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Russia Needs Not Gray Unity but a Bright Alliance of Diverse but Equal People, Kurbangaleyeva Says


Paul Goble


Staunton,November 4 – The Day of Popular Unity, Ekaterina Kurbangaleyeva says, should berecast, no longer as a celebration of gray uniformity of people but as a brightalliance of diverse by equal people in various regions and republics. Indeed,it may be best not to celebrate it as an all-Russian event at all.



Instead,it should grow from the bottom up, from regions like Novgorod and Ivanovo withtheir ancient traditions, the rights activist and member of the Russian SocialChamber tells Federal Press journalist Vladimir Parfirov, because that willpromote social empathy and a sense of collective responsibility (fedpress.ru/interview/2149075).


The current arrangements have no suchconsequences. Indeed, Kurbangaleyeva continues, for most Russians, this day issimply the occasion for another time off work. Such days must become importantso as to consolidate Russians in a good way, capable of criticizing their owncountry but standing up to all others, just as Pushkin observed.


That means, of course, that Russians mustfeel more about their country than just that it is a besieged fortress as somelike to present its current situation. Russians need unity but they need realunity not an ideological cover for radically increasing income differentiationand increasing problems among various nationalities.


Kurbangaleyevasays that an important place to work from is the improvement of conditions forinvalids and people with various handicaps.That will take a long time, but it is a task that almost all can agreeis important given the problems such people have traditionally faced in Russia.


The current holiday, she says, has not yetfulfilled its potential, she continues. It should not be kept at the level of “hurrahpatriotism” and public marches.Such “ideologicalpopulism” and playing at “national pride” only harms the situation as it istoday, the activist says.


She says that she doesn’t much like theword “unity” because it suggests “a static, bricked up monolith. The strengthof Russia is in the multiplicity of the peoples living on its territory.All are unique and have a feeling of theirown dignity.”What they need is not “unity”but “an alliance of varied but equal people,” a process that will continue forever.

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