Friday, May 25, 2012

Notes on Tatar Autonomy

"Inside Russia, 80 percent of the people are Russian. Most non-Russians are Muslim, and this worries some Russians. For centuries, Muslims and Russians have been engaged in on-and-off conflicts. Whether Tatars, Mongols, Turks, or another group of Muslims, Islam does battle with Russian Orthodoxy. Today, tensions between Russians and Muslims continue to boil.
How do the non-Russian feel? In a word, they are nervous. During and after the Soviet breakup, the people of Russia did not know how tightly or how freely they would be governed in their new state. A crush of groups claimed their own natural resources, foreign policies, and even independence. Russia was starting to tear apart, but Russia is overwhelmingly Russian and Russians do not want their country torn apart. Early in the twenty-first century, a popular national government has gradually and deliberately pulled and tucked the whole country back into compliance with Moscow. That policy spoils the hopes of people in places such as Tatarstan, Tuva, Bashkortostan, Buryatia, Sakha, and Chechnya. These regions are unknown to most Americans, but for Russians they represent a challenge to the federation and their moods deserve close watching. "

Russia and the Former Soviet Republics - 2006 McCray

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