“Minority rights” and post-Soviet imperialism

Following Russia’s invasion of the nation of Georgia in August 2008, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz pointed out that Moscow will increasingly utilize the rhetoric of “minority rights” in its strategy of rebuilding its empire.

After all, Russia de facto annexed two Georgian provinces–Abkhazia and South Ossetia–under the pretext of defending the two ethnicities’ right to “self-determination” (i.e. secession). This amounted to their incorporation into the Russian Federation, the main successor state of the Soviet Union.

In 2014, the Kremlin is invoking its alleged right, and even duty, to protect ethnic Russians living in Ukraine from alleged Maidan “fascists.” So far, Vladimir Putin’s regime seized Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, but what will Moscow do next?

There are ethnic Russians residing throughout the former Bolshevik empire, including in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine and in the Baltic States. There are also disgruntled minorities in many other former Soviet republics, which means that the scenario may well again repeat itself. In its ideological warfare, the Kremlin hopes to exploit all the positive connotations that Western liberal elites associate with pro-“minority rights” phraseology.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s article from August 29, 2008, “Minority rights and imperial reintegration,” is thus as relevant now as it was back then. His analysis is available here.

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