Staunton, Feb. 3 – The Bashkortostan protests represent a turning point in the history of the Russian empire in a double sense, Ibragim Zaripov says. On the one hand, Moscow and the republic leaderships are acting in concert without the republic leaders reaching out at all to those taking part in demonstrations.
And on the other, Bashkirs and other non-Russians like them are beginning to see that the source of their problems is in Moscow rather than blaming their republic leaders, according to the Bashkortostan activist; and thus they are becoming more convinced that independence is the only option (charter97.org/ru/news/2024/2/2/581933/).
When Bashkirs in the past protested over mining, the republic leaders at least tried to talk with the demonstrators, Zaripov continues. But now, they simply worked in lock step with Moscow and repressed everyone involved. As a result, even though the new protesters called for the ouster of the republic head, they also called for independence.
In the short term, Moscow may be pleased by the actions of its agent in place in Ufa, the Bashkir activist says; but in the longer term, this united front Moscow and Ufa are presenting is going to backfire in that people there will cease to believe in the idea that there is a good tsar but bad boyars and recognize that they must entirely escape from the system.
Getting rid of the republic head is no longer enough; getting rid of Moscow is thus also required.