Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Window on Eurasia: Muslims Threaten Russia’s Future Just as Palestinians Do Israel’s, Moscow Paper Says

Paul Goble

Vienna, June 9 – In an article provocatively entitled “Moskvabad – Capital of Rusostan,” a “Moskovskaya pravda” journalist says that the influx of Muslim migrants and increasing rates of intermarriage between them and ethnic Russian women threatens the future of the Russian Federation just as what he describes as similar trends threaten the survival of the State of Israel.
According to Kirill Grishchenkov, “more than half of the marriages in [the Russian] capital are inter-ethnic,” with a large share of those being between ethnic Russian women and Muslim immigrants and with a sizeable proportion of their children lost to the titular nationality of the country (www.mospravda.ru/issue/2009/06/09/article17616/).
And as a result, he says, these “family unions of Muscovites with arrivals from post-Soviet Asia and non-Russian regions of Russian can influence our life already in the near future.” Indeed, he says, the Russian capital is falling into what he calls “a vicious circle,” from which it will be difficult to escape.
The number of Muslim immigrants is increasing, and their “non-drinking” lifestyle and “romantic” approach is attracting ever more ethnic Russian women. And as the latter marry the former, the city becomes even more attractive as a place for Muslims to come and settle, thus increasing the likelihood that ethnic Russian women will contract even more mixed marriages.
These trends will accelerate further, Grishchenkov says, if Russia forms some kind of “Euro-Asian Union” with Central Asian states, members of whose indigenous populations would then be able to move to Moscow and other Russian cities even easier than they can do at the present time.
Exactly what impact their arrival in significantly greater numbers than today would have is of course difficult to say, the “Moskovskaya Pravda” journalist continues; “there are many possible scenarios.” But he argues that the “overall tendency is already obvious, and in the worst case, the fate awaiting [Russians] could be like that of contemporary Israel.”
There, the Moscow journalist says, the Palestinians are increasing more rapidly than the Jewish population, not only because they tend to have more children but also because in Grishchenkov’s words some “naïve Jewish girls” are willing to marry them and “in this way increase the Arab population of Israel.”
“It is interesting,” Grishchenkov writes, “that that part of the Israelis who as before believe in the idea of an Orthodox Jewish state are making passionate efforts to limit [such] inter-ethnic marriages.” And no one is upset, he continues, with their frequent and very open discussions about the dangers such marriages pose to the Jewish state.
“But here in Russia,” he continues, “which as before remains true to the ideas of the Communist International, the very raising of such a question is viewed as somehow shameful.” That should change, Grishchenkov says, or in the relatively near future, ethnic Russians will “cease” to feel themselves at home “in their own country.”
Grishchenkov overstates both the number of such inter-ethnic marriages in the Russian capital – most demographers suggest that these form no more than a fifth to a quarter of the total there – and the extent to which they in every case lead to the loss of ethnic Russian identity in the next generation, as he implies.
But his article is worth noting for two reasons. On the one hand, it reflects the Spenglerian doom that informs many discussions among Russian nationalists about the future. And on the other, and more intriguingly, it invokes the way in which some in Israel are responding to such demographic challenges as a justification for a tougher line on this issue in Russia itself.

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