Russian information campaign against Crimean Tatars?

Prince Ukhtomsky in the Battle with Tatars at Volga in 1469. 1904.  Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Prince Ukhtomsky in the Battle with Tatars at Volga in 1469. 1904. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

This morning I was listening to Kommersant FM radio talk about today’s referendum in Crimea and heard something disconcerting—likely part of an information campaign against the Crimean Tatars. Over the last week or two the Russian station has been playing 1- or 2-minute spots about the peninsula’s history, and this one focused on the Crimean Khanate. It mentioned how the Tatars burned Moscow in the 16th century, killing many, and how they made a habit of enslaving and selling Russians, Poles, and others.

Is this kind of message an attempt to reduce listeners’ sympathy for the Tatars, who have a lot to lose when Russia takes over (again)? Or is it a way to prepare Russians to tolerate oppression of the group? (Remember what they did to us…..)

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One comment

  1. My instinct is that the Tatar angle is being played for the same reason Stalingrad 1942-1943, Napoleon, and Alexander Nevsky are so often referenced in Russian propaganda – to reinforce the national self-identity of Russia as a bulwark against imperial aggression. It’s intended to bolster arguments that Russia needs influence in Crimea and wherever else on its borders to preserve its security, with the implication being that if it is unable to do so, nothing would stand in the way of the next great imperial power (like big scary NATO) pursuing global domination.

    That the party line also helps to turn the population against dissident ethnic minorities is icing on the cake!

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