Indigenous Eurasian Islamic Populations 288

This blog was defending the human rights of the Uighurs a decade before the neo-conservatives for whom they are now a fashionable cause even knew of their existence. The Uighurs are the closest linguistic and cultural cousins of the Uzbeks, and the populations are contiguous. (China is not contiguous with Uzbekistan but Osh and the eastern Ferghana Valley in Kirghizstan are Uzbek majority areas).

The dynamic spread of Islam northwards and eastwards under the Abbasids, (much less commented that the expansion of its early centuries) and the temporary patronage of Islam by the Mongol Yuan conquerors of China, left very substantial Islamic populations throughout Eurasia, which later became subsumed into non-Muslim polities, including by the expansion of the Chinese and Russian empires. The persecution of the Uighurs is a historic continuation. For decades from the mid eighteenth century they were subjected to one of history’s most sustained and organised campaigns of mass rape of the female population by Chinese occupiers. In a historical perspective, it was the period of comparative tolerance that preceded the current massive attempt at cultural genocide which was the aberration.

I do despair of those on the left who excuse the mass imprisonment of hundreds of thousands and the extrajudicial killing of thousands, because it is China doing it and not a CIA aligned power.

The Uighurs are a people with the right of self-determination. They are not Chinese; their language, culture and religion are completely different. They have a clearly defined territory they have occupied continuously for many centuries. One of the problems with the British is that as an island, we tend to only think of colonies as places you sail to. Colonies you walk to is a concept we have not grasped. That is one of the reasons the left in the UK have such difficulty recognising that China is an Empire and Kashgar is a colony. The other reason is that whole “West Bad, Opponents Good” thing.

It is excellent to recognise that the Western powers have done a huge amount of evil in the world. It is a completely illogical step to assume from this revelation that they have a monopoly on evil. All major governments do evil.

Kashmir is the other pressing issue of a Hindu minority population under pressure. Six years ago I annoyed rather a lot of people when I warned that my personal experience of living among them for some months in India was that it was changing into an an “increasingly oppressive and rabidly conservative Hindu society”. I have viewed the rise of Modi and his Hindu nationalists with great concern, while Western governments have been much more concerned with seeking to benefit from India’s economic boom.

The revocation of the autonomous status of Kashmir and Jammu was a reckless and aggressive act of centralisation that was grossly insensitive to both the population and the history of the region – and I write in full awareness that there have been not only Muslim but also many Sikh victims of intercommunal violence over the years. The incorporation of Kashmir into India was a dreadful British error, semi-apologetically enshrined in its special constitutional position, now destroyed by Modi. It is only the statesmanship of Imran Khan which has averted a hideous war.

The Supreme Court of India’s firmly anti-Muslim ruling in the Ayodhya dispute, and the new immigrant citizenship law excluding Muslims (which has outraged the remnants of liberal India), are evidence of intercommunal policy which is all pushing in an anti-Muslim direction. Modi has been portrayed in the West as a moderniser. This is a fundamental error – he is just a populist in the Trump and Johnson mode who succeeds by stirring up feelings against the “other” in the population. The situation in India is destabilising and I fear more violence against the Muslim population is bound to ensue.

The Muslim populations of Central Asia now live in autonomous republics, none of which has transitioned to effective democracy, all of which have been more or less looted by oligarchs, all have continuing serious human rights problems, and all are increasingly under the economic sway of China (which is not, in itself, a bad thing). China remains something of an enigma. Its economic success continues to be staggering, if severely pollution creating. As I frequently assert, there has never been a power in the world of such economic dominance which has shown such a comparatively tiny appetite for military dominance. If you compare China to the USA in this regard the difference is striking. China has very few military bases outside China, the USA has eight hundred.

But the Central Asian “stans” only contain a minority of the Muslim colonies in Eurasia which Russia acquired in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, simultaneous with the expansion of the British Empire. Many of these colonies, with their overwhelmingly Muslim populations, remain part of the Russian Federation which – make no mistake about it – is still an Empire.

The Tatar are the most widespread of the colonial peoples within Russia. Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Cherkessa, Kabardino Balkaria and Karachai are all areas of Russia where I believe the original Muslim population, absorbed into the Russian Empire by conquest, will in the fulness of time achieve independence, in addition to the better-known Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. The astonishing brutality of the Russian repression of the perfectly justified Independence movements of the latter countries cannot hold back the tide of decolonisation forever. Crimea, of course, should belong to the Tatars who were deported from their land by Stalin. Not Russia, not Ukraine, but Krim Tatar.

As I said earlier, even though Russia’s colonies were colonised contemporaneously with the British ones, and even though the indigenous populations are Muslim, we in the UK have difficulty perceiving them as colonies because they are contiguous with Russia by land and have been institutionally absorbed into the metropolitan. It is also worth noting that, largely but not entirely as a result of the Soviet period of running its Empire, Russia did a much better job of providing education, health and other public services to its colonies than the British ever did.

It is important to state that these colonised peoples are not Russians but separate peoples in the sense of the UN Charter, with very distinct cultures, histories, languages and religion, and thus they do have the right of self-determination. I do not deny that at present, outside the colonies of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, there is little evidence of separatist desire. But I expect that to change over historic time.

It is of course a personal irony that I am very often accused of being a Russian agent because I debunk ludicrous anti-Russian scares like the fake Skripal narrative, or the totally unfounded narrative that Russia has any desire to attack Western Europe. These scare stories about Russia are of course essential to the profits of the western military-industrial-security complex, and I debunk them because they are nonsense, and because of their propaganda power in controlling western populations. But while I have a deep-seated love for Russia, its culture and people, I know of no other commentator who calls for the Russian Federation to be divorced of its internalised colonies, an opinion the Kremlin would find outrageous.

The Eurasian Muslim populations were overtaken by history from around the seventeenth century and, Islam having expanded itself in Eurasia by conquest, the Muslims were generally themselves absorbed into larger Empires by conquest. In Central Asia they have in the last thirty years regained a kind of independence, but are still dominated by foreign imposed institutions and the colonial subordinate administrative and political class. In China and India the conditions of Muslims are worsening markedly. In Russia the brutal crushing of Independence attempts in some areas has led to the current position where the colonial status of the Muslim sub-polities within the Russian Federation is shunned by the entire world as a Pandora’s Box.

This is of course not in any sense a comprehensive survey. But sometimes it is useful to step back and try to see current events in a broader perspective, both historically and geographically. I do hope this gives some food for your own thoughts. I do hope that some of those thoughts are more profound than the notion that Russia and China, as diplomatic opponents of the West, are beyond criticism.


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288 thoughts on “Indigenous Eurasian Islamic Populations

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  • Michael Droy

    Somehow Craig has entirely managed to duck the issue of evidence.
    Contrast the Burmese administration which was so coy about the Rohingas because they knew that the stories were largely true or even understated.
    The Chinese are so bloody furious about the Ujghurs, is because they know THE STORY IS ABSOLUTE BOLLOX.

    Craig please come back on this story when you have some evidence.
    In the meantime I’ll comment on what we know and what evidence has been presented.

    We do know that there has been some terrorist incidents by Ujghurs and that there have been some Ujghurs who have ended up with ISIS and the like. The numbers are probably very small.
    The Chinese have admitted to small numbers in re-education camps, but claim the camps are now closed.
    There have been visits to the region (BBC I have seen). They claim to identify ONE camp. The camp might have had 3,000 inmates.
    That team failed to identify a second camp. It found no interviewees that would talk about prisons or prisoners although they seemed to have freedom to walk and talk in the region.

