Friday, October 15, 2021

The Real Nationality Problem in Russia: the Powers Don’t Want Russians to be a Nation, Popov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 9 – The Russian authorities not only insist that crime and terrorism have “no nationality” but behave in ways that deny nationality to the Russian people because it is “convenient” for the powers that be to have a cowed and atomized population to rule over rather than a nation confident of its own powers, Dmitry Popov says.

            The titular nationalities of the former union republics and the current autonomous republics of the Russian Federation are all nations, the Moskovsky komsomolets commentator says. They all “have a very clear idea that they are the people” and that they are strong enough to defend their nation forcefully (ru/incident/2021/10/13/konflikt-s-kavkazcami-v-metro-pokazal-glavnuyu-problemu-russkikh.html).

            But as the recent clash in the Moscow subway between three Daghestanis and a Russian who was trying to defend a young woman they were harassing shows, Russians don’t have that sense of being a power in their own right and thus being able to act in defense of their values, ideals and personalities.

            “What do the Russians have instead of a nationality?” The answer isn’t pretty because “an atomized and divided people does not command respect” because “you can do whatever you want with its representatives” confident that most members of that group won’t respond forcefully, Popov continues.

            “It was only by some miracle that this terrible word” – Russians – “appeared in the Russian Constitution,” whereas in all the other constitutions of the post-Soviet space, the name of the titular nation is prominently featured and its importance as an actor is stressed. And everywhere else, that nation has special rights regarding outsiders and is ready to defend them.

            But in Russia, the powers don’t defer to a nation because the nation is not recognized as a power in its own right. Consequently, the regime can talk about expelling immigrant workers but it soon backs down “because our local capitalists need cheap labor” and only the immigrants are  ready to work for less and thus keep everyone’s wages down.

            “An atomized and divided people doesn’t command respect,” Popov says. But “the saddest thing is that this is convenient above all for the powers that be when it comes to Russians.” On occasion, as with the Russian man who defended the Russian women, the powers may “encourage some particular citizen.”

            But in doing so, those same powers keep insisting that “crime and terrorism have no nationality; and that means that the hero” in the case of the subway case involving a defense of a woman against the attentions of the Daghestanis “if he is a Russian, also lacks a nationality,” clearly, the most serious if unmentioned nationality problem in Russia today.

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