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