Muslim Russia? Ethnic Tension Builds under the Strain of Islam's Demographic Surge

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

Muslim Russia? Ethnic Tension Builds under the Strain of Islam's Demographic Surge


Byline: Daniel Pipes, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The stabbing death on Oct. 10 of an ethnic Russian, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, apparently by a Muslim from Azerbaijan, led to anti-migrant disturbances in Moscow, vandalism and assaults, and the arrest of 1,200, and brought a major tension in Russian life to the fore.

Not only do ethnic Muslims account for 21 million to 23 million of Russia's total population of 144 million, or 15 percent, but their proportion is fast-growing. Alcoholism-plagued ethnic Russians are said to have European birthrates and African death rates. Their women have on average 1.4 children, and their men have a life expectancy of 60 years. In Moscow, ethnic Christian women have 1.1 child.

In contrast, Muslim women bear 2.3 children on average and have fewer abortions than their Russian counterparts. In Moscow, Tatar women have six children and Chechen and Ingush women have 10. In addition, some 3 million to 4 million Muslims have moved to Russia from ex-republics of the Soviet Union, mainly from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; and some ethnic Russians are converting to Islam.

These trends point to Christians declining in numbers by 0.6 percent a year and Muslims increasing by that same amount, which will have dramatic effects over time. Some analysts foresee Muslims becoming a majority in the 21st century - a demographic revolution that would fundamentally change the country's character. Paul Goble, an expert on Russian minorities, concludes that

Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Russian commentator he quotes envisions a mosque on Red Square in Moscow. The facile assumption that Moscow is and will remain Western-oriented is no longer valid, he argues. In particular, he predicts that the Muslim demographic surge will have a profound impact on Russian foreign policy.

Within a few years, Muslims will make up half the conscripts in the Russian army. Joseph A. D'Agostino of the Population Research Institute asks: Will such a military operate effectively given the fury that many domestic Muslims feel toward the Russian military's tactics in the Muslim region of Chechnya? What if other Muslim regions of Russia - some of which contain huge oil reserves - rebel against Moscow? Will Muslim soldiers fight and kill to keep them part of the Russian motherland?

Russia's increasingly confident Muslims, who constitute a majority of 57 out of the country's 182 ethnic groups, have started to use the term Muslim Russia to signal their ambitions. According to Muslim analyst Daniyal Isayev, this term affirms that Islam is an inalienable part of Russia and that Russia as a state and civilization could not exist without Islam and the Muslims. He notes that Muslims preceded ethnic Russians in much of the territory that is now Russia. His sweeping claims for Muslims include the exaggerations that they made critical contributions to Russia's culture and its military victories.

Such talk causes ethnic Russians to shudder about the country's population loss of at least 700,000 people a year as they return to their faith and turn against Muslims. The results include biased media portrayals, attacks on mosques and other crimes, efforts to block Muslim immigration, and the rise of extreme Russian nationalist groups, such as Alexander Belov's Movement against Illegal Immigration.

The Kremlin has responded to the issue in contradictory ways. Then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 tried appeasement by stressing the importance of Islam to Russia, noting that Muslim foundations are making an important contribution to promoting peace in society, providing spiritual and moral education for many people, as well as fighting extremism and xenophobia. He also announced that, owing to its large Muslim population, Russia does not need to seek friendship with the Muslim world: Our country is an organic part of this world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Muslim Russia? Ethnic Tension Builds under the Strain of Islam's Demographic Surge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.