Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Muslim Leader Seeks Return of Territory from Buddhist Kalmykia to Predominantly Orthodox Christian Astrakhan

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 6 – Just how intertwined any change in administrative-territorial divisions of the Russian Federation is highlighted by a case in the North Caucasus where a Muslim leader in Astrakhan seeks the return of territory from Buddhist Kalmykia, an appeal that has sparked charges of extremism in Kalmykia and anger generally.

            Muslim Yunusov, the imam of the White Mosque in Astrakhan, says that the settlement of Tsagan Aman now in Kalmykia must be returned to Astrakhan. In addition, he has called for the return of the entire Nogai district in Muslim Daghestan. These demands have gone viral on the regional internet scene (akcent.site/mneniya/18237).

            Kalmyk officials have already brought charges against Yunusov, and they have referred the case to their Daghestani colleagues who are expected to do the same thing. Kalmyk borders have been in dispute since the restoration of the republic after its remaining population was allowed to return from deportation.

            Some areas that were earlier part of Kalmykia were left in Astrakhan Oblast or in Daghestan while others that were parts of those federal subjects were transferred to Kalmykia. Anytime anyone questions the existing borders, there is controversy; and the Internet inevitably exacerbates the situation.

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