Saturday, July 17, 2021

‘Russian Question’ Most Serious Issue in Former Soviet Space Today, Biryukov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 11 – Attacks in the former Soviet republics against Russians because they are Russians are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem, Fyodor Biryukov, the deterioration of public attitudes toward Russians not only in those republics but in Russia itself and the general failure of the Russian government to do anything about it.

            As a result, the director of the Moscow Institute of Freedom and a leader of the Rodina Party says, “the Russian question” is now “one of the sharpest issues in present-day Russia” where there is the danger of “a new outburst of ethnic separatism and a threat to the disintegration of the country” (

            But except for the annexation of Crimea, Moscow has failed to take the steps needed to correct this situation first in the former Soviet republics and then in the Russian Federation, Biryukov says. Instead, it has limited itself to bold declarations that the Moscow authorities have not followed up with even minimal action.

            According to the Moscow politician, “the process of the de-Russification of the post-Soviet space, begun at the end of the 1980s continues to this day, in Central Asia, in the Baltic, and in Ukraine as well.” Tragically, “terror against ethnic Russians and discrimination on an ethnic and religious basis … has become a commonplace in many former national republics.”

            In short, Biryukov continues, “ethnic Russians, the largest divided people in the world are under the yoke of aggressive and barbaric ethnocratic regimes.” Unfortunately, something similar is true in Russia itself. Laws protect all kinds of ethnic minorities, but “the rights of the Russian-language majority de facto is outside the law.”

            He argues that this is “a direct continuation of the Bolshevik policy of fighting against ‘Great Russian chauvinism,’ or put more simply a form of state-sponsored Russophobia.” And it involves not just the operations of the state but of the economy as well where Russians are put at the end of the line for jobs.

            Non-Russian diasporas which “often resemble real organized criminal groups” are strengthening throughout the country.” And as a result, “Russian people find themselves between two fires: on the one hand, their own officials, and on the other alien cutthroats” against which they have few defenses.

            “Both in Moscow and in the regions, ghettoes and enclaves populated by immigrants have appeared for a long time. There are schools where Russian children are in a clear minority. And there at any moment may occur a history” like the one in Kyrgyzstan where Russians have been attacked.

            Biryukov says that “the Russian state must begin a dialogue with the Russian national majority and stop searching for extremism where in fact there are problems with the achievement of national interests.” It must “actively and without compromise defend ethnic Russian people both within the country and beyond its borders.”

            If it does so, he assures, then “foreign Russophobes will feel the power of the Russian state and run off with their tails between their legs.”

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