Matvey Katkov on Vesti.FM: the concept of ‘state-forming people’ targets integration of the Russian nation
The concept of “state-forming people”, which is planned to be introduced into the Constitution, should not be taken literally, but it is extremely important to find the most accurate wording, the analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza, Matvey Katkov said today in the National Question program on Vesti FM.
According to the expert, this is a new attempt to build a civil nation, thus, it is necessary to highlight some common universal criterion that would allow uniting different peoples and ethnic groups, to emphasize their commonality within a single state.
“This idea, if you do not consider the specific wording, is by no means new. Throughout the history of mankind, different communities have created and developed similar unity criteria. The ancient Greeks, for example, emphasized the community of Hellenic culture, although they had separate independent city-states instead of a single state. Despite the lack of political unity, Greek society was united in terms of culture, religion, life and other criteria,” the historian said.
"For the ancient Romans, these criteria of unity evolved along with the political system, passing through the tsarist period, the period of the republic, and later the empire. Gradually, the importance of belonging to the Romani people decreased, as other nations (Latvians, Etruscans, Greeks, Celts, etc.) integrated to Roman society, thus, the importance of Roman citizenship increased. At the decline of the empire, many representatives of non-Latin peoples already had Roman citizenship, however, the phrase ”The Roman Senate and People”, which was depicted on the standards of the Roman legions, by no means lost its significance. Thus, the concept of "people" has transformed, in modern language, into the concept of a civilized nation,” the expert continued.
According to the analyst, the introduction of the “state-forming people” concept into the Constitution of the Russian Federation is an attempt to revive the concept of “Russians” associated with an era of social upheaval and economic difficulties during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.
"But the main difficulty, in my opinion, is precisely to clothe this idea in the most comprehensive and at the same time accurate wording. The Constitution, having a very important moral and ideological value, is nevertheless, first of all, a legal document, therefore the accuracy of the wording, especially in such a difficult issue, is extremely important, " Matvey Katkov concluded.