Staunton, Nov 15 – For the last three years, Ukrainian officials have focused on ethnic problems in the Russian Federation in response to Moscow’s efforts to use the nationality question in Ukraine against Kyiv. Among the places the Ukrainians are most interested in is the Middle Volga and a potential corridor between it and Kazakhstan.
That attention, Vladislav Skvortsov, a Russian nationalist writer in Ukraine says, is intended to destabilize the Russian Federation by linking the republics of the Middle Volga to Central Asia, promoting the spread of Islamist radicalism, and challenging Russian control of this enormous territory (webkamerton.ru/2021/11/kiev-sozdayot-samostiynoe-povolzhe).
For more than a century, the peoples of the Middle Volga, an area activist call Idel-Ural, have sought greater autonomy or even independence from Moscow. They sought to create a republic of their own combining the six the Soviets created and hoped to extend its border to Kazakhstan by opening what has come to be known as the Orenburg corridor.
During the Russian civil war, Idel-Ural activists sought to proclaim a common republic for these nations. In World War II, Germany supported the creation of an Idel-Ural legion to fight for its liberation. And at the end of Soviet times, many in the Middle Volga believed they could achieve independence if they established a common border with Kazakhstan.
(For background on this corridor and recent Ukrainian interest in it, see jamestown.org/program/the-orenburg-corridor-and-the-future-of-the-middle-volga/, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/11/orenburg-corridor-threatens-russia-more.html and prometheus.ngo/idel-ural-polyethnic-volcano-of-the-russian-federation/).
Today, Skvortsov writes, Kyiv wants to use the idea of Idel-Ural to undermine Russian statehood not only by promoting secessionist attitudes among the peoples of the Volga-Urals region but also by spreading Islamism and Central Asian radicalism into the heart of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian authorities, he continues, are hosting activists from the peoples of this region, have sponsored organizations and websites to promote the transfer of Russian territory to the control of a Tatar-dominated state in the Middle Volga as a first step toward the formation of an independent Idel-Ural and the destruction of the Russian Federation.
According to Skvortsov, the Ukrainians did not come up with this project on their own. They were encouraged to do it by the United States – he mentions in particular articles by the author of these lines which have appeared in the US-based Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasian Daily Monitor.
That origin make any talk about the Orenburg corridor especially dangerous, the Russian commentator says, something Moscow must nip in the bud before it can flower and threaten the country.