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  1. #61
    Banned DrFlexologist's Avatar
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    I would just like to say that what is happening to gays in Chechnya is beyond horrific. It began after a Moscow-based gay rights group applied for permits to stage gay pride parades in four cities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region, of which Chechnya is a part. The idea that what is happening is somehow approved by Putin I just do not buy even though he has a sketchy history with LGBT rights.

    Please know that Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov is about as unstable as a human being gets. In the first Chechen War, from 1994-96, he led a unit of rebel fighters inspired by his father, a senior Muslim cleric who famously called for a jihad against the Russians, and for every Chechen to kill 150 Russians.

    Chechnya is largely Muslim, and Putin does't have control like he does in other parts of Russia. Kadyrov is a former separatist who once fought against the Russians but is on their 'side' for now. There are 20+ million Muslims in Russia and Putin already has problems with dissidents of his country joining the ranks of ISIS.

    What happens if Kadyrov decides to 'flip that switch'? Do you think Putin wants to fight ISIS at home? This is a potential powder keg that could go off if things between him and Putin turn sour because of this. Putin cut his teeth destroying the Chechens--you think Kadyrov doesn't know that? I think Putin keeps Kadyrov close so as to try and keep him under some form of control--not because he truly views him as a trustful ally. It was a mistake, in retrospect, for Putin to show any allegiances to Kadyrov. Putin doesn't want another war with Chechnya, but, he may not have a choice
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  2. #62
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    Originally Posted by DrFlexologist View Post
    I would just like to say that what is happening to gays in Chechnya is beyond horrific. It began after a Moscow-based gay rights group applied for permits to stage gay pride parades in four cities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region, of which Chechnya is a part. The idea that what is happening is somehow approved by Putin I just do not buy even though he has a sketchy history with LGBT rights.

    Please know that Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov is about as unstable as a human being gets. In the first Chechen War, from 1994-96, he led a unit of rebel fighters inspired by his father, a senior Muslim cleric who famously called for a jihad against the Russians, and for every Chechen to kill 150 Russians.

    Chechnya is largely Muslim, and Putin does't have control like he does in other parts of Russia. Kadyrov is a former separatist who once fought against the Russians but is on their 'side' for now. There are 20+ million Muslims in Russia and Putin already has problems with dissidents of his country joining the ranks of ISIS.

    What happens if Kadyrov decides to 'flip that switch'? Do you think Putin wants to fight ISIS at home? This is a potential powder keg that could go off if things between him and Putin turn sour because of this. Putin cut his teeth destroying the Chechens--you think Kadyrov doesn't know that? I think Putin keeps Kadyrov close so as to try and keep him under some form of control--not because he truly views him as a trustful ally. It was a mistake, in retrospect, for Putin to show any allegiances to Kadyrov. Putin doesn't want another war with Chechnya, but, he may not have a choice
    The Russian authorities’ incessant promotion of the Russian Orthodox Church, Orthodox symbols, and supposed “Orthodox cultural values” hides an understudied, contradictory trend: Russia is becoming increasingly a Muslim country. Russia counts about 15 million people (in a total population of over 146 million, including two million in annexed Crimea) of Muslim background, or about 11 percent of its population. All are not fervent believers, and even fewer practice Islam routinely. Moscow has the largest Muslim community in Europe: about one million Muslim residents and up to 1.5 million Muslim migrant workers. Given demographic changes, Muslims will represent between one third (the most conservative estimate) and one half (the most generous estimate) of the Russian population by around 2050.

    A Demographic Balance in Favor of Muslim Populations

    Despite their different methods of calculation, projections from the Russian official statistics as well as the United Nations concur that the Russian population will decline in size. In 2030, Russia’s population could fall to 120–130 million people [40], which would have significant consequences in terms of labor, pension funding, and securing areas near more populous neighbors such as China—that is, mostly in the Far East.

    Russia is a unique case in the world demographic landscape. The reversal that occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union is particularly noticeable: the Russian population declined from 148.5 million in 1992 to 141.9 million in 2009. Population figures stabilized at the turn of the 2010s, with a minor population increase; and, in 2013, there was a positive natural increase for the first time since 1992. In 2015, the authorities welcomed this success, loudly announcing a population of 146.3 million, including 2.3 million new citizens, following the annexation of Crimea. [41] Fertility has risen from its lowest level in 1999 (1.17 children per woman) to 1.54 ten years later. It is supported by improving middle-class living standards, social optimism in young households, and the establishment of a pro-natalist policy, which includes financial support for families (with a “baby bonus” allocated for a second child), programs promoting large families, and tightening access to abortion.

    Despite this modest demographic recovery, the outlook remains gloomy. Indeed, this rebound is primarily due to the naturalization of some immigrants and the arrival of more numerous age groups. The rise in births cannot fundamentally change the situation. The number of women of childbearing age will decline by 20 percent around 2025, due only to the age cohort effect. The country no longer has enough young people: 6.5 million 5–14 year olds and little more than 4.5 million 15–19 year olds.

