Champion of Russian Diaspora pledges support for Putin

Russia’s envoy to NATO, the informal leader of the Congress of Russian Communities, has said that his organization will support Vladimir Putin and United Russia’s Popular Front at the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Dmitry Rogozin spoke before the convention in Moscow on Wednesday. “My choice is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” Rogozin told the assembly of 106 delegates representing Russian speaking communities in foreign countries. He also called upon the participants of the convention to support the United Popular Front – a United Russia structure aimed at providing parliamentary seats to those who support United Russia, but are not members of the party.

Before the convention commenced, its organizers ran a short movie in which Rogozin called Putin “a young hawk who appeals to us.”

Rogozin also said that the Congress of Russian Communities must change its tactics and switch from street demonstrations to official politics. “Let us stop freezing while marching for Russia; let us take [cozy] offices instead. This is the case when all means are good to achieve our ends,” Rogozin said.

However, Rogozin said that he himself will not join the Popular Front and run for parliament on United Russia’s ticket, as he planned to remain in his current post of Russia’s envoy to NATO.

Rogozin also suggested that the Congress of Russian Communities lobbies a political reform in Russia that would assure the return of the Council of Nationalities – on the level of the State Council with the president. The Council of Nationalities was a part of the parliament of the Soviet Union, but it was abandoned in the Russian Federation and replaced by the Federation Council as the new division of the country is made by territorial factors other than simple national republics.

“The main task is to bring the serious discussion the society is now having to real life from the internet and from behind the looking glass,” Rogozin said.

The politician also called upon the unification of the “Russian world”, in particular in the form of granting citizenship of the Russian Federation to “foreign compatriots” – residents of former Soviet republics who share a common legacy. ”Any person who finds himself out of his country against his will must have a priority right to citizenship,” Rogozin said. He also suggested that Russian speakers in Baltic countries who live there under non-citizen status receive the right to vote in Russia.

Rogozin advocated the creation of the World Russian Duma – a consultative body made of Russian emigrants and their descendants. He also pledged to do everything to make Russian a working language in the European Union and the European Parliament, and also to make Ukraine adopt Russian as an official language.

Dmitry Rogozin founded the Congress of Russian Communities in 1992 to protect the interests of Russians in foreign countries, primarily in the former Soviet republics. The Congress factually ceased to exist in 2003 when Rogozin founded the Rodina (Motherland) political party with a similar agenda, and was restored in 2006 when Rogozin was forced out of Rodina over his extreme nationalism. However, the Congress of Russian Communities was officially re-registered only this year and the current convention is the first major congress of the organization after the long break.

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