Staunton, May 2 – In what Akhmed Zakayev, the head of the Chechen government in exile, says is “a model for all the peoples oppressed by Russia,” the government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in exile has recognized the 1992 reference in which Tatarstan’s people voted overwhelmingly for the sovereignty and independence of their country.
In April, the exile government of Tatarstan asked the government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria to take this step (thechechenpress.com/news/17383-obrashchenie-pravitelstva-nezavisimogo-tatarstana.html); and now, the latter has responded positively (thechechenpress.com/news/17417-pismo-premer-ministra-chechenskoj-respubliki-ichkeriya-pravitelstvu-nezavisimogo-tatarstana.html).
Given that both Chechnya and Tatarstan remain under Russian occupation, many will dismiss this exchange as meaningless; but such people could not be more wrong as Zakayev’s observation makes clear. Such mutual recognition not only ensure greater cooperation among these countries as they pursue independence but also lays the foundation for good ties later.
But there may be an even more important consequence: the greatest power Moscow has had in dealing with its non-Russian colonies is its ability to play one off against another, and the center’s greatest fear is that the colonized peoples will cooperate. By such cooperation, the Chechens and Tatars are reducing Moscow’s options and adding to the basis for its fears.
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