The NY Times reports today that separatist movements in Russia, all but repressed in recent years, may find new thrust from Russia’s move to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
An association of nationalist groups, the All-Tatar Civic Center, swiftly published an appeal that “for the first time in recent history, Russia has recognized the state independence of its own citizens” and expressed the devout wish that Tatarstan would be next. The declaration was far-fetched, its authors knew: One of Putin’s signal achievements as Mr. Medvedev’s predecessor was to suppress separatism. The Tatar movement was at its lowest ebb in 20 years.
But Moscow’s decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia made Tatarstan’s cause seem, as Rashit Akhmetov put it, “not hopeless.” Mr. Akhmetov, editor in chief of Zvezda Povolzhya, an opposition newspaper in Kazan, said,
“Russia has lost the moral right not to recognize us.”
That's right Russia, you opened the door on this one. I await your hilarious rhetoric for explaining away not recognizing Tatarstan.