Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Moscow’s Repression Can Drive Nationalism Underground But Not Eliminate It, Makarkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 20 – Moscow’s reaction to the events in Bashkortostan shows that it considers to this day national movements to be “a serious threat,” one organized by “Western intelligence services” to destabilize Russia now just as it did in the past to the Soviet Union and Russia in the 1990s, Aleksey Makarkin says.

            And the Putin regime has decided to combat nationalism is by increasing repression, the Moscow analyst says, even having reached the conclusion that its Soviet predecessors were “too soft” in dealing with ethnic movements (forbes.ru/mneniya/504535-cernyj-ili-prostoj-kak-ekologiceskie-protesty-v-baskirii-stali-politiceskimi).

            There is no question that “national movements are transformed under conditions of severe pressure,” Makarkin continues. “Some of their participants emigrate … others continue to engage in open conflict with some ending up in prison or administrative penalties.” But that doesn’t end nationalism as a problem.

            That is because, he argues, the majority of people who are nationalists when under pressure only “formally withdraw from politics, but do not renounce their views.” Instead, they wait for a time when either pressure from outside eases or when other factors, such as environmentalism, reinforce nationalist ideas and willingness to protest.

            Makarkin’s words thus represent a warning to all those who use repression or others who think repression is inevitably effective that both the one group and the other are fooling themselves and that nationalism driven under ground may remain a powerful force, especially if its opponents think that the use of brute force is enough. 

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