Espreso. Global

How enslaved by Moscow peoples fight for their independence

16 December, 2023 Saturday

Oleg Magaletsky is an activist who founded the Free Nations PostRussia Forum, which brings together representatives of national liberation movements of peoples enslaved by the Kremlin

Magaletsky spoke about aspects of his work and the importance of supporting such liberation movements in Ukraine in the program Commentary on the Espreso YouTube channel. Below is the shortened text version of the conversation. 

The text will answer the following questions:

  • Do Russians exist as a nation?
  • Is communication with the leaders of the peoples enslaved by Russia effective?
  • Why will China lose if the Russian Federation collapses?
  • What to do with the imperialist center - Moscow?
  • What is the danger to anti-imperial dissidents?

You work with peoples enslaved by Moscow. But are you a Russian yourself?

Thank God, I am not Russian. I am a Ukrainian, a citizen of Ukraine. Russians are an unformed imperial super-ethnicity, which, in fact, does not exist. We can talk about the so-called "Russians" (Muscovites) and other ethnic groups in the Russian Federation: Buryats, Sakha, Chuvash, etc. There is no political nation of "Russians".

Why do you deal with the issue of the peoples enslaved by Russia?

Because I believe it is relevant not only for every Ukrainian, but also for every citizen of Central and Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, East Asia, and global security in general.

The Russian imperial state is a continental empire in Europe that practices colonialism in its classic 19th and 20th century manifestation, encouraging enslaved peoples to be instruments of its imperial policy. Accordingly, the security and freedom of Ukraine and the entire world depend on whether we can stop this process and turn those who want to enslave us and destroy the liberal order in the world into normal or more or less civilized partner neighbors.

Why should Ukrainians be interested in this issue?

We are now acquiring geopolitical subjectivity, and we can be a reference point for many other new countries that want to be independent. The national liberation anti-colonial movement in Russia already exists, and it needs support and assistance from other free countries and its diasporas, just as Ukrainians needed it when they fought for their state. If this coordination had been at the proper level in 1991-92, Russia would have ceased to exist. If at the time when Dzhokhar Dudayev and the people of Ichkeria were fighting for their independence, they had been supported or at least prevented the Kremlin from using the resources of people, land and taxes of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Ingria and Siberia, the Kremlin would not have been able to do anything to Ichkeria or other movements.

The presidents of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria: Dzhokhar Dudayev (center), Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev (left) and Aslan Maskhadov (right). Photo: Salvateur/Wikipedia

On December 11-14, the ninth Forum of the Free Peoples of Post-Russia, which you founded, was held in Rome and Berlin. But critics say all this is empty talk. The fight with weapons is effective, but conferences are not. What can you say to this criticism?

Holding public events is not the goal of our activity, but only one of its tools. Public activities are not aimed at enslaved nations directly, but at our partners from the free world. This helps to unite geopolitical communities, leaders, and representatives of national liberation movements in the Russian Federation with politicians, diplomats, journalists, professors, and experts from the EU, NATO, Japan, Korea and the United States.

Why is this necessary? Moscow's propaganda is huge, large-scale, and long-lasting. For centuries, the Muscovites have invested amounts equivalent to today's billions of dollars in various tools, such as blackmail and compromising materials. While these features of the empire are easy to recognize, they continue to influence the understanding of what Russia really is.

Because they do not understand the situation, they [in the EU, the US, Canada, Japan and other countries of the free world] are afraid that the process of disintegration of Russia will lead to a global catastrophe. Therefore, Ukrainians are not given enough weapons because they are afraid that Russia will lose and this will have dire consequences.

These artificial myths are actively fueled by the Kremlin to limit any real possibility for a true Victory. That is why we interact with representatives of the leaders of national liberation movements and travel to London, Brussels, Tokyo, Paris to show that Sakhalin, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Ingria will not turn into some dangerous Sharia states that pose a nuclear threat when they gain independence. These are secular leaders who want to build their own compact states that will trade in oil and gas, which Russia is now using as a weapon to corrupt states in Western Europe and to influence electoral aspects.

There will be an opportunity to buy oil from an independent Tatarstan and not be on the hook for the Kremlin and its special services.

Russia is fueling fears that nuclear weapons will become easily accessible and traded like Snickers candy bars. But there are also counterarguments - Kazakhstan and Ukraine, which gave up nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union and had no problems with them.

 Free Nations PostRussia Forum in Warsaw. Photo: Ukrinform

Should representatives of enslaved peoples be recruited into the Armed Forces of Ukraine? 

It would be strategically more effective if 10-20 thousand representatives of enslaved nations acted as insurgent and partisan armies in the territories of their currently occupied territories. This would be a greater contribution to the development of military events than a similar number of people who would be on the Eastern and Southern fronts in Ukraine and help with de-occupation efforts.

Russia's strength and weakness lies in its vast territory, as it is difficult to control such a massive land mass. Internal movements could disperse Russia's forces and make its front weaker. Our enemy is ready to throw "meat" at the front to the last, but despite such losses, he still remains resourcefully stronger in all types of weapons, so we should think hybrid. If such actions [Russia's internal problems] bring our victory closer for at least one day, we will be able to talk about hundreds of Ukrainian lives saved and a chance to avoid a second phase.

Well, we will convince the West. But how do we spread these ideas inside Russia?

We should not hope for millions of protests or other analogues of the Maidan, because there is no civil society in Russia. It is important to work with an active minority that wants to separate. The majority will not care, and we saw this in the case of Prigozhin. We should focus on opinion leaders and local leaders.

We publicly cooperate with dissidents who are in exile, but local bureaucracies can also play an important role. The experience with the collapse of the Soviet Union showed that most of the ardent communists changed their badges, which they had been wearing since the pioneers, to the new flags of independent states in just seven days in August 1991.

Russian governors will be the first to become independent as soon as they get the chance. The desire to get rid of the Kremlin's influence and the fear of being fired at any time may encourage them to increase their subjectivity, multiply their wealth, and secure themselves by supporting secession movements. The main task is to gain subjectivity. Their democratization and liberalization will be the next steps.

Map at the meeting of the Forum of Free Peoples of Russia, held in Prague on July 22-24, 2022

In addition to slinging mud in its propaganda media, the Kremlin is known for cracking down on dissidents. Do you feel threatened? Do the participants of your forums feel it?

We are all at a kind of war, and it's not just about Ukrainians. If a Bashkir or a Tatar stands up for the independence of his state and its liberation from Moscow's influence, he becomes a target for this empire. Despite the threat from the FSB, which all participants of our Forum soberly understand, we want to achieve what we are talking about.

We are being attacked with information, and those with whom the methods of information warfare do not work are being used with physical methods of influence, for example, relatives as hostages.

Two weeks ago, the half-brother of the leader of the Bashkir national movement was arrested and imprisoned for 7-10 years without any grounds. They gave an ultimatum: either your brother Ruslan Gabbasov returns and does time, or you do time for him. This practice is quite common. We understand who we are dealing with.

The Kremlin kills its own people by the millions, and of course, they don't show any humanity to their enemies. Perhaps someone will die, someone will be eliminated, but the goal requires active action. If we don't do it, who will do it, who will take the risk?

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