Tuesday, January 28, 2020

To Save Country from Collapse, Zyuganov wants to Insert Russians’ ‘State-Forming Role’ in the Constitution

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 23 – Gennady Zyuganov, head of the KPRF, says that the Constitution of the Russian Federation should be amended to include a reference to the ethnic Russian nation and to its status as “the state-forming” people of the country, a call that can be counted on to offend almost all non-Russians.

            But those who are not offended by that are likely to be angered by his justification of this proposal: Zyuganov says that “with the disappearance of ethnic Russians [the country’s] gigantic spaces will fall apart. Therefore, this issue must be immediately agreed to” (https://kprf.ru/party-live/cknews/191181.html).

            Zyuganov’s suggestions have been expanded upon by Aleksandr Yushchenko, the KPRF’s press secretary for its Duma delegation. He too insists that the statement, “the ethnic Russians are the state-forming people” must be included in the Constitution” (youtube.com/watch?v=ma20K8KMDM4 transcribed at idelreal.org/a/30395394.html).

            He tells Ekho Moskvy host Aleksey Gusarov that Marshal Bagramyan once told Zyugannov that if there are fewer than 50 percent ethnic Russians among a military unit, that unit must be disbanded” because it won’t function as intended. And that is “precisely why Russians are a state-forming nation.”

            According to Yushchenko, representatives of other nationalities agree. Gusarov asks him if he “really thinks that in Chechnya, Tatarstan, Sakha and other republics people agree that ethnic Rusisans are the state-forming nation.”   The KPRF press spokesman says that he believes exactly that on the basis of his experience.

            No one would deny that “today Russian-speaking oblasts are dying out much faster than other krays, oblasts, and republics.” Calling them “state forming” won’t “lead to any heightened role. But Russians really are the state-forming nation. This is our position.”   Gusarov points out reasonably that this will have no impact on demography.

            And then the host asks, “why effect besides discord will [inserting these words] have?” To which Yushchenko says, it won’t produce any “discord” because no one can really imagine that any other nation is the “state-forming” one in the Russian Federation. But it will “offend” others, Gusarov says.

            Yushchenko denies this and says the KPRF is “for the equality of nations and for respect.” And Gusarov then suggests that this means, in a take-off on the Orwellian phrase, that “all are equal but one nation is the state-forming one.” The KPRF deputy insists that the communists remain committed to respect and that backing this insertion doesn’t change that.

            But Gusarov concludes the discussion by saying that by singling out one people, in this case, the ethnic Russians, inevitably has the effect of offending others.”

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