The nationalist manifesto
(Russia Today) -- by Dmitry Rogozin --
One of the major tasks currently facing Russia’s authorities and its political class is to reestablish public opinion as a potent factor of real-life politics, not the marginalized, secluded domain of web-based debates it is now.
Russian authorities are finally beginning to react to the public opinion as expressed via the internet, but it is important that the government learns to be proactive in dealing with the web-based public rather than keep playing batter to its pitches, scrambling to respond whenever there is another scandalous exposure publicized, or another protest orchestrated through the internet. Therefore, the Number One task for the Russian patriotic movement at the moment is to get out of the internet “ghetto” and onto the real-life political scene.
Secondly, the patriotic movement must rethink itself as a pro-constitution party whose main demand would be for the provision of de facto equal rights to all citizens of Russia, regardless of their ethnic background, religion and place of residence.
All citizens shall be equal both in terms of their civil and economic rights and in terms of their legal liabilities. Russians must eventually learn to be thrifty with their national budget and aim to secure their own national interests in the first place.
Indeed, Russians genuinely need to become a self-serving nation and focus on increasing their birth rate, ensuring decent living standards for the elderly, bring our domestic affairs in order, and coming to terms with the neighboring nations, as well as with other ethnic groups inside Russia.
We need to become thrifty, rational and hard working, and learn to put our own interests as a nation first. We should also strengthen our nation by integrating the most promising and efficient human resources, and by keeping at bay those who are of no use for our country, or even represent a threat to our society.
By no means should we stop committing financial resources to modernizing Russia’s provinces, including the non-Russian republics within the Federation. At the same time, the people in those republics should realize that federal subsidies are not some homage they are entitled to by virtue of being dangerous: it is rather Russia’s investment, and the Federation expects to have a return on the investment at some point in the future, both in terms of economic revenues, political benefits, etc.
Every subsidy beneficiary must know exactly how much money the Federation spends on them, and realize that they owe some respect for the nation that supports their living. They must also be aware that they are expected to contribute to the general wellbeing of the country in return for the subsidies, and deliver their money’s worth.
It’s no secret that certain regions within the Russian Federation, primarily the republics of the North Caucasus – including Chechnya – are receiving six times more than the rest of Russia in federal subsidies per capita, and yet they take it for granted and turn their relation with the Federation into a one-way street.
What we deal with here is perverse, counter-productive economic policies which have effectively turned the Federation into a tributary to the people that once claimed to be “colonized” by Russians. Such a situation is not only unfair and detrimental for the Russian majority, but also for people of other ethnic groups that are faced with such inequality.
Therefore, our first demand as a party is genuine, de facto equality and justice for all ethnic groups within the Federation, including ethnic Russians. Such equality must rely on mutual respect.
Culture is a critically important factor of national unity. The present agony of Europe faced with the onslaught of immigrants provides us with a case study on how ethnic minorities are only inclined to integrate into a robust, dominant culture, and generally tend to disregard emasculated, self-deprecating host societies with their do-gooder reverence for tolerance and diversity.
How can we win their respect as a host community if we fail to respect ourselves, if we give up on defending our culture and our history, if we tolerate the degradation of our national television and cinema production, who have unapologetically discarded their task of educating and inspiring the masses for the best, and chosen to cater to the basest tastes?
Culture is similar to international affairs in that it abhors a vacuum: unless a host society maintains its culture, it quickly descends into ignorance and vulgarity, and that just can’t win you any respect. The Russian culture with its classical heritage can provide the essential environment for integrating both immigrants and local ethnic minorities into the Russian nation. And the Russian language equals influence – something you should fight to protect if you have to.
France, Belgium and Switzerland have recently mustered enough guts to demand respect for their ways of life and their codes of behavior from immigrants. Their newly-adopted laws urge the Muslim minorities to abide by the rules of the secular host states, and reserve their religious practices to their places of worship, without turning outdoor religious festivities into deliberate shows of force to intimidate the locals.
Why should any Russian city tolerate being turned into a backwater hamlet by some of its most recent residents?
One thing to remember is that if Russia’s cities are to preserve their cultural identity, they must reclaim their past role as the strongholds of Russian culture.
If you come to Rome and try entering the Vatican wearing shorts, you will be denied entry. If a female tourist visiting a Muslim theocracy dares walk the street in a sleeveless shirt and with no headscarf, she risks being stoned to death. So why can’t the Russians demand that their guests respect the Russian culture, local traditions and way of life?
The demands I’m advocating for Russia are but a wan shadow of the requirements recently imposed by the tolerant Europeans. Therefore, if Russia’s liberals still regard Europe as the perfect role model for democratic development, they ought to back my agenda wholeheartedly.
Democracy is not solely about protecting the rights of minorities, because in fact, the majority has a few rights too. That doesn’t only mean ethnic Russians: in a multiethnic and diverse country such as Russia, the “majority” stands for any local community, any indigenous ethnic group and any committed citizen who feels part of this nation.
I’d like to urge all Russian patriots to steer clear of extremist tactics and rhetoric in their campaigning. That said, we must keep exerting persistent pressure on the government, as well as use every opportunity to influence public opinion in order to promote our agenda. For once, the laws of this country must be applied to serve the interests of the very people that essentially make up our nation.
There is no point in sacrificing our own party activists to be tried and jailed by Russia’s rigged judiciary on the false charges of extremism and xenophobia. What we should do instead is win the hearts and minds of the public, and shape a new public morality that would legitimize and promote intolerance against any instances of Russophobia, as well as any attempts at undermining Russia’s unity and integrity.
We must also seek to attract government officials and decision makers to our ranks wherever possible in order to form an influential Russia lobby within our country’s political establishment. It’s time for us to aim for high-ranking positions in the government in order to have a say in making the strategic decisions that will define the future of Russia.
This world only respects the truth when it’s backed by power, so we’ll have to become the power to promote our cause.
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