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Putin’s Russian Question

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Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, held a speech on the “Russian question” at the Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl on 7 September 2011. His speech was clearly intended as a campaign speech ahead of the elections to the Russian State Duma in December 2011, Kommersant reported. Earlier reports said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called Rogozin back from Brussels to help him in the election campaign.

Igor Yurgens, director of the Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR), introduced Rogozin by saying that he was needed in Russia’s domestic political scene. Rogozin responded by saying that he had indeed returned and promised not to disappoint. The main theme of Rogozin’s speech entitled “The National Question in Today’s Russia and Europe” was the “Russian question” — the situation of Russia’s ethnic Russian majority.

Rogozin said the national question was the “main nerve” in Russian politics today. In his opinion, immigration into Russia posed a political and social danger. He said the main line of contention was between ethnic groups from the North Caucasus and ethnic Russians. “People from the North Caucasian republics were demonstratively violating Russian cultural standards, and the Russian people had become a discriminated majority,” Rogozin stated.

Rogozin warned that the periphery would subjugate and barbarize the centre. For the Russian people to win the battle for modernisation, Rogozin proposed a four-step plan: ensuring equality between the peoples of Russia with an emphasis on “justice for Russians;” rejecting the notions of multiculturalism and tolerance; returning North Caucasus into the Russian sphere of influence; and — most importantly — the “renationalisation” of the Russian people.

Rogozin is expected to announce his entry into the election campaign at the party conference of his Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) on 21 September 2011. KRO is likely to join Vladimir Putin’s All-Russia People’s Front. Die Welt reported that Putin tasked Rogozin with capturing the votes of Russian nationalists to help United Russia. In his post as Russia’s NATO ambassador, Rogozin has distinguished himself with virulent anti-Western statements.



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