Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Latest Ban on Tatarstan Memorial Day Shows that ‘the More Totalitarian Moscow Becomes, the More Insecure It Is,' Aysin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 14 – For the second year in a row, the Russian authorities have banned any commemoration of Tatarstan’s Memorial Day on October 15, the anniversary of the Russian sacking of Kazan in 1552, the latest evidence that “the more totalitarian the government, the more insecure it is,” Ruslan Aysin says.

            The Tatar activist, now living in Turkish exile, says that the powers that be “are afraid that someone will see” that and declare that “the king is naked!” Consequently, instead of seeing such official actions as a manifestation of power, the Tatars and others must see them as evidence that the regime is “headed toward bankruptcy” (idelreal.org/a/32637280.html).

            Aysin who was one of the organizers of the annual meetings in the 1990s says that with each passing year, the authorities in Kazan and Moscow restricted an event which at first attracted tens of thousands of people and served as almost an alternative government but then was reduced to a few dozen celebrants and now has been banned altogether.

            The powers have been worried not only that remembering the past would strengthen the Tatar nation but become the occasion for critical reflections on what Russia has done to it over the past five centuries. In some ways, those powers have succeeded in restricting the development of the Tatar nation, but they haven’t killed it – and won’t be able to.

            Memory will live long after the current empire dies, and it is important that Tatars and all others recognize that fact and that what looks like strength is in fact weakness – and that that weakness should encourage further resistance.

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