What constitutional path should Russia take? Just some theorizing.
(illustration above: Nicholas II is making a speech on the occasion of opening the State Duman, the Parliament, in the Year 1906, in St. George’s Hall of the Winter Palace)
Russia has three principal options. Here I am going to muse upon the issue of constitutional change, either through evolution, revolution, coup, referenda, or some mixture of the above.
I am hearing lamentations from different that the current constitution is bad. For example, from the nationalist standpoint because it mentions the multiethnic people of the Russian Federation. The creators of this Yeltsin’s Constitution had obviously stated the obvious. For their defense, I must say that they employ the term “people” or “nation” in the singular, not plural, and they are not claiming that there are multiethnic nations within the Russian Federation, but instead, they state that our nation is one, in the singular, though it is made of many ethnicities (natsionaltosti). I don’t see any major issues with that even though I would have changed the wording myself to the united and indivisible people of Russia composed of different ethnicities whose only home is the Russian Federation. I would have done that explicitly to exclude and bar from public activities all those ethnic or national groups, who act collectively, that is as groups, while they possess their autonomies or even nation-states outside of the borders of the Russian Federation. Such groups do come in collision with Russia’s interests, and should not enjoy equal rights as the “natives” or those whose only home is the Russian Federation.
Because I believe that the restoration of the Russian statehood, which was interrupted, in the October of 1917 is the principal goal Russia’s patriots should have, the other two being 2) cleansing Russia of the explicitly Soviet multiethnic structure and turning Russia into one united nation, a melting pot, not an arena for competition between different diasporas and ethnic interests as it is now, and 3) liberating Russia from the yoke of the Soviet nomenklatura class (something that I’ll describe separately in a different article). And yes, I am prejudiced.
Nonetheless, I realize that there are several paths Russia could have taken constitutionally and which it can still take in the future because no document is set in stone. No course of development is predetermined by a piece of paper. All this stuff is a matter of our imagination. This is something that I did not even think before until I read the book called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian of globalist and ultraliberal persuasion, who, though is being subjected to ideological pressures and though his writings contain a lot of chaff, gave me some ideas on the mutability of what may seem otherwise immutable, and on the concept, which even for me at least has been a discovery, that what may seem to us as solid and real is in actuality just a matter of our collective imagination.
So, the three paths.
The Evolution from the RSFR (from the Russian Soviet Federative Republic). This is what we have now. It is a mutation from the old Soviet Union.
- The current Constitution can be changed, amended, and may evolve by evolutionary means into something else. The constitution was written for “president” Yeltsin and in itself has included very few checks and balances. It was designed ultimately for power usurpation and preservation of the loot, that is of public riches stolen by Soviet nomenklatura and its appointees from the Russian nation. This is the current system as it stands.
There were 15 republics in the Soviet Union, 14 of them were “national” republics and 1 emasculated one, the Russian Federation. Every republic has its own Communist Party. But the Russian Federation did not have its own Communist Party. The intent was to keep Russians pretty much as slaves of the Soviet system and to use their labor and productive wealth of Russia to maintain the ongoing Communist enterprise. After all the Bolshevist Revolution was not Russian, not Russian in its origin or the background of its leaders and managers. The Soviet regime has remained antagonistic to the Russian people. As a result, when the Soviet Union was dismembered through a constitutional coup, a perfectly illegal coup for that matter (though the irony is that the Soviet Union itself was an illegal affair, at least how I see it), it fell apart into fourteen separate nationalist states except for Russia which, as the Russian Federation, preserved its entire multiethnic Soviet structure within itself, and by this has deliberately denied any role to the Russian people. In fact, it continues to discriminate against them. It is built that way. However, even under this arrangement, a peaceful evolution is possible. So, in theory, we can keep this as a going concern and then mend it somehow in the future.
2. Restoration of the Russian Statehood by declaration. This appears to me as the ideal path to take, and it must include the restoration of the legitimist monarchy. I will explain later how and why– but maybe only for the Russian readers first, at least about some aspects of the restoration, primarily because there are certain things one shouldn’t speak too loudly about. This path would assume restoration of the Russian statehood as it was interrupted by the so-called February Revolution, which in itself was a grossly illegal event that was set off by a scam with the abdication of Nicholas I in favor of his brother Michael. This is not an unprecedented path to take. Two of the Baltic republics of the USSR, Estonia, and Latvia, declared all of the Soviet period null and void because, as they had the audacity to declare, both insolently and groundlessly, that the incorporation of those territories into the Soviet Union was illegal, and thus the only point of reference for them is the year of 1918. The Empire – or the collective transatlantic Fourth Reich as I call what is the USA and the EU (after 1992) has accepted this viewpoint as a valid one. In the case of Russia under this scenario, it would precisely repeat what Estonia and Latvia have already done, except that it would push the reference point a few months back – not to 1918 but 1917. Clearly, this would also presuppose the renouncement of all the Soviet and Russian Federation treaties including any recognition of the independence of Estonia and Latvia as well as of similar artificial statelets. Under this scenario, Russia already has a valid constitution, the Fundamental Law of 1906, which of course be amended through a constitutional assembly or referenda. Obviously, the current system is not going to disappear on its own accord, and it can only be done away with through some coup staged on the very top of the power structure – but this coup would restore legitimacy and Russian statehood after a century-long interruption (the Soviet Union was formed in the year 1924).
3. The third option is the abolition of the current constitution and its replacement with a new one. It is clear that a current document has become something of a farce (though I think it still can be tampered with if all else fails). That can be achieved by either reform – that is if the current Parliament, Duma, and the new president decide to replace the constitution in its entirety, or possibly, or through a coup like under the second scenario, which will then bring some form of a provisional military government to power, which will then organize either a constitutional assembly or a national referendum for the new constitution.
I am not advocating any of the above (though I believe that for a variety of reasons the second “path” is the most optimal one for the country, although the first option is probably going to stand for the time unless some catastrophe happens).
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