Staunton, June 22 – Moscow is very much at risk of the West’s exploiting immigrant groups in the Russian Federation to destabilize its situation unless it radically reduces the number of immigrants in the country or addresses the social problems in the countries of Central Asia in a comprehensive way, Boris Podoprigora says.
But because there are “new fewer” than six million Central Asians now in Russia, a number unlikely to fall but rise, the orientalist who serves as an advisor to the Duma committee on the CIS says, Moscow must be attentive to and direct its efforts at resolving social, religious, and ethnic problems in that region (nvo.ng.ru/gpolit/2022-06-23/11_1194_asia.html).
Otherwise, Podoprigora writes in Novoye voennoye obozreniye, Western governments will find it relatively easy to exploit these people to produce “an interethnic split in Russian society,” feeding into domestic problems of the Russian Federation, weakening the country, and giving the West a victory it must not have.
Three aspects of his article are noteworthy. First, it appears in a journal directed at the security forces, an indication that the political consequences of immigration are generating more concern there than before. Second, it suggests that some in that community are now worried about the West’s making use of immigrants.
And third – and far and away the most important – Podoprigora’s article simultaneously acknowledges that Russia is unlikely to be willing or able to reduce the number of migrant workers and that Moscow must be prepared to engage in highly intrusive programs in Central Asia so that the people coming to Russia from there won’t be a threat.
Whether Russia has either the understanding or money for that remains very much an open question, but the orientalist’s argument suggests that at least some in the Russian military want to have a far more forward policy in Central Asia than Moscow has displayed in recent years and are using the immigration question as an argument in support of their goals.