Wednesday, March 11, 2020

All Nations inside Russia are ‘Without Exception’ State-Forming Peoples, KBR Scholars Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 6 – Fourteen leading scholars of the Kabardinia-Balkaria Institute for Research in the Humanities have released a statement denouncing the proposed constitutional amendments and showing how Vladimir Putin’s language about Russians alone as the “state-forming” nation has deleterious consequences for the Circassians in the first instance.

            The proposed language about the Russians as the only “state-forming” people as “unacceptable, contradicting the spirit of federalism, the rights and freedoms of individuals, and the rights of peoples for self-determination,” they say and argue that “all peoples of the Russian Federation without exception are state-forming.”   

            This is offensive and certainly dangerous in the longer term, but together with anther prpsed amendment, it has immediate and negative consequences for many non-Russian nations and for the Circassians in the first instance.  That second amendment calls for Russia to protect compatriots abroad but defines them narrowly.

            The key feature of its language is that the Russian government assumes responsibility for supporting only those compatriots “who preserve “an all-Russian cultural identity,” thereby “excluding from the term compatriot ‘millions of Circassians, Tatars, Kalmyks and other peoples whose republics along with other subjects form the Russian Federation.”

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