‘Russia is not a multi-national country,’ RISI expert says

Paul Goble writes: Despite the declaration in the 1993 Constitution that the Russian Federation is a multi-national country, an expert at the influential Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI) argues that in fact it is not that but rather a nation state of Russians with a few ethnic minorities.

Ilya Anosov, the head of RISI’s Chelyabinsk Center, made that somewhat unexpected declaration following a meeting there devoted to the question “Why is there no fascism in the Southern Urals?” and based his claim on the fact that 80 percent of the population consists of ethnic Russians and that they define the nature of the country.

The idea that the Russian Federation should be a nation state of the Russians has been percolating for some time and has gained new energy as a result of the propaganda campaign the Kremlin has launched in support of its efforts to “defend” ethnic Russians abroad in Crimea, Ukraine and other places.

But Anosov’s statement is important because RISI is extremely influential in the Kremlin, and it suggests that the idea of re-writing the 1993 constitution to eliminate such references to multi-nationality, the basis of the country’s ethno-federal system may be gaining ground. [Continue reading…]

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