    Additionally, this birth policy does not address the challenge at the heart of the Russian population issue, which is excessive male mortality. Life expectancy for men at birth decreased from 63 years in 1990 to 58 in 1996 (a lower rate than existed under Khrushchev), before rising slowly to 65 in 2013. This excessive male mortality is directly and indirectly linked to alcoholism (one out of five Russian men dies from drinking), a very high number of accidents, suicides, and everyday violence. In terms of mortality for external causes (not related to a disease), Russia is tied with Burundi and Congo. [42] Added to this is Russia’s unenviable status as the world leader in heroin use (the country shares first place with Iran) with about 8 million Russian citizens being drug users. [43] This consumption also influences the development of the AIDS epidemic, with Russia’s infection rate among the highest in the world after some sub-Saharan countries.

    The Russian authorities have celebrated the rise in the birth rate with great pomp, interpreting it as the country’s long-awaited demographic “rebirth” and as revealing, rightly, an improvement in the welfare of households of childbearing age. They are quieter on male mortality because the public policies needed to fight it are more difficult to implement than natalist policies. Even the most optimistic experts do not believe in the Russian population’s ability to change the current demographic decline, since not even a rapid improvement of public policies in relation to male violent and premature deaths and a natality rate of 2 to 3 children per women would be able to modify the ongoing population collapse as a result of shrinking youth age cohorts.

    The only demographically dynamic part of the population is the non-ethnically Russian one, that is, mostly Muslim ethnic groups and the smaller Buddhist and Siberian indigenous groups. Of the twenty regions with positive rates of population increase, 19 are national republics or autonomous districts with relatively high rates of non-ethnic Russian citizens. Chechnya is in the lead with a natural increase of more than 2 percent (figures that should be taken with caution, given the propaganda of Kadyrov’s regime), followed by Ingushetia and Dagestan. After the North Caucasus come regions with Buddhist traditions such as Tuva, and those with significant indigenous populations, such as Khanty-Mansi in Siberia. The thirty peoples considered nominally Muslim have seen a sharp increase (+25 percent) between the 1989 and 2010 censuses. [44]

    Moreover, the only way for Russia to maintain its population level at around 130 million inhabitants in the forthcoming three decades—an already optimistic scenario—will be to accelerate the process of legal naturalization of migrants at a rapid pace, similar to that in the United States. In the next twenty years, between 5 and 12 million Central Asians, mostly Uzbeks and Tajiks—the population of Tajikistan will double in the next two decades, from 8 to 16 million—could potentially emigrate to Russia for work and then apply for Russian citizenship. The requirement for schooling of non-Russian children has been booming since the last decade, forcing the Ministry of Education to put in place specific programs for teachers to learn how to teach Russian as a foreign language. [45]

    Islam’s rise in influence in Russia will also alter profoundly Russian foreign policy in the decades to come.

    Right at the start of the 1990s, the autonomous Republic of Tatarstan showed the way of “paradiplomacy” as part of an attempt to develop its own international branding. [50] Tatarstan played the card of its Islamic and Turkic identity by participating in numerous regional fora, such as Turksoy, which aims to promote the world’s Turkic cultures, and by developing specific links with foreign Islamic institutions. Tatarstan also hopes to play a lead role in implementing Islamic finance in Russia, all the while remaining cautious about “foreign” Islamic influences. For some years, Chechnya under Ramzan Kadyrov has replicated this practice, this time aiming at the most conservative countries, in particular the Gulf countries, as well as the universe of Salafist movements. The Russian government promoted Chechnya to Middle Eastern countries to showcase its Islamophile policies. The Russian Foreign Affairs Minister fought, for example, in 2011 to have some holy relics brought to Grozny in order to give the Republic greater legitimacy in the Islamic world. [51]

    Russia became a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 2005 but its status was subsequently reduced to observer level since membership is now reserved to countries with a Muslim majority. Despite this, Moscow continues to attend all the major OIC conferences, sending high-level delegations, and has since conducted a veritable charm offensive toward Muslim countries. In addition to historically cordial relations with former Arab socialist countries such as Iraq, Libya, and Syria, as well as the Palestinians, Russia has sought to move closer to more conservative countries such as those of the Gulf, and it entertains sometimes difficult but overall cordial relations with Iran. Russia’s objections to the Western intervention in Libya and its engagement alongside Bashar al-Assad have enhanced Russia’s image among many Muslim countries. If Russia is considered an enemy by networks of international Jihadism, Muslim public opinion in general, above all in the Arab world, have a rather neutral or sometimes positive view of Russia, since it promotes a discourse that is critical of US-style democracy promotion and its attendant interference. [52]

    Over the long term, strategic planners will have to take into consideration Russia’s rising Islamic identity and its possible impact on foreign policy. An increasing part of Russia’s public opinion will pressure central authorities for a more pro-Muslim foreign policy. The current overlapping of anti-US conspiracy theories both from Russia and the Middle-East is contributing to this geopolitical rapprochement. [53]

    https://jamestown.org/program/marlen...change-russia/
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