Sunday, March 12, 2023

Decolonization Begins with Change in Mindset of Those Living in Regions and Republics Moscow Controls, Tuvin Activist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 10 – Ever more people in the Russian Federation are talking about decolonization, but it is important to keep in mind that this term and the movement it describes does not necessarily involve a drive for complete political independence, according to Tuvin activist Dankhayaa Khavlyg.

            Instead, it involves in the first instance “decentralization” with the center giving up and the regions and republics gaining control over political, economic and administrative affairs and a change in the mindset of the people living both at the center and elsewhere, he continues (

            In many places, people will seek independence only if Moscow refuses to decentralize and allow regions and republics like his own to control their own resources and thus escape from the poverty which Moscow by holding them as colonies, taking all of their resources and giving so little back.

            “De-colonization for me began with some difficult questions,” Khavlyg continues. “Questions of equality: why do I periodically feel that I do not have equal rights with Russians? Questions of poverty: why has it happened that a region with such enormous potential for development and flourishing has become so poor?

            “There cannot be equality where there is control,” he says. “And the same is true with development, flourishing, healthy love and respect. These seem self-evident but it is precisely these values that are the essence of decolonization.” Only those who have answered these questions for themselves can say proudly “I am not a Russian.”

            According to the activist, “the time of decolonization has finally come.” It must begin with the simplest of steps: the study of national history and language and demands that school textbooks treat the national history and language with respect. It must involve a return of a sense of one’s own dignity and readiness to stand up for oneself.

            Further, it must involve the acquisition and use of one’s native language and thn the raising of “uncomfortable questions” including but not limited to the one most on everyone’s mind now: why should people from the regions and republics be going to fight in Ukraine for Moscow when Moscow is repressing rather than supporting them and their lands?

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