that Siberia is ‘the Eurasian America,’ not a country but an enormous and multifaceted continent.”
The only difference from America is that ‘we still have not freed ourselves from ‘our own’ imperial metropolis,” the Siberian émigré says. (On the rise of a Siberian political emigration, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-new-siberian-emigration-takes-shape.html.)
And Vintsevskaya continues, “it is no accident that the project for the Sbierian language which linguist Yaroslav Zolotaryov has been developing for a long time is constantly being banned in the empire. If it was as marginal phenomenon as its opponents like to say, they would be leaving it in peace.” It isn’t, and they aren’t.
Siberians are becoming increasingly self-aware and no longer prepared to listen to Moscow’s talk about “the Chinese threat.” They can see, the émigré writer says, that the real threat is already in place and that their task is to deal with that threat rather than allow it to distract them with stories about China.
For background on Siberian identity, language and aspirations, see among others windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/07/window-on-eurasia-scholars-to-discuss.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/03/emerging-post-soviet-siberian-identity.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/siberians-are-ethnic-group-that-arose.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/10/moscow-increasingly-alarmed-by-siberian.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/02/siberia-will-not-be-russian-republic.html.