Wednesday, December 18, 2019

To Protect National Security, Moscow Must Treat Ethnic Russians as an Indigenous People of the North, Stanulevich Says

Paul Goble
            Staunton, December 16 – The division of residents in the Russian north between native indigenous peoples and arrivals from the outside, including most prominently ethnic Russians that the West wants and that Russia had agreed to has no basis in fact and is harming the country’s national security, Vladimir Stanulevich says.

            The ethnic Russian Arkhangelsk commentator argues that the archaeological and historical record shows that ethnic Russians have been in the North longer than many of the supposedly “indigenous” peoples, have a similar way of life, and thus deserve to receive the same benefits as the latter (

            But instead of recognizing that reality, Stanulevich says, current Russian law adopted under pressure from the West in the 1990s gives the supposed “indigenous” people benefits and that is leading to Russian flight. In 1989, for example, 50 percent of the population of Sakha was ethnic Russian. Now, only 37 percent is.

            But the division of peoples there into indigenous and arrivals has “other potential problems,” he continues, because the UN specifies that indigenous people have the right of self-determination up to and including the formation of independent countries, something the US will undoubtedly exploit to gain control of the Northern Sea Route.

            When the current federal law on indigenous peoples was being formulated in the 1990s, Russian officials were trading off Russia’s interests “retail and wholesale,” all too often listening to “American experts … who later turned out to be paid officers of the Central Intelligence Agency.”

            Reading those laws now and considering what they have led to, Stanulevich says, one is prompted to ask Milyukov’s famous question: “was this stupidity or was this treason?”

            Now, it is time, he argues, to replace the faulty laws of the 1990s with their “imported ideas” and put in place legislation that reflects both Russian realities and Russian interests and block the efforts of the Americans to undermine the country from the North as they have done elsewhere.

            Other steps need to be taken as well, Stanulevich says: Moscow must boost funding for the Institute of Archaeology so that it will be in a position to prove that Russians arrived in the North well before anyone else; and it must promote a new ideology of the North, one based on “the state-forming role” of the ethnic Russians. There is no time to lose.

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