The Russian war against Ukraine goes on. For the past year, the Russians have
demonstrated that they are committed to killing everyone living in Ukraine. Muslims, Jews,
Christians, no matter. As a colonial country, the Russians only aim to suppress as many people
as possible and gain as many territories as possible. As we saw in 2022, there are no human
values for them, only a drive for destruction in the absence of the ability to create.
Russians deliberately devastate cultural and religious places of people living in Ukraine.
On March 12, the mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roxolana (Hurrem
Sultan) in Mariupol was shelled. On June 15, Russian troops destroyed the mosque and Muslim
centre “Bismillah” in Sievierodonetsk. The same was done to mosques in Kostyantynivka,
Donetsk region. These and many other holy places burned to the ground under Russian
occupation in the past couple of months. It is a serious violation of human rights and
international law. The intentional destruction of cultural heritage sites is considered a war crime
by the International Criminal Court, and is condemned by the international community as a
whole. Ukraine is a home to diverse ethnic and religious groups who live under the same
humanistic values. The way Russians destroy this spiritual diversity of Ukraine by demolishing
cultural and holy places is a sign of their ethical attitude towards non-Christians. There is a long
history of that and many examples.
Russia has been known as a colonial empire that expanded its territory, particularly in
the 18th and 19th centuries. It gained vast territories in Siberia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and
the Far East through military conquest and colonization. Many of the lands they occupied were
inhabited by the Muslims. For example, the Muslims comprised a large part of the population in
Siberia, mostly through the presence of Tatars. There was also a large Muslim population
across the Volga–Ural and in the northern Caucasian regions. In the past, Russia also colonized
whole independent Muslim states such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The tactic was always the same — suppression, ethnic and
religious cleansing, appropriation and further elimination.
In the war against Ukraine, Russia has mobilized the vast majority of the Muslim
population from Siberia, Central Asia, and the Far East. Ethnic groups of Buryats, Komi, Tajiks
have been sent to the battlefields in the East, South, and North of Ukraine. While ethnic
Russians, especially those from better-off regions such as Moscow and St. Petersburg,
overwhelmingly manage to avoid duty at the front. Russia’s peripheral subjects — Buryats,
Dagestanis, Tuvans, Komi who are mostly Muslims — are Putin’s cannon fodder. Buryats are
the second-highest number of soldiers killed in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war —
just after Dagestan, another conquest of the Russian Empire. As Russian casualties in Ukraine
reach the hundreds of thousands, these inequities have become glaringly obvious. People in the
periphery are becoming increasingly restless about sending their sons, brothers, and husbands
to die in a war fought for the cause of Russia.
In Ukraine, the Muslim population inhabits mostly the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by
Russia in 2014, and the South-East of the country. What is happening there now is the same
what Russia (then the USSR) did during the WWII. In 1944, Crimean Tatars were forcibly
deported from the Crimean Peninsula as a result of state-organized and forcible action, ordered
by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Deportation began on 18 May 1944 in all Crimean inhabited
localities. More than 230,000 people were forcibly deported from their homes to the distant
places in Russia. After the fall of the USSR, only over 200,000 Crimean Tatars returned to their
homeland. The remaining Muslim population of the Crimean Peninsula was again suppressed
under Russian occupation in 2014. Many were arrested based on their ethnicity and religion.
Russians regard Muslims and especially Tatars as “unreliable elements” of society which need
to be eliminated completely.
Apart from this, when first seizing the east of Ukraine in 2014, Russian forces shot
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) on purpose. Several Russians were found guilty by the
International Court of murdering all 298 people, including Malaysians, onboard flight MH17 by
shooting it down. This case clearly shows that Russian colonial wars actually affect everyone. If
Russia is not stopped right now, the world can expect only the worst.
The Russian colonial practices have expanded to practically the whole world, and there
are even greater chances of further expansion. Muslim countries in the Middle East are
especially vulnerable in this regard. Prosperous and with rich resources — whether natural,
technical, or intellectual — such countries may fall into Russia’s “sphere of influence” which will
mean colonization and further suppression.
If Ukraine wins, it will mean the end of the last empire, the end of colonial rule, and the
end of unlawful territorial conquests. In this way, a massive cycle of total decolonization that
started at the beginning of the 20th century will be completed. Empires want to survive but must
In this respect, all previous colonies should unite their efforts in this fight against the pure
evil, Russia. There is a story of one man which can illustrate this appeal. A native of Palestine,
Islam Dababseh came to Ukraine at the age of 17. Here he graduated from the university and
became a doctor, got married, had children, acquired citizenship, opened his own business —
founded a business group that manages two private clinics. Dababseh calls Ukraine his second
homeland and admits that he is grateful to this country for the fact that he managed to realize
himself here. That is why, after the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation on the territory
of Ukraine, Professor Islam joined the territorial defence in the Kyiv region. It is only one
example, but in the Ukrainian Armed Forces there are separate Muslim regiments. They came
to fight for the independence of Ukraine because if Russia won’t be defeated now, it will
colonize more territories and suppress more people.