Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Soviet Tatar General Gareyev Cared ‘Not Only about the Military but Also about His Tatar Nation,’ Akchurin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 26 – Next month will be the centenary of the birth of General Makhut Gareyev, a Soviet general and military theorist who attracted widespread attention for his role not only as a commander in Afghanistan but also as a specialist on anti-aircraft defense and strategic thinking.

            In advance of that round anniversary, he has been the subject of numerous articles; but an interview with his fellow Soviet Tatar general Rasim Akchurin is especially interesting because it focuses on Gareyev’s identification with and support for his own Tatar nation both in Soviet times and afterwards (milliard.tatar/news/maxmut-gareev-celovek-interesovavsiisya-ne-tolko-ziznyu-vooruzennyx-sil-no-i-tatarskogo-naroda-3680).

            That is a topic neglected in most discussions of Gareyev, but it is important because there are a significant number of senior military officers of non-Russian origin; and the ways they combine loyalty to the Soviet and now Russian state and their own ethnic nationality may be critical now and in the future.

            According to Akchurin, “Makhmut Gareyev was a man interested not only in the life of the armed forces but also in that of the Tatar people” and someone who went out of his way to keep track of what was going on among the Tatars and to help them when he could. Akchurin gives as an example Gareyev’s help with the Tatar national cultural autonomy in Moscow.

            Akchurin says that in 1999, Gareyev approached him and asked what he could do to help the autonomy and said that it was critical that the Tatars remain united and that everything that could be done to help promote the development of their culture should be. The colonel general says the full general was as good as his word.

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