    They talked to a private company that does satellite surveys. They showed exactly ONE camp. They DID NOT SHOW TWO CAMPS. In all other reports I have seen, satellite evidence of one camp is shown. No mention of a second camp exists.
    100k would mean 30 camps. 1 million would mean 300 camps. The camps are completely non-existent.

    The BBC did magically find a Ujghur witness willing to talk about relatives in prison. They found her in…. Istanbul (gateway to ISIS and chock-a-block with western spies like…. the late James Le Mesurier). Now the witness was probably telling the truth. A Ujghur Istanbul may well have family arrested for suspicion of ISIS support – indeed going to Istanbul pretty much guarantees it. But it is not a typical example.

    Claims of 10k prisoners are quite unfounded on evidence. Claims of 100k+ are remarkable and require remarkable evidence. The standard claim of 1 million is of course a joke.

    It is similar to the 1 million HK protesters (police estimates 150k, available space also implies 150k). The Venezuelan protests. The Maidan protest numbers, and the 14,000 Russian troops in Ukraine who were never witnessed in groups of more than 2 or 3. The lie machine has moved from Eurasia to Eastasia (Orwell 1984).

    The original story was from a single American representative on a UN visiting group. His story was immediately announced as rubbish by the rest of the team. Craig’s “extrajudicial killing of thousands” appears to be something that magically arrived evidence free this week.

    It is not about some crimes being acceptable. It is about discussing absolute bollox as if it is a thing.

    • Laguerre

      You sound like a shill for the Chinese government. Move along, nothing to see here…. It’s obvious that there is a problem, even if the dimensions can’t be known. Only one camp that the Chinese are willing to show – oh really? One point where you are factually wrong is to say “The numbers (of Uyghurs in Syria) are probably very small.” There are at least 10,000, and they have their own zone in Idlib on the Turkish border reserved for “Turkistanis” which is how they’re called in Syria. See Wiki: Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria. And there were others with Da’ish. A Syrian guy I know was caught by them on the road to Aleppo, and only survived by luck and his own quick thinking.

      I’m fairly sure that it was the presence of so many Uyghur jihadis in Syria that caused the problem back home in Sinkiang. The Chinese government certainly don’t want those jihadis coming back home, and fighting for independence for their people, much like the Russian interest in Syria -breaking the jihadis in Syria, so they don’t come back home to Chechnya and elsewhere.

      • Yonatan

        Uighers are only significant in that they are a convenient tool for the US to attack China. Chinese Uighers have been fighting alongside a wide variety of Islamists in Syria. The intention was for them to move back to China to attempt to destabilise China. If not for this, they would be another group unknown in the west apart from a few specialists.

        The US will also throw them under the bus the moment the wind changes, just as happened with the Kurds in Syria. The US had been showing them the carrot of a Kurdistan (as had the Germans in WWI etc) only to drop them as the US needs access to Turkey for its Empire forces.

        • craig Post author

          What a stupid, nasty, racist thing to say. Uighurs are important because they are human beings. It is as true that repression causes a tiny minority to turn to Islamic terrorism, when China represses the Uighurs, as when Western states invade Muslim countries.

          • Peter

            I wonder how anyone of a more or less sound mind is actually swallowing so called “truths” fro the usual suspects that have engaged in anti Chinese and anti Russia Propaganda for years.

            Here some other source I usually find more reliable than what counts as MSM these days:

            The second key source for claims that China has detained millions of Uyghur Muslims is Adrian Zenz. He is a senior fellow in China studies at the far-right Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was established by the US government in 1983.

            The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is an outgrowth of the National Captive Nations Committee, a group founded by Ukrainian nationalist Lev Dobriansky to lobby against any effort for detente with the Soviet Union. Its co-chairman, Yaroslav Stetsko, was a top leader of the fascist OUN-B militia that fought alongside Nazi Germany during its occupation of Ukraine in World War Two. Together, the two helped found the World Anti-Communist League that was described by journalist Joe Conason as “the organizational haven for neo-Nazis, fascists, and anti-Semitic extremists from two dozen countries.
            While admitting that “there is no certainty” to his estimate, he has concluded that it is nevertheless “reasonable to speculate.” He attempted to evade personal responsibility for the figure’s questionable reliability, however, by stating “[t]he accuracy of this estimate is of course predicated on the supposed validity of the stated sources.”

            As time goes on, Zenz continues to inflate his speculative estimate of Uyghur detainees. ”

            Maybe the information you rely on is as tainted as the one the Grayzone does take to task…..or the same?

      • Michael Droy

        Only one camp that the “satellite proof” can be found for.

        I stand corrected – perhaps there really is a big number of Uyghurs in Syria. Though if you say 10,000 I’d like to see evidence of 2 or 3 hundred in one spot. Certainly there seems to be genuine problems for he Chinese administration with Ujghurs on a modest scale.

        But what we haven’t got is a shred of evidence of the oft repeated 1 million Ujghur prisoners (which would be every male Ujghur aged 16-28). Or even Craigs more modest claim of hundreds of thousands.

          • Michael Droy

            haha – I want proof from the BBC that they saw satellite evidence of 2 camps, or have interviewed a ujghur who wasn’t in Istanbul to support his ISIS’s friends. The chinese have told us the truth.

          • Michael Droy

            Kempe – certainly a leaked document is a remarkable way of proving something that could be proved with Google earth, let alone decent satellite imagery. I’m rather shocked that anyone would think an unprovable document could prove something that could be demonstrated so simply.
            Ask your self – are there intelligence services out there who would want to bring embarrassment to the Chinese. Doh yes.

            Yes – the document merely highlights how easy real proof would be if the story were true.
            And plenty of journalists have been to try and do so. When they are reduced to stories told in Kazakstan or Istanbul, you have to accept they failed.

          • Kempe

            I think you’re reading it in denial mode. You don’t want to believe the Chinese could do anything bad, all evil flows from the US and it’s allies so anyone opposing them in your binary, black and white world has to be absolutely squeaky clean. Sorry but the world isn’t like that.

          • Magic Robot

            Regarding Kempe’s ‘BBC evidence’.
            The BBC ‘evidence’ reads more like a tin-foil hat wearer’s conspiracy theory, citing mystery documents that they never show, supposedly from ‘influential’ Chinese Party members.
            Evidence? – no. Just more BBC agitprop.

          • Michael Droy

            @ Magic Robo – precisely.
            It is essentially an excuse for background facts. Remarkable claims require remarkable evidence. This is just coverup b/s

      • Tom Welsh

        ‘One point where you are factually wrong is to say “The numbers (of Uyghurs in Syria) are probably very small.” There are at least 10,000, and they have their own zone in Idlib on the Turkish border reserved for “Turkistanis” which is how they’re called in Syria. See Wiki: Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria’.

        And did they get into Syria legally? If not, what the hell are they doing there? Murdering, torturing, raping, and doing their level best to destroy Syrian society?

        If they were there legally, there would be no doubt about their numbers or where they came from. You’d just have to ask the government.

        ‘And there were others with Da’ish. A Syrian guy I know was caught by them on the road to Aleppo, and only survived by luck and his own quick thinking’.

        Nice people, then. What a shame the Chinese are nasty to them.

        • Jen

          The Uyghurs most likely entered Syria from Turkey, and also entered Turkey on fake Turkish passports issued by Turkish agents to enable travel through Southeast Asian countries.

