Russian culture

Article 2 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation states: “Man, his rights and freedoms are the supreme value. The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall be the obligation of the State.”

Chapter two goes on to spell out these rights, which are those observed in most democratic country in the world. “Article 17 1. In the Russian Federation recognition and guarantees shall be provided for the rights and freedoms of man and citizen according to the universally recognized principles and norms of international law and according to the present Constitution.” These include free speech, privacy, “the right to the inviolability of private life, personal and family secrets,” etc. It seemed a bit odd, then, when the deputy from the party “New People”, the well-known Russian actor of theater and cinema, Dmitry Pevtsov, recently stated that Article 2 should be replaced a declaration of the supreme Russian values as faith, family and the fatherland.

These are very different values than in Russia’s existing constitution and those found more widely around the world. That brought to my mind an email conversation I had with a young Russian living in London almost fifteen years ago but it sounds like it was just yesterday. It was rather shocking to me then, but it is important and educational to hear how others think about their own culture and think about ours. Here it is: “Dialog with Denis-a young Russian living in Europe”

Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

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