Staunton, Jan. 12 – Many non-Russians believe that Vladimir Putin is acting like his predecessors by pursuing their Russification as an end in itself, Syres Boleyan says; but that is a mistake. Unlike them, the Kremlin leader isn’t interested in creating a homogeneous Russian nation but rather in destroying all identities, non-Russian and Russian alike.
Non-Russians are naturally disturbed by census data showing declines in their number and in their use of their national languages, and they should be, the Kyiv-based leader of the Erzya nation says. They should be, of course, but not for the reasons that many of them think (idelreal.org/a/32217095.html).
Instead, they should recognize that what Putin wants is the destruction of all ethnic identities and indeed all identities other than an amorphous population individually loyal to himself, Boleyan continues. That is the real meaning of the new census results: the Russian nation is also under attack from the Kremlin.
It has declined by more than five million since 2010, a decline that presumably wouldn’t have happened, he suggests, if the Kremlin really wanted to boost the Russian nation and assimilate everyone else to it. In sum, the Russian nation is in Putin’s crosshairs just as much as the non-Russians are.
That may not allow Russians and non-Russians to make common cause against Putin, but it should be the basis for an appreciation that he threatens both and that they are engaged in a common battle of national survival.