Staunton, March 25 – In December 2017, the Kaluga Oblast authorities issued a decree which for the first time in recent Russian history supported a strengthening of the rights of the ethnic Russian majority, an action that Russian nationalists are celebrating and hope will become the basis for a decree or law for the entire Russian Federation.
The 3500-word decree issued “quietly and without PR” represents, one Russian commentator argues, “yet another step away from ‘European values’ toward a normal existence and is thus one of the most important preconditions for the restoration” of the rights and privileges Russians lost in 1917 (katyusha.org/view?id=9618).
Since December, this decree (full text at vest-news.ru/files/docs/2017/12/727.docx) has not attracted much attention not only because of the election campaign and the usual obscurity of a predominantly ethnic Russian region like Kaluga but also because it includes traditional language about guaranteeing everyone’s rights regardless of ethnicity.
But the Katyusha commentator says that the key provision of the document is that it calls for taking account of and guaranteeing “the rights of the ethnic Russian people as a national majority,” something most recent Russian documents on nationality policy have been careful to avoid in their talk about a non-ethnic Russian civic nation.
Now the election is over and Moscow’s tilt away from Europe is ever clearer. As a result, the Kaluga document is attracting attention, all the more so because there are indications that the Kremlin may soon redefine nationality policy in radical ways (nazaccent.ru/content/26814-strategiya-peremen.html and nazaccent.ru/content/26851-proekt-zakona-ob-etnologicheskoj-ekspertize-ne.html).
The Kaluga document gives Russian nationalists many other things they want in addition to this symbolic shift: it calls for preventing the formation of ethnic ghettos, it says that ethnic Russians should be given preferential treatment as immigrants, and it explicitly rejects multi-culturalism, saying that is a source of conflict rather than concord.
“This is really a breakthrough,” the Katyusha commentator says. “What is needed for the normal existence of various peoples in a single state? If you listen to the Europeans, a very great number of things are necessary and above all the elimination of any identity of the local population and the destruction of traditions.”
“But as almost 20 years have shown, this path is a dead end, which has led to a crisis in Europe,” but people there can’t escape it because under the terms of “global liberalism,” there is no other way and they are condemned to follow it. “Everyone who doesn’t agree is an enemy of democracy and humanity.”
“There is another approach,” and it is one that Russia appears to be moving towards, the Russian commentator says. “Like no European nation, we have our own experience of peoples living together who aren’t slaughtered like Indians or enslaved like Negroes.”
“Today, Russia has become the world brand namely of this – traditional – approach to the resolution among other things of the inter-ethnic issue,” he continues. One can thus only welcome the decision of the Kaluga authorities and hope that its choice will be “only the beginning of history.”
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