Thursday, June 22, 2017

Kremlin Agents Seeking to Reduce Part of Kazakhs to a Russian-Speaking Sub-Ethnos of the Russian Nation, Gali Says

 Paul Goble

Staunton, June 22 – The Russian government has set up a network of agents in Kazakhstan in order to undermine that country’s sovereignty and independence by transforming a portion of the Kazakhs into a Russian-speaking people that Moscow will then insist are “a sub-ethnos” of the Russian nation, according to outspoken Kazakh nationalist Azimbay Gali.

In a Facebook page in Kazakh that has now been translated into Russian and is attracting attention in the region, Gali says the Russian network is using five different tactics to achieve its end ( (in Kazakh) and (in Russian).

·         First, Gali says, Moscow’s agents are promoting trilingual education in Kazakhstan’s Kazakh schools to reduce the quality of those schools, discredit them in the eyes of the population, and prevent the further “Kazakhization” of the country.

·         Second, these agents are exerting “significant influence on cadres policy” in the republic, assuring that those who become akims (governors) or ministers are people who may be Kazakh by nationality but who speak the language poorly or not at all.

·         Third, Moscow’s over-arching goal is “the creation of a Russian-speaking Kazakh sub-ethnos” so that “tomorrow they will tell us: we have our own literature, classics, Russian-language mosques, and a ‘spiritual donor,’ Russia; and in this way they will be able to split the country.

·         Fourth, the most dangerous of these agents have succeeded in remaining in office and have not been subject to lustration. That has allowed them to continue to do Moscow’s work under the guise of promoting Astana’s.

·         And fifth, because these agents are skilled at shifting the blame on others for any problems, “the time has come to call things by their right names, to identify the influential Russian agents and block their actions.”

Putin’s State Machine Increasingly Dysfunctional in Six Ways, Solovey Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – MGIMO professor and commentator Valery Solovey says there are six trends in Russian governance today that suggest the conclusion that “the dysfunction of state administration” in Putin’s Russia is growing ( The six he points to are:

1.      “Strategic goal setting is lacking: bureaucrats aren’t able to discover the meaning and goals of state policy.”

2.      “The old pact between the supreme power and elites – enrichment in exchange for loyalty – has been irretrievably destroyed. The new one – unity and firmness in the face of geopolitical challenges – does not generate enthusiasm and is losing definition.”

3.      “The deficit of resources and positive sanctions is compensated by repression sanctions (‘the struggle with corruption’). A lack of comprehension of their logic does not so much increase loyalty and sow fear and leads to administrative paralysis.”

4.      “The feedback link with society has been destroyed in a catastrophic way. The authorities respond to political protests with repressions, an approach that can lead to a spiral of confrontation.”

5.      “The obvious collision between centers of influence is lowering the capacity of the apparatus as a whole and sharply increasing the risk of strategically dangerous decision.” Solovey cites the example of Moscow’s plans to demolish the khrushchoby.

6.      “The informal intra-elite communications which had compensated for the lack of institutions have been destroyed and are ceasing to work.”

Moscow’s Call for Cyrillic in CIS Countries Outrages Armenians and Undermines Russian and Russia in Former Soviet Space

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 –Russian education minister Olga Vasiliyeva’s call for all CIS countries to use the Cyrillic alphabet ( has sparked outrage in Armenia, which has its own ancient script and further undermined the position of Russian and Russia there and elsewhere.

             Regnum journalist IIrina Dzhobenadze summarizes the almost universally negative comments Armenian parliamentarians and activists gave to the Armenian-language journal Aravot and then discusses the way in which Moscow’s overreach on the alphabet is proving counter-productive in the former Soviet space (

            Armenian parliamentarian Naira Zograbyan called Vasiliyeva’s proposal “completely absurd,” noting that she could respond by suggesting that the CIS countries go over to the Armenian alphabet. Her colleague Khosrov Arutyunyan sad that Armenia would never change its alphabet because it is “our greatest achievement and no one can take it from us.”

            Vardan Bostandzhyan, chairman of the Armenian parliament’s education and culture commission, said that Vasilyeva’s suggestion casts doubts on her psychological well-being because her notion represents “a trampling on the national identities” of others. The Armenian alphabet will live as long as there are Armenians, he said.

            Another Armenian, Armen Ovanisyan, a member of the We are Against Opening Foreign Language Schools movement, adopted a more charitable view: he said that he didn’t think Vasilyeva’s words were directed against Armenia but rather against Kazakhstan which is now in the process of shifting away from Cyrillic to a Latin script.

            But at the same time, he declared that her idea was “a manifestation of extreme chauvinism and of imperialist strivings toward neighboring peoples.” Ovanisyan said he was worried that Moscow will now demand that all CIS countries make Russian an official language, something few of them are inclined to do.

            The anger Vasiliyeva’s words sparked in Armenia has been so great that the republic’s education ministry has been forced to “swear” that no proposals from Moscow about shifting to Cyrillic have reached Yerevan and none are expected or will be accepted.

            Incautious language by Russian officials, Regnum’s Dzhobenadze says, have energized those in Armenian society who want the Russian base at Gumri closed and who complain about Russia’s purchases of key infrastructure in Armenia and Moscow’s efforts to block Armenian contacts with Europe.

            Pro-Moscow commentators in Yerevan and elsewhere say that it would be a good thing if everyone in the non-Russian republics would learn Russian (as well as English and their own native languages) but even they acknowledge that talk about doing away with the ancient scripts of Armenia and Georgia is counterproductive and generates anti-Russian attitudes.

            The Regnum author adds that while it is entirely understandable that Moscow should seek to preserve Russian “where it is still alive,” Moscow should recognize that pushing for the use of Russian or the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet is quite capable of “inflicting the greatest damage on that language which ever fewer people are speaking.”