October 23, 2013

“The War of the Worlds.” Aggravation of Interethnic Problems in Russia in the Context of Moscow's Eurasian Initiatives

“Syria Today is Russia Tomorrow” — аccording to Russian Analysts.

As part of the expansion and construction of the Eurasian Union, Russia is actively taking a number of measures which, in its opinion, should help it strengthen its international positions. However, the situation in Russia itself keeps getting complicated. This is clearly confirmed by the facts of aggravation of interethnic problems.

The most notable is the fact of riots and unrest in the Moscow Biryulyovo district on the 13th of October this year, when the local population took to the streets under the slogan of “suspension of Crime and dominance of immigrants from the Caucasus in the Russian capital.” In fact, these statements have become a link of the events and processes that have been occurring in almost all regions of the country: from Kondopoga in the North — to Rostov-on-Don, Stavropol, Krasnodar in the South, and in Vladivostok in the Far East.

The most complicated situation is in the North Caucasus, in particular, in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia
The most complicated situation is in the North Caucasus, in particular, in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia  http://ruskline.ru/

The most complicated situation is observed in the North Caucasus, especially in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia, which are the main agents of tension in the region. Thus, despite the optimistic statements of the Russian Federation's leadership on having neutralized organized resistance of extremists, radical Islamist groups continue active sabotage and terrorist activities in the North Caucasus republics, as well as cover other districts with their actions.

The main causative agent is the Islamist movement “Caucasus Emirate”, whose goal is to build an Islamic state in the south of Russia. Trying to cause a wide resonance with its actions, in July this year the movement's leader D. Umarov cancelled the moratorium on terrorist attacks in Russia, which was introduced by him in 2012. At this, he urged his supporters to disrupt the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

As for the “statistics”, since the beginning of the year due to attacks and sabotage in the North Caucasus have been killed, in general, more than 100 employees of law enforcement agencies, as many have been injured. In mid-October the leadership of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Russian Federation confirmed the high level of terrorist threats in the country, especially in the North Caucasus, where up to 98 % of the crimes of terrorist nature take place.

However, as the Director of the Russian FSS (Federal Security Service) A. Bortnikov states, ideas of radical Islam are being spread not only in the North Caucasus. They are trying to cover the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia. This also is confirmed by the report of independent Russian experts entitled “The growth of radical Islamist groups in the Volga Federal District,” which was released in autumn this year.

In Tatarstan have been indentified Islamists who had been through military training in  Pakistan

In Tatarstan have been indentified Islamists who had been through military training in  Pakistan http://www.i-r-p.ru/

Thus, the radical Islamist sentiments are being actively distributed among the population of the Volga region and are becoming more widely spread. This is confirmed by protests in the capital of Tatarstan - Kazan on October 13 this year on the occasion of the anniversary of the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible's having done with the Khanate of Kazan. Local population considers this as an act of “genocide of the Tatar people”.

Soon the problem of migration of the population from Central Asia to Russia may escalate even further because of the commandment of the NATO’s plans for withdrawal of ISAF International Forces from Afghanistan. It will certainly make the security situation more difficult and will expand sources of Islamic extremism over the territories of neighboring countries and regions.

The threat of Chinese expansion, up to scenarios of a military conflict, has ceased to be a taboo subject and is increasingly discussed in the Russian expert community

The threat of Chinese expansion, up to scenarios of a military conflict, has ceased to be a taboo subject and is increasingly discussed in the Russian expert community http://newsland.com/

No less important and even dangerous for Russia is the massive demographic expansion from China. Russian demographers note that while in the Soviet era beneath the Urals lived about 16 million citizens, now — no more than 6-7 million. Besides, in the future, this figure tends to decrease. In turn, the total population in the border areas of China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia) is about 110 million.

These events are a prerequisite for the uncontrolled growth of Chinese migrants. According to experts of Migration Department of the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Federation, by 2050 in the Eastern regions of Russia will live at least 7.10 million Chinese and by its size the Chinese Diaspora will be the second ethnic group in Russia after ethnic Russians.

Chinese scientists have advised local authorities as soon as possible to give up the  demographic policy of "one family — one child"

Chinese scientists have advised local authorities as soon as possible to give up the  demographic policy of "one family — one child" http://www.naim.ru/

It is clear, that all this leads to radical changes in the demographic situation in Russia — namely, the proportion of ethnic Russians in the demographic balance is decreasing. And in contrast, the Muslim and other entities keep growing. Thus, according to statistics, in 1990 the number of Russians in Russia amounted to 120 million, in 2002 — 115 million, and in 2010 — 110 million people. With this trend continuing, by 2050 the proportion of Russians in Russia will not exceed 46%, which will lead to absolute changes of the ethno-confessional structure of the population. At the same time, the number of migrants in Russia exceeds 20%, which for sure will lead to closed ethnic enclaves, to ceasing of assimilation of migrants and ethnic minorities and, consequently, dramatic increase of ethnic tensions.

Today, in some regions of the Russian Federation the number of migrants from Muslim countries and China is much higher than the above mentioned rate. This applies, in particular, to Moscow, where people from the Caucasus, Central Asia, China and other countries of the “third world” already make more than 70 % of the residents of the Russian capital.

