Text of report by the website of Russian newspaper Izvestiya on 31 July
[Article by Sergey Mironov, leader of the A Just Russia faction in the Russian Federation State Duma: "Novorossiya – new Russia. Just Russia faction leader Sergey Mironov on what Russians want and how they are able to defend their interests"]
Novorossiya [southeast Ukraine] has been occupying the principal place in the picture of Ukrainian events recently. Politicians, political analysts, journalists, and experts are talking about bombardments and bombing raids, the deaths of children and old people, thousands of refugees, the destruction of the Malaysian Boeing, and the militias’ retreats and counteroffensives. But among all of this there is a subject to which nobody is paying attention, and I would like to do so. It seems to me that it is exceptionally important. More important than many other issues if you look at it in terms not of days and weeks but months and years.
Let us ask ourselves: What is happening in Novorossiya if we look at this process from an ideological and world-view angle? What kind of state do the defenders of the DNR [Donetsk people’s republic] and the LNR [Luhansk people’s republic] want to build?
A. proviso. I do not know whether the insurgents will succeed in defending their motherland against highly superior enemy forces, although I wish them success with all my heart. But in any event we have to acknowledge something that is obvious: The existence of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics is an established historical fact. This event has already divided the history of Ukraine into "before" and "after." You can burn cities to the ground and not leave a single person alive in the southeast, but you cannot erase these pages from history with Grad, Uragan, and Smerch missiles.
The inhabitants of Novorossiya are compelled to exist in a state of permanent stress; they feel that they are living on the brink of death. At the same time they feel their historic predestination, and this feeling is proving to be stronger and deeper than the fear of death – it outweighs it. So it is not just war that is determining the life of the state of Novorossiya. Activists and politicians in Donetsk and Luhansk are engaged in imposing order in civil matters.
What does all this mean? A process of forming a nation is underway. Collective creativity by Russian people who, through the culpability of former leaders, are compelled to live other than in Russia, is underway. It was difficult and agonizing for them to exist in an aggressive environment that denies their identity. This aggression began with the language issue and ended in bombing raids. But there is a paradox here: Against the backdrop of explosions, while war is waging, people are thinking about how they would like to live in conditions of peace. What should the republic be like? How should it be organized?
DNR and LNR constitutions have already been written. A vigorous lawmaking process is underway. Novorossiya has a name and policy documents, albeit they have not yet – in wartime conditions – been completely honed. The constitution of Novorossiya has been published. In accordance with this constitution Novorossiya is a rule-of-law democratic state. Secular, but with clear moral points of reference. At the present time it is a parliamentary republic although it might possibly become a presidential republic once it has withstood the Kiev authorities’ terror and consolidated itself. In Novorossiya there is a mixed economy and equality among all types of ownership, and in domestic policy there are social priorities.
The legislative initiatives that are emerging testify that these few million people want to see their republic as a social state based on traditional values. Social justice and tradition form the essence of the societal and state project that is currently being built in the DNR and the LNR.
In there is a flag and coat of arms incorporating symbols from prerevolutionary and Soviet traditions. This choice testifies to a desire to overcome the historical fractures in Russian history. And overcoming historical fractures and divisions is a guarantee of stability in present-day politics. In other words, healthy conservatism is inherent in Novorossiya’s citizens in peacetime. But today they are compelled to defend themselves and their historic choice.
Despite the mass killings of civilians that the Ukrainian army is perpetrating, these people are not retreating from the choice that they made in the course of the referendum. They are not turning their back on their ideals. They are fighting and dying for them. The current (essentially temporary) Kiev government hates their flag, hates their ideals, and is blatantly ignoring their social project. It is ignoring their historic rights and expression of their wishes, denying the indisputable fact that everyone has his own path within a common European tradition. This government talks about a "conflict of mentalities," repudiating the principle of pluralism and describing their opponents as "nonhuman" and "subhuman," and is terrorizing the civilian population.
But, I repeat, even if Ukrainian troops were to destroy all the defenders of Novorossiya and carry out mass purges, it will no longer be possible to erase the fact of the emergence of the state of Novorossiya from world history. We will have to live with this understanding. Consequently it is necessary to formulate a systemic attitude towards this historical phenomenon.
The Russian intellectual elite will have had to answer the question as to why a logical merging of social democratic and conservative ideals – that is to say, ideals of social justice and traditional values – has taken place in Novorossiya’s public consciousness. This set of ideals emerged on the soil of Donetsk and Luhansk not under pressure from external forces but as the free choice of the people.
Here it is impossible to get away from the simple and obvious fact that these ideals reflect the views and ideals of not only several million inhabitants of Novorossiya but also the enormous overwhelming majority of the population of Russia. The nationwide Russian support for Donetsk and Luhansk is largely determined by a community of ideas, especially a community of values and historical reference points. What are they?
First, in Novorossiya and Russia people identify themselves with the Russian Orthodox tradition – not in a strictly church sense but in a broader interpretation. As opinion polls demonstrate, around 80 per cent of our country’s citizens describe themselves as such. Second, these are the same 80 per cent who today support Vladimir Putin and expect him to strengthen the Russian state. Finally, these are the same people who are proud of our army, which crossed the Alps, halted Napoleon, saved Russia during the years of the Great Patriotic War [as World War II is known in Russia], and very recently protected the population of Crimea from the fate that subsequently overtook the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk. The army that is ensuring the country’s sovereignty and integrity, to which a recent session of the Russian Federation Security Council was devoted….
The word Novorossiya today has not one but two meanings. On the one hand, it is the name of former Russian lands. On the other, it means "new Russia." A little Russia that is seeking to follow the same path along which the Russian Federation is also travelling.
Today those who lay claim to global control within the framework of a unipolar world are attempting to obstruct progress in this direction. To obstruct it to the detriment of their own and – even more so – European interests. But the historical journey of large and small nations cannot be halted. The example of Novorossiya has shown what Russians want and how they are able to defend their interests. And I would not advise anybody in the world to even try to do in Russia what they are trying to carry out in Ukraine. The outcome for such experimenters would be extremely inauspicious.
Source: Izvestiya website, Moscow, in Russian 31 Jul 14
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