Still Captive Nations: The Freedom Fight Continues
The Ukraine war can awaken the still captive nations
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine should put the spotlight on the fact that within Russia’s present-day borders live nations still trapped in the prison of nations, which can be considered part of the Captive Nations.
In the Cold War, the term Captive Nations was used to denote countries under the rule of Soviet Communism. Originally in 1959 it included the following nations: Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, East Germany, China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Tibet, Turkestan, Cossackia and Idel-Ural.
“Turkestan” somewhat inaccurately refers to the five republics of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (by “inaccurate” I mean that it is not only Turkic peoples, but a large Persian presence).
Idel-Ural refers to the short-lived Idel-Ural State in 1918, a region which encompasses Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Mari, Udmurtia and Mordovia, for which a nationalist movement still exists today.
“Cossackia” is the Don and Kuban regions of southern Russia, stronghold of the Cossacks who share some culture with Ukraine, and who also had their own states during the Russian Civil War where they fought against the Bolsheviks.
The Ukraine conflict can revive the concept of Prometheism, that is to say, the revival of the spirit of liberating nations still under the rule of Russia today for which there is ample precedent. And Russia fears the anger and resentment among these peoples, fearing they will reassert their old identities and demand to break free from the shackles of rule by Moscow.
Indeed Tatarstan, like Chechnya, may well have done so in the 1990s. And while Russia is theoretically a federal republic, the autonomy and identity of these republics has progressively been eviscerated under the rule of Putin.
The time has come. Prometheism compliments the Three Seas idea neatly, and can expand the family of free nations.