Diagnostic Department
Scientific Advisory Center "Consciousness"
My Great Web page
2.3. Conflict "the right of nations to self-determination" and "preserve its territorial integrity."

With the collapse of the USSR and the Russian Federation began an active search for new forms of identity, federalism, the coexistence and interaction between ethnic groups. This enabled Russian lawyer stated: "In the long-term national-cultural autonomy appeared in Soviet literature as a mere theory, distraction from the real working class struggle for their class interests. Gradually, however, had the understanding that the national-cultural autonomy is to protect, to preserve and develop culture and people is a form of self-determination. "In the context of ethnic conflicts in the NC the most difficult to assess is the concept of "right of nations to self-determination1" and "preserve the territorial integrity of states" which are mainly in the field of political theory and law.

December 14, 1960 The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, in which, "recognizing the ardent desire of all dependent peoples for freedom and the crucial role of these peoples to achieve their independence" and "the belief that all peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of its sovereignty and integrity of their national territory, "solemnly declared:" All peoples have the right to self-determination by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development "(Article 1.) 2 The Declaration states that "any military action or repressive measures directed against dependent peoples should be terminated in order to enable them to exercise in peace and freedom the right to complete independence3". However, the drafters of the Covenant are aware that the people is the ambiguous concept in many cases, it can easily be found "most" and "minority" is allocated for a variety of reasons. Given the realities of life, the Covenant provides: "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities cannot be denied with other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, profess and practice their religion and to perform its ceremonies, as well as use their own language "(Article 27)4. These are the most common setup, known since the 60s. Although they provide a common framework to resolve national problems in different countries and regions of the world, to apply them in particular cases is not so simple. In subsequent years, little has changed in this regard.”

Thus, in contemporary international law officially recorded right of peoples to self-determination. This right is confirmed as legally binding documents (UN Charter, the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights, the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights) as well as recommendation sources (Declaration of the UN General Assembly, Algeria, Asia-Pacific and the Tunis Declaration of international conferences). However, the formal right to self-determination is contrary to the principle of territorial integrity.

The principle of territorial integrity is also one of the fundamental principles of international law and the right to self-determination it recorded dozens of international legal instruments. Adopted in 1970, "Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation in accordance with the UN Charter," says non-violation of territorial integrity and political unity of States. However, not all and not anybody, but only "conduct their operations in the principle of equality and self-determination of peoples." The same document states that "every State must refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples ... their right to self-determination, freedom and independence "and that" in its action against such acts of violence ... these peoples, in exercising its right to self-determination right to seek support and get it1. "

However, the most detailed studies of the so-called conflict between the right to self-determination and the principle of territorial integrity, as well as the ratio of self-determination and minority rights have not led to any serious reassessment of the past decade. The author of one of the most recent work on the problem of self-determination and national minorities, recognizing the different meanings and interpretations, which are invested in this concept in Western countries, former Soviet bloc countries and the so-called third world, makes the following final conclusion: "As far as self-determination is the legal right is still not precisely determined, since the meaning of the term "nation" has never been precisely defined, and because the very international practice with regard to self-determination is largely incoherent. Although decolonization has been universally recognized as a legitimate component of self-determination, the legal status of other aspects of self-determination remains unclear. The theory that self-determination entails a representative government is widely recognized by most western nations and former Soviet bloc countries. “However, this understanding of self-determination is not accepted as part of international law in many countries of the Third World. Even more uncertain is the status of ethnic identity. Although many ethnic groups in the world consider him for a legal right, it does not recognize most of the states. Ethnic self-determination does not fit into the system of international law ... Primacy of the state in international law means that the entire population of the state is regarded as the primary attribute of this state. The traditional primacy of the state in international law is therefore a fundamental contradiction with the requirements of pro-self-determination of ethnic groups, because, in fact, such groups seek to subordinate the position of the state group's position2.”

A well-known lawyer, G.B. Starushenko seven years representing the Soviet Union in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed in his works, that UN bodies have failed to develop a common definition "people". The absolute majority of the members came nevertheless to the general opinion on the subject of self-determination. In the presentation of G.B. Starushenko under it refers to "nations and nationalities, and peoples, consisting of several nations, nationalities or ethnic groups with a common area, one or more other communities (historical, cultural, linguistic, religious, etc. etc.) and the combined common goal that they want to achieve through self-determination3." Most UN member states also agreed that, firstly, the right to self-determination is universal, and secondly, the word "people" means people in all countries and territories regardless of whether they are independent, self-governing or wards, and in Third, the word should be understood in its generic sense and not in any precise definition was not needed because the issues related to self-determination, specifically addressed in each case.

A new surge of interest in the doctrines arose in connection with a radical reorganization of the post-communist world and, above all in connection with the collapse of countries such as USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. These two principles are, in fact, the main legal measures, which as soon as possible operate as separatist (Chechnya, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria) and state saving powers (Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova).
With the first signs of possible collapse of the USSR (since 1985) has earned the world actively thinking about the development of strategies to promote the development of multi-ethnic and multicultural societies1. This task became to be called one of the main instruments in the UN, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The reports of the International Commission for UNESCO on global strategies for development of society were emphasized that "people must understand their roots and thereby find its place." Later they began to appear on a variety of work needed and self-determination of peoples. The world began to call the Soviet collapse as a "decolonization of the enslaved peoples2." A little later, and the Russian Federation has not been spared this practice3.

The rhetoric of self-determination has been and remains the main legal argument and emotional processes of disintegration and of violent conflicts in the former Soviet Union4. Post-communist engineering, especially from the winner's (liberal West), enthusiastically turned to the topic of self-determination. Many professionals, especially former Sovietologists, called for the revision and modernization of self-determination in the context of new geopolitical situation. Moreover, by virtue of explicit ideological engagement fighters against the last empire (referring to the Soviet Union) and "mini-empire" (meaning Russia) correction and revision did not go in the direction of removing the last of the fundamental contradictions in the doctrine, and in the direction of even greater legitimacy5.

Some representatives of the Democratic hand of the Russian authorities insisted on the immediate inclusion of a provision of national autonomy in the Russian Constitution. So, in 1992, came the draft of Constitution of the Russian Federation, prepared under the direction of Alekseev and A. Sobchak, which was assumed such federal system, where, along with the republics and provinces have existed. The authors suggested forming ethnic autonomy for the preservation and development of ethnic identity and culture of indigenous peoples on the basis of their expressed will to organize the autonomous community of fixed composition for personal traditionally occupied their territory6 . The boundaries of territories and ethnic groups in Russia have never coincided.

Although the concept of national autonomy has not been included in the Constitution of the Russian Federation in 1993, however, leadership of the country began to speak about the implementation of segregation. At that moment the idea for all its attractiveness and apparent demand society has not found concrete yet. In 1994, in his message to the Federal Assembly, Russian President B.N. Yeltsin, in particular, said: "Self-organization of ethnic communities who do not have their own national-territorial entities of the Russian Federation or living outside of these entities can be in various forms of national-cultural autonomy7." Thus, B.N. Yeltsin catalyzed the already acute national problem.

During this period, the Ministry of the Russian Federation for ethnic and religious politics began to work with the law "On national-cultural autonomy." Then in early 1995, a bill was passed in the State Duma Committee on Nationalities where a group of experts proposed a conceptual approach, reflected not only in changing its name ("national-cultural associations of citizens"), but also a substantial part. They proposed rejection of attempts to highlight the subject group of national law, that in the absence of clear definitions of such key concepts as "nation", "national team", "ethnic group", "national minority", it looked quite logical.

In 1995, the President in his annual message again raised the issue and commented on it more meaningful: "Cultural, religious, business and other interests caused the natural tendency of people of one nationality living in different parts of the state, to work together. The state should provide favorable conditions for such bonds (primarily in the form of national-cultural associations), including in the use of native language, worship in the area of information. Creating a national-cultural associations provide a variety of forms of government of peoples." There have already been noted fundamentally new aspects. The president was inclined to support the term "national-cultural associations1 ." However, regardless of the terminology matter of fact, actually proclaimed a new form of Russian federalism and defined scope.

Ultimately, the choice was still stopped at the national-cultural autonomy. In May 1996, the federal law "On national-cultural autonomy" was adopted by the State Duma, and a month later signed by Russian President B.N. Yeltsin. "The national-cultural autonomy in the Russian Federation - it said - is a form of national-cultural self-determination, which is a union of citizens of the Russian Federation who consider themselves a certain ethnic community which is in a situation of national minorities on the territory, on the basis of their voluntary self-for self-preservation issues of identity, language, education, national culture2.”

The law defined the basic principles - the free will of citizens, self-organization and self-management, diversity of forms of internal organization, a combination of public initiative with government support, respect of language, culture, traditions, customs, the citizens of various ethnic communities, rule of law. Among the rights it’s necessary to mention the most important. First of all, the autonomies have been given the right to communicate freely with their foreign compatriots. The national-cultural autonomy shall be empowered to establish and maintain, without any discrimination, humanitarian contacts with citizens, community organizations of foreign countries. However, the law emphasized that the right of national-cultural autonomy is not the right to national territorial self-determination. Exercising the right to national-cultural autonomy should not be detrimental to the interests of other ethnic communities.

Republic gained real freedom of choice in comparison to the Soviet period, whereby regional nationalism became even more strengthened. The national elites were rapidly strengthening its position in the economic, social and political life, which is often done with an emphasis on nationalism as opposed to the titular internationalism of the federal government.

Things began to change by the end of the 90s and early 2000s, when by its policy of country new president V.V. Putin became foster the foundations of Russian federalism, as opposed to regional nationalism. Thus, the institution of national-cultural autonomy is not only a reality of modern Russian life. As a result of his realization many small nations and national minorities in Russia have found additional opportunities to preserve their language, culture, art and traditions. On the other hand - the "democratic" national experience has shown how the rapid development of nationalism and the escalation of ethnic conflicts.

Regarding the above, former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali: exactly said in his keynote paper: "The world cannot afford the luxury to each distinctive cultural group had its own state and it is in principle feasible."
USA/UK 2007-2012  © FALCOGROUP