At the emergency session of the Foreign Affairs EU Council on January 29, the heads of European diplomacy approved the decision to extend the sanctions against Russia. This issue was supposed to be discussed in March, however, the EU decided to extend the sanctions because of the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. The high representative of the EU for foreign and security policies, Federica Mogerini, explained that the goal of this step was to push Russia towards real execution of the Minsk Peace Accords to regulate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
However, Russian State Duma member Andrey Fyodorov (‘Yedinaya Rossiya’) is not afraid of Western sanctions – instead, he is glad that they have been imposed.
“We are anxiously waiting to be cut off from SWIFT. I support the sanctions,” Fyodorov told Radio Liberty in an interview in his Duma office.
This is not because Fyodorov is a masochist. He simply believes that Russia had turned into a ‘colony’ of the U.S. after the end of the Cold War. According to his logic, the more the sanctions isolate Russia from the West, the better.
“Cutting us off from the SWIFT system will allow the Russian banking system to start working. We are actually very happy because of the sanctions, which allow us to return Russian assets, including those of oligarchs, back under national jurisdiction. This is happening slowly, but the sanctions create the necessary conditions,” Fyodorov says, adding that the sanctions support the return of Russian capital from outside of the country.
The sanctions, however, are not the only topic in which MP Fyodorov has unusual views.
He calls himself a ‘revanchist’ and says that he wants to rewrite the Russian Constitution, establish a state ideology, abolish the post of President in the current form, and create a powerful and non-accountable executive body, akin to the former Soviet Politbureau.
Fyodorov assures that Russia had lost its sovereignty when the USSR was falling apart, that the Russian media are controlled by the West, and he considers the government technocrats a treacherous ‘fifth column.’
“Our strategic goal is to change the rules of the functioning of the Russian state towards the national course,” says Fyodorov, adding that he wants to “re-examine the results of the fiasco” after the fall of the former USSR in 1991. “The decisions were made taking this fiasco into account. We are revanchists.”
Fyodorov has been a member of the Duma four times already. His office is decorated with many attributes of a convinced Russian patriot: a Proton rocket model, a portrait of a young Vladimir Putin, a mug with the ‘Novorossiya’ emblem and St. George’s flag.
The MP says that he has already drafted an amendment to the Constitution, which would abolish article 13, which prohibits state ideology, and he was able to collect several dozen signatures from his fellow MP’s.
“We need to wait for political conditions in the same way they came in the case of Crimea,” says Fyodorov, meaning the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia last year.
“As soon as the conditions are favorable, Putin will support the process and Russia will hold a referendum to amend its Constitution in terms of sovereignty,” says the MP.
In addition to his legislative initiatives, Fyodorov also founded the ‘National Liberation Movement,’ known by its Russian abbreviation, NOD. This happened during the anti-Kremlin protests in 2011-2012. The movement became especially visible during oppositional protest when it mocked the protesters and issued pro-Kremlin slogans.