In a recent decision by the Russian government, they announced they are going to have the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) which include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldava Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan participate with Russia in rebuilding Syria:
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has told his colleagues from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) bloc that their nations are welcome to participate in restoring peaceful life in Syria.
Speaking at the recent session of the Council of Heads of Defense Ministries of the Commonwealth, Shoigu stated that the main part of Syrian territory had been liberated from terrorists and the remaining terrorist formations are currently negotiating their surrender to pro-government forces. “The terrorists’ plans to create a pseudo-caliphate have been thwarted and all conditions have been set to return life in this country into the normal flow, but for this we need a collective effort,” the Russian minister stated.
“Dear colleagues, I address you with a proposal to participate in Syria’s return to peaceful life and we count on your support,” he said.
The Russian official also specified that participation was possible in the form of mine clearance, military patrols in de-escalation zones, humanitarian aid and the restoration of Syrian infrastructure.
A poll conducted by the Russian state-run VTSIOM in mid-April showed that public support for Russia’s military operation in Syria had increased from 34 to 39 percent in around two months, and the proportion of those who think Russia should withdraw from Syria had fallen from 11 to 9 percent over the same period.
Also, 66 percent of respondents said that, in their opinion, Russia should continue to support President Bashar Assad – even in the case of a direct attack by the United States.
A separate poll conducted by VTSIOM last October showed that 73 percent of Russians believed that their country should continue helping Syria after the armed conflict has ended. An even larger share of respondents – 75 percent – said they would like to see Russia continue sending humanitarian aid to Syria. (source)
Russia so far has achieved both a tactical and social victory in Syria, the latter being a more serious matter than the former. Her purpose in Syria has been to support the Asad government in order to maintain Russian influence and presence in the Middle East as part of the ongoing proxy war taking place there with the USA, who has backed Islamic terrorists (a.k.a. “rebels” or “insurgents”) to increase the American presence and drive Russia out.
So far, Russia has been able to establish and maintain a military base at Tartus and support the Asad government without seriously increasing the intensity of the conflict so to give the Americans a reason to “retaliate”.
Russia wants peace because at the absolute basest level, and regardless of any “higher” considerations, peace is in her geopolitical interests.
Russia’s physical size, declining population and internal social crises that include but are not limited to Islamic rebellions, migration from the nations of Central Asia, high abortion rate, increasing HIV rate (it’s officially about 1% of the population, but due to a lack of diagnosis, extensive drug abuse, and promiscuity is said that up to 2% of Russia has HIV), historical rivalries with Turkey, Germany, and now the USA mean that she cannot afford to increase social disorder. Russia will always have some problem to deal with, but the question is the number and intensity. It is in her selfish interest to seek peace simply to keep the already numerous problems she must deal with to a minimum and under some form of control.
The reason that Russia invited the CIS to participate with her is not really about European affairs. It has everything to do with migration from Central Asia to Russia.
Migration from Central Asia to Russia is not new and has been taking place since the breakup of the Soviet Union. During the 1990s, many of the migrants who came from these nations were Russians or the descendants of Russians who settled in these nations for work. Others included Poles and Germans who were or were the descendants of people deported to the work camps of the communist party, as well as many Jews who settled in these regions for economic purposes such as from the Jewish Autonomous Republic located in the eastern end of Siberia. Such migrations also included “Russified” minorities such as some Kazakhs, Bashkirs, and Tartars.
Migration to Russia today, however, consists primarily of “native” peoples from central Asia. Due to a shortage of work and little to no economic opportunities or internal development owing to many reasons from geographic isolation to rampant corruption to simple underdevelopment of resources, many of the native Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek people are doing in a Russian context what many Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans do in an American context, which is to pack up their bags and travel to Russia for work. Once they were only a few, but Central Asian people in Russia have become as ubiquitous as Hispanic people in the USA. From the largest cities to the most rural areas, their presence is visible and increasing.
Just as people complain in the USA about how illegal immigrants commit crimes, the Russians have the same complains with many similar stories. One such recent example was a Russian man who discovered without his knowledge that 165 migrants from Central Asia were registered to his address.
Migration is a political issue in all countries. It is more of a political issue in the USA because illegal migration acts as the unspoken support mechanism of many industries, most importantly that of agriculture. Without the illegals, many farmers would lose their crops because owing to the difficult nature of the work and comparatively low pay rate with other fields, jobs that Americans are significantly less willing to do will be done with joy by men who come from nations where the average income of a citizen is at the very best scenario the lowest average income of all counties in the USA, and in many countries far lower. In a nation where the average annual income may only be a few hundred dollars, such as El Salvador or Honduras and where the jobs available are difficult, the opportunity to earn $5 an hour picking berries for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 13 weeks (an average farm season) is a godsend, as it is the opportunity to earn many years worth of income in a matter of months.
