INSOR Russia: Institute of Contemporary Development
Updated April 18, 2019

December 31, 2011 - January 10, 2012

The Institute of Contemporary Development

LU DANS LA PRESSE RUSSE. LES TITRES DU 30 DÉCEMBRE 2011

РИА Новости

Vedomosti: Vladimir Poutine confronté à des réformes délicates. (...) «Les manifestations ont démontré que la démocratisation et la libéralisation du système politique sont nécessaires pour que la classe créatrice puisse investir non seulement son argent mais également ses forces, son énergie et sa confiance», estime à son tour Boris Makarenko, président du conseil administratif du Centre de technologies politiques. (...) L’absence d’alternance du pouvoir est perçue par la population comme une composante immuable de la vie, et les manifestations sont une réaction à cette politique, déclare Boris Makarenko.

Россия в иностранной прессе

NAVALNY'S NATIONALITY 'POLICY' POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, GONTMAKHER SAYS

Johnson's Russia List

Aleksey Navalny, who has emerged as a leading opposition figure and possible future candidate, has voiced his support for views on the relations between ethnic Russians and the increasing fraction of non-Russians that could put Russia's progress toward democracy and the rule of law at risk, according to a leading Moscow writer.

Writing in his blog today, Yevgeny Gontmakher, a leader of the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Development and a frequent commentator on Russia's domestic affairs, notes that on many issues Navalny remains «a mystery» not so much in terms of biography but rather with regard to his political ideas (echo.msk.ru/blog/gontmaher/845502-echo/).

Nowhere is that more the case than Navalny's position on ethnic relations, Gontmakher says, but the prominent lawyer and anti-corruption fighter has said some things and indicated that he subscribes to the ideas of others that should give pause not only his supporters but even Navalny himself.

In recent remarks, Navalny indicated that he «supports the idea of the formation [in Russia] of 'a national state' as an alternative to 'constructing out of Russia a 19th century-style empire.» Given Russia's formation through conquest and its formal commitment to federalism, it is worth asking, Gontmakher suggests, «what concretely he has in mind?»

Is he condemning «attempts at restoring an empire? «Attempts at restoring (in one form or another) of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union?» Is he showing «nostalgia for imperial times which is still characteristic for a significant part of [Russians]? Or does something imperial threaten us in the arrangements of contemporary Russia?»

«Precise answers to such questions,» Gontmakher insists, «are extremely important,» but what Navalny has said so far provides few of them.

Gontamkher notes that Wikipedia defines a nation state as «a constitutional-legal type of state, which means that the latter is a form of the self-determination and organization of this or that nation on a defined sovereign territory and expresses the will of this nation.» In its ideal form, «all the citizens of this state have a common language, culture and values.»

In Europe today, «there are a large number of typical national states» which fall within this definition. That is because, the Moscow commentator says, «there is an ethnos which first of all forms the overwhelming majority of the population and second lives on its own territory from time immemorial,» even if there are some national minorities.

Russia, however, does not correspond to these «two criteria» primarily «because of the second point. «Tatars and Bashkirs, Chuvash and Mordvins, Chechens and Ingushes, Yakuts and Chukchis live on territories in which not so long ago there were no ethnic Russians at all.» Consequently, the 1993 Constitution defined the country as a federation.

«It is possible,» Gontmakher says, «that it was a mistake to split the truly ethnic Russian (Slavic) lands into numerous oblasts and krays, and this is a subject for discussion about the future arrangement» of the country. «But the presence of national republics and districts is the only chance to escape from the imperial arrangement of Russia.»

In this regard, the Moscow social scientist continues, the experience of Great Britain is instructive. That country «freed itself from the imperial path not only by withdrawing from colonies but also by the formation on the islands which remained to it of a real federation based on ethnicity (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).»

Gontmakher says that recently a senior British foreign ministry official corrected him when he spoke of the people of the United Kingdom as «Englishmen.» The diplomat said that he should call them «Britons» instead.

For Russia, other parts of the definition of a nation state are relevant. As far as a common language, «there is no problem,» Gontmakher suggests, because «the Russian language is justly the only state language throughout its territory.» But with regard to culture and values, the situation is different, with many groups having their own unique positions.

According to Navalny, «the source of power» in Russia and other countries «must be 'the nation, the citizens of the country and not an elite stratum» seeking global domination. «But about what nation should we be speaking» in the case of the Russian Federation? Clearly even those members of ethnic minorities are not going to define themselves as ethnic Russians.

They may be willing to define themselves as «Rossiyane,» a non-ethnic term, Gontmakher says, but Navalny has said he supports the NAROD group's opposition to that term as a slight on ethnic Russians. But such an attitude, Gontmakher says, «is thedirect path to the splitting up of Russia into ethnic units,» to «a tragedy» like that of Yugoslavia in which «the ethnic Russians would play the role of Serbs.»

By supporting NAROD's views, Navalny appears to place his faith in the exceptionalism of the ethnic Russians, especially when he specifies that «the Russian people deserves the right to live under democracy.» That is beyond doubt, but why doesn't he say anyting about «the remaining 20 percent of the population of Russia which belongs to the non-Russians?»

Such silence by Navalny or anyone else, Gontmakher concludes, suggests that «either the others do not deserve this (and how then could there be a democracy of the European type?) or that Russians deserve this as 'a special case,' something that is a very dangerous idea in a multi-national country.»

The Moscow commentator continues by saying that he agrees with Navalny that «there are problems and not small ones in interethnic relations in Russia» and that this «concerns of course the ethnic Russians as well.» That needs to be said, but if Navalny and others want a European style democracy in Russia, they need to be inclusive not exclusive.

Failure to do so, especially by those who hope to be leaders of the Russian Federation, can only point to disasters in the future.

A DILEMMA FOR RUSSIAN LEADERS: TO SUPPRESS PROTESTS OR NOT

The New York Times

To anyone who has spent time in Mr. Putin’s Russia, the sight that unfolded on Bolotnaya Square on Dec. 10 came as an almost physical shock. (...) Nothing scary happened that day, or at a repeat demonstration on Dec. 24, when the crowd was significantly larger. Yevgeny S. Gontmakher, an economist who has advised the government on social unrest, said that Russian leaders had no formula for dealing with protesters whose demands cannot be addressed with money, because that kind of crowd has not existed here, as a rule. That it has appeared now “is a sign that Russia is becoming a Western country, in its own way.”

“It’s public politics,” Mr. Gontmakher said. “It is no longer marginal to be involved in public politics. I think this is happening for the first time in Russia. It suggests that Russia has to choose a European path. People say Russia is not Europe. No — Russia is Europe.”

RUSSIA: IL DILEMMA DI PUTIN PER IL 2012

Il Journal (Рим)

Ancora una volta uno studioso citato dalla Barry ci torna utile per capire: Evgenij S. Gontmakher, un economista che a lungo è stato consulente per il governo sui disordini sociali, ha detto che i leader russi non avevano un modello per trattare con i manifestanti le cui richieste non possono essere soddisfatte economicamente. Quello che chiedono è un maggiore coinvolgimento nella vita pubblica, nella politica del loro Paese. Questo, sostiene Gontmakher, “è un segno che la Russia sta diventando un paese occidentale, a modo suo”. La Russia dunque dovrebbe intraprendere un percorso di avvicinamento all’Europa: “in molti affermano che la Russia non è l’Europa. No — ribatte Gontmakher — la Russia è Europa “.

REPRIMIR O DIALOGAR. PUTIN, ANTE UN VIEJO DILEMA

La Nacion

Nada que asuste sucedió ese día, ni tampoco en una nueva manifestación el 24 de diciembre, cuando la multitud fue significativamente mayor. Yevgeny Gontmakher, un economista que ha asesorado al gobierno en materia de protestas sociales, dijo que los líderes rusos no cuentan con fórmula alguna para responder a los manifestantes cuyas demandas no pueden responderse con dinero, porque por regla general ese tipo de multitud no ha existido aquí. Ha aparecido ahora «como una señal de que Rusia, a su manera, se está convirtiendo en un país occidental».

«Es la política pública -observó Gontmakher-. Ya no es algo marginal estar involucrado en la política pública. Creo que esto sucede por primera vez en Rusia. Y sugiere que Rusia tiene que escoger un camino europeo. La gente dice que Rusia no es Europa. No es así, Rusia sí es Europa.»

UM DILEMA PARA OS LÍDERES RUSSOS: SUPRIMIR OU NÃO OS PROTESTOS?

Último Segundo

Nada de assustador aconteceu naquele dia ou em uma manifestação em 24 de dezembro, quando a multidão foi significativamente maior. Yevgeny S. Gontmakher, um economista que aconselhou o governo ao longo da agitação social, disse que os líderes russos não tinham uma fórmula para lidar com manifestantes cujas exigências não podem ser tratadas com dinheiro, já que esse tipo de protesto não existiu aqui anteriormente. O fato de ter acontecido agora «é um sinal de que a Rússia se tornou um país ocidental, à sua própria maneira».

«É a política pública», disse Gontmakher. «Já não é marginal se envolver na política pública. Acho que isso está acontecendo pela primeira vez na Rússia. Isso sugere que a Rússia tem que escolher um caminho europeu. As pessoas dizem que a Rússia não é Europa. Mas não, a Rússia é Europa».

ZSRR PADŁ DAWNO TEMU, ROSJA WCIĄŻ POWSTAJE

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna

Najciekawsze jest to, że nawet zbliżeni do rządu eksperci doskonale zdają sobie sprawę z zaniedbań. — Ciągle tkwimy w XX w. Uzależnienie od sprzedaży ropy i gazu to nasza pięta achillesowa. W spadku po ZSRR odziedziczyliśmy mnóstwo gospodarczych niewydolnych molochów — mówił „DGP” Jewgienij Gontmacher z prezydenckiego Instytutu Współczesnego Rozwoju. — Tymczasem XXI w. to wiek małych przedsiębiorstw, zdolnych do innowacji. Pod tym względem wciąż znajdujemy się w latach 50. XX w. To samo można powiedzieć o naszym systemie politycznym. Miękki autorytaryzm nie przystaje do XXI w. Mamy państwo giganta, które wypełnia nieproporcjonalnie wielki obszar gospodarki. Jeśli tego nie zmienimy, wylecimy na boczny tor światowej cywilizacji i dołączymy do państw, z którymi nikt się nie liczy — tłumaczył.

HA NACIDO UNA NUEVA RUSIA

Correo Diplomático

El diario francés Le Figaro destaca: “La cólera de los rusos inquieta al poder” y el economista ruso Evgueni Gontmakher, opositor a Putin, piensa que “la cuestión ya no es el número de manifestantes que sale a la calle, sino que la opinión pública ha experimentado un vuelco”.

PUTIN PLEDGES TRANSPARENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Voice of Russia

On the heels of the highly contested State Duma elections in Russia held on Dec.4, there have been massive protests disputing the results of those elections. Many people, opposed to the United Russia Party of Vladimir Putin, have alleged issues of vote fraud and election rigging. However, Prime Minister Putin said today that he will not reconduct the parliamentary elections and vowed to have more transparency in the upcoming presidential elections which are due to take place in March of this year. (...) Also commenting on Vladimir Putin’s speech is Boris Makarenko, Head of the Moscow Center for Political Technologies.