Staunton, July 28 – The 30 million non-Russians who live in the Russian Federation must not only be loyal to the Russian state and feel the country is their motherland but “recognize their attachment to the Great Russian people” and become “Russian Tatars, Russian Karachays, Russian Buryats, and so on, Petr Akopov says.
And unlike many who use the non-ethnic civic adjective rossiisky to describe such people and their feelings, the Novosti observer uses the ethnic term russky in each of these cases and argues that promoting such identities must be at the center of Moscow’s nationality policy (regnum.ru/opinion/3822099).
After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, most of the non-Russians within the borders of the Russian Federation remained loyal to the Russian state but “there was no respect among them for ethnic Russians,” in large part because the Russians themselves were “humiliated and depresses” and lacked the tribal structures to defend themselves against the market.
But now things have changed, first as a result of the revival of Russia and then because of its engagement in Ukraine which has served notice that the Russians are back and that the Russian nation is worthy of respect and being affiliated with. As a result, many non-Russians are proudly using the adjective russky to describe their own nationhood.
The fighting in Ukraine has brough Russians and non-Russians together, leading to a growth in mutual respect and this means that “veterans of the special military operation need to become a most important element in the formation of a new and genuinely national and nationally oriented, that is patriotic, elite,” Akopov says.
Non-Russians who make this choice are not giving up their national identities but rather adding a new dimension to it; and Russians who recognize this as valuable are only adding to their own strength as a nation. Indeed, Akopov says, support for the idea of Russian non-Russians is a logical next step in the country’s ethnopolitical development.
“Our small peoples must see that Russians are the complete masters in their own home, that they have large families, live well and justly, respect the traditions of their ancestors and make plans for the future of their descendants and the country as a whole,” the Novosti commentator says.
“This sense of the power of the Russian people and its state will become the chief argument in favor of becoming ‘russkye.’” And that will “russify them and integrate them into the life of the country, a process that doesn’t involve giving up something but rather acquiring something in addition.
Russians must not be bashful about this and talk about state-forming peoples or their language but proudly assume the role of the dominant people of the Russian state. Only then, Akopov says, will that state have Russians and non-Russians proud of being Russian as well surrounding them.