Friday, March 3, 2023

‘Bashkir Russians’ Increasing in Number and Helping to form ‘Polyethnic Bashkir Political Nation,’ Gabbasov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 28 – Far from all ethnic Russians in the republics are “pro-Moscow imperialists,” Ruslan Gabbasov, the émigré leader of the Bashkir National Political Cener says. In his republic, there are many “Bashkir Russians, who willingly study our language and local culture and consider Bashkortostan as their motherland.”

            Bashkirs welcome them and will treat them and their language with respect, leading to their eventual integration much as has happened with Russians in Kazakhstan where the Russians were once a plurality but are now an ever smaller minority ( and

            Of course, there are and will be other ethnic Russians who don’t and won’t accept Bashkortostan as their homeland; and feeling uncomfortable in what Gabbasov foresees as an independent country, these may cause some difficulties but most will simply decide to move to somewhere else.

            Such cooperation between non-Russians and some ethnic Russians was a hallmark of the moves toward the recovery of independence in the Baltic countries and the acquisition of independence by non-Russian republics in 1991. That this phenomenon is reemerging and being promoted by non-Russians like the Bashkirs has two important consequences.

            On the one hand, to the extent that this develops, it will limit both the ability of Moscow to interfere and cause violence; and on the other, it will make the states that do emerge after the collapse of the Russian Federation vastly more acceptable to Western countries and thus make their recognition easier than would otherwise be the case.

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