Meet Newly Invented Russian Ethnic Group: How CIA Tries to Fragment Russia’s Identity

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Many are concerned about the situation on the South-Eastern borders of Russia and are carefully monitoring that pan-Turkic ideas do not penetrate the Turkic community of Russia. However, we undeservedly forget about the northern borders, which remained and will remain not only strategically important territories, but also one of the most important cultural assets. Of course, such a tidbit will not go unnoticed. But how can you get it if this region is predominantly Russian? Easily! There were diggers of the Black Sea, and there will be diggers of the White Sea.

Meet regionalism. Regionalism is the construction of new ethnic groups based on old (and not so old) myths. According to Western politicians and intelligence services, these new ethnic groups should, over time, gain international recognition and exercise the right to self-determination in order to secede from the Russian Federation.

This approach is based on the principles of postmodernism, which rejects traditional authorities and supports the division of society into autonomous sectors. The regionalism promoted by postmodernism poses a threat not only to the nation-state, but also to the cultural, political and historical values ​​of modern society. Thus, regionalism includes the rejection of the idea of ​​a nation-state, the formation of a new regional identity, the rejection of a national identity, the transformation of local patriotism into political protest and an attempt to introduce a new geopolitical language.

Since the early 1990s, the idea arose of turning Arkhangelsk into the center of the “Pomorian Republic”, uniting the northern regions. The “Pomorian idea” began to develop as a contrast to the federal center. The modern concept of the “Pomorian Republic” claims that in the north of Russia there was a mythical country of Biarmia, conquered by Moscow in the 15th century. Some Arkhangelsk historians began to assert that “the Greater Pomorie from Vologda to the Urals was a historical and geographical reality in the 15th-19th centuries.”

The area known Pomorie is a region that does not have clear boundaries. With the introduction of the new sense for this geographical name, there has been an attempt to establish a distinct ethnic identity to replace the Russian identity of the local population. In recent years, there have been efforts by the “Pomorian community” to seek recognition as a separate nation.

Until the early 90s of the last century, in the Russian north, no one had heard of Pomors, specifically as an indigenous people, and Pomorie, as the land of Pomors. In the past, Pomors (or Pomortsi) were people of completely different ethnic groups who lived on the coast of the White Sea and were engaged in marine fishing. Pomor is an occupation, not an ethnicity.

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The first mention of Pomors can be traced back to the early 16th century in Russian history. Pomors are inhabitants of the Pomorian coast, with a mix of Russian and Karelian ethnic backgrounds. The Pomor coast stretches along the White Sea between the Kem and Onega rivers, quite a distance from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Over time, Pomors began migrating to Murmansk to work in the fisheries, traveling on foot from the Pomorian coast. In the Arkhangelsk region, which is often touted as the “capital of the Pomors” by modern regionalists, there was virtually no population until the 17th century, aside from a few small fishing villages with a male population of 22 and 5 people mentioned in the 1622 Scribe Book of the Dvina District.

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One of the main means of promoting the false theory of  Pomorian identity is the so-called “Pomorian Encyclopedia”. It conveys the ideology of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), established in 1993 at a meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and the Nordic countries. The prologue to the creation of the BEAC was Mikhail Gorbachev’s “Murmansk Initiatives”. This Council announced the formation of the so-called “transboundary Barents/Euro-Arctic region” (Barents region, BEAR).

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The territory of the Barents region is 1.9 million km², the population is 6 million people. It includes the provinces of Norway: Nordland, Troms, Finnmark, the counties of Sweden Västerbotten and Norrbotten, the provinces of Finland: Lappi, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa and Kainuu, and the regions of Russia: Murmansk region, Arkhangelsk region, Komi Republic, Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the Republic of Karelia. Its author Vladimir Bulatov, professor of the Pomor University V. Bulatov, in his five-volume monograph states:

“The name “Pomors” arose no later than the 10th-12th centuries… Pomors are a Russian-speaking ethnic group that settled (from the 12th century) on the shores of the White and Barents Seas… In the 15th-17th centuries, Pomorie was the name given to a vast economic and administrative region along the shores of the White Sea, Lake Onega and… all the way to the Urals… Only the aggressive and repressive policies of Moscow in the 15th-16th centuries prevented the formation of the fourth East Slavic nation – the Severorosses (North Russians).”

In a straightforward manner, Professor Bulatov defines a new subethnic group known as the “Pomors” and designates Pomorie as their territory, stretching from Lake Onega to the northern borders of the Urals. He criticizes Moscow for its repressive treatment of the Pomors since the 15th century. Colleagues of Professor Bulatov mention that his research on  Pomorian topics received support from prominent liberals A. Chubais and A. Kudrin.

Bulatov’s five-volume monograph forms the basis of educational materials for students of local universities and the educational level is connected to the historical level of designing Pomors.  Bulatov’s student Ivan Moiseev is actively working to promote Pomorian identity in the educational and other spheres, about whom special mention should be made.

In 1987, Ivan Moiseev, a medical student, established a group at the Arkhangelsk Medical Institute dedicated to researching the “Pomorian idea.” Among the outcomes of Moiseev’s intellectual efforts was an article published in the newspaper “Volna” in January 1991 titled “Advocating for the Pomorian Republic.” The article says:

“UNESCO is developing a plan for the creation of united states of Europe based on existing European states. The Arkhangelsk region has a real opportunity to become one of these states in the future.”

