Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Putin’s Effort to Use Ukrainian War to Weaken Non-Russians at Home Backfiring, Mavrov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 18 – Grigory Mavrov, a Ukrainian Turcologist, says that Vladimir Putin is seeking to use his war in Ukraine as a means to destroy the non-Russian nations of the Russian Federation and further Russify his country but that some of the tactics he has adopted, including the formation of national military units, are undermining his chances of success.

            In an interview with Baku’s Armiya portal, the Kyiv scholar says that Putin has designed his war in Ukraine to solve three problems with regard to non-Russians within the Russian Federation ( First, by involving non-Russians in the conflict, he “stains the representatives of the national minorities in the blood of Ukrainians.”

            According to Mavrov, “since the Kremlin thinks exclusively in criminal categories, it needs to draw the maximum number of people into this war and stain them with crimes which reflecting Moscow’s general plan will further bind these peoples to Moscow’s colonial policy.”

            Second, the Kremlin is “throwing in the furnace of war those who have opposed Moscow in the past,” such a Bashkirs who protested the development of the Kushtau deposits in Bashkortostan. In doing so, the scholar suggests, Moscow is thus “destroying a potentially dangerous protest group.”

            And third, by ensuring that a disproportionate number of non-Russians will die, Moscow will make the Russification of the rest easier and lay the groundwork for the abolition of the non-Russian republics, leading to a situation in which “Tatarstan will be replaced by a Kazan province and Bashkortostan by an Ufa one.”

            But this strategy is backfiring because Moscow has been forced to create national formations in order to mobilize enough troops. Not only has that accelerated the demoralization of ethnic Russian units but it has created networks that in the future can be used against Moscow, as the Prigorizhin mutiny shows.

            As a result, Mavrov says, “any serious defeat at the front will likely further increase mutual suspicions” between them as well as demoralization among the ethnic Russians. In that event, “national units may be the most disciplined” of those left behind. But “they won’t be enough” to stand up to the Ukrainian forces.

            And that raises the fateful question, Mavrov says: “What will all these militants from the national republics do when they return home” after Russia’s defeat in Ukraine?


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