Staunton, March 15 – Many dismiss Vladimir Zhirinovsky as a clown, but that is a mistake: the longtime LDPR leader often expresses in blunt language what many in Moscow are thinking and thus often serves as a leading indicator of the direction in which the Russian Federation is moving.
In an essay for the RBC news agency this week, Zhirinovsky says what many Russians think but are too polite or politically correct to say: “The correct nationality policy must be based on the simple principle: if in Russia it is good for the Russians, it is good for everyone” (rbc.ru/opinions/politics/14/03/2018/5aa8d3029a7947dab9ddd266?from=center_6).
Like many Russians, Zhirinovsky says that Russians are “the people who have suffered the most in the 20th and the 21st centuries,” in the USSR, in the non-Russian countries that broke away from Moscow in 1991, and in the Russian Federation to this day. “It is simply impossible,” he says, for that situation to be allowed to continue.
Russians must be given their due, Zhirinovsky continues. “Of course, “one isn’t talking about giving them special rights or privileges. From the point of view of the law, all citizens of Russia are equal. But the time has come to restore historical justice.” And there are several steps that need to be taken immediately.
First and foremost, the Russian constitution must be amended to include a reference to ethnic Russians and to name them as “the state-forming nation.” The first lines of that document must no longer read “We, the multi-national people of the Russian Federation” but rather “We, ethnic Russians and other peoples of Russia.”
Second, the media has to stop treating Russians negatively and begin to celebrate them. If you read only some extremely popular newspapers and sites, you may think that a Russian in Rusisa can be only an innate drunkard, a lazy-bones, or a slave.” That isn’t true, and people need to be told that.
Third, Zhirinovsky says, the country must do away with Article 282 of the criminal code. It is the direct heir of Article 70 of the RSFSR criminal code and gives the authorities the power to charge anyone it likes. “However, among the people, this paragraph is known as ‘the Russian paragraph’ because among those condemned under its terms are practically only Russians.”
Fourth, he continues, all schools must teach Russian and he implies only Russian. Tehre is plenty of space in private life for people to use their local languages. And the government must fight the destruction of Russian as a result of the influx of foreign words. Now, “residents of the provinces already understand a Muscovite only with difficulty.”
Fifth, “Russia must again become a unitary state.” All non-Russian republics must be done away with, the right of secession must be banned, and the country must be divided into gubernias based on and named according to cities rather than ethnic groups. Russia can’t afford another 1991.
Sixth, Russia should pursue restoring Russia’s borders to those of at least the former Soviet Union. “In the final analysis, we must establish three levels of states. The present territory of Russia must be a unitary state without internal national borders … The Russian federation should become a state formed of the former republics of the Soviet Union.”
In this restored state, Zhirinovsky says, the center will be responsible for “only seven issues: foreign policy, defense, finances, transportation, communication, energy and ecology. Besides and in contrast to the Soviet Union, there will not be imposed any one ideology.”
“And the third level of Russian statehood,” Zhirinovsky says, will be “a confederation” in which “will be included our neighbors – Turkey, Iran, Mongolia, and Afghanistan.” They will be allowed to keep their national currencies and languages, “but the union all the same must include ‘Russian’ in its definition.”