By Dmitry Berezhkov (Arctic Consult, Norway) and Pavel Sulyandziga (Batani Foundation, US)
Beside the coronavirus, the Russian civil society continues to discuss new changes in the Russian Constitution that were suggested by Vladimir Putin this spring. This discussion is carried out in several parallel aspects. The “Lovers of the Motherland” competing in patriotic glorification of the state system are discussing the wisdom of Vladimir Putin, who is working day and night to strengthen Russian sovereignty.
Opposition journalists and political scientists are discussing the elimination of the principle of separation of powers and the amplification of the dictatorial power of the Russian president in the new Constitution.
Parallel to the national debate, the indigenous peoples of the Russian North have their own “lesser” process of discussing the new constitutional reality and, above all, they discuss the content of Article 69 of the Russian Constitution, which for almost three decades has been the foundation of the legal status of the small-numbered indigenous peoples of the Russian North, Siberia, and the Far East.
Before the March 2020 the Article 69 of the Russian Constitution included only one paragraph: