Law on Russian Nation: where will 2 billion rubles go in 2017?

Costs for national policy have increased by 600 million rubles

Last week, the media space was overwhelmed by the statement of Putin about the necessity to elaborate a law on the Russian nation. Now the experts are puzzling over what the president wants and what provisions will be included in the draft law. The Duma deputies are also a little bit confused. The chairperson of the Committee of the State Duma on Ethnic Affairs Ildar Gilmutdinov tried to answer the questions arisen in the course of the video conference Moscow-Kazan. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya took part in the conference with the parliamentarian.

Design assignment for deputies

The task of the president, Mr Putin, to draft a law on the Russian nation has raised questions and heated debates in the information space of Russia. The President gave the order at a meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations held in Astrakhan on October 31.

The head of the department for ethnic and federative relations of the RANEPA (the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) Vyacheslav Mikhailov and the academic supervisor of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology named after N. Miklouho-Maclay Valery Tishkov have become the conductors of this idea to the first public officials. Both scientists held the post of Minister for Nationalities in the 1990s.

At the same time, Putin noted that the government has not solved the issue on a special structure that will deal with national issues at the federal level yet.

The deputies from the relevant committee will deal with the draft law. The chairperson of the Duma Committee on nationalities Ildar Gilmutdinov told about new legislative initiatives and the implementation of the strategy of state national policy of the Russian Federation during the video conference Moscow-Kazan, organized by the agencies Russia Today and Tatar-inform. The speaker was in a Moscow studio of the Federal media company. The fact that such meeting with journalists took place on the eve of National Unity Day adds a special piquancy to the issue.

Putin noted that the government has not solved the issue on a special structure that will deal with national issues at the federal level yet. Photo:

According to him, the new law, which has been instructed to be developed by the President, should be 'focused on the positive, rather than be framework'. Even its 'design assignment' has not yet been formed yet, not to mention the content.

The deputy told about a new Duma Committee, which he chaired. It consists of 12 people representing different regions of the country (Gilmutdinov was elected to the lower house of Parliament of Tatarstan). In the special committee there are being formed subcommittees: on indigenous small-numbered peoples; on inter-ethnic relations in Crimea and Sevastopol; on social adaptation of migrants; on the ethnic and cultural development and preservation of languages. These deputies will also deal with the issues of the Cossacks.

Where will 2 billion rubles go?

The parliamentarian said that it is planned 2 billion rubles for the implementation of the strategy of state national policy in 2017. For comparison, in the current year it has been allocated 1,4 billion rubles. It is the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs that will realize these funds. According to him, the money will be spent primarily on the development of interethnic relations in the regions. The program also provides support for small indigenous peoples of Russia — not only festivals and concerts but also education and medical care. Besides, part of the funds will be used for monitoring of inter-ethnic relations.

'We have a desire to expand the powers of the Federal Agency in terms of social adaptation of migrants,' added Gilmutdinov. 'Unfortunately, they still do not have such authority: part belongs to Ministry of Internal Affairs and other structures. We pronounced this offer to the President. Because it is wrong to leave them unattended, we should work with them.'

According to Gilmutdinov, the money will be spent primarily on the development of interethnic relations in the regions. Photo:

When developing programs, the lawmakers will turn to Tishkov, Mikhailov, Zorin, — the Ministers who worked in this direction at different times. Also, the money will be spent on training and improving the skills of municipal officials.

How the observance over the 'implementation' of 2 billion rubles will be conducted, he did not explain.

Besides, the deputy thanked journalists who write on ethnic topics. He promised that the support of the contest 'Peacemaker', which is held for media professionals writing about ethnic relations, will be continued.

To Kazakhstan – for experience

He cited Kazakhstan as a good example of elaboration of such law.

'The Kazakhs are ahead in the formulation of such approaches. We are studying their work, have agreed that we will exchange delegates. The Federal Agency on Ethnic Affairs also agreed. I have not seen other examples besides Kazakhstan,' he said.

In some countries, he said, there are interesting projects on ethno-tourism, to attract young people to ethnic theme. According to the parliamentarian, we need to learn from those ideas.

Valery Tishkov said about the need to raise the level of the Federal Agency. Photo: Timur Rakhmatullin

From a department to the ministry

However, he advocated improving the status of Federal Agency on Ethnic Affairs to the ministry level. By the way, Valery Tishkov said about the need to raise the level of the Federal Agency in an interview with Realnoe Vremya. The scientist expressed his discontent with its funding and personnel filling.

'I have always been a supporter of the Ministry for National Policy. In some regions no one deals with these issues. In the best case, they will hold a concert, congratulate, and that's it. A superministry will be able to solve many specific tasks. It should have the right to create their own legal documents,' said the parliamentarian.

According to the deputy, the Agency will work more efficiently having new status. The Ministry will work better in the regions. And it will be a body which will be responsible for the implementation of the programs.

Nation-building: Where is the starting point?

However, perhaps even among the lawmakers, there is no common view yet about what the Russian nation constitutes. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya during the video conference tried to return Gilmutdinov to the designated by Vladimir Putin issue about the Russian nation. In particular, the journalist recalled the words of Valery Tishkov said to the President about Canada. The people of the country consider the construction of railroads from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean linking regions of the country as the birth of the canadian nation.

'Mr Gilmutdinov, what can be considered a starting point for the birth of the Russian nation — the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Christianization of Rus', 1917 or 1991?' asked our correspondent.

'Everything — the Trans-Siberian Railway, trains and everything else. For us, everything is acceptable. We have a big country. We need different projects that unite us, especially our younger generation. The older generation educated in the Soviet times have understanding and approaches,' said the speaker.

By Timur Rakhmatullin