The call to revise the Russian Constitution has given Russian nationalists in Moscow an opportunity to clarify what they stand for. At a meeting the other day, a list of preliminary suggestions were drawn up, discussed, and broadly agreed upon.
- Preamble: “We, citizens of Russia, united by a common historical destiny, confirming the rights and freedoms of the person, democratic values, and civic peace; preserving and developing the centennial traditions of Russian statehood, as established by the Russian [russkie] people in their striving for national self-determination and identity with the help and participation of other indigenous peoples living on the territory of our Fatherland; respecting the memory of our forefathers; putting faith in good and justice; feeling responsibility before current and future generations for the prosperity and flourishing of our Motherland; understanding ourselves to be an equal partner of the international community, do accept the following Constitution.”
- Amendment #1: “The Russian Federation is the guarantor that the civic, cultural, and language rights of Russians [russkie] as a separated people, striving towards union with their historical Motherland, will be respected wherever they are resident outside the borders of the Russian Federation.”
- Amendment #2: “All Russians [russkie], as well as members of Russia’s other indigenous peoples, independent of their place of birth or residency, have the right to expedited citizenship of the Russian Federation.”
They were then handed over to Bogdan Bezpalko [furthest left on the photo], the chairman of the NGO “Russian Ukrainians” and a member of the Presidential working group on Constitutional reform. Bezpalko has voiced analogous ideas, including a comparison to Adenauer’s Constitution, which guaranteed the right of German lands outside West Germany to enter it in the future, which ended up being used during German reunification. He is currently gathering support for these general proposals, polishing them up, and preparing to submit them for consideration.
Now admittedly, the chances that any of these “radical” proposals (by Russian, if not global, standards) will be accepted is probably a longshot. In particular, the Russian Federation defines itself as a “multinational” state, and Russian officialese is reticent about even mentioning ethnic Russians [russkie], as opposed to the general term for Russian citizens [rossiyane]. Although there have been some encouraging moves in this direction in the past couple of years, it is still doubtful that the kremlins will be bold enough to take such a seminal step.
Nonetheless, the fact that these ideas and proposals are getting a hearing at the highest levels – virtually all of which, from defining Russia as a Russian national state to loosening naturalization requirements for Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens, have been covered on this weblog – puts the lie to occasional claims that they only exist in marginal Internet bubbles.