I’m back to throw out another interesting topic - hopefully.
Martin Sixsmith’s new book “Russia: A 1,000 Year chronicle of the Wild East” presents an interesting observation in the introduction. He thought, like many, that 1991 marked the end of an autocratic system in Russia - to be replaced by democracy and related freedoms. He then states that he and anyone who believed that were foolish and had ignored Russia’s history.
Sixsmith discusses “silnaya ruka” - the iron fist of centralized power & refers to polling of Russians - over a 20 yr. period. 40-45% of Russians consistently believe that Russia must be ruled by silnaya ruka and another 20-30% claim that this is indeed necessary at times.
The desire or need for an iron fist of centralized power need not be debated here. That’s not the point.
The question that I pose - from a theoretical standpoint - relates to Russian ethic minorities in Latvia and the question of citizenship. If the underlying premise is right - that Russians believe in autocratic rule - then how does this impact bringing Russians into the Latvian political system and should it?
Latvia has generally looked to the West at democratic states. Of course, there was the Ulmanis issue - which might simply fall into the category of post-depression nationalism (that occurred throughout Western Europe).
So, do you leave the ethnic minority disenfranchised, but with individual freedom of speech in tact? I realize that this solution would not be a move towards conciliation, but…
Also, is this something that must be emphasized in discussions with the West re the ethnic minority issue?
Does Latvia need an active voice for silnaya ruka or should it be precluded? I understand that there may be Latvians who hold this position as well.
Looking forward to reading your comments.