Staunton, Jan 1 – Vladimir Putin has sought to promote the notion, one that many in the West appear to have accepted, that his new military campaign in Russia is backed by the entire population he rules, with the possible exception of a few dissidents who he describes as “foreign agents” because they have ties with the West whose values many of them share.
But in fact, many larger groups within the area currently controlled by Moscow also oppose what Putin is doing but are too intimidated by Putin’s repressive regime to speak out. Nonetheless, there is evidence that they are not the super patriot backers of the Kremlin’s aggression and that even as Putin seeks to expand his rule, there are cracks in it at home.
A clear indication of this is a statement by Ruslan Gabbasov, a leader of the banned Bashkort national movement who is currently seeking political asylum in Lithuania (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/02/bashkirs-and-bashkorts-two-very.html). He speaks for many Bashkirs, many non-Russians and many Russians when he says Putin’s war is not theirs.
Below is the full text of his declaration. The Russian-language original is available at idel-ural.org/archives/башкир-призвали-не-воевать-против-укр/. This English translation was provided by EuroMaidan (euromaidanpress.com/2022/01/03/bashkir-national-movement-calls-to-boycott-russias-war-against-ukraine/).
These days, the situation around the Russian-Ukrainian issue is aggravating. Drop by drop, the Russians are being fed the idea that it is necessary to go to war with Ukraine in order to take some “geopolitical revenge” and “restore historical justice.” Thousands of young Russians have to sacrifice their lives and health just so one of the “great strategists” would satisfy his personal ambitions.
We predict that the Bashkirs will definitely receive offers to take part in this war. Recruiters will appeal to the great feat of the Northern Cupids , who defeated Napoleon’s troops, to the famous A division formed out of Bashkirs that took part in World War II on the side of the Red Army. , saying that it was in Ukraine, in the Donetsk Oblast, that our grandfathers defeated the enemy and bravely marched on tanks.
We categorically declare that this is not our war!
We Bashkirs do not have and should not shed our blood for someone’s geopolitical interests!
We urge you not to take part in this fratricidal war between two close Slavic peoples.
Bashkirs! Not only is it impossible to become a mercenary, succumbing to the agitation of imperial propagandists, but we call on the Bashkir conscripts to avoid this war as much as possible!
Bashkirs can and should shed their blood only for their native land, for their Bashkir people, but not for other people’s interests!
Bashkir, your home is here! Your family, your children, your parents, your Bashkir land need you alive and well!