Espreso. Global

Russia is preparing to annex Uzbekistan - Vitaly Portnikov

23 December, 2023 Saturday

The notorious writer Zakhar Prilepin said that Uzbeks need to be taught Russian to work more effectively in Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova and Russian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Oleg Maldinov had to defend themselves for the words of notorious writer and State Duma deputy Zakhar Prilepin, who suggested that Uzbekistan should be annexed and that its inhabitants should be taught Russian after the annexation. As one can understand, this is to make their work for Russian citizens more effective, according to the Russian chauvinist.

However, the words have already been spoken, and it is quite obvious that they reflect the opinion of a large part of the Russian political elite and society. It is no coincidence that Zakhar Prilepin's call for the annexation of Uzbekistan was greeted with thunderous applause by those who gathered for his speech at the Rossiya Segodnya agency. And here, too, there is little doubt that Prilepin's opinion is the opinion of his audience at the agency. Which, by the way, also often publishes chauvinistic information.

We have repeatedly had to emphasise that the idea of annexing all the former Soviet republics is an idea of the Russian political leadership, which is not too hidden from those close to them. Zakhar Prilepin simply said what the Kremlin's offices were thinking, and issued already approved plans. In much the same way as the head of Russia's foreign intelligence service, Sergei Naryshkin, said during a memorable meeting of the Russian Security Council on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine, where the issue of the so-called independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics was discussed, that he supported their accession to Russia. Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, had to stop Naryshkin and point out that the question of accession was not being considered - the question of recognition of independence was being considered. A few months later, Russia annexed Donbas.

Sergei Naryshkin simply announced at the wrong time what had already been approved.

Therefore, if I were the leadership of Uzbekistan and the citizens of this country, I would not even doubt that a plan to destroy Uzbekistan's sovereignty and annex it to the Russian Federation exists, and not only in the mind of Zakhar Prilepin. And, by the way, not only in Putin's head. If we had access to the documents of the Russian presidential administration or the plans of the Russian Federal Security Service, we would certainly see a relevant document there.

There is one more interesting detail that is not mentioned much anymore: Uzbekistan has no common borders with Russia. Therefore, in order to annex Uzbekistan, it is necessary to annex Kazakhstan first - and this is also part of the Kremlin's plan. I would like to remind you that in January last year, Russian troops already visited Kazakhstan in the form of Collective Security Treaty Organisation troops at the invitation of the president of that country, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. And even then, we had to explain that the Kazakh president had opened a Pandora's box, that the former occupiers, who had come for a few days, might return - not to help the Kazakh leadership maintain control over the political and social situation in the country, but to annex this former Soviet republic. Because when we are talking about the restoration of the so-called historical Russia within the Soviet Union in 1991, this former Soviet Union included not only Ukraine and Belarus, but also Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Therefore, all former Soviet republics face the same danger - the danger of being occupied and annexed. And Russia's war against Ukraine is only the first stage in the implementation of a grand plan to destroy the statehood of the former Soviet republics. Or, to use the language of the KGB, to correct the so-called mistake of 1991, that is, the destruction of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of the sovereignty of the former Soviet republics. There is no doubt that Moscow is thinking about how to destroy the statehood of its neighbours and return to the model of a union state.

As we can see, Tashkent is well aware of this. Perhaps they don't want to believe it, but they understand that Zakhar Prilepin could have simply blurted out what his handlers from Lubyanka were telling him. That is why Russia's ambassador to Uzbekistan was summoned to the foreign ministry of that country. That is why members of the Uzbek parliament Babur Mikvorodov and Inomzhon Kudratov responded to Zakhar Prilepin. Obviously, if the Uzbek leadership did not understand that Prilepin was not speaking simply for himself, the MPs would hardly have responded to their colleague from the Russian State Duma.

Finally, it is worth noting that Prilepin is not just talking about annexation. He speaks of the Uzbeks with the disdain of a white master from colonial novels of the last century. But the fact is that Russia and its citizens are still stuck in this last century and are not going to leave this stinking past. Moreover, in order to remain in this past as a country and as a people, they support Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine. It is in order to remain in this past as a country and as a people that they treat Central Asians like masters treat slaves. And their attitude to migrants who are forced to work in Russia also because Russia is doing everything possible to maintain the political status quo in the region is the attitude of losers to those who are forced to work in a foreign country also because Russia itself has lost the civilisational competition and is trying to keep its neighbouring countries in the past.

We need to draw conclusions from Prilepin's statements today. Because tomorrow, Russian tanks may appear on the borders of Central Asian states, and they may want to come there precisely to never return.


About the author. Vitaly Portnikov, journalist, winner of the Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs and columns.

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