Nationalist organizations and movements are holding  a "Russian march". Moscow

Nationalist organizations and movements are holding  a "Russian march". Moscow. http://rus.azattyq.org/

Western experts and politicians also more and more often speak about the growth of ethnic tensions in Russia. According to the report of the European Commission against Racism and Racial Intolerance (released in October this year), lately in Russia have significantly increased chauvinistic and xenophobic sentiments, which are being supported by both, the current government and the opposition (in particular, within the framework of the pro-governmental nationalist and chauvinist organizations “Nashi” and “Eurasian Youth Union”, as well as various Russian Nazi groups).

At this, they point out that domestic violence on the basis of xenophobia increases, radical nationalism grows and aggressive actions against people of “non-Slavic appearance” above all — against migrants from the North Caucasus, Central Asia and Africa — get widely spread.

Characteristically, all this is a consequence of the contradictory and ambiguous actions of the leadership of the Russian federation. On the one hand, the government is trying to solve the problem of population decline through attracting workers from other countries (especially in Central Asia), and on the other — it declares its goal: to build a national Russian state.

In particular, in 2001 the Ministry of Federation, National and Migration Policy of the Russian Federation approved the concept of the so-called “replacing migration”, which involves maintaining the country's population of 140 million people through access to at least one of a million immigrants annually. However, due to the low attractiveness of Russia compared to developed countries, most of these workers are immigrants from Central Asia, China and other troubled (mostly Muslim) regions.

The main direction of migration flows within Russia
The main direction of migration flows within Russia http://www.antropotok.archipelag.ru/

Additional opportunities to increase migration flows to Russia gave the approved by the State Duma of the Russian Federation in 2011, amendments to the Law “On Citizenship of the Russian Federation”, which greatly expand the meaning of the term “Russian compatriots abroad.” In particular, this category includes persons and their descendants who had Soviet citizenship and lived in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union (including Central Asia Region).

Against this background, the leadership of the Russian federation takes diametrically opposed measures with regard to the consolidation of the country's population and its uniting around Moscow on the basis of the “Russian idea”. The main principles of this idea were outlined by President V. Putin during a meeting of the international discussion club “Valdai” in September 2013. They include building of the Russian Federation as a powerful world “state- civilization” based on “Russian and Orthodox” spiritual values. At the same time Russia is opposed to the West as such that has stepped “away from its Christian foundations” and “losing the potential for development.”

Accordingly, is being declared such a course of state development in which national identity and patriotism of the Russian nation will be formed. It is based on traditions, history, culture and language of the “Russian world” and spiritual values ​​of the Russian Orthodox Church. At this, is emphasized the need to get united around the post-Soviet Russia in the Eurasian Union, which is supposed to be a “guarantee of preserving the identity of countries of the former Soviet Union.”

However, the population of the Russian state is multinational, a great part of which does not identify itself with ethnic Russians. So the measures planned by Moscow provoke tension in interethnic relations. Similar tension arises between Russia and other former Soviet countries where non-Russian ethnicity predominates.

It should be noted that the catalyst of ethnic problems of Russia is its economic situation, which got more complicated in 2012 and keeps getting worse. Thus, during the first half of this year, the volume of industrial production in the country decreased, and so did foreign investments into the Russian economy, exports fell markedly. Russia's foreign debt increased by 10.4% and exceeded the gold reserves of the Russian Federation.

The ethnic composition of Russia
The ethnic composition of Russia

As a result, unemployment has increased, prices for basic commodities and utilities have jumped up, payment of wages and pensions is often delayed, and so on. A reduction of state budget makes the leadership of the country saves on social programs, which sharpens social and economic problems in the Russian Federation.

In its turn, this causes aggravation of interethnic relations and growth of racial intolerance. As a result — enhanced protests, growing extremist sentiments of the population, conflicts in competition for jobs, constant struggle for markets, property, land and other resources.

Summing up, we can draw the following conclusions:

- Development of the demographic situation in Russia has led to a steady trend of irreversible changes in the ethnic composition of the population, causing more interethnic conflicts in the country.

- Under the circumstances, attracting Ukraine to Russian Eurasian initiatives, the leadership of the RF is trying to increase the number of Slavic population and to establish its control over it, and thus to slow down the degradation of the Russian ethnic group in Russia. However, the expansion of the Eurasian Union by the Central Asian countries and, consequently, increasing migration flows of the Muslim population to Russia, cause a reverse process, i.e., the proportion of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation decreases.

Taking into consideration the trend and objective facts, we can state that Ukraine's joining the Customs and later the Eurasian Union, will absolutely surely provoke similar processes in Ukraine, which will increase ethnic tensions, threat of ethnic conflicts will grow, and that automatically will undermine stability in the country and safety of our citizens.

As for the changing ethnic composition of the population of Russia in favor of non-Slavics, it actually negates all attempts of the Russian side to appeal to the “unity of the Slavic peoples of Russia and Ukraine,” as the ideological basis for the maintenance of Kyiv in the orbit of Moscow's geopolitical influence.