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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Buryats, Kalmyks and Tuvins Fleeing to Avoid Mobilization and ‘Preserve Future of Their Nations’ – and Mongolia and Kazakhstan are Helping Them

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 1 – Russians and non-Russians have tended to respond to Putin’s mobilization order in different ways, with the more atomized Russians choosing to flee and the more ethnically consolidated non-Russians to protest (

            But that is only true when comparing all of the one against all of the others. Many Russians have protested and many non-Russians have chosen to flee, although this action of the latter has attracted less attention and appears often to have been taken for collective rather than individual reasons.

            Three of the non-Russian minorities whose members have chosen to flee are the Buryats, Kalmyks and Tuvins, all Muslim nationalities far from Moscow. They have been helped by individuals and groups within their ranks who believe that flight is the only way “to preserve their nations’ futures” and by activists in Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

            The numbers of such people is still more than an order of magnitude smaller than the 260,000 ethnic Russians who have fled abroad, but relative to the size of the nations involved, it is far larger and may have equal or greater importance for the future of these peoples (

            These new non-Russian emigrations like their predecessors in Soviet times may become an important source of information for the outside world about what is happening in their homelands and serve as a source of hope that their peoples will be liberated from Russian colonial rule in the future.

            This is even more likely to be the case because these non-Russian emigres have left for ethno-national reasons rather than only personal ones and thus are more rather than less likely to form the kind of communities abroad that Russians did after the Bolshevik revolution but have done so much less in succeeding waves.  

Window on Eurasia — New Series

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