Sunday, January 1, 2023

Putin’s War in Ukraine has Radicalized Bashkirs at Home and Abroad, Gabbasov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 1 – Vladimir Putin’s expanded war in Ukraine and repressive measures by both Moscow and Ufa against the Bashkir people have radicalized both those Bashkirs who have been forced to emigrate and those who have remained at home, according to Ruslan Gabbasov, one of the leaders of the Bashkir National Movement.

            Despite repression by Moscow and Ufa, he says, Bashkirs at home have continued to protest the war; but in large part because of it, he continues, Bashkirs in the emigration like himself have moved from seeking genuine federalism to demanding independence for Bashkortostan (

            Because of increasing repression in their homeland, Gabbasov says, “it has become ever more difficult to carry out opposition activity, especially since the beginning of military activities; and therefore, the main focus of the activity of the Bashkir national movement has shifted to abroad” where in Lithuania a Bashkir National Political Center has been set up.

            The Center’s representatives have begun to “actively participate in various political forms and conferences which have taken place in various countries,” he continues. “We have been telling the world community what is really taking place in the republic. As a result, many have begun to learn about the problems of the Bashkir people.”

            “The longer the war has gone on, the more radical have become the actions of ordinary residents of the republic,” Gabbassov says. They have distributed leaflets againsthte war and firebombed at least two draft offices. In addition, some have gone to fight in Ukraine, even forming a Bashkort company there.

             Bashkirs have thus become the fourth non-Russian nation doing so, the others being the Chechens, the Crimeans and the Daghestanis.

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