FAS–Denazification of the opposition


Green Left

May 18, 2022

As a Feminist Anti-War Resistance, we want to address the Russian opposition, its structures and projects.

The other day, on the broadcast Popular Politics, the presenter offered the thesis that "not the best part of Russia's population is fighting in Ukraine: poor people and Buryats", contrasting these people with "normal Russians" - the presenters sitting in the frame and the viewers of the programme listening to them. And in his broadcast Maxim Katz made the thesis that Chechen military units have "only one advantage over other Russian units: while most other Russian soldiers see Ukrainians as people like themselves, and so resisting the locals causes them consternation, the soldiers from the Caucasus do not have any such attributes.”

In response to such comments, Buryat and Chechen anti-war activists made their fair criticisms, and they raised the point that the Russian opposition would do well to decolonize and "denazify" their own thinking.

One can speculate as to whether or not the language was accidental, but the fact is that now is the time when such criticism cannot be ignored by any of us. Even before, it was not, but the voices of peoples were suppressed, ridiculed and reduced to the status of the "offended". Nationalism, Russian marches (which some of today's opposition politicians were happy to attend), imperial thinking and a condescending attitude towards alien "backward" cultures, the treatment of other peoples in Russia as insects in a jar which can be studied, exoticised and described, announcements "only to Slavs" - all this is directly linked to the monstrous war which started 8 years ago and continues today. And not just this war: there is the war in Chechnya, and the war with Georgia, and any war in the land of countries that wished independence from the USSR.

The Russian opposition should be represented (including such programmes and broadcasts) by national activists and politicians who fight for their native language, for restoring the memory of the deported and repressed and for keeping alive the memory of russification and genocide. Among FAS activists there are activists who call themselves "nationalists", their manifesto can be read here (https://telegra.ph/Obrashchenie-nacmen-ok-05-18).

Among any ethno-national group there are now coalitions against the war, in every region and city. It is not very clear how opposition anti-war forces will unite and gain weight if their representatives continue to make ill-considered and unreflective statements about the role of other peoples of the Russian Federation in the war.

We are convinced that the Russian opposition should take on the function of dealing with historical memory and providing a platform for Russian national voices: since the collapse of the USSR, the repressive and imperial past has never been fully articulated publicly, which is largely why we are now in another round of dictatorship. We all carry an empire within us and we all need to be careful now about what we do and how we say it. Perhaps that's when "can do it again" will turn into a definitive "never again".

The members of the Feminist Anti-War Resistance have recorded an appeal to the representatives of non-Russian peoples of Russia who support FAS. We're sharing this appeal - and invite you to send us your thoughts on the text, and your own experiences of ethno-nationalism in Russia, as well as your reflections on Russian imperialism. We will publish your texts about this on the FAS social media under the hashtag #voice_natsmen_ok.