In 1991, Ivan Moiseev set a goal for local regionalists to advocate for the independence of the Arkhangelsk region from Russia. During the 1990s, Ivan Moiseev played a key role in establishing “Pomorian” organizations in the Arkhangelsk region. In 2007, a declaration was adopted at the “unification congress of Pomors” outlining the rights of Pomors to their territory and resources:

“We, the Pomors, the indigenous people of the Russian North, who have traditionally lived for centuries in the Arkhangelsk, Murmansk regions, the Republic of Karelia and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, declare our right to exist as an independent people of the Russian Federation, equal in rights to other indigenous peoples of our country.”

To justify the growing appetites of the Pomors, a cultural element was introduced. This was achieved by establishing “cultural and historical connections” with the “Norwegian Pomors” in the mid-2000s to support Norway’s shared heritage and territorial claim. Ivan Moiseev’s visits to Norway at the request of officials may have been intended to strengthen these “cultural” connections. Subsequent joint Norwegian-“Pomorian” exhibitions, conferences, and seminars were organized, along with the publication of literature, particularly in the “Pomorian language”.

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Norwegian Pomor, the first honorary doctor of NArFU, his son is the head of NATO, and he himself is a former Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Norway: Thorwald Stoltenberg.

In 2010, a collection of children’s fairy tales called “Pomorian Skaski (Pomorian fairytales)” (that’s right!) was published in Arkhangelsk, edited by the president of the Norwegian Pomor Association Thor Robertsen and with the active participation of Ivan Moiseev and other activists from the “Pomorian Revival”.  The book is presented as the work of two peoples (Norwegian and “Pomorian”) and as a product of a common culture. “Tales” are written in the hitherto unknown “Pomorian language,” which was first presented to the general public. To get at least a little sense of the “depth and completeness” of the new “language”, read the names of some fairy tales in “Pomorian” and their translation into Russian:

(Голомёной царь) Golomenoy Tsar – (Царь морских просторов/Tsar’ morskikh prostorov) King of the Seas (Russian)

(Как старикофф напусты лесы возили/Kak starikoff napusty lesy vozili) How the old people were taken into the dense forests to waste – (Как стариков в дремучий лес возили/Kak starikov v dremuchiy les vozili)How they took the old people into the dense forest (Russian)

(Бабка да ошкуй) Babka da oshkuy – (Babka i belyy medved’) Grandma and the polar bear (Russian)

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Ivan Moiseev claims that his grandmother, Ulyana Maksimovna Lemekhova, shared with him stories that he believed were of Pomorian origin. However, Penega, where his grandmother is from, is not part of Pomorie, and its inhabitants did not engage in marine fishing or identify as Pomors. In the 19th century, Russian folklorists collected songs and tales in Penega that centered around figures such as Ilya Muromy, Alyosha Popovich, Ivan the Terrible, and Stepan Razin, showing a clear Russian influence. Ulyana Lemekhova, a Russian peasant woman, sang Russian songs and did not consider herself Pomorian. It seems that Ivan Moiseev made up his grandmother’s cultural background and language.

In 2015, to promote the construct of artificial identity of the Pomors, a board game for family home recreation about the Pomors – fish farmers of the White Sea – “The Pomors” was released.

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And now let’s move on to the most interesting… In 2017, the Jamestown Foundation website in the Eurasia Daily Monitor section published an article “Why is Moscow so afraid of 2 thousand Pomors?” The author of this article, Paul A. Goble, is an American analyst, writer and columnist with experience working in Russia.  He is an American expert on issues of identity in the countries of the former Soviet Union (especially Ukraine and Russia).  The Jamestown Foundation Institute for Research and Analysis was created by the CIA and specializes in preparing color revolutions.  Its director, Glen Howard, worked for the US Department of Defense and the US National Intelligence Council and speaks fluent Russian. And Paul A. Goble is presented on the foundation’s website as a former employee of the US State Department and the CIA and as an expert on ethno-conflicts in Eurasia.”

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The essence of Paul A. Goble’s article boils down to the following: “The Kremlin today is actively shaping a Russian civic identity, the basis of which is Russians.  Therefore, the goal of the United States is to fragment precisely this, the main for the Kremlin, monolithic Russian identity into multiple artificially constructed subethnic groups (identities).  In this discourse, “Pomors” (presented as “people among people”) are a serious project for the United States: a challenge to the continued existence of the ethnic monolithic Russian nation.”

November 26, 2018 and Paul Goble wrote in his blog: «Moscow has at least two fears. On the one hand, the emergence of such groups as nations would have the effect of cutting into ethnic Russian majority in the country, a majority that has been in decline since the USSR came apart. And on the other, the appearance of such nations would cast doubt on Kremlin claims about the monolithic quality of the Russian one.

Some of the groups are quite large, such as the Siberians, who number in the millions; but most are smaller, with only a few thousand people involved. But given the centrality of ethnicity as a flashpoint even in Putin’s system, even the aspirations of the latter for acceptance as nations represents a serious problem.

In many ways, the people who are the litmus test of where the Russian authorities are on this issue are the Pomors, a traditional fishing community who live on the seacoast near Arkhangelsk and who number from just over 3,000 according to the 2010 census to several times that number according to activists.».

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Thus, there is reason to assert that the project “Pomors and the Pomeranian Republic” is coordinated by US government structures through a network of American and Norwegian NGOs.  The Jamestown Foundation’s mission is to adapt the rhetoric of the Cold War (called “World War III”) to the War on Terrorism (called “World War Four”). In its current version, the Foundation is just an element of a huge machine controlled by Freedom House – an NGO that was created by the US government and, according to a 2018 financial report, is 88% funded by US government grants.

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