Staunton, July 22 – For much of the last year, there has been a lively debate in Russia over plans, approved by Vladimir Putin and pushed by experts like Academician Valery Tishkov, to redefine the population of Russia as “a civic Russian nation” with the ethnic Russian nation being the state-forming core of this constellation.
Not surprisingly, that idea has sparked outrage among some ethnic Russians who see it as a diminution of their status or a dilution of their identity and also among many non-Russians who see it as a threat to their future status as nations and thus opening the way to the destruction of their languages and political institutions.
Putin’s remarks earlier this week in Ioshkar-Ola about the relative rights of Russian and non-Russian languages have only intensified those fears about the non-Russian portion of the population. But sadly there is a straw in the wind that suggests the Kremlin leader may have even more radical ideas about the future.
At the Ioshkar-Ola meeting, Igor Barinov, the head of the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, said that he had proposed to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin that a “House of the Peoples of Russia” be established on the premises and basis of “the Moscow House of Nationalities” which has existed there since the 1990s (tass.ru/obschestvo/4428980