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”