Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Ankara Now Using Ethnic Kazakhs and Ethnic Azerbaijanis to Undermine Russia at Home, Telegram Channels Suggest

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 26 – Moscow has failed to recognize the enormous power the Kazakh and Azerbaijani diasporas inside the Russian Federation now play and in particular the way Ankara is exploiting them to weaken Moscow and promote its own pan-Turkic “fantasies,” Sergey Nikolkin says.

            There has been a great deal of Russian media coverage to Ankara’s Greater Turan project, the analyst for the Voyenno-Politicheskaya Analitika internet journal says; but tragically, Russian officials have not connected the dots and seen how the Turkish government is already using Turkic diasporas in the Russian Federation (

            According to Nikolkin, the only outlets who are following this development carefully are telegram channels connected to the security agencies; but they seldom have the reach that they should. In order to correct that, the specialist on international relations provides a survey of some of the most recent examples of Turkey’s moves in this direction.

            First of all, he says, “The Major and General” telegram channel focuses on the effective closure of the border between the Russian Federation and northern Kazakhstan during the pandemic, thus isolating this region from Russia and benefiting Turkic interests in Central Asia  (К+вопросу+о+мягкой+силе).

            Second, Nikolkin continues, another channel, “The General Staff,”  focuses on the role of Turkish influence among Azerbaijani criminal elements in St. Petersburg and among ethnic Azerbaijani officials in the Russian Federation, saying that the first undermines Russian control of trade flows and the second disorders Russian policy making (

            And third, he says, the “Russian Orientalist” telegram channel says that Kazakhs are now at Turkey’s insistence invoking the 1959 US Captive Nations Week resolution in order to demand independence for Idel-Ural and Cossackia, two areas that act lists as enslaved by Moscow (

            Much of the language on these channels is hyperbolic, but the underlying concern is worrisome because if officials in Moscow do concludes that the diasporas of Turkic countries now in the Russian Federation are working against Moscow, the Russian siloviki are likely to take repressive actions against them

            Ankara might even welcome that because such actions directed against the diasporas would likely have the effect of further alienating Turkic countries from Moscow and making them even more amenable to Turkish suggestions, increasingly heard in Ankara that they are now part of a world consisting of “one nation in five states.”

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