Staunton, July 21 – Russian nationalist writer Valery Korovin has written a new book, The Caucasus without Russians (in Russian; Moscow: Rodina, 2021) to describe the history of Russian flight from the region, an exodus that has left much of it without the anchor that ethnic Russians earlier provided.
But the book also talks about how and why Russia moved into the Caucasus, arguing that the tsars did so to in response to calls from Christian nations like the Georgians and Armenians for protection and in opposition to British imperial designs, thus making its advance entirely defensive (nakanune.ru/articles/117333/).
Korovin suggests that if the peoples of the region knew this history better, they would be more supportive of Russian involvement in their areas and would stop all talk about Russian aggression and about Russia being “a prison house of peoples.” Few there or elsewhere are going to accept Korovin’s argument – evidence of the reverse is just too strong.
But his two arguments in this regard, that the Russian advance into the Caucasus was defensive rather than offensive and that the tsarist regime moved to protect Christian states, place him squarely in the center of the Putinist conception of the past and present. Indeed, by arguing Russian imperialist was about protecting Christianity may win Moscow support in the West.
As such, Korovin’s book is likely to become a key source for Russian propaganda not so much directed at the Caucasus where people know the facts of the case but as at fundamentalist Christians in the West who are inclined to overlook any crimes if they are done in the name of defending their faith.