Russian offer of Japanese resettlement in Siberia raises xenophobic tensions

Russian offer of Japanese resettlement in Siberia raises xenophobic tensions

Vladimir Putin says Libya intervention is a ‘crusade’

Russian offer of Japanese resettlement in Siberia raises xenophobic tensions

Shortly after Japan experienced its earthquake and tsunami, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the colorful leader of one of Russia’s opposition parties, called on Japanese citizens to migrate from their “dangerous islands,” and move to the unpopulated territories in Russia’s Far East in Siberia.


Birch Trees in Siberia, Russia (Alexander Krivenyshev)
Birch Trees in Siberia, Russia (Alexander Krivenyshev)

“We offer the way to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, said Zhirinovsky according to Ria Novosti. “Russia will even benefit if such hardworking people join us.”

The comment was not taken very seriously until Friday, when the idea was adopted by Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev discussed offering supplies of food and medical equipment to the Japanese, and added, “In general we must now think about the use, if necessary, of some of the employment potential of our [Japanese] neighbours, especially in sparsely populated areas of Siberia and the Far East,” according to Moscow News.

Russia’s Far East suffered rapid depopulation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. During the 1990s, there was enormous poverty and no support from the chaotic Moscow government. As a result, population fell by as much as 50% in the region, as millions migrated east, mostly to the European part of Russia.

However, Russia’s Far East is also rich in natural resources, of which the most obvious is timber. This presents an opportunity for the Chinese, who have sent a flood of illegal migrants to re-populate the region, according to ABC News. The entire Far East has only 7.4 million people, while there are more than 70 million people in northeast China.

Thus, it’s possible that Medvedev’s offer to the Japanese to migrate to the Far East was motivated as a way to counter Chinese migration. At the very least, Moscow needs Japanese capital and technology to develop its Far East, according to an analysis by Jamestown.

However, this suggestion has infuriated xenophobic Russian nationalists, including many in the Russian population of the Far east, according to an analysis Paul Goble.

One Siberian activist said that Medvedev’s proposal is so dangerous and outrageous as to constitute treason and that it should lead to his impeachment. The activist lists five reasons why Medvedev should be impeached:

 

  • Japan and Russia are still formally in a state of war, since World War II.
  •  

  • By admitting that the Far East is underpopulated, Medvedev makes it easier for “all countries which have or may have territorial claims against Russia.”
  •  

  • The declaration provokes China, and may lead to a war with China.
  •  

  • The declaration encourages indigenous populations who inhabited Siberia before the Russians, and who may demand independence.
  •  

  • Medvedev’s remarks give support to those who want to “accuse the leadership of Russia in the conscious genocide of the civil population which is living inthese regions.”

It sounds like a pretty vitriolic political argument, the same as many of the arguments we hear in Washington.

However, it’s interesting because it’s consistent with the expected lineup in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, based on Generational Dynamics analysis.

The reasoning is as follows: China will be allied with Pakistan, which will be allied with the Arab nations. Pakistan will be at war with India, which will be allied with Japan, Iran, Russia and the West. Thus, the closer relationship between Japan and Russia moves the world farther along that path, even though Japan and Russia never signed a peace agreement after World War II.

Vladimir Putin says Libya intervention is a ‘crusade’

A rare public disagreement has developed between Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, according to CNN.

On Monday, Putin said that the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the no-fly zone was “obviously incomplete and flawed”:

 

“It resembles a medieval appeal for a crusade in which somebody calls upon somebody to go to a certain place and liberate it. …In Bill Clinton’s times. Yugoslavia and Belgrade were bombed. Bush sent armed forces into Afghanistan. A far-fetched and totally false pretext was used to invade Iraq, and the entire Iraqi leadership was eliminated, even children in Saddam Hussein’s family died.

“And now, it’s Libya’s turn — under the pretext of protecting civilians. But it’s the civilian population who dies during those airstrikes against (Libyan) territory. Where is the logic and the conscience? There is neither.”

However, Medvedev scolded Putin a few hours later:

 

“It is absolutely inexcusable to use expressions that, in effect, lead to a clash of civilizations — such as ‘crusades,’ and so on. That is unacceptable.[Otherwise,] everything could end up in far worse shape than it is now. It is important to remember this.”

Both Putin and Medvedev are expected to be running for president in Russia’s 2012 election.

Additional links

The Obama administration would like to hand over command of the Libya intervention to another country in a matter of days, but finding an appropriate leader is proving to be difficult. The most obvious candidate is Nato, but Turkey is part of Nato, and Turkey is blocking Nato’s participation in Libya. Spiegel

Yemen’s government continues to collapse, amid violence directed at protesters. On Monday, Yemen’s ambassadors to Jordan, Egypt, Emirates, Algeria, China, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, and Syria all resigned, in protest to the violence. On Sunday, Yemeni Ambassadors in Pakistan, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Japan, UN, and Spain announced their support of the protesters. The protesters are demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down. Yemen Post

For the fourth consecutive day, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Deraa in southern Syria, to protest corruption and to demand that Syria’s president Bashar al Assad step down. Although most of the population is Sunni Muslim, the ruling elite in Syria are composed primarily of people who follow the Allawi religious sect, which is an independent religion with some elements of both Islam and Christianity. The National (UAE)

Clinton woman to be Playboy Playmate. Associated Press

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Mar-11 News — Russian offer of Japanese resettlement raises xenophobic tensions thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Mar-2011) Permanent Link

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