Staunton, May 8 – Representatives of non-Russian nations now in emigration assembled in Warsaw today to create a Forum of the Free Peoples of Russia and to call for an end to the Russian empire. The new group, which recalls the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations during the Cold War era, challenges both the Kremlin and most Russian liberals.
It challenges the former because it calls for an end to the empire on which the Muscovite state is based, a development that would allow many of the non-Russian peoples there either to seek to form their own countries or to demand genuine federalism within some kind of renewed and reduced Russian Federation.
And it challenges most Russian liberals in the Russian emigration who have formed the Free Russia Forum to promote the democratic transformation of Russia within its current borders, a goal that many non-Russians, their supporters and other analysts, including the author of these lines, remain convinced is a contradiction in terms.
The conference, a video of which is at youtube.com/watch?v=2RNAaioooao, has been reported by IdelReal (https://www.idelreal.org/a/31839761.html) and the views of some of its participants reported by The Moscow Times (themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/22/for-russias-exiled-ethnic-activists-ukraine-war-a-window-of-opportunity-a77714).
Among the speakers were Ruslan Gabbasov, head of the Bashkir National Political Speaker, Nafiz Kashapov of Free Idel-Ural, former Russian duma member Ilya Ponomaryov, Pavel Mezerin, coordinator of the Free Ingria movement, Pavel Sulyandziga, former head of the Association of the Numerically Small Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, and Vadim Shtepa, editor of the Tallinn-based portal, region.expert.
Sulyandziga called for the creation of a Congress of the Indigenous Peoples of Russia now living abroad. Shtepa’s comments will be discussed in a Window on Eurasia tomorrow.