All Hail the Yevraz!
In a bold and encouraging move last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced he was proposing, in the words of the Moscow Times: “a common currency for five former Soviet republics, a slap in the face for Russia, which has been promoting the ruble for the role. Nazarbayev said the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose group of five former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Russia, could adopt a single noncash currency — the yevraz — to insulate itself from the global economic crisis. Yevraz is a newly coined word that sounds close to “Eurasia” in Russian. The Eurasian Economic Community also includes Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”
Whether or not theYevraz becomes a reality, Nazarbayev has sent a clear signal that he understands the dangers associated with neo-Soviet imperialism, and will not be destroyed by them. Likely, this move is a direct response to Russia’s insane invasion of Georgia last year, and reflects the ripple effects of an action that will haunt the corridors of Russian policy for many years. How can Nazarbayev not fear that Russia wishes to annex his own country just as it attempted to do in Georgia? How can he not fear that, if Russia did so, it would visit the same sort of exploitation and suffering upon his nation that it imposed during the Soviet period?
We urge Kazakhstan to recognize that their future does not and cannot lie with Russia. We urge them to see that Russia is a racist, Slavophile nation which is utterly incapable of seeing the Kazakh people as equal citizens, a nation whose only purpose in dealing with Kazakhstan is naked imperliasm and manipulation.
The people of Russia, for all it seems, are prepared to march backward in history and expose themselves to a whole new era of neo-Soviet horror. The people of Kazakhstan should show they world that they are not so foolish.