Staunton, July 15 – Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has had a contradictory impact on ethnic relations inside the Russian Federation, Aleksandr Verkhovsky says. On the one hand, because the war is presented ideologically rather than ethnically, it has reduced the amount of racism and xenophobia in Russia itself.
But on the other hand, the director of the SOVA Center says, all the regime’s talk about “the de-Nazification of Ukraine” had opened the way for more discussion about ethnic and religious discrimination inside Russia and brought more attention to it than in the recent past (rfi.fr/ru/россия/20220715-нуждается-ли-россия-в-денацификации).
In other comments, Verkhovsky observes that
· Non-Russians whose republics have suffered a disproportionate number of losses in the fighting in Ukraine are increasingly asking why they are mistreated both on a day-to-day level and also why their republics which produce so much wealth have to hand over almost all of it to Moscow but are expected to die for Moscow’s wars.
· Most ethnic Russians do not yet see the current situation they find themselves, however dire, as a crisis and so aren’t yet looking for someone to blame. If they do decide that they are in a crisis, they will and at least some of their targets will be ethnic and religious minorities.
· Ukrainians have stopped talking about “bad Buryats” now that it has been discovered that only two percent of Russian forces in Bucha were members of that nationality. The overwhelming majority, Ukrainian officials now acknowledge were ethnic Russians.