Friday, August 26, 2022

Moscow’s Penetration of Non-Russian Diasporas Now So Great that These Groups Now Reflect Its Interests Rather than Those of Their Nations, Aysin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 30 – Quietly and below the radar screen of most people in the Russian Federation and the West, Moscow has penetrated the diasporas of non-Russian nations to the point that when representatives of them come back to their homelands, they reflect Moscow’s views rather than those of their national communities, Ruslan Aysin says.

            The Soviet government did that too but far less successfully that the current Russian government, and as a result, congresses supposedly representing the world of this or that nation in fact are nothing more than megaphones for the Kremlin’s position, yet another way the center is gelding the non-Russians, the IdealReal commentator says (

            Aysin’s bitter reflections on this point come in advance of what is to be the 30th anniversary meeting of the World Congress of Tatars in Kazan, a group that early on promoted the interests of Tatars and Tatarstan but now threatens to become little more than a rubber stamp for whatever positions the Kremlin wants.

            “The Tatar world as an independent subject of big politics is seizing to play one of the leading roles with the departure from the scene of the old wave of the Tatar emigration,” Aysin says. “A new one has arrived, one primarily reflecting the values of the Russian foreign ministry” and therefore reflecting Moscow’s views rather than Tatarstan’s.

            “Instead of ‘the Tatar world, they have rushed to build ‘the Russian world;’ instead of strengthening the republic and federalism, they have rushed to lick ‘the power vertical;’ instead of key issues like education, enlightenment and scholarship, they take part in ceremonies and dances; and instead of laying up spiritual wealth, they have been seeking material accumulation.”

            And what that means is this: Tatars inside Russia have lost an important ally, and Moscow has taken yet another step to destroy the Tatar nation, the republic of Tatarstan, and the remnants of federalism.

            The IdelReal commentator does not address the way this is happening in the diaspora populations of other non-Russian groups, and there is less attention to this problem than it deserves given that it hurts both the non-Russian nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation and those who would like to learn about them.

            That latter consequence is almost as serious as the former one. Up to now, diasporas have been one of the most important sources of information about ethnic communities inside Russia; but if Moscow gelds them, they will no longer be in a position to play that role and the Kremlin may succeed in compromising outside research on them as well.

            Without honest attention to their problems by others, the non-Russians inside Russia will lose yet another ally; and their future will be far more bleak than would otherwise be the case.

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