Leaders of the Bashkir national movement have publicly called on Bashkirs not to take part in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
In a statement issued by Ruslan Gabbasov, one of the leaders of Bashkort, an organization of the Bashkir national movement Russia banned as extremist, the initiators of the appeal asked their compatriots “not to be mercenaries” and those who have already joined the Russian armed forces to “avoid this war as much as possible.”
We provide a translation of the appeal as per idel-ural.org, the website of the Free Idel-Ural Movement, which aims to achieve real sovereignty for the Russian nations of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Mari El, and Mordovia.
Appeal to the Bashkirs
These days, the situation around the Russian-Ukrainian issue is aggravating. Drop by drop, the Russians are being fed the idea that it is necessary to go to war with Ukraine in order to take some “geopolitical revenge” and “restore historical justice.” Thousands of young Russians have to sacrifice their lives and health just so one of the “great strategists” would satisfy his personal ambitions.
We predict that the Bashkirs will definitely receive offers to take part in this war. Recruiters will appeal to the great feat of the Northern Cupids, who defeated Napoleon’s troops, to the famous A division formed out of Bashkirs that took part in World War II on the side of the Red Army., saying that it was in Ukraine, in the Donetsk Oblast, that our grandfathers defeated the enemy and bravely marched on tanks.
We categorically declare that this is not our war!
We Bashkirs do not have and should not shed our blood for someone’s geopolitical interests!
We urge you not to take part in this fratricidal war between two close Slavic peoples.
Bashkirs! Not only is it impossible to become a mercenary, succumbing to the agitation of imperial propagandists, but we call on the Bashkir conscripts to avoid this war as much as possible!
Bashkirs can and should shed their blood only for their native land, for their Bashkir people, but not for other people’s interests!
Bashkir, your home is here! Your family, your children, your parents, your Bashkir land need you alive and well!
Aksakals and leaders of the Bashkir people.
Ruslan Gabbasov, the Bashkir activist who disseminated this text, emigrated from Russia at the end of 2021. His organization Bashkort is a right-leaning organization of the Bashkir national movement known for its actions to protect the national, political, and economic rights of the Bashkir people. It operated legally on the territory of the Russian Federation in 2014-2020, having diverged from the Bashkir human rights movement Kuk Biure.
By 2020, the organization had 18 branches in Bashkortostan and one branch outside of it. The estimated number of active members of the organization at the time of its ban was estimated at one thousand people and the organization’s Vkontakte page numbered over 60,000 subscribers.
The organization held mass public actions in defense of the sovereignty of Bashkortostan, Bashkir language and culture, promoted a sober lifestyle, participated in the fight against the spread of counterfeit alcohol, opposed repression of other activists of the Bashkir national movement. The general meeting of supporters of “Bashkortostan” (“yiyin“) at the peak of the organization gathered up to a thousand people.
In May 2020, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan declared the organization extremist and banned it. Attempts by activists to appeal the court’s decision in the appellate and cassation instances were unsuccessful. In September 2021, Bashkort’s lawyers filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, which was not registered as of December 2021.
Bashkortostan is located in the Middle Volga region, which contains six autonomous ethnic republics: Mordovia, Chuvashia, Tatarstan, Mari El, Udmurtia, and Bashkortostan. According to Volgaism, a Facebook page dedicated to the common heritage of Russia’s Middle Volga region, Putin’s assault on Russian federalism in the Middle Volga region was a precursor to his imperial actions in Ukraine.
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