Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Window on Eurasia: UPDATE on Moscow’s Efforts to Organize ‘Compatriots’

Paul Goble

Vienna, October 2 – A Russian-language newspaper on Cyprus provides some important additional details on the September 21-23 Prague meeting – described in yesterday’s Window – at which senior Russian officials sought to organize their “compatriots” in Western Europe.
Russkiyi Kipr reported that the session drew “compatriots” of various kinds from 30 countries as well as a large collection of senior Russian officials who are leading the Moscow effort to set up umbrella-like coordinating councils in seven regions of the world (http://narodru.ru/smi13373.html).
Among these “honored guests,” the paper said, were Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Aleksandr Chepurin, the diretor of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Work with Compatriots Abroad, and Aleksei Sazonov, the deputy director of the ministry’s Information Department.
Others part of this official delegation were Tat’yana Poloskova, the head of the Administration for Work with Compatriots of the Center for Russians Abroad, Anatoliy Sorokin, the deputy head of the Moscow City government’s International Relations Department, and Yuriy Kaplun, the director of the Moscow House of the Compatriot.
The Cyprus paper reported that those in attendance listened to a message from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who assured them that “support of compatriots in the near and far abroad always will be a priority direction of the foreign policy of Russia.”
Some of the compatriots in turn indicated that “part of their organizations are trying to actively maintain close ties with the Foreign Ministry Department on Work with Compatriots Abroad and with the Department of International Relations of the Moscow City government, and also with the Center for Russians Abroad,” the paper said.
By the end of the three-day session, “Russkiy Kipr” suggested, the participants could feel “that relations of Russia with the Russian diasporas of Europe, which today number six million people are gradually becoming ever more diverse and multi-dimensional.”
And that, the Russkiy Kipr journalist implies, fully justifies the title she selected for her article about this meeting about Russians abroad: “Feel Yourselves More Confident.”
Today also brought news that the Russian government is helping some Russian compatriots in the post-Soviet states to make appeals to the European Human Rights Court concerning efforts by some of these states to modify Russian names to conform to the national languages of these states (http://www.nr2.ru/society/142860.html).
This problem is widespread, the report said, in Ukraine and Latvia, but in all the discussion of the difficulties these Russian compatriots face, there is no mention of the violence done to the spelling of the names of non-Russians in Soviet times – or to the fact that even now Russians refuse to spell Tallinn with two Ns as the Estonians always have.

No comments: