Friday, January 19, 2024

Duma Attack on Diasporas Directed Not Just at Foreigners but Also at Non-Russians Who Live Outside Borders of Republics within Russia, Iskhakov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 15 – Petr Tolstoy, vice speaker of the Russian Duma and an outspoken Russian nationalist, says that “all these national diasporas … are noting more than legalized mafia structures … like the Corsican or Sicilian … that bribe local officials and ‘excuse’ their own militants.”

            His words are part of his continuing attack on non-Russian immigrants and especially those who don’t speak Russian well. But Damir Iskhakov, a senior Kazan ethnographer, argues that Tolstoy’s remarks are also directed at non-Russian republics like Tatarstan which are concerned about their own co-ethnics beyond their borders (

            According to the scholar, “Tatarstan must be concerned with its diaspora” according to the republic’s constitution. And people like Tolstoy don’t like that. He wants to ensure that Tatars living outside of Tatarstan and members of the other non-Russian republic nationalities doing the same have no support from their titular nationality in the republics.

            That is very likely Tolstoy’s more immediate goal, Iskhakov says, and why non-Russian nations should see the Duma deputy’s words as at least as much a threat to them as the leaders of the immigrant national communities do. If they don’t recognize this, they may find that Moscow will soon restrict the ability of republics to reach out to their diasporas.


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