      • N_

        @Laguerre – “The Chinese government certainly don’t want those jihadis coming back home, and fighting for independence for their people

        I bet most of the Uighurs in Xinjiang don’t want those Daesh c***s coming back either. If Xinjiang is like other places where Daesh members are recruited (such as Tunisia), they were probably signed up through criminal gangs, including in prisons. You should try seeing things other than through the lenses of race and nation some time, and realise what it’s like for ordinary people of any ethnic group and in any country having to live in fear of murderous criminal gangs, in this case fired up and indoctrinated by crazy killy-killy drugged-up religion.

    • Monster

      As soon as you mentioned the BBC it was clear that whatever followed was western propaganda. The Uighurs are being used as US leverage over China, as in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, they are willingly aligned with international terrorism and should suffer the consequences. The BBC with its international film crew has staged as much fakery as corporate Hollywood. We are all going to have to stand with China as the future under islam looks very grim.

    • Tom Welsh

      Thanks, Michael, for introducing some facts and logic to the discussion. It’s a good start.

    • Jen

      Laguerre and Tom Welsh are correct, the numbers of Uyghurs in Syria, as of 2017, are not small. Some 10,000 – 20,000 Uyghurs, other Central Asians and their families are estimated to be living in Idlib province in NW Syria. A TV reporter in the UAE, Jenan Moussa, made a documentary “Undercover in Idlib”, using cellphone video evidence from three informants travelling separately from one another through the area, and that documentary may still be available on YouTube. One town, Jisr al Shugurr, had been completely taken over by Uyghurs and other Central Asians. All Moussa’s sources agreed there were up to 20,000 such people in Idlib. Btw, Moussa is no supporter of the Syrian or Russian governments.

  • bevin

    ” I know of no other commentator who calls for the Russian Federation to be divorced of its internalised colonies.”
    This would, of course, lead to the extinguishing of Russia as a political force, capable of defending itself from aggression.
    In an era of peace and understanding in which nation states are dissolved into an international community, the ending of internal colonies would be automatic. In the current situation, unless this process is carried out simultaneously it leaves the states more inclined to cede rights to ‘colonies’ open to dismemberment at the hand of states which simply deny that their colonies are anything of the sort.
    There is, for example not an inch of land in America, north and south, which belonged to any person of European five hundred years ago. New York is land stolen from the Iroquois, most of Ontario belonged to the Anishnabe and their trading partners the wendat…the list goes on the land I am living on has been farmed for more than a thousands years, but the first white farmer did not arrive here until after Waterloo.
    Nor is any of this irrelevant, though it is not really the basis for movements of national liberation, and, angry though they are and justifiable as their anger is, the largely Ojibwe communities hereabouts would not be impressed by the arrival of Chinese or Russian agents, offering to arm them and training young militants in the use of explosives.
    As to Russia, which according to Craig seems doomed to be an Empire, regardless of its political and economic nature, it ought to be said in its favour that it has been uniquely generous in its giving of independence to not only Uzbekistan etc but Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries and the Caucasian republics. This has been done at enormous cost, in terms of sacrificing military security and strategic position. In fact Russia’s actions, together with its dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and its surrender of the bargains made at Yalta and Potsdam, have eagerly been seized by the United States, as opportunities to pursue its desire to turn Russia into one of its colonies.
    So far as decolonisation is concerned the record and current position of the United States is by orders of magnitude, far more problematic than that of either China or Russia. And one reason why, for example Puerto Rico is still held, after more than a century of colonisation, is that the USA insists that its national defence requires the maintenance of this outpost in the Caribbean. Though the idea that Georgia, Crimea and the Ukraine should not be considered important-in the face of NATO armies and fleets- to Russia is sneered at.
    Craig is urging the Goose’s case, on the Gander’s behalf.

    • Michael Droy

      “As to Russia, which according to Craig seems doomed to be an Empire, regardless of its political and economic nature, it ought to be said in its favour that it has been uniquely generous in its giving of independence to not only Uzbekistan etc but Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries and the Caucasian republics. This has been done at enormous cost, in terms of sacrificing military security and strategic position.”

      People forget the difference between the Russian/Soviet Empire and most others, such as the former British one.
      Generally empires are thought to be revenue producing as the lead country exploits the others. The Soviet empire was quite different. The idea was of course to export communism, and the centre, Russia, subsidised the rest (as can be seen post break up where Russia still subsidises the rest, but to a lesser extent). In part this was because many of the leadership were not actually Russia.
      The move to break up then in 1989 was not merely a wish for independence by the non-Russian parts. It was equally a desire for Russian independence of the Soviet system that was costing it so much. Russia wanted out as much as Ukraine or anyone else.

      • craig Post author

        The ordinary people of the UK always subsidised the British Empire too. The beneficiaries were purely the military, political and imperialist classes and linked industrialists.

        • Michael Droy

          No. I take the point that the ordinary subsidised the wealthy. And that most of the theft from empire went to the already rich.
          But let’s not pretend that the poor of India were better off because of the efforts of the poorer classes in Britain. Or that there was an empire dividend when we stopped making transfer payments and overpaying for their raw materials

          • lysias

            A friend of mine once asked Lord Mountbatten why the British had quit India. Mountbatten said it was because ruling India no longer paid.

          • Dungroanin

            Lysias would you have liked to see the British Empire try and hang on to the Indian subcontinent post war? Like it tried in Malay to Kenya? Would they have called in the Yanks nukes?

          • John Goss

            And that Lysias about sums up the difficulties in trade relations between the two countries with that “special relationship”. When the US has finished buying up the profitable sectors of our NHS to the cost of the poor as soon as it ceases to be profitable it will become a liability that does not pay.

            As an aside through a former partner I knew Mountbatten’s batman, Lloyd, and his wife, Millie (both dead now).

        • Squeeth

          Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution And The Rise Of The Angloworld, by James Belich (2011) is rather good on the recolonisation of economically bust settlement colonies….

        • lysias

          James Mill famously called the British Empire a “vast system of outdoor relief for the upper classes.”

        • Baron

          To get a feel what the ordinary people of some of the stan countries feel today about the colonising by the Russians, Craig, you may like to watch few u-tube videos by a blogger ‘bald and bankrupt’, massive numbers already watch him, deservedly so. You’ll find him informative, and rather counter to your own independence-at-all cost obsession, most of the unwashed whom b&b talks to wouldn’t mind if the old days returned.

        • Fur Traderr

          Exactly what Hobson demonstrated 100-some years ago. Very nice article. Canada, as a living extension of the British Empire, expanded in much the same way and time period as Russia (both of them expanding based on the fur trade, one west and the other east — obviously a gross simplification but mostly true nonetheless). Canada is still a colonial power vis-à-vis the Indigenous peoples it overran. Indigenous people have a right to self-governance. That said, I fear that any Indigenous group, outside the Canadian Confederation, would be just as much or like more subject to the dictates of capital (mostly US-based), more exposed to the worst abuses of resource extracting firms and régimes (like Haiti or Honduras). Why should one expect that national liberation for the indigenous Muslim populations of Eurasia would be different? Or maybe my analogy is a bad one?

      • John Goss

        “Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
        he gazed at the Pacific, and all his men
        looked at each other with a wild surmise,
        silent upon a peak in Darien.”

        I might be paraphrasing. Who else learnt this sonnet at school?

  • N_

    I do not deny that at present, outside the colonies of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, there is little evidence of separatist desire. But I expect that to change over historic time.

    Looking specifically at Tatarstan, aka Tataria, why? Ethnic Tatars form the smallest of majorities in that region, and in the capital city Kazan there are fewer Tatars than Russians. Most Russians in Tataria were born there and they have parents and grandparents who were born there before them. Without reference to the obviously dirty concept of racial destiny, WHY do you expect separatist feeling to grow? Would you expect Russians in Tataria, aka Tatarstan, to experience this feeling too? A “no” to that question is what Enoch Powell would have answered.

    • Laguerre

      Yeah, they used to say the same about Kazakhstan. Why would they want independence – ethnic Kazakhs are only 40% and outnumbered by Russians, it’s too late for Kazakhstan, they said. Well, that’s not what happened. Kazakhs being a minority in their own country was not an obstacle. Though it’s true that independence for Tatarstan is more difficult. Of course Russian colonials didn’t behave in the same way as British settlers. They’re often as poor as the natives.

      • N_

        The concept of an ethnic group being “a minority in their own country” is racist poop. It’s like saying white British people are a minority in “their own” city, London.

        There’s still a big difference between what were the republics of the USSR and what were autonomous republics inside Russia. Stalin knew what he was doing.

        Calling Russians in Tataria “colonials” and Tatars “natives” is ignorant. Let’s hope those who think like that never get anywhere with their filthy fascist mentality.

        • Laguerre

          “Calling Russians in Tataria “colonials” and Tatars “natives” is ignorant.”

          Actually I was referring there to Kazakhstan, where it was true. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

          • Laguerre

            Oh yes, and there’s a vast and exclusive difference between Russians and Kazakhs in Kazakhstan. It’s not racism to say so. They don’t (or didn’t – I haven’t been back for 15 years) interact socially at all. The Russians lived their lives like true colonials, much like the British in India.

          • N_

            OK, but it’s not true in much of Kazakhstan either. Generally speaking the Russians and Kazakhs get along fine in Kazakhstan, the Russians are not a privileged group, there are many mixed marriages, some Russians have become Muslims, some Kazakhs have joined Russian Orthodoxy, and so on. Some Russians came in to work as coalminers and oilworkers – or their grandfathers did. In other families you have to go back several generations until you get to the immigrants. It would suit the CIA down to the ground for interethnic strife to be stirred up, with Daesh-style Christophobia among Kazakhs and Islamophobia among Russians. It would also suit the CIA down to the ground for Daesh involvement to increase among Uighurs in Xianjiang too.

            I should qualify the above by observing that Kazakhstan is a huge country and my main knowledge is from Astana and Karaganda, and it wouldn’t surprise me if in some areas there isn’t a Russian preponderance among the professional classes and a Kazakh majority among the less well-off, but that isn’t the case generally and most of the top elite are in fact Kazakh [*] – as was also true in the days of the USSR. (Nursultan Nazarbayev was a member of the Politburo of the USSR, as was Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan, another mafia boss.)

            Edit: Nazarbayev’s son-in-law’s book “Godfather-in-law” seems to have become available now in both English and Russian (although I don’t recommend anyone taking a copy in any language to Kazakhstan, where it is banned). For years this was hard to get hold of.

            (*) If I may be forgiven a (very) stretched analogy: we all know that St Andrews University is chock-a-block with arrogant posh inherited-wealth English types both among the students and the dons, whereas I don’t imagine many of those who do the low-paid work such as cleaning up after them are English. But until anyone can demonstrate to the contrary I assert that it is those of Scottish nationality (probably Calvinists too) who preponderate in the top echelon at the university – meaning those who run the money, decide the big contracts and financial strategies, and trouser the backhanders.

        • Tom Welsh

          “The concept of an ethnic group being “a minority in their own country” is racist poop”.

          What about the Native Americans, the Austrlian aborigines, the Maori, the Maya, the Inuit…?

          They are all obviously small minorities in the countries where they and their ancestors have always lived. So logically you must be claiming that once a people is outnumbered by invaders, their country ceases to be their own.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Looking specifically at Tatarstan, aka Tataria, why?”

      I very much fear it’s because that is what Craig’s ideology forces him to expect (and desire). Perhaps it’s because Britain was forced to give up its empire “on which the Sun never set” that it now has such a craving to see other powerful nations taken down a peg or two.

      Except, of course, the USA – that fount of everything good from which all blessing flow. (Especially monetary subsidies to opeinion-formers, business leaders and politicians wherever there are resources to be sucked out).

    • craig Post author

      Ethnic Tatars who declare themselves as such on official forms constitute 36% of Tatarstan. That is probably an understatement of the true position. That is a similar level to Kazakhstan.

      • Sergei

        “That is probably an understatement of the true position.”

        What basis do you have for this claim? Tatarstan has been part of Russia for 467 years (compared to 100–150 years for the territory of what is now Kazakhstan), so it is not surprising that there are many Russians living there.

    • Robyn

      It’s always helpful to know the accuracy record over time of journalists and those who masquerade as journalists. Andre Vltchek has a sterling record – he has lived and worked in the areas he reports from and appears (from all I’ve read) to be totally reliable. He’s on my must-read list, I’ll take him any day over the MSM parroting the one million Uighurs line.

    • Tom Welsh

      Well, of course one of the reasons that countries like Russia and China have problems with minorities is that those minorities are still alive.

      If, like the Americans, you kill 99% of them and lock the survivors up in “reservations” – which actually are prison camps – you don’t have that problem (any more).

  • Muscleguy

    There are of course colonies you can walk to in the UK. I give you Wales, very heavily Settled by English incomers. Just because it was colonised way back by the Tudors does not change the fact.

    Note I do not claim that status for Scotland, yet. We were not conquered (the foot and dragoon regiments on the border ensuring Union passed in Scotland ‘or else’ notwithstanding. They did not invade.) General Monck was before Union of Parliaments.

    St Andrews aside Scotland has not been colonised.

    • N_

      Who do you think makes all the money out of the University of St Andrews? Englishmen who get together to do morris dancing and sing the Eton Boat Song?

      Of course Wales is not an English colony. Such nutcase racist talk like that should always be called out.

      The more shite like this I read on this blog, the more likely I am to stop coming here.

      • Tom Welsh

        N_, I found Muscleguy’s comment logical and cogent. Your reply, on the other hand, is wholly content-free.

        “Who do you think makes all the money out of the University of St Andrews? Englishmen who get together to do morris dancing and sing the Eton Boat Song?”

        – Rhetorical questions with no apparent bearing on the comment to whioch you were replying.

        “Of course Wales is not an English colony. Such nutcase racist talk like that should always be called out”.

        Contradiction of Muscleguy’s comment, unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence or argument. Followed by unsubstantiated personal abuse.

      • Muscleguy

        I live in Dundee and know lots of locals who regard St Andrews as an English colony. You can walk the streets there and barely hear a Scottish accent. Many Scots regard the place thus and do not feel at home there.

        But again lots of countries have such places. Back home in New Zealand many of us regard Queenstown that way. It’s a grossly overpriced purveyor of tourist tat. Nice location but shame about the town. You can always stay in Frankton (we did when I was a kid, had the duck itch to prove it).

  • Phil Espin

    It’s indisputable that the Russians have come to an accommodation with the Chechens. If the Saker is to be believed Russian Orthodoxy lacks the crusading zeal of its western catholic cousins and has lived in relative peace side by side with Islam as both servant and master over the centuries. The Russians believe that the CIA via Wahabists in Saudi manipulated the Chechen’s into their uprising. A familiar modus operandi from The Hegemon. They are now trying the same in China with the Uighurs. Every Moslem community in Central Asia and Russia must be scared stiff their youth might be exploited by similar methods with predictable dire results for their current security. They won’t get an indicative vote to test their opinion like the Scots. The CIA will make them have it. That is not the democratic way to win freedom. Given Spain’s treatment of Catalonia would you expect Russia or China to act any better? I can see the principal of your view, just surprised you would put yourself in the position of being portrayed as a tool of The Hegemon Craig. Just one straw man argument if I may which is begged by your view of Crimea, to which I agree deportees should be allowed to return. If the views of the non Tartars in Crimea don’t count what about the non Scots in Scotland? Could this be regarded as a wee bit racist towards immigrants? even those of many century’s standing.

    • craig Post author

      It is indisputable that, having massacred a great deal of the population, the ussians have installed their own brutal Chechen collaborator in charge who kills anyone who dissents. I suppose you could call to that “come to terms with”.

      Over the last 200 years there have been at least eleven armed revolts by the Chechens against Russian colonial rule, depending how you count them. If you think the problem has gone away permanently you are very foolish.

      • Baron

        You’re too obsessed with independence everywhere, Craig, almost fanatical about it, but why? You may as well argue London should break away, or Yorkshire or even East Anglia, each place could put up a valid argument for such a move.

        What can an independent Scotland as an EU member do that she cannot do as a member of the United Kingdom?

        If you look at the UK governance since the war, men (not women) of Scottish descent or linked to it have very often reached positions where they could exercise power they would have never been able to yield in Scotland alone, there only are 5mn of you, however much you may shout and wave arms around. If only you were to aim at capturing the reigns of the UK governance, you would do better not just for the United Kingdom, but Scotland, too. .

  • Tatyana

    here are excerpts from russian wiki, if they are false you may easily prove them fake.


    “…the full political rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatar people and the abolition of normative acts of a repressive and discriminatory nature, and also recognized the legal right of the Crimean Tatar people to return to “places of historical residence and restore national integrity”; to review cases initiated for participation in the Crimean Tatar national movement. Also, the restoration of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as part of the Ukrainian SSR.”

    April 26, 1991, the RSFSR Law No. 1107-1:

    “On the rehabilitation of repressed peoples”, which recognized the repression of the peoples of the USSR as an act of genocide. Article 4 of this law proclaimed that campaigning impeding the rehabilitation of repressed peoples is not allowed, and those who commit such acts should be held accountable

    ” The mass return of the Crimean Tatars began with the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of July 11, 1990. According to it, the Crimean Tatars could get free land and building materials in the Crimea. At the same time, they could also sell their land and houses in Uzbekistan. About 150,000 Crimean Tatars managed to move to Crimea before the collapse of the USSR. More difficult were approximately 60,000 Crimean Tatars, who were forced to move to Crimea with the collapse of the USSR, as Uzbekistan experienced a large-scale economic crisis and GDP per capita fell sharply relative to other former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. “

    “Pribytkova also pointed out that 52.1% of Crimean Tatars moving to Crimea did not want to take loans to legally purchase real estate, which ultimately resulted in the seizure of land belonging to other individuals and legal entities by Crimean Tatars. This created both numerous conflicts with the new owners, whose property was thus seized, and a very serious legal problem of legalizing these actions. In Ukraine, this issue has not been resolved. After the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation, under the program developed by Sergei Aksenov, the Crimean Tatars were proposed to return the captured land, and in return the state will allocate land to the Crimean Tatars from state’s property.”

    so I see those who wanted to return – those returned. Those who wanted to have their land, those have it, for free.

      • Tatyana

        You are welcome, Dungroanin.

        BTW, they have “-lar” partickle in their language to denote multiple numbers. It is the same as adding “-s” at the end of english words. I’ve learned this fact approximately in 1996 from my fellow student Polina, who lived in Kerch and was able to listen to Tatar’s radio and watch TV in their native language.

        They say Kirim Tatarlar, and Tatar is for single.

        • craig Post author


          Complete and utter fucking bollocks. The vast majority of the Krim Tatar were deported by Stalin, not by the Nazis. A great many of them still live in Uzbekistan, where many were deported too. I actually know quite a few. They were certainly never offered return and restitution by Russia.

          • Tom Welsh

            While Stalin certainly deported a lot of Tatars, what do you think the Nazis would have done with them if they had defeated the USSR?

            Clue: “Asiatics”… “inferior race”… and, above all, taking up space that should by rights be occupied by nice Aryan people.

          • Tatyana

            I’m sorry, Mr. Murray, there’s no mention of Nazi in it. Why do you put it here?
            If it were, than I would agree, it would be really “Complete and utter fucking bollocks”.

            Perhaps you read it with little attention. There is mention of Germans, but it is about german nationals, who were also one of soviet peoples, also deported by Stalin from their lands.

          • Tatyana

            Also, I kindly point out that the fact of some Kirimtatarlar still living in Uzbekistan does not prove the idea ‘they were certainly never offered return and restitution by Russia.’

          • Baron

            the Americans put people of Japanese descent in camps, let them return after the war ended. The Georgian thug did many things that sicken, but the removal of the Tartars from Crimea wasn’t one of them, the Tatars would have turned against the Russians given half a chance. They were allowed to return before the USSR collapsed, they still can, many have chosen not to.

            Tatyana has a point, it’s your fanatical desire for everyone to go Full Monty independence that blinds you. Often, as Franz Kafka pointed out it’s better not to be independent, many of the tribes would benefit more from a federal status (Crimea had it before Russia took over, still has it after the takeover). The federal arrangement allows for local development, but the whole country ‘forward’ investment. You will see that Crimea will do better under Moscow that she did under eKiev, which neglected the vast region (for good reasons, the lack of money being the most obvious one).

          • Sergei

            “Complete and utter fucking bollocks.”

            A fitting description of your comment, Craig. Tatyana never claimed that Crimean Tatars were deported by the Nazis. You should re-read her comment carefully and apologize to her.

            “They were certainly never offered return and restitution by Russia.”

            They were and they are. Here’s what they should do:

            1. Obtain a certificate of rehabilitation of a Crimean deportee according to Russian law 1761-1 (October 18, 1991) “On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression”.

            2. Obtain Russian residence permit. The certificate of rehabilitation automatically gives the right to obtain Russian residence permit to: a Crimean deportee, a spouse of a Crimean deportee, descendants of a Crimean deportee, an adopted child of a Crimean deportee. This amendment to Russian law 115-FZ (July 25, 2002) “On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation” was signed by Putin on April 17, 2017. Previously, they had to obtain a “temporary residence permit” before applying for a regular residence permit, and this “temporary residence permit” was not easy to obtain.

            3. Move to Crimea. They will have access to free healthcare and higher education, but not voting and serving in government.

            4. Apply to Republic of Crimea’s programs to receive land and housing.

            5. After five years of living in Crimea on a Russian residence permit, obtain Russian citizenship. Now they will be able to vote and serve in government.

          • Tatyana

            thanks Baron and Sergei.

            I think that Mr. Murray knows that I don’t care about apologies and smart enough to understand, that the word *** refers to the misunderstood comment, but not to me personally.

            Not that I’ve been sitting here all day long refreshing the page, but it would be nice to know that our kind host saw these remarks, because actually some misunderstanding is hanging in the air 🙂

          • Tatyana

            Thanks, Mr. Murray.
            This is what I value most of all other things about your blog – live interaction and your trust in people who comment on your blogs. You may think it is unimportant, but it is not. We are live, we are here.
            And we may agree or disagree with you, it doesn’t matter. It’s the place that you’ve brought to life, the place for talking free.

  • mike

    Dark hints of constitutional changes in the Tory manifesto; Britain First members urged by their leader to join the Tories; and now the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries.

    Are there any journalists left? Is anyone going to link the above points together?

    If you’re unsure how, here’s a hint: study German history in the 1920s and 30s. Start with the brownshirts.

  • mike

    The bastards will target mosques and Muslim businesses; extreme right hegemony is being built into the system; the Supreme Court will be stuffed with placemen, or defanged.

    The time to stop all that happening is sort of…now?

    • Xavi

      Yes, Britain First urging its members to support the Tories while Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins both join Conservative party in the wake of election.

      “Are there any journalists left?” Yes They all collaborated in the Guardian-led crusade to portray Labour as a racist party and Corbyn as the most racist figure in all British history.

  • Andrew Nichols

    Modi has been portrayed in the West as a moderniser
    It’s as hideous as the current Establishment spruiking of the odious Mohammed Bin Salman as a moderniser and done for the same vulgar reasons.

  • Vassos the Kurolessos

    Of course, those Eurasian Muslims under Akbar Khan once did a very good job of your very own Sekundar Burnes and William McNaughten.

    I believe you’re familiar with the incident.

    As a matter of fact, as regards crimes of the British empire (which, according to some data, are unparalleled in history and surpass even those of the USA), the English did not have a monopoly on evil either – let’s not forget that positions of Imperial authority were disproportionately and may be even overwhelmingly staffed with Scots.

    But the whole question of Scottish complicity and culpability in the crimes of the British empire and even post-empire UK up to now (what with war criminal Blair being himself of Scottish origin) needs to be carefully researched and examined further and is still waiting for a dispassionate researcher.

    • Hatuey

      Can you name an imperial power that didn’t co-opt those it conquered into its military ranks?

      Neither can I.

      Of course, Scotland itself was co-opted. Ireland was too, as was Wales (annexed). The role of Scots in the British Empire has been thoroughly researched. Tom Divine’s ‘Scotland’s Empire’ is probably as good a study as you’ll find.

      Most sensible Scots are quite ashamed of their country’s role in building the British Empire today. They probably shouldn’t be, since most of those who took part by we’re compelled by poverty and, after Culloden, when many were quite literally chased from their lands in what was basically a genocidal war, necessity.

      At the higher end of the Scottish social ladder there was more enthusiasm. That’s always the case. In most colonised countries — even today — the upper classes often show a willingness to cooperate with the invaders. History is replete with dark examples.

      Scotland in that sense was just like any other colony: the country was basically sold to England by the Scottish nobility and part of the price was freedom to invest and exploit commerce in the English colonies. Riots broke out all over Scotland when ordinary people heard how they’d been sold out.

      I’m not sure what point you think you’re making when you point to people like Blair and emphasise Scottish ancestry. It doesn’t mean a thing. Several PMs were of Irish and Welsh origins. What does that prove? That smashing countries to pieces and annexing them is okay? That it somehow exonerates England and its domineering conduct towards its neighbours?

      We have heard all of these tired arguments before. They won’t stop us leaving — if anything they’ll make us more determined to go. It’s basically gaslighting; a continuation of the sort of twisted manipulative antics we have become accustomed to.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Of course, Scotland itself was co-opted”.

        Right on, Hatuey. It was a standing joke in my family and among our friends that the so-called “British Empire” was actually a Scottish Empire.

        • Hatuey

          I’ve never understood the prevailing view that there’s a fundamental difference between direct colonial control and neo-colonial control. It’d be hard to argue that neo-colonialism is any less brutal; the horrors of post-war South and Latin America surely put paid to that idea, not to mention Culloden. Scotland was more or less a neo-colony. Still is.

  • Banglong

    Refreshing to read some analysis from someone who actually knows that they’re talking about. But then again, I’ve read your book!

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    The West is up to no good in Central Asia and when they are up to no good they start by telling a lot of big fat lies. Whatever they’re up to you can be sure it does not diserve your support and that the narrative you hear about it is a concoction from an army of full time propagandists. You are only hearing about the place at all because it is in line for destruction for geo-political reasons.

      • Tom Welsh

        We seem to have reached an impasse, Craig. You atuomatically cast doubt on anything said by people connected with the Russian or Chinese government. Whereas I assume, until proven otherwise, that HMG and Washington lie whenever they utter.

        I have seen quite a lot of evidence in support of my assumption – quite a lot of it in your blog, and much of that written by you.

        • Laguerre

          It’s not a zero-sum game. You can criticise the Chinese (or the Russians) without being in Washington’s pocket. In fact the less you know about the area, the more likely you are to think it’s all a NeoCon/CIA conspiracy. In fact those who insist that it is are just advertising their lack of knowledge of the region. Naturally Washington is funding potential regime-change elements, and frequently they get it wrong, as they are just as ignorant as the conspiracy theorists, in spite of all the resources they manage. Afghanistan was the biggest error, where supporting the mujahedin in the 1980s was a monumental mistake, from which US policy has never recovered. In fact in the local politics Washington is just another factor to be considered.

          • SA

            It is just that the pattern has been so repetitious and so prevalent and has a long history, first that of British imperialism and now US imperialism. There is nothing endearing about any of this. Those who have grown up with this know it and its propaganda and its white man’s burden and suffered and still suffer from its consequence are cautious.
            Yes of course both Russian Imperialism and Chinese imperialism are also bad. The are, as Craig pointed out less visible because they are expansions and incorporations rather than remote projections. But on the main this imperialism is improving.
            The issue here is that solving a problem through regime change just because the white man knows better than the locals how to solve is the issue here. Some very complex issues within other countries do not need meddling to get sorted. The example that we have of about 18,000 Uyghurs and many Chechens fighting in Syria does not inspire any hope that western meddling will help.

          • Laguerre

            I don’t think anyone denies that the US, and other imperialists before them (Britain, France, etc) have long intervened in Asian politics. The question is at what point do their roles become significant, in comparison to local factors. As we read western sources, either MSM or even blogs like Craig’s, we get a vision which wildly overemphasises the role of the Western powers, which you don’t necessarily see in a local context. There is a whole load of issues, where the US and UK play no role at all, or at best a distant nuisance role. In general, the US or UK don’t understand the issues they meddle in, the decisions being taken by leaders who are not experts in the region, and who don’t listen to their better-informed advisors (e.g. Bush and Blair. Père Bush was much better informed)

          • SA

            “Naturally Washington is funding potential regime-change elements, and frequently they get it wrong, as they are just as ignorant as the conspiracy theorists, in spite of all the resources they manage.”
            In other forums you might get away with this. But this is not the case, they do not get it wrong, they have all the information and the intelligence but these are selectively used to fit the preconceived policy. This was very clear in Iraq.

            “Afghanistan was the biggest error, where supporting the mujahedin in the 1980s was a monumental mistake, from which US policy has never recovered. In fact in the local politics Washington is just another factor to be considered.”

            Afghanistan was neither an “error” nor was it the biggest one, only the beginning. The first anti-Soviet involvement with the mujahedeen was the prototype of what later transpired in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the use of Islamic proxies to fight regimes and modulate influence. There is no biggest because it has not ended and who knows what is being planned in Iran. These decisions are never a mistake, they stem from the belief that untrammeled force can remove any resistance and destruction is the first and main aim because massive lucrative reconstruction is also part of the gains from war. Can you really believe that no body could see that disbanding the Iraqi Police and Army would not lead to chaos? Are these people that dumb?

          • Laguerre

            So you’re one of the conspiracy theorists. I thought better of you. Employing the mujahidin in 1980s Afghanistan, of course was deliberately done, but a massive error completely blind to the consequences, which have haunted the US ever since. Has the US ever “won” any of its wars (contracts for the MIC is another and different issue)?

          • SA

            Please spell out which bit is the conspiracy theory? The downing street memo?
            “…..but a massive error completely blind to the consequences, ” What? Do you make an error which then turns out to be massively wrong and then continue to make the same error again and again? I normally refrain from name calling but if I am a conspiracy theorist then you are a gatekeeper!

      • Macky

        Chinese appointed official v claims of 1 million Uighurs in concentration camps that can all ultimately be traced back to the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defender, which is funded by the US government; hmmm, what happen to your healthy skepticism of US sponsored NGOs ?

        As you didn’t like that clip, try this one, as I think it offers sound advise;

  • Tatyana

    One infamous person (that one who was firstly killed by an ex-soldier hieromonk on Putins order, and then magically revitalised by secret servicemen, perhaps with some help of holy water from the holy river from the holy land in which that infamous person moved after the resurrection) ah, sorry for the long introduction, just don’t want to type his name here, let’s keep this place clean.

    So, that person expressed similar idea about Russia and he said he personally would welcome and celebrate if Russia divided into small parts. Let alone his emotions, I think he is mentally ill and obsessed with hate and violence.

    I always believed that it is a good thing when peoples unite and cooperate. I see no problems with my muslim neighbors here in Krasnodar, nor with visiting Adyghea across the river, nor have I seen problems in Nalchik while visiting my aunt (Nalchik is the capital city of Kabarda and Balkaria), nor had I problems while staying in Cherkessk.

    But to my understanding, normally people do not behave like… Well, like sitting in your kitchen with a cup of tea, making plans for the day and all of a sudden you think “oh, today I should recall the 100 or 200 or even 500 years old history and find something to hate Vasya”
    Normally people think “Vasya is offering help with my car repair, so I should not forget to buy beer tonight”.

    Again, normally, when people feel offended or treated unfair, they step forward and say “I want you to apologize and to compensate”. It is normal, at least it makes more sense than shooting, bombing, hate speech etc.

  • Vassos the Kurolessos

    What about Eurasian Muslim minorities on the British Isles, specifically in the UK.

    They have been here for decades and generations already and constitute a number of mainly Muslim peoples.

    What’s more, in some geographic locales and territories in Britain they are decidedly a distinct majority.

    It is important to state that these peoples are not British but separate peoples in the sense of the UN Charter, with very distinct cultures, histories, languages and religion, and thus they do have the right of self-determination.

    And their right to self-determination has by now accrued to a right to establish at least one or maybe several “stans” like Birminghamstan for instance.

    And it doesn’t matter whence or where they first came to a land that is itself populated by descendants of multiple waves of colonizers with virtually no trace of the original inhabitants who had all long been destroyed or bred out.

  • SA

    The problem is a far ranging one with many groups along ethnic or cultural or historic lines. Some demand total liberation into separate nations or countries and others demanding autonomy or more emphasis on maintaining cultures. There is an organisation called ‘Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation’ which lists these countries and is based in The Hague.
    Notably absent from this organisation are places like Northern Ireland (the IRA), Scotland (SNP) and Palestine (PLO) to give three examples that immediately spring to mind. Also it is interesting to note some of the original members who have since become independent such as Armenia, Estonia and Latvia plus one or two others. It is also interesting to look at the organisations main website
    “UNPO was conceived of in the late 1980s by exiled leaders of people living under communist oppression, Linnart Mäll of the Congress of Estonia, Erkin Alptekin of the Uyghur people, and Lodi Gyari of Tibet, together with Michael Van Walt van Praag, the international law advisor of the 14th Dalai Lama. ”
    The support is provided by two organisations
    “UNPO Secretariat & Foundations
    The UNPO members contribute annually to the creation and operation of UNPO foundations, Stichting Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (a Dutch Public Benefit Organization) and UNPO USA (a US 501(c)(3) charitable organization). These Foundations operate independently of the individual memebrs of the UNPO, under the supervision of their boards and directed by their governing statutes.”
    I am highlighting all this because it is relevant to the discussion here. There are deserving causes of ethnic minorities worldwide and there are also UN guidelines and organisations to address these issues:
    The problems arise when there is meddling from outside and the chief culprit of this meddling is the US, aided by allies. The role of UK is well known but perhaps less well known is that of the Netherlands, which was also partially exposed in the MH-17 investigations.
    We are also familiar with how the so called Syrian Civil War originated as peaceful protests and how this turned into a vicious war by Jihadis sponsored and armed by the West and that this followed a pattern which started with Afghanistan then Iraq then Libya and also Yemen.
    Of course that is not to say that both China and Russia also have empires historically and there are legacies of these empires and it is just the complexity of untangling the real grievances, how to resolve them and how not to use them for fostering neo-imperialism.
    As an aside we in this Site should be careful, because Boris proposes to reintroduce the crime of Treason and who knows with Priti Patel as Home secretary it may even be punishable by death. Together with the proposal of appointing judges , this may mean that we cannot express ourselves as openly as we do now. A serious development, Bye Bye freedom of speech.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Boris proposes to reintroduce the crime of Treason and who knows with Priti Patel as Home secretary it may even be punishable by death”.

      Surely our political leaders would be the very first to enter the dock? Those who have betrayed our interests to the USA since before WW2, and more recently sold out to Brussels.

    • Laguerre

      Christians in the Middle East have always been complainers, and the link just renews the story. The Christians are not at risk of genocide. Christians have never been able to accept that they lost the Middle East to Islam (much like the Brexiters failure to get over the Second World War). Even Da’ish were not that bothered about Christians – it’s the heretical Shi’a and the Sunni cult of saints that they really hate. They gave out edicts of protection for Christians (not of course that anyone would trust them)

      It’s all about visas, so they can move to the USA or France or Canada (or even UK). A visa is easy for a christian to get, very difficult for a Muslim. That’s why the decline in Christian population.

      I see Ottomanboi is accusing everyone in sight who is Muslim.

  • remember kronstadt

    let them eat their tomes of faith and wave their rags on sticks and entertain themselves in poverty. china ‘gets it’ and will succeed because it doesn’t care about occupying lands, imposing language, and winning medieval minds. productive resources and markets stupid.

  • Macky

    Interesting quote from a journalist that actually visits the places that she writes about;

    “In April 2014, after Crimea joined Russia, President Putin immediately issued a decree regarding the deported people. After the decree was issued, a federal program was adopted, with a budget of 10 billion rubles, which included building multi-storey buildings and improving the infrastructure in the areas returned deportees live in. The amount of money is much more than what was given by Ukraine in the 23 years that Crimea was part of Ukraine.”

    Tatars make up around 11 percent of the population, Gempel tells me, but “have representatives in all branches of power in Crimea, including legislative and in the Parliament.” As Anastasiya Gridchina mentioned, Tatar is one of the three state languages, after a resolution on this was adopted by Parliament.”

  • N_

    Off-topic: CIA wife Anne Sacoolas has been charged in the English jurisdiction with causing death by dangerous driving.

  • John Pretty

    Thank you Craig, this is a subject I know little about, so it is interesting to learn a little more.

    “It is of course a personal irony that I am very often accused of being a Russian agent because I debunk ludicrous anti-Russian scares like the fake Skripal narrative.”

    – Well I have twice been accused this week of being a British spy to my great astonishment. Despite my being even more pro-Russia than yourself Craig. (I strongly reject the Magnitsky sanctions that you expressed some support for in a piece some months ago.) I think it is very sad that there is so much mistrust and paranoia among people in the world today. Johnson is apparently considering tougher laws against “disinformation” which I imagine will only make matters worse.

    I did also want to say that I find your use of rude language above objectionable. Would it not be preferable simply to respectfully disagree? Sometimes children may read this blog.

  • nevermind

    ‘ by those on the left’? I cant hear those on the right saying anything humanitarian either, so why does this lashing out always aim for the left first?

    Whether it is in Nazi Germany of 1939 or in China, Sri Lanka, India or Russia today, concentration/ re-education camps for their Muslim citizens are brutal, violent and should be fully condemned.

    Our world problems are caused by ignorant minds that use their religions as societal weapon?, those who think otherwise and are not living amongst us, self interned in Ghettos by their religous otherness. What should we have done with our housing policies? Would a deliberate mix of religions not be a better way to encourage living together, foster better discourse and understanding between neighbours?

  • Martin Casey

    There is something strange happening here- Since a few months ago the Uighur detention story has suddenly become big news, apparently out of nowhere. It corresponds approximately to the presentation of a letter in early June 2019 to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The letter was signed by 22 countries including many EU countries, Canada and Australia criticising China’s actions against Uighurs in Xinjiang. . Immediately afterwards a second letter was sent with signatures from 37 countries, this time supporting China’s actions. What was most surprising was that most of the 37 countries concerned had a large moslem population. The other surprise is the difficulty the BBC has had in finding Uighurs who complain. No doubt it is possible to find a theory to explain it, but the “China against moslems” headline in western media doesn’t convince me.

    • Laguerre

      “The Uighur detention story” has been going for a year or two, but it’s just become better known this year. You’re exaggerating for obviously tendentious reasons. “the difficulty the BBC has had in finding Uighurs who complain.” You’re naive enough to think that the Chinese are going to let any journalist go and interview anyone they want. The Uyghur region is clamped down on hard, and it’s difficult to get there. Of course it’s going to be difficult to find complainants. It’s astounding that anyone thinks it would be different. A whiff of Islamophobia in your post.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I think it all depends where the criticism comes from, Mr Murray.

    People like you who have not been running hypermilitaristic Empires of oppression the past 70 years ir so are in a far better place to criticise than Western Media hacks, who have spent decades proclaiming the right to murder millions overseas just because we have an FPTP pseudo-election every five years or so.

    Also, given what has happened in Iraq and Libya in the 21st century, we might all do well to ask questions along the lines of ‘Given the imperfect state of the world, what is actually a realistic standard of leadership that one should be wary of getting rid of, for fear of replacing it with something infinitely worse?’ You know, Gadaaffi? Even Saddam was arguably no worse for the majority of Iraqis than the current mess, despite him being swine of the first order…..swine that was US swine in the 1980s, so that was all right, eh?

    I am of the opinion that Boris Yeltsin and the starvation of the 1990s is what Western intervention brings Russia, whereas Vladimir Putin has brought Russian Federation inhabitants something somewhat better. As Putin observed in his annual Press Conference yesterday, the harsh conditions of the 1990s saw fewer children born, meaning that there are currently 4 million less women of age optimal for breeding than in previous times. Famines and economic chaos can have multigenerational effects….and Putin has seen feeding his own people as more important than killing Poles, Ukrainians and Estonians….

    I must say that, like you, I have known for decades that Empires can be land-based. I attended a school in Austria as a gap year and enjoyed an excellent history teacher opening our eyes to ‘Imperialism in Europe’, focussing on the 20th century. This of course included the demise of the Hapsburgs Austro-Hungarian Empire, the rise and fall of Hitler’s German Empire and an Austrian view on the Ottomans and Russia/Soviet Union. All those Empires were pretty much land-based, although the Ottomans did manage to span the Bosphorous to establish themselves in SE Europe. Joining the FCO was clearly impossible after that kind of reprogramming lol….

    So if the Western shills are going to cry ‘Evil, evil China’ right now, perhaps a Truth and Reconciliation era might emerge, when for a start, the UK, the French and the Americans amongst others, might like to acknowledge in full, without cover up in any way, their less than stellar deeds in Indonesia, Malaya, Vietnam, Laos and the like.

    Then we can put the Chinese in the dock as well and decide where Chinese behaviour ranks compared to what went on overthrowing Sukarno, how Agent Orange has affected intergenerational SE Asian DNA etc etc.

    We after all have not been punished in any way for our misdeeds, so who are we to say the Chinese should face Nuremberg-style inquisitions for what they have been getting up to?

  • Sergei

    “Crimea, of course, should belong to the Tatars who were deported from their land by Stalin. Not Russia, not Ukraine, but Krim Tatar.”

    Current Crimean population is 76% Russians, 14% Ukrainians, 10% Crimean Tatars.

    Some Crimean Tatars were allowed to return after 1967. In 1989, Stalin’s deportations were condemned and all Crimean Tatars were allowed to return. However, Ukrainian SSR / Ukraine didn’t return their houses and land to them and didn’t give them new houses and land. So Crimean Tatars had to illegally seize land and illegally build houses on it (known as “samozakhvat”). Ukrainian authorities were fighting them tooth and nails. They didn’t welcome Crimean Tatars back at all. Also, not all Crimean Tatars were able to return easily; Crimean Tatars from some republics still faced bureaucratic hurdles. Also, Crimean Tatar language was not recognized as an official language of Crimean Autonomous Republic.

    Fast forward to 2014 and the re-incorporation of Crimea back into Russia. Russia immediately:

    1) passed legislation making Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar the official languages of Crimean Republic;

    2) started giving land, houses, apartments for free to homeless Crimean Tatars and legalized illegally seized land and houses (except some Crimean Tatar–owned businesses that were built in nature reserves and on beaches, which were demolished after providing a compensation);

    3) passed legislation allowing easy return to Crimea of all Crimean Tatars (and other deported nations such as Germans and Greeks) from all countries;

    4) instituted the official annual remembrance day of the Deportation;

    5) started construction of a large mosque in Simferopol;

    6) initiated reconstruction of Crimean Tatar historical monuments and buildings, starting with the Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisaray.

    In summary, Russia is righting the wrongs of Stalin, USSR, Ukrainian SSR, and Ukraine committed against Crimean Tatars.

    Having said that, even if all expatriate Crimean Tatars return to Crimea (which is not realistic as many of them don’t want to return), their share of the Crimean population won’t rise above 25%. (Wikipedia’s upper estimate of 6,000,000 Crimean Tatars living in Turkey is completely bogus.) Therefore, there is no reasonable basis for your proclamation that “Crimea should belong to Crimean Tatars”. I suggest you visit Crimea, talk to people who actually live there, and ask them what they want. You may find out that many Crimean Tatars are actually happy that Crimea returned to Russia.

    • John Pretty

      Yes, impressive work by the Russian Federation, sergei. Quoting from wikipedia the results of the 2014 referendum in Crimea were as follows:

      “The official result from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was a 96.77 percent vote for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout.”

      I think the result is fairly emphatic.

  • N_

    A pre-Soviet case of the deportation of a people, with a death rate high enough to qualify as genocide, was the catastrophe visited by the Russian Empire upon the Circassians, most of whom (although not all) are Muslim. It was in the city of Sochi in their former homeland that international capital and the Russian state recently staged the “Olympics”.

  • Petrov

    I think, author’s position is rather inconsistent. If he doesn’t like “empires” and wish them to be destroyed, why on earth he want Scotland not to be an independent state, but a part of EU empire? Does he believe that some empires are better than others? Well, other people may believe the exact opposite.

    • Antonym

      Quite. On top of that the EU is an Anglo-Arab oil dollar complex project, good for Islam but bad for indigenous European cultures. US deep state doesn’t mind wasting Europe for a few dollars more.

    • Laguerre

      Because the EU isn’t an empire. Apparently you don’t know enough about the EU to know that.

      • Petrov

        Seriously? It’s hard to live on Earth and don’t know enough about EU. And I do know enough. EU is an empire. You just don’t want to admit it.

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