Financial Foundations of Nationalities Policy

Funding is alpha and omega of nationalities policy (that is true with any other policy). There is a widespread opinion that main problems of ethnic regional policy implementation are related to insufficiency of financial means. Most frequently, from 0.5 million to 1 million roubles are allocated annually from a regional budget for purposes of policy towards ethnic minorities. Sure, there are territories that allocate mere scraps to these purposes (in six regions annual allocations to these purposes amount to less than 100 thousand roubles). And Moscow city occupies the other end of the range. Moscow allocates to these purposes means commensurate to allocations made by all Russian regions (The Moscow budget for year 2004 assigns 23.5 million roubles for support of ethnic cultures, 17.2 million roubles for tolerance program and 93.5 million roubles for maintenance of the Moscow Nationalities House).

Efficiency of expenditure is determined not so much by their amounts but by opportunity to find out how much is spent for specific purposes and who has obtained the money, i.e. by transparency of cash flows. In this respect it is appropriate to compare nationalities policy funding in Moscow with similar expenses in Perm, Samara regions and republics of Komi and Udmurtia. Results of the comparison are not in favor of Moscow city.

It is difficult to analyze financial aspects of nationalities policy in regions due to several circumstances. Firstly, a whole range of measures in the nationalities policy sphere are financed through budgets of agencies. That why it is so difficult to distinguish a share of funding assigned to ethnic culture or nationalities education. Secondly, one has to take into account measures that are funded by other items of regional budgets. For example, in Stavropol region funding for training of the state power and local self-government bodies’ specialists who are to deal with inter-ethnic issues and issues of nationalities policy (there are such specialists in all town and district administrations) in 2004 is carried on according to “State government” item of the regional budget. Thirdly, regional budgets, more often than not, are non-transparent: distribution of money among agencies does not permit to determine, for what purposes, in what amounts and for what measures money is planned to be spent; similar problems arises when laws on execution of budgets are analyzed.

Finally, in some regions the very programs of nationalities policy suffers from their close nature: funding is carried on in aggregated form, with no earmarking of money for specific measures or activities. (There are precedents of key programs authorization with no financial provision for them at all as it was done, for example, in Bashkiria).

As national policy funding in regions is compared it is particularly interesting to analyze financial provision for nationalities policy programs, authorized budgets and reports on execution of budgets as well as evaluation of means drawn from budgets of other levels and extra-budget sources for ethnic regional policy purposes

It is our opinion that analysis of the following characteristics is of particular importance:

- extent of elaboration of nationalities policy programs’ financial blocks. The better this part of a program is elaborated the more clear are intentions and priorities of the authorities and sources of funding;

- correspondence of funding from as regional budget with programs of regional nationalities policy. People in regions has learned to develop wonderful programs but these programs are far form always provided with funding (as it is the case in Volgograd region);

- financial discipline, i.e. execution of regional budgets in respect of nationalities policy funding. The financial discipline is quite high in some regions and nationalities policy funding targets are completely fulfilled to 100% or even more (Udmurtia, Perm, Samara regions, Moscow city).

- transparency of the authorized budgets. Budget of Perm region is the model of transparency. The executive power bodies specify individual items of budget and provides split of budgets by quarters. It is absolutely obvious from the budget what amounts are spent for ethnic education, for nationalities newspapers, for support of minorities’ organizations etc. Budgets of other regions (republics of Komