Russia is becoming increasingly a Muslim country. Out of a total population of over 146 million (including two million in annexed Crimea), it counts about 15 million people of Muslim background—even if not all are believers and even fewer practice Islam. Given forthcoming demographic changes, by around 2050 Muslims will represent between one third (according to the most conservative estimates) and one half (according to the most ‘alarmist’ assessments) of the Russian population. This ‘Islamization’ of Russia—not in the sense of radical Islam but of a rising number of citizens self-referring to Islam—will impact both Russia’s domestic situation and its foreign policy options in the medium and long term. Islam’s growing importance in Russia will shape the future of the country in at least five main directions: the overall demographic balance of the country; the strategy of ‘normalizing’ the regions of the North Caucasus; Russia’s migration policy; Russia’s positioning on the international scene; and the transformation of Russian national identity.
Meanwhile, only 0.2 per cent of university students study in the Belarusian language, according to a recent survey. The lack of pride in national values is a well-known feature of Belarusians, and this situation has a historical explanation.
Perestroika and the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s gave rise to mass nationalist organisations in Belarus. Compromising with the Soviet bureaucracy looked likely to prevent the establishment of an authoritarian regime, but nationalists took an uncompromising position and lost the game.
Because of Lukashenka’s pro-Russian politics, they became the chief enemies of the first president and saw a decline throughout the 2000s. Today, nationalist organisations are few and they do not impact upon Belarusian politics. . . .
Anti-Nationalist Strategy of the First President
A strategic alliance with Russia, supported by cheap hydrocarbons and wider markets, made Lukashenka a prime anti-nationalist in Belarus. As the strongest among opposition forces and nationalist by ideology, the BPF party became enemy №1 for the newly elected president.
Lukashenka started his first term in office with notorious anti-national steps: he replaced national symbols with slightly modified Soviet ones, initiated the introduction of the Russian language as second official language, and stopped and reversed support of the Belarusian language in education, media, government and virtually everywhere. This policy led to the continuation of the denationalisation policy started by communists.
During his speeches, Lukashenka liked to remind Belarusians about the 1990s, the time when “wild nationalists” raged.
The Ukrainian government on Wednesday pledged $1 million to build a memorial at Babi Yar, a ravine where Nazis murdered about 150,000, including 50,000 Jews, during World War II. Officials plan to complete the memorial by the 75th anniversary of the massacre in September. The Daily Signal’s Nolan Peterson recently visited the site.
Pro-Socialism article celebrates the Bolshevik’s early recognition of Muslims as communist allies.
To me the leniency seems like a matter of expedience, and the typical Bolshevik strategy of prioritizing who to destroy first while feigning friending with the people lower on the list.
—“The Russian Revolution of 1917 took place in an empire that was home to 16 million Muslims – some 10 percent of the population. The collapse of Tsarism radicalised Muslims, who demanded religious freedom and national rights denied them by the tsars.
On 1 May 1917 the First All-Russian Congress of Muslims took place in Moscow. After heated debates the congress voted for women’s rights, making Russia’s Muslims the first in the world to free women from the restrictions typical of Islamic societies of that period. At the same time, conservative Muslim leaders were hostile to revolutionary change. So how did the Russian Marxists, the Bolsheviks, respond?
Marxism is a materialist worldview and so is thoroughly atheist. But because it understands religion to have roots in oppression and alienation, Marxist political parties don’t demand that their members or supporters are atheists too. So atheism was never included in the Bolsheviks’ programme. Indeed, they welcomed left wing Muslims into the communist parties (CPs). The Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky noted in 1923 that in some former colonies as many as 15 percent of CP members were believers in Islam. He called them the ‘raw revolutionary recruits who come knocking on our door’. In parts of Central Asia, Muslim membership was as high as 70 percent.
The Bolsheviks took a very different approach to Orthodox Christianity, the religion of the brutal Russian colonists and missionaries. Party policy in Central Asia, endorsed by Moscow, stated that ‘freedom from religious prejudice’ was a requirement for Russians only. So in 1922 over 1,500 Russians were kicked out of the Turkestan CP because of their religious convictions, but not a single Turkestani. . . .
Some sharia courts flouted the Soviet law, refusing to award divorces on the petition of a wife, or equating the testimony of two women to that of a man. So in December 1922 a decree introduced retrials in Soviet courts if one of the parties requested it. All the same, some 30 to 50 percent of all court cases were resolved by sharia courts, and in Chechnya the figure was 80 percent.
A parallel education system was also established. In 1922 rights to certain waqf (Islamic) properties were restored to Muslim administration, with the proviso that they were used for education. As a result, the system of madrassahs – religious schools – was extensive. In 1925 there were 1,500 madrassahs with 45,000 students in the Caucasus state of Dagestan, as opposed to just 183 state schools. In contrast, by November 1921 over 1,000 soviet schools had some 85,000 pupils in Central Asia – a modest number relative to the potential enrolment. . . .
The Bolsheviks made alliances with the Kazakh pan-Islamic group the Ush-Zhuz (which joined the CP in 1920), the Persian pan-Islamist guerrillas in the Jengelis, and the Vaisites, a Sufi brotherhood. In Dagestan, Soviet power was established largely thanks to the partisans of the Muslim leader Ali-Hadji Akushinskii.
In Chechnya the Bolsheviks won over Ali Mataev, the head of a powerful Sufi order, who led the Chechen Revolutionary Committee. In the Red Army the ‘sharia squadrons’ of the mullah Katkakhanov numbered tens of thousands.
At the Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East in September 1920, Russian Bolshevik leaders issued a call for a ‘holy war’ against Western imperialism. Two years later the Fourth Congress of the Communist International endorsed alliances with pan-Islamism against imperialism.
Moscow deliberately employed non-Russian troops to fight in Central Asia – Tatar, Bashkir, Kazakh, Uzbek and Turkmen detachments were pitted against the anti-Bolshevik invaders. Tatar soldiers in the Red Army exceeded 50 percent of the troops on the Eastern and Turkestan fronts of the civil war. . . .
Increasingly it attacked so called ‘nationalist deviations’ in the non-Russian republics and encouraged a rebirth of Russian chauvinism. From the mid-1920s the Stalinists began planning an all-out attack on Islam under the banner of women’s rights. The slogan of the campaign was khudzhum – which means storming or assault.
The khudzhum entered its mass action phase on 8 March 1927 – international women’s day. At mass meetings women were called upon to unveil. Small groups of native women came to the podium and threw their veils on bonfires. This grotesque plan turned Marxism on its head. It was far from the days when Bolshevik women activists veiled themselves to conduct political work in the mosques. It was a million miles from Lenin’s instruction that ‘we are absolutely opposed to giving offence to religious conviction’.
Inevitably there was a backlash against the khudzhum. Thousands of Muslim children, especially girls, were withdrawn from Soviet schools and resigned from the Young Communist League. Unveiled women were attacked in the street, including ferocious rapes and thousands of killings. . . .
As the Soviet Union launched a programme of forced industrialisation, Muslim national and religious leaders were physically eliminated and Islam was driven underground. The dream of religious freedom was buried in the Great Terror of the 1930s.
Socialist Review stands in a tradition that totally rejects the Stalinist approach to Islam. But in the early years of the revolution the Bolsheviks were successful at winning Muslims to fight for socialism. We can learn from and be inspired by their achievements.”—
“We will destroy each and every enemy, even if he was an old Bolshevik; we will destroy all his kin, his family. We will mercilessly destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, his thoughts!—threatens the unity of the socialist state. To the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!” . . .
Quotas were issued for each region—Baberowski concludes that more than a million people were killed by quota—and local officials often filled them either arbitrarily or with the homeless, the blind, and amputees. In March 1938 the nkvd (the secret police) executed 1,160 people in Moscow with physical disabilities. Kliment Voroshilov, who occupied many top positions, argued for arresting abandoned children. “Why don’t we have these rascals shot?” he asked. “Should we wait for them to become grown-up criminals?” . . .
When the original Politburo members Zinoviev and Kamenev did not immediately confess to treason, Stalin wrote to his secret police chief: “You are performing poorly, Genrikh Grigorievich. One must torture them so that they finally tell the truth and reveal all their ties.” Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin all referred to any squeamishness about such methods as (to use Trotsky’s phrase) “the most pathetic and miserable liberal prejudice.” Writing to the Kirghiz Party leader, Stalin threatened “extreme measures” if he did not immediately abandon “liberalism towards enemies of the people.”
Leonhard reports that some people would confess to palpably absurd crimes in the hope that Stalin would someday order a review of each case and recognize obvious innocence. One person confessed to trying to sink the Soviet navy by throwing rocks into Leningrad harbor, while a chemist admitted revealing an important formula to the Germans, H2SO4, or sulfuric acid. . . .
Long before Stalin came to power, Lenin explicitly instructed local Bolsheviks to “introduce mass terror” to forestall opposition. When the Turks approached Baku, Baberowski notes, Lenin ordered the city burned to the ground and “the fate of the civilian population was not considered.” Zinoviev remarked that it was necessary to kill ten million of Russia’s hundred million people. . . .
Baberowski concludes, “The civil war [of 1918–20] was a dress rehearsal for Stalinism” and “without the violent experience of the civil war there would have been no Stalinism.” By the same token, he tells us that Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture, which took the lives of millions, “was the last act in a drama that had begun in 1917.” If so, the conditions of Stalinism were already there for any unscrupulous leader to exploit.
International prosecutors say Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine in 2014 by a Buk missile that had come from Russia.
They also narrowed down the area it was fired from to a field in territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels.
All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Russia says it cannot accept the findings as the final truth, saying no Russian weapons were taken to Ukraine.
“Based on the criminal investigation, we have concluded that flight MH17 was downed by a Buk missile of the series 9M83 that came from the territory of the Russian Federation,” chief Dutch police investigator Wilbert Paulissen told a news conference on Wednesday.
The missile had been taken from Russia to rebel-held Ukraine in the morning of 17 July, when the plane was shot down, and the launcher was taken back to Russia the next day, he said.
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has also narrowed the missile launch site down to a specific field near the village of Pervomaiskyi, which was then in rebel hands.
What I keep saying: RUSSIAN IS ON ***BOTH SIDES*** OF EVERY CONFLICT IN THE WEST
The SAME RUSSIAN SPY promoted NATIONALIST movements, and pro-refugee movements.
Russia needs conflict. They cannot compete in open and they cannot compete (economically) in peace. They’re always striving for something in the middle.
Follow-up from a Swedish friend: One could argue that he wasn’t promoting “refugees welcome, but sabotaging them.” Nevertheless, he was involved in diametrically opposing movements.
Alexander Fridback, a political secretary of SD, Sweden’s UKIP, was in reality a Russian national called (maybe, who knows?) Yegor Putilov and he was making money with dodgy property deals with a Russian “businessman”, now in jail.
It doesn’t end here: Fridback/Putilov was also Tobias Lagerfeldt, a fake pretending to be a member of Refugees Welcome and advocating right of vote for refugees.
The Kremlin is funding a second separatist jamboree in Moscow on Sept 25. The event which purports to unite “parties and movements advocating for self-determination”, and which Russian embassies tout as in defence of minorities, will be held 4 days before the Supreme Court appeal against Russia’s criminalization of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the self-governing body of the main indigenous people of Crimea. It comes as Russian Tatar activist Rafis Kashapov is ending the second of a 3-year Russian prison sentence for criticizing Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea., and as Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov and Crimean journalist Mykola Semena are facing 5-year sentences for opposition to Russian occupation.
Those foreign ‘self-determination advocates’ on their all-expenses paid trip to Moscow could spare just a thought for the charges brought against the three men. Expressing the conviction that Russia must stop occupying Ukrainian Crimea is qualified as “public calls to action aimed at violating Russia’s territorial integrity”. . . .
RBC reports that the organizers are currently talking to regional deputies from Lombardia and Veneto in Italy where the Northern League, a far-right and very pro-Russian party, have a strong hold. It was due to this grip that in May this year, Russian propaganda media were full of headlines about how Venice had supposedly recognized Crimea as Russian.
Otherwise the organizers report that guests are invited from Catalonia, Northern Ireland, Western Sahara, Scotland and the USA – Hawaii, Puerto Rico, California and Texas. Ionov claims that the Texas Nationalist Movement, a secessionist organization sporting their own ‘republic’, was prevented from attending last year.
In case Donald Trump is elected a President of the USA, an issue of lethal weapons in favor of Ukraine may be unlocked, and an option of arms sales with deferred payments may be offered. This was announced by the former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich in his interview to European Truth.
“We can say for sure that President Trump will unblock the issue of supplying weapons to Ukraine. Trump may say nice things about Putin, but in the meantime he can be selling lethal weapons to Ukraine,” – said Newt Gingrich in his interview to European Truth.
At the same time, Gingrich stressed that the deferral of payments is very likely to be offered.
According to Gingrich, the Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, if elected is likely to act in the same way as Obama, that is not allowing to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons.
“I am sure that the Ukrainian people have the right to defend themselves and their country in general. Generally, this is the policy – to support Ukrainian independence only in words, without providing modern weapons for protection. This policy is a defeat for the US. Things should be different with Trump”, – he stressed.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump already has a contentious relationship with Kiev, irking the Ukrainian public and government officials with his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow-friendly views on the annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine.
Now, invited to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week, Trump’s campaign didn’t even bother to send Kiev an RSVP.
Officers’ “Mess Night” in Kyiv, with former and current military officer from the US, UK, and Ukraine, including Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko.
Sharing the wonderful tradition of formal military evenings, making toasts, and light hazing for people who violate any of the thirty pages of rules governing such events.
Just shy of six months old, our son has broken his mother’s heart, probably for the first of many times. Today, he demonstrated an ability and willingness to fall asleep without her assistance.
— Myroslava Petsa (@myroslavapetsa) September 17, 2016
— olexander scherba (@olex_scherba) September 17, 2016