Sunday, February 25, 2024

Moscow Weaponizes Ethnography Institute by Naming Politically-Connected Finno-Ugric Specialist as Its New Head

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 21 – Over the objections of the staff of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, the Ministry of Education and Science has fired Dmitry Funk as its director and replaced him with Aleksey Zagrebin, a former State Duma deputy and longtime specialist on the Finno-Ugric nations of the Russian Federation (

            The meaning of this controversial change was made clear in comments by Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (, and by the Anti-Imperial Bloc of Nations portal (

            Naryshkin, for his part, says that “Russia historically has been formed as a multi-national state which has become the home for a multitude of peoples and ethnoses. In this is our strength and at the same time a vulnerability as it has happened that enemies, understanding that defeating Russia on the battlefield is impossible seek to divide it from the inside using in the first instance the nationality factor.”

            “Therefore,” he continues, “today, the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences is one of the key and truly strategic centers of socio-humanitarian knowledge. Its potential is very much required for the development of specific recommendations for the strengthening of inter-ethnic accord under conditions of unprecedented pressure on Russia from the outside.”

            “I am certain that under the leadership of Aleksey Yegorovich Zagrebin, a serious scholar and a man with broad state thinking, the Institute will get an additional impulse for the development and active involvement in the resolution of the tasks standing before the country,” Naryshkin concludes.

            The Anti-Imperial Block of Nations is even more blunt about the political meaning of Funk’s firing and Zagrebin’s appointment in his stead. According to ABN, “such an appointment is the direct consequence of the fear of the rulers of its impending collapse” and their efforts to delay that as long as possible.

            “By placing officials specializing in Finno-Ugric issues in senior positions in the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Putin government intends to find effective levers of influence to ‘stifle’ for the foreseeable future the growth of national self-awareness of the Finno-Ugric nations because that holds the key to the collapse of Moscow identity.”


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