By Paul Goble
Created to oppose the proposed law making the study of non-Russian languages voluntary, the new Democratic Congress of Peoples of the Russian Federation has a far broader agenda, one that includes “broadening the space of freedom” and promoting federalism, according to political analyst Ruslan Aysin, who participated in its formation.
The failure of officials to take the people seriously on key issues, the Tatar expert says, reflects the fact that “representatives of the nomenklatura do not want and cannot hear the voice of reason, the voice of society, the voice of civil society” and appear to have forgotten that “the state’s functions are to satisfy the needs of the population” (business-gazeta.ru/article/383557).
The Democratic Congress will remind and help them to behave as they should, Aysin suggests. That is no small challenge. “The elite which has given to itself a monopoly right to act int eh name of the state requires the people to delegate ever more powers to it, but in exchange, it does not want to fulfill that which it must fulfill.”
To that end, the analyst continues, the new Democratic Congress includes “real people who have the authority and respect in the localities, real people’s deputies in the ream meaning of this term from Sakha, Chukotka, the Middle Volga, the North Caucasus, the center and west of Russia.”
“The time of simulacra … has passed. Russia carries the adjective ‘Federation,’ that is, unity. And unity is always better than divisions. However, certain ignorant people are inclined to call unifying processes ‘separatist,’ which has the semantic meaning of ‘to divide.’” For such people, Aysin says, “war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.”
Those who say they are fighting separatism are in fact promoting “internal separatism” by “segregating languages, dividing the pupils of schools by nationality, and refusing to fulfill constitutional norms and legal demands!”
In this situation, he says, “the Congress is forced to take on itself responsibility for the fate of the peoples which it represents for the fate of our common Motherland – as we do not have another one. [And] the need to defend federative principles also stands on the agenda” of the new organization.
“Russia is fated to be a federalist country.” Efforts to over-centralize in the past led to the collapses of 1917 and 1991.” Everyone must recognize that “flexibility and the taking account of the interests of all is a precondition of success. By the Constitution, power belongs to the people; taking initiative into our own hands is our direct obligation.”
“The sleep of reason gives birth to beasts, chimeras and manticores,” Aysin concludes. “Our inaction is our common misfortune.”