About the disintegration of Russia and the intentions of the Muslims?

At the end of last week the topic of Russia’s disintegration was actively discussed both in the Russian-speaking world and abroad. This is because the brutal aggression of Putin’s Russia against Ukraine seems to have exceeded the patience of all reasonable people. Therefore, there is a growing discussion in Western media and political circles that the problem should be addressed not only with the ruling regime of Russia, but also with Russia as a state in its current form — an empire.

What is an empire? It is a multinational and often multi-religious state, but it is not based on their voluntary and equal union, but on the oppression of some by others.

What kind of state is modern Russia? On paper, its constitution states that it is a federation, that is, an equal union of peoples and self-governing regions and even republican states. It is also a state under the rule of law, where the main values are human rights, democracy, freedom of speech and political competition; a welfare state, where the state takes care of the standard of living and quality of life — education, health care, environment; and a secular state, where all religions are equal and separate from the state, and their followers are free to practice them.

Of course, all of this is only on paper, and all of this completely contradicts the nature of modern Russia — a predatory totalitarian regime armed with the ideology of the «Russian world,» which divides its indigenous peoples into categories and denies the independence of the countries and peoples that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And yes, this is indeed an empire — one of the last empires in the world, the prospect of whose collapse is now being openly discussed amidst the cries of Kremlin propaganda, which has long frightened people with it and managed that it has now happened.

The need to liquidate Russia as an empire was the subject of the Free Peoples of Russia Forum held last weekend in the Czech capital, Prague. It was attended by representatives of various peoples and regions of Russia, brought together by the Ukrainian-Polish organizers of the forum, which was streamed online.

Muslim peoples were represented at the forum in person or online by Chechens in the person of Ahmed Zakayev, Bashkirs in the person of Ruslan Gabbasov, Tatars in the person of Rafis and Nafis Kashapov, as well as authors of appeals from Nogais and Circassians. And as a result of the forum its participants adopted a declaration on the decolonization of Russia, the text of which can be found on the Telegram channel «Idel Realii» (https://t.me/idelrealii/18065).

In connection with all this there were many words and discussions, including in the Muslim community, so as people who have been following the progress of this forum, we add our two cents.

For example, representatives of many Muslim peoples were not satisfied with the maps of states presented by the organizers of the forum, which could emerge in place of the current Russia. For example, certain republics are unjustly united or divided, or their territories are transferred to someone else, etc. And in general, why are all these decisions being made for Muslims by some Westerners and Eastern Europeans?

But the point here is not even that the enthusiasts gathered there can only discuss all these problems but not make final decisions on them. The point is, why do the intellectuals of those Muslim peoples, whose representatives were outraged that their fate was being decided without them, not discuss these issues? It is understandable that this is beyond the capabilities of those who live in Russia, but why do representatives of numerous Caucasian diasporas in the West remain silent? This question is constantly raised by the Telegram channel «Notes of a Highlander», one of the few platforms where the future of the Caucasus and the need for its interaction with other peoples and regions are discussed (https://t.me/zapiski_gortsa).

We do not want to reopen old wounds and provoke new discussions, but it is worth remembering that when the Caucasus Emirate was proclaimed in 2008, consisting of vilayats based on national criteria, its creators believed that they only needed the approval of their supporters. There was no preliminary public discussion of this project and no preparation of broad public opinion in different peoples, and as a result this project proved to be unviable. Later, the same story repeated itself with ISIS — both in the Middle East and with its supporters in the Caucasus.

None of these projects had anywhere near the popular support that Ichkeria had at the time of its creation and in the first war of liberation. And they did not have it because the idea of a state for a consolidated people, when it has matured historically, is understandable and close to the people. But all projects of multinational state unions must be discussed. As well as interethnic relations in complex, problematic areas — so as not to solve them on the basis of emotions. This is what the representatives of all the peoples who may be affected by it must think about today.

As for the risks of Russia’s possible disintegration, including for Muslims, we are not inclined to underestimate them, as we have already written in a debate with the alarming Ruslan Kurbanov (https://golosislama.com/news.php?id=40618). However, as we said before, the worst case scenario will be if Russia disintegrates and Muslims are not prepared for it, neither morally nor politically, that is, they have no plan for this case and become victims of destructive elements or manipulations.

As for alternatives to the disintegration of Russia in principle, some participants at this forum spoke about them, surprisingly, it was mainly Western participants. They all unanimously stated that such an alternative is to turn it into a real federation for those who want to stay together, while providing an opportunity for those who want to leave to do so. However, in order for peoples to stay together voluntarily and not by force, adequate ideas and a development project are needed. And those Muslims who advocate the preservation of this unity in the form of a union of peoples should create their own project instead of identifying themselves with the Kremlin, which does not have and will not have such a project.

And it is worth thinking deeply about all this in the light of the results of the recent forum.

2015 — 2023 ©. All rights reserved.