Staunton, June 21 – Most commentators suggest that Putin’s war in Ukraine at least in part reflects the Kremlin leader’s commitment to defending what he calls “the Russian world” and its ethnic Russian core. But opposition blogger Ilya Kashin begs to differ. He argues that the war only throws into high relief Moscow’s discrimination against ethnic Russians.
In a post on his Telegram channel, the writer says that to correct this situation, steps must be taken to defend ethnic Russians at home as well as abroad (https://telegra.ph/kshn-06-22 and idel-ural.org/archives/sama-eta-vojna-demonstriruet-neravenstvo-narodov-rossii-prichem-ne-v-polzu-russkih-kak-vyglyadit-polozhenie-korennyh-narodov-v-glazah-rossijskoj-oppoziczii/#more-10764).
“How can you protect the rights of Russians abroad while violating these at home?” Kashin asks rhetorically. “In interethnic conflicts within the country, the state almost always fails to take the side of the Russians. Instead, they are treated as something that can be sacrificed. In this situation, it is strange for Moscow to claim that its main task is to protect Russians outside of Russia.”
“Who is going to protect Russians inside?” He then adds that by acting in this way, the Russian powers that be are keeping the discussion about ethnic Russians a “the state-forming people” at a meaningless level. But what is especially disturbing, Kashin continues, is how Moscow is acting now that Russia is at war in Ukraine.
According to Kashin, national military formations are being formed in various non-Russian republics in the North Caucasus and the Middle Volga. But it is clear, he says, that they are generally kept out of harms way, at least compared to ethnic Russians in the regular army units who are sacrificed as cannon fodder.
That conclusion is completely at odds with what many non-Russians think is happening. (For their views, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/03/russian-combat-losses-in-ukraine-appear.html, jamestown.org/program/potential-wildcard-in-ukrainian-conflict-russian-army-not-ethnically-homogeneous/ and jamestown.org/program/russias-military-draft-serious-problems-that-go-beyond-ukraine/.
That pattern suggests more compellingly than any other that Moscow today is not on the side of the ethnic Russians but only interested in defending itself against the population as a whole and that to do that, it is more than ready to sacrifice ethnic Russians first.