Monday, 23 January 2012

The Russian Prime Minister, a top contender for upcoming presidential elections, is providing voters with more food for thought as he promotes his plan for uniting Russia’s multi-ethnic society.

Coming one week after the release of an article that addressed the development of Russian civilization, Vladimir Putin is setting his sights on another penetrating subject, this one involving the importance of uniting Russia’s various ethnic communities together under the banner of Russian culture and values.

“For Russia – with its wide range of languages, traditions, ethnicities, and cultures – the national question is, without exaggeration, of fundamental value,” Putin states in his opening sentence. “Any responsible politician, public figure, must recognize that one of the main conditions of our country’s very existence is civil and interethnic harmony.”
Putin draws attention to the modern problem of “colossal immigration flows” representing millions of people worldwide who are “in search of a better life.” These surging numbers of emigrants and refugees, who are fleeing from “hunger and chronic conflicts, poverty and social unrest” are forcing even the most developed and tolerant nations to address the “national question.”

Multiculturalism creates multi problems

In the midst of this great global experiment, unprecedented in its scope, Putin notes that the “melting pot” of assimilation is…unable to “digest” the growing migration flow.
He also criticizes the move toward multiculturalism, which he says “rejects the notion of integration through assimilation.”

Multiculturalism “elevates the (idea of the) ‘right of minorities to be different’ to the absolute and, at the same time, insufficiently balances this right with civil, behavioral, and cultural obligations in regard to the indigenous population and society as a whole,” Putin argues.

What multiculturalism is leading to in many countries, according to the Prime Minister, is the formation of “closed national and religious communities…which not only refuse to assimilate, but [do not] even adapt.” Putin expressed his astonishment that “neighborhoods and entire cities where generations of immigrants are living on welfare…do not speak the language of the host country.”

There can be just one outcome for such a social model: xenophobia on the part of the indigenous population, which understandably seeks to “protect its interests, jobs, and social benefits from the ‘foreign competitors.’”

Putin performs a delicate balancing act in his article by celebrating Russia’s “cultural dominance” on the one hand, while warning against the “bacilli of nationalism” on the other.

...“This civilizational identity is based on preservation of Russian cultural dominance, which is not only carried by ethnic Russians, but all carriers of this identity regardless of nationality,” Putin writes. “This is the cultural code that has, in the recent years, been subject to some serious trials, which people have tried and continue to try to break. And it has, nevertheless, prevailed. At the same time, it needs to be nourished, strengthened, and protected.”

...Finally, Putin stressed the importance of developing Russia’s democratic, multi-party system.

“Today, decisions are being made aimed at…liberalizing the registration and operational process of political parties, as well as an initiative to return the elections of regional governors.”

The Russian Prime Minister, however, singled out those who “rely on nationalistic, separatist, and similar forces and groups.”

These organizations must be immediately, within the framework of democratic judicial procedures, excluded from the electoral process, he stressed.
Source: Russia Today


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