Sunday, August 14, 2022

Russia Can Be Saved from Wave of Ethnic Separatism Only by Inflicting a Military Defeat on Ukraine, Boroday Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 20 – Russia faces a serious threat of ethnic separatism not from émigré leaders working for the West but from activists within the country who now form a fifth column against the country, Russian parliamentarians say. And the only way to defeat that threat is to achieve a final military victory over Ukraine, one of their number Aleksandr Boroday insists.

            Every year in the third week of July, when since 1959 the US marks Captive Nations Week, Soviet and now Russian commentators have denounced that declaration of support for the rights of peoples to national self-determination. This year, these diatribes have focused primarily on the rise of a new group, the League of Free Nations, which supports that goal as well.

            But as often happens, the most interesting feature of these articles is not their attacks but rather their comments on the nature of the problem, with most Russian writers downplaying the threat of separatism and thus suggesting that Moscow should not be worried. But this year, some Russians have taken a different tact.

            In comments for an article in Vzglyad, Aleksand Boroday and Oleg Matveychuk, two Duma deputies who specialize on ethnic issues, say that ethnic separatism is again a serious challenge not because of émigré activism but because of Western support for separatists inside the Russian Federation (

            According to Boroday, the US views supporting separatism within Russia as an integral part of is campaign in support of Ukraine and against Moscow. Matveychuk agrees and says that in his view Russia should declare all nationalists regardless of whether they get money from the West or not “foreign agents with all the ensuing legal consequences.”

            It is a major mistake to think that all these people have emigrated. “There is a fifth column in Russia.” It has “deep roots.” And it must be fought with all the resources Moscow has. “It can’t be said that ethno-separatists have only very weak hope for a crisis in our country.” They have real ones because they are getting help from abroad.

            And Boroday adds that “Russia will be saved by a final military victory over the Kyiv regime” which is just one but not the only weapons that the West is using in its “war of annihilation against us.”

            Obviously, it is difficult to justify tough new measures against non-Russian nationalists if you don’t suggest that they represent a threat, but the language of Boroday and Matveychuk is striking in just how big a threat they see these movements, typically dismissed by the Kremlin, as being at the present time.


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