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Hakim Rafail, Touzmohammad Rais, Federalist Debate - 1 maggio 1994
The Volga region federalists


by Rais A. Touzmohammad (*)

Rafail S. Hakim (**)

The Federalist Debate VII N.2, 1994

Birth and Aims of the Yearbook in Russia

The decision to start publishing the "Volga Region Federalist Yearbook" was passed on September 1993 at the end of the international conference summoned in Tatarstan capital, Kazan, on the iniziative of the international NGO "Commonwealth Lawyers for Cooperation in Asia-Pacific" (COMLAP). One of the three sections of the Conference was for the first time in Russia devoted to the World Federalist Movement and concluded establishing four federalist NGOs and deciding to publish the Yearbook. The participants to the Conference from the Republics of Bashkortostanis, Chuvash and Udmurt also made their minds to establish similar NGOs. Bashkortostanis has already set up theirs. The same idea has emerged in the North Caucasian Republic of Dagestan. The President of all the NGOs mentioned above compose the Editorial board of the Yearbook.

Though the idea and the movement of world federalism are not less than half a century old, this subject as well as those of "world government" or "world citizens" were forbidden in the former USSR. Therefore one of our goals in the Yearbook will be enlightening people on the world federalism, what is today, what world federalists are commited in. The basic information concerning those matters are included in the first issue.

But we are aware that, while sharing the basic perception of WFM, due to subjective and objective reasons, our branches of the World Movement may not coincide in all with those in the West. Here are some of the reasons.

In our regions since prehistoric times there was no democracy. We have just turned towards it. Therefore, when today WFM stands for establishing a Parliamentary Assembly in the UN on the lines of the European Parliament we suggest to establish there a Peoples Assembly. This is the consequence of our bitter experience including contemporary developments in Russia and CIS at large. The matter is that delegating MP's from each of our Parliaments the UN Parliamentary Assembly will not ever mean that they adequately represent their electorates and not at all that they will be asserting the interests of those who elected them.

Or let us take another example. We uphold the fundamental principle of WFM, the subsidiarity principle, that is solving problems at the lowest possible level. But centuries of experience by our people and territories teach us to deepen that principle by introducing strict limitations on state administrative burocracy which affected and penetrated our society as malignant tumour, parasitizing on it and paralizing it. The more so now.

Also we accept the main goal of world federalism to unite globally to solve problems solvable on global scale only and which cannot be handled by the states. But the same experience mentioned above make us stress the necessity of realizing federalism also at the states level. For us, world federalism, beside its basic dimension, including reforming UN, etc., has a lower dimension: that of CIS and Russian Federation. For us, on the territory of the former USSR and in the Russian Republic democracy is something to come. This means that if for the West "Rule of Law" means "Rule of Rights of Individual" - which is what world federalism strives for - , we cannot forget that the current status of individuals in European and American societies was achieved through the Netherlands and American Revolution which liberated peoples first. That is, for us "Rights of Peoples" are as significant as "Rights of Individuals". For us they do not contradict, but are rather interconnected and mutually complementary.

It is from this point of view that we accept one of the principles of world federalism - "the legitimate rights of nations to self-determination are balanced by and consistent with the collective rights of the global community to protect and advance the common good of humanity" (Statutes, par. 4).

Thus, while being world federalists by our ideals we are at the same time determined to proceed on two levels, global and regional, because they are interconnected but they are also different.

(*) FVR Editorial Board Chair

(**) President of the Volga Region Federalist Association

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