Staunton, Apr. 18 – There is a great range of activities that fall under the rubric of anti-war activism in the Russian Federation, a new study concludes; but there is a basic divide between those in ethnic Russian areas and those in non-Russian ones with the former working mostly within limits imposed by Moscow while the latter routinely go beyond those limits.
The study, conducted by Austausch e.V, for CivilM+ and financed by the German foreign ministry, interviewed 30 people who identified as anti-war activists in the Russian Federation (civilmplus.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Russian-anti-war-activism_ru.pdf). It has now been discussed by journalist Yekaterina Moroko (ridl.io/ru/iz-rossii-s-mirom/).
The most immediately striking finding of the study, Moroko suggests, is that the Russian “anti-war” activists occupy a far broader spectrum of activities than many think. Not all of them are directed at ending the war but rather at mitigating its consequences for its victims including both Ukrainians and Russians.
But perhaps the most important finding is elsewhere. According to Moroko, Russians and non-Russians have adopted fundamentally different approaches. “Russian activists,” she writes, “emphasize the need to receive explicit permission” from the Russian authorities to talk with the Ukrainian side when and if the authorities find that acceptable.
However, the anti-war initiatives that have emerged in the country’s national republics and which, in addition to fighting against the war aim at strengthening the subjectivity of national groups within the Russian Federation, including secession” have struck a more independent line and are less inclined to defer to Moscow on contacts with Ukrainians.
For the non-Russians, far more than for the Russians, Moroko continues, “their national identity and the colonial history of Russia are the basis for solidarity and interaction with Ukraine already now.”