Russia’s ethnic minorities lament the war in Ukraine

by | Aug 2, 2022 | World

In March, President Vladimir Putin awarded Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov with the Hero of Russia and used the opportunity to celebrate Russia’s ethnic diversity.Gadzhimagomedov, a senior lieutenant from Dagestan, had served in Russia’s airborne troops and died in combat in the first days of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“I am a Russian man,” said Putin, as he announced the top honorary title. “But when I see examples of heroism like this young man, Nurmagomed Gadzhimagomedov – a native of Dagestan, a Lak by ethnicity, our other soldiers, I want to say: ‘I am a Lak, I am a Dagestani, I am a Chechen, Ingush, Russian, Tatar, Jew, Mordvin, Ossetian’.”
He praised Gadzhimagomedov for fighting against Ukrainian “neo-Nazis”, adding: “I am proud of being part of this world, part of the powerful, strong, multiethnic people of Russia.”
Minority rights are, according to the Kremlin, at the heart of Russia’s officially termed “special operation” in Ukraine.
Putin and his administration constantly point to the alleged ill-treatment of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking minority as a reason for the invasion.
Meanwhile, at home, about 80 percent of the population identify as ethnic Russians, or Slavs, but the country is also home to more than 160 other ethnicities – and tensions are resurfacing between minority groups and the state, especially as the Ukraine war grinds on.
According to open source researchers, soldiers with roots in poorer regions such as Buryatia and Dagestan are dispropo …

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