Staunton, May 18 – Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin says that Russian (rossissky) identity rests on faith, language, culture and history, yet another indication of the fact that the Kremlin’s push for a non-ethnic Russian identity is suffused with ethnic Russian components and that at best non-Russians and non-Orthodox Christians are second-class citizens.
Speaking to a conference devoted to “Aleksandr Nevsky: East and West and the Historical Memory of the People,” Volodin who in recent months has been especially outspoken on issues of Russian history and national identity offered this four-part definition, one at odds with the largely linguistic one Vladimir Putin favors (tass.ru/obschestvo/11400121).
Putin doesn’t ignore the other factors and especially cultural and historical ones; but in contrast to Volodin, the Kremlin leader has typically been careful not to highlight the role of Russian Orthodox Christianity given how large a share of the population of the Russian Federation follows other faiths.
Volodin in contrast placed particular emphasis on Orthodoxy and noted how appropriate it was for the Moscow patriarch to be in attendance. He also stressed the role of enemies as a defining feature of the Russian people. Since Nevsky’s time, he said, the number of enemies of Russia has not become smaller, although they have adopted other means to advance their ends.