Increasingly, one of the defining characteristics of Vladimir Putin’s leadership has been its propensity to push the narrative that the Kremlin has a special relationship with ethnic Russians and Russian speakers abroad, groups that Moscow typically lumps together as “the Russian World” (“Russkiy Mir”). Less widely known is that every post-Soviet state has a significant number of co-ethnics living abroad, and many in the governments and societies of these countries believe they, too, should work to develop a special relationship with such groups. Some of the countries in fact have extremely active programs in this regard: Kazakhstan, for example, rivals many of the policies that Moscow has adopted for the Russian World, having passed important laws intended to attract ethnic Kazakhs to come home from abroad (Camonitor.kz, April 26)…
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