Saturday, September 10, 2022

West has Shifted Its Policies and is Now Focusing on ‘Decolonization of Russia,’ Moscow’s Nationalities Chief Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 9 – Igor Barinov, head of the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, told the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok that the West has “changed the focus of its work” regarding Russia” and has adopted “a course for its decolonization” by promoting online the false notion that non-Russians have been historically “oppressed” by their government.

            He says that “up to now this work has not had much effect. Instead, within Russia, there has been a rallying together of “all out national subjects” who today “are fighting shoulder to shoulder” ( and

            Barinov says that it is a special feature of “the multi-national people of Russia” that whenever times are tough, “representatives of the different peoples forget about their grievances and negative stereotypes and instead unite and consolidate into one people regardless of nationality or religion.”

            What is significant about Barinov’s words is not his claim that the population of Russia is united – he could hardly be expected to claim otherwise – but that his comment suggests that Moscow now views the West as having shifted from promoting regime change to sponsoring the disintegration of the Russian Federation.

            One can debate whether that is in fact true, but to the extent that Moscow believes it to be the case, that is likely to help shape Moscow’s policies toward the non-Russians and especially the non-Russian republics, with most likely arguing for more repression but at least a minority saying that hasn’t worked and urging concessions.


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