Live Stream: Online Panel Discussion

Eurasia Democratic Security Network (EDSN) organizes an online panel discussion on

“Decolonising Russia Dangerous Provocation or Real Prospect?”

Date: 21 October, 2022, 19:00 Tbilisi time

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  • Leyla Latypova, Moscow Times and Bashkortostan-born Tatar activist
  • Katsiaryna Shmatsina, Virginia Tech (Washington D.C.), specializing on Belarusian foreign policy and Eurasia security, EDSN Fellow 2021
  • Ridvan Bari Urcosta, Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People and Warsaw University, EDSN Fellow 2019
  • Chaired by Aleko Scrivener, Program Manager, EDSN

Russia is arguably an empire in all but name. Chechens, Tatars, Tuva, Ingush and others have all fought for independence as nations. It is arguably only an accident of Soviet cartography that Ukraine is independent but Dagestan is not; that Kyrgyzstan is free but Tatarstan’s rich culture struggles to survive creeping Russification. And unlike in the former imperial metropoles of western Europe, there is scant appetite within Russia for an honest accounting of the centuries of colonial conquest across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Yet discussion of this fact has raised hackles. Predictably so in the Kremlin, where these ideas have been seized upon by propaganda machine as “proof” of a Western conspiracy against Russia that justifies the “defensive” invasion of its neighbours. But the discourse has also proved controversial among a section of opinion in the West. Some object for pragmatic reasons, fearing the instability that a less powerful Moscow would bring, or what an angered Putin will do if he believes the West means to break up Russia. Others seek to divorce modern Russia from the crimes of the Putin regime, seeking to cast Russia as a “normal” country unfortunate enough to come under the thrall of an evil regime.

In this discussion, we seek to unpack this discussion through the voices of the (recently) colonised by Russia and ask, can Russia join legacy colonial powers like the UK and France in recognising the wrongs of empire?

Eurasia Democratic Security Network [EDSN] is a CSS project implemented with the generous funding from National Endowment for Democracy.