Staunton, March 29 – When the Bolsheviks dispersed the Constituent Assembly on January 6, 1918, an action Trotsky himself called “a supplement to the revolution,” they deprived Russia of the chance to live in a country with a lawful name – the Russian Federative Democratic Republic – and with a lawful constitution.
The Constituent Assembly was prepared to approve both, Academician Yury Pivovarov says, but Lenin ordered it to be disbanded before that democratically elected body could act. As a result, the country sank into “chaos, violence, lawlessness and lies” from which it has not fully recovered (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/03/29/84587-pomnit-o-respublike).
According to Pivovarov, “the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly – ‘a supplemental revolution’ in Trotsky’s words – deprived us of the opportunity to live in a country with a lawful name and Constitution … From that moment and having lost that chance … the country descended into chaos, force, lawlessness and lies.”
The historian says that March 10, 2020, when it was proposed to allow Vladimir Putin to serve for life marked “the complete destruction of the constitutional system – or of what had remained to that point. And in a certain sense, this event can be compared with the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly.” (stress supplied)
Once again, the powers that be showed that they will act as they please rather than according to the law; and they have opened the way to disaster not only with that move but by declaring the ethnic Russians alone to be “the state-forming people,” thus ensuring the growth of nationalism and chauvinism among Russians and anti-Russian nationalism among the others.
As a result, “Russian statehood has suffered a defeat. Exactly 102 years after the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly we face a new catastrophe” because “we are not the
Russian Federative Democratic Republic and not a voluntary union of ethoses which for centuries have lived side by side.”
But “there is no evil without some good,” and “now the democratic movement knows precisely that Russia needs a new Constituent Assembly. There must be a moral, legal, and political assessment of what has happened and the restoration of the institutional system which has been destroyed.”
And that must be done using legal instruments in order to “minimize the chance of a new ‘zeroing out’” of the ones Russia had or could have, Pivovarov continues. “We are a society of ‘grownups’ in Kant’s term. Russia is not ‘a country of slaves and masters.’ We are fully capable of self-government and our own experience has convinced us tyranny is the path to nowhere.”
“We are patient and we respect our rulers,” the historian concludes. “But let them respect us too. Only mutual feelings are strong. And consequently, our future must include a Constituent Assembly and a Russian Federative Democratic Republic.”