Friday, May 9, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Russia’s Numerically Smallest Nations Need Their Own Political Party

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 9 – A St. Petersburg activist has called for the establishment of a political party to represent the needs of the numerically smallest nations of the Russian Federation, a movement that he says should seek a quota system and other means to protect their rights and also to embrace ethnic Russians who live as minorities in the non-Russian republics.

            Sergey Bazarov, in a video post, says that these numerically small peoples have basically the same interests in common: “the preservation of their true history and language, the correct naming of their nationality and people,” and the prevention of the dying out of their group ( and

            The activist argues that these groups, often numbering only a few hundred to a few thousands need a quota system so that they are represented in the government and businesses operating on their territories and must seek a new territorial delimitation of the regions and republics in which they live.

            Only in this way can they hope to ensure that their interests are protected, Bazarov says.

            Unlike others who have proposed such a party – in 2012, one activist called unsuccessfully for a National Unity Party of Russia to represent minorities – the St. Petersburg activist says that ethnic Russians in the republics who after all are “also a small people with its own interests distinguished from those of Russians living” elsewhere should be included as well.

            It is far from clear that Bazarov’s idea will go anywhere either, but his proposed inclusion of ethnic Russian minorities in the republics and his recognition that they have distinctive interests different from those of the Russian nation more generally make it more likely that his proposal will gain traction.

            And the numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation, while numbering from 1.5 to 10 million people depending on how they are defined, sit on top of more than one-third of the territory of that country including where much of Russia’s natural wealth and security facilities are located. 

No comments:

Post a Comment