Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Rehabilitation Seen Reflecting and Triggering Anti-Russian Attitudes across Central Asia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 19 – The recent decision of the Uzbek government to rehabilitate a group of Basmachi leaders (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/09/basmachi-were-taliban-of-their-times.html) reflects the intensification of anti-Russian attitudes across Central Asia and is likely to further exacerbate the situation, according to Aynur Kurmanov.

            The pro-Moscow Central Asian commentator says this action simultaneously gives a green light to extreme nationalists in all countries there and shows that Tashkent is openly promoting a state ideology based on “Russophobia and intolerance” (politobzor.net/show-239706-uzbekistan-vystraivaet-gosideologiju-na-rusofobii-i-neterpimosti.html).

            Kurmanov says the Central Asian regimes are engaged in this propaganda campaign to distract attention from the poverty their peoples face. But the immediate result is that all ethnic minorities and especially ethnic Russians feel themselves isolated and their futures in these countries at risk.

            One Russian woman in Tashkent says that “conditions for us Russian speakers are getting worst.” Signs for stores which used to be in Russian are now only in Uzbek, and what is worse, officials send letters to Russians only in Uzbek, a language they can’t understand. “What we are to do, I don’t know,” she says.

            Tashkent, Kurmanov says, is following in the path of the Ukrainian nationalists; but it clearly intends to go further, developing its own “great power ideology” on the basis of links to the Timurid past and seeking to extend its rule “over all Central Asia” in the future. To that end, it is reducing Uzbeks to the status of “slaves of new feudal masters.”

            Instead of taking a hard line against this development, the Russian government has been making concessions like putting up signs in the Moscow Metro in Tajik and Uzbek. That’s not unreasonable, but what is unreasonable is that signs in Russian are being taken down in Tashkent and other Central Asian cities where there are hundreds of thousands of Russians.

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