This is what would happen if Americans could not get cheap food. There would be disorder, but it would not threaten the integrity of the nation itself.
If the illegals were all or in large part deported and immigration laws enforced as they are, the price of fruits and vegetables would increase immensely. Americans would be outraged at paying double, triple, or quadruple for their fruit prices, and the anger would result in a real political crisis because of the businesses that would be affected. However, the crisis would not endanger the survival of the USA itself.
Priiskoviy, a semi-abandoned village in Khakassia Republic, Russia near Central Asia. This is but one of many villages that are disappearing in Russia because of population declines. The declining birth rates in combination with Turkic migration and higher birth rates are an existential threat to Russia’s existence. In her case, immigration is a potential long-term issue of survival.
Migration is still a political issue in Russia, but at the current time has become a survival issue for the existence of Russia itself. In addition to the structural and social problems Russia suffers from, the Russia people are not reproducing, and the total fertility rate for Russia stands at 1.61 children. Of the five nations of Central Asia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan have fertility rates above replacement levels at respectively 2.63, 2.61, and 2.25. Turkmenistan is close to matching replacement levels at 2.07. The lowest is Uzbekistan, which at 1.76 is still higher than Russia. By comparison, the USA stands at 1.87, but she also has more than double the population that Russia has, numbering at 325 million over Russia’s 144 million.
The combination of new people plus the fact they have not only more children, but more than replacement level in society means that in a matter of decades, they will begin to replace the native Russian peoples in Russia itself. This is a serious threat to Russia because the Central Asian peoples at one time ruled Russia for centuries, and if she is not careful, it is possible that she will once again be under their rule. Given that the Central Asian peoples share a long historical, religious (many are Muslims or shamanistic-influenced Islam), and cultural ties to Turkey, and that Erdogan is aggressively pursuing a policy of “pan-Turkism”, it is possible the Central Asian migrants may ally with Turkey against Russia and assist the Ottoman terror in eliminating or subduing one of its greatest historical enemies.
Sergei Shoigu, head of the Russian military
Russia is acutely aware of this threat and in response has sought to aggressively make herself a close friend and ally of Central Asian nations. Russia wants to control the migration levels quietly while at the same time promoting “native” fertility but work towards a policy of “Russification” of the new migrants by forming them into “patriotic” Russian citizens whose identity is focused first on a common culture and national identity. This is one of the reasons why President Putin appointed Sergei Shoigu has head of the Russian military, for he is a half-central Asian and half-Russian man who is meant to represent down to his physical constitution the union of Slav and Tuvan working together for a common national goal.
The Americans are also aware of this situation. In response, the Americans have been promoting pro-Islamic and separatist policies in Central Asia and Siberia. This is part of a project focused on facilitating the decline of Russia by aggravating already existing problems which include Islamic revivalism and Turkish nationalist politics. It is why the Americans with the Germans, Turkey’s historical ally, built up Turkey into the second largest army in Europe after Russia as a part of Operation Gladio, so that she would serve as a “hedge” against the Russians. It also is why the Germans and by extension, Americans are working with Turkey to help construct a massive railroad traveling from Turkey and going to Central Asia and the Far East, as it will open up a way for the simple transport of economic goods and cultural ideas to promote pan-Turkism as part of a “great Turkish alliance” against Russia that is a part of Erdogan’s plan to revive the Ottoman Empire.
This is why Russia is saying that she alone will not rebuild Syria, but it will be a joint project between her and the CIS. For all practical reasons it is going to be the Russians who will do and fund most of the work, but the point is not who does the work but who, at least superficially, shares in the activity. Central Asia may be impoverished and underdeveloped, but Russia wants the integration of those nations in the project because she wants to keep their influence as closely tied to her interests as she can and away from the tentacles of Erdogan and her American, German, and Israeli allies. To tie the CIS to Russian interests in Syria inherently places strain on and may aid in breaking down the relations that these four nations are trying to build with the CIS.
Ultimately, Syria needs peace because the conflict that the USA started and continues to fund is evil and is responsible for the deaths of probably over a million people in the Levant region and the displacement of millions more. Humanity always precedes politics, and as all men are created in the image and likeness of God, men are not to be used as pawns for political gain in a game of geopolitical chess.
It is good that Russia is encouraging peace, and the reason is because it is in her geopolitical interests just as much as war is for the Americans. It is another development in the modern form of the Cold War being played out between the USA and Russia on the chessboard of the Middle East.