Sunday, February 25, 2024

Not Everyone from Altai Republic Fighting for Moscow in Ukraine is Doing So Out of Poverty, Altai Émigré Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 21 – Amyr Aytashev, a political refugee from the impoverished Altai Republic in southern Siberia, says that some of his countrymen undoubtedly agreed to fight for Moscow in Ukraine to get money but more did so because they thought it would be interesting and felt that they could take pride that the Altai people were doing something important.

            “I don’t think support for the war there is related directly to poverty,” he continues. “Few people admit that we live in poverty. People are used to it and their demands are low” (

            Instead, Aytashev who now lives in the US but follows events in his homeland says, many thought it would be interesting to go there “especially as there is nothing interesting” at home and were “even pleased by the idea that the Altai people are fighting there as there is such pride in one’s own people” finally doing something.

            In other comments, he says that he “understands that the war has not made the situation of the Altai people any worse or precisely not much worse. We already were at rock bottom … we simply did not have room to fall any further. Instead, the Altai people feel lost, but this doesn’t translate into political outrage,” at least against Putin.

            There won’t be any protest voting in the republic because “the majority of Altai people do not have anything against Putin.” If there is any protest voting, it will be directed not at him but at the ethnic Russian United Russia governor Aleg Khokhordin. The reason? The population  “simply thinks that it is impossible to achieve anything and there’s no sense in trying.”

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