> Those Criticizing Moscow in Non-Russian Republics Accused of Nationalism and Separatism
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Those Criticizing Moscow in Non-Russian Republics Accused of Nationalism and Separatism

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 1 – Kalmyk opponents of the appointment of an ethnic Russian who had worked in the DNR as Elista mayor are only the latest victims of what has become a “universal means of discrediting” non-Russians upset by Moscow’s actions  – charges often via anonymous telegram channels of nationalism and separatism, Aleksandra Garmazhapova says.

            In Kalmykia, the Kavkazr journalist says, one anonymous channel said that those opposed to the appointment of a Russian as mayor would soon be demanding “expelling from the republic all Russians” (instagram.com/p/B4KVbOSgC0g/?igshid=dnfvb7bwr3arand (kavkazr.com/a/gorditsya-prinadlezhnostiyu-k-ojratam-ne-natsionalizm/30242328.html).

            Similar charges, Garmazhadpova continues, were levelled last month at Buryat activists who were protesting against the manipulation of election results, although these more conventionally were contained in signed articles rather than via anonymous telegram channels (regnum.ru/news/polit/2734088.html).

            In neither case, activists say, did anyone raise nationalist slogans; but the regime has chosen to view any criticism of the center and its policies as inherently nationalist and potentially separatist, clearly in the hopes that such charges will have the effect of discrediting those who complain.

            But these activists argue that the Russian charges are proving counterproductive. Instead of intimidating people, they are calling attention to problems larger than those the protesters had been raising and thus to the asking of questions which does open the way to what might be more properly described as the first signs of nationalism.

            That reality is reflected in a new song that Kalmyk protesters are singing, a song that goes well beyond the issues that had sparked the protest in the future, issues that the authorities have refused to address. Thus, by their heavy-handed approach, the powers that be appear to be producing what they most fear (kavkazr.com/a/sharaev-interview/30245956.html).

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