Staunton, Dec. 3 – The attack by former Russian nationalities minister Valery Tishkov on Ufa’s policy of falsely reidentifying Tatars living in Bashkortostan to boost the size of the Bashkir nation deserves support by all Tatars even though Tishkov’s motives and theirs are different, Ilnar Garifullin says.
The Tatar commentator at Radio Liberty notes that Tatars and Tishkov have had many disagreements in the past, especially over the former minister’s promotion of a single “non-ethnic Russian nation” and his backing for the weakening of non-Russian republics, including Tatarstan (idelreal.org/a/31592627.html).
But Garifullin says, Tishkov’s attack on Ufa in this case merits support even though the reasons behind it have more to do with the Moscow ethnographer’s concern with maintaining stability in the Russian Federation than they do with supporting the rights of the Tatars or any other non-Russian nation.
Tishkov’s criticism of Ufa’s policies came out of the blue for many, but in fact, the Tatar commentator points out, the former nationalities minister criticized Ufa for doing the same thing in the run up to and during the 2010 All-Russian census and so they should not have surprised people.
Bashkirs were outraged (For an example of that, see prufy.ru/news/society/116710-vot_oni_krasavchiki_akademik_ran_obvinil_vitse_premera_rb_i_dvukh_uchenykh_v_bashkirizatsii_naseleni/.) And that was enough for some Tatars to welcome Tishkov’s support on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
But it is important, Garifullin argues, that Tatars understand why they must support Tishkov on this issue even as they continue to oppose him on others rather than fall into the trap of assuming that they have a new ally who is going to support them and their interests more generally.
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