State Duma Starts Work on Russian Nation Law

PHOTO by Natalia Selivestrova / RIA Novosti

The State Duma Committee on Nationality Affairs has begun working on the framework of a law to define the Russian nation, according to committee chairman Ildar Gilmutdinov.

“We are now consulting with experts [and] with colleagues who know this subject,” Gilmutdinov said. “We need to understand it and produce some kind of terms of reference that would define what we want [and] what it will be.”

The exact content of the law has not been discussed yet. It is yet to be decided whether this will be a framework or substantive law that declares, according to Gilmutdinov, “that we are different, we have different cultures [and] different traditions, but we are united; we live in one country [and] we are a single political Russian nation.”

On Nov. 1, Grigory Ledkov, a member of the same committee, said that the law on the Russian nation could be developed and enacted within a year. The initial idea for the law was proposed at a meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations, and Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the idea. President Putin noted that the draft law could focus on a strategy for the development of national relations in Russia.

According to the 2010 National Population Census, there are about 200 different nationalities in Russia, with nearly 80% of the population being ethnic Russian.