Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Russian poll: 40% favor secession of Muslim regions

Twenty years after the Soviet Union split up, it appears that Russians are ready for a further breakdown, in the wake of a suicide bombing at a Moscow airport on Monday that has been traced to extremist groups in the Caucasus. This is the region that includes Chechnya, which has been a thorn in Russia's side for many years.

As reported in the German publication Spiegel Online:

The right-wing extremists' demands are also meeting with approval among ordinary citizens. A radical form of Islam is gaining the upper hand in the Caucasus. More than 40 percent of Russians favor the secession of the region. The number of attacks there has doubled within a year, and hundreds of thousands of ethnic Russians have fled to Russia. The wars the Kremlin waged in Chechnya and Georgia were in vain, and today the majority of Russians no longer want Chechens, Dagestanis, Ingush and Balkars as fellow citizens.

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, terrorism is challenging not only Moscow's control of the Caucasus but also Russia's future as a multiethnic society. The country is home to more than 100 nationalities. Muslims make up 20 million of a population of 141 million, and seven million guest workers contribute to prosperity in Russia. In surveys, however, 36 percent of Moscow residents say that they feel "hatred" toward Chechens.

The writer Victor Erofeyev believes that "extreme nationalism is the germ that could lead to the country's disintegration." The nationalist-communist weekly newspaper Zavtra even sees a civil war on the horizon.

We are indeed living in revolutionary times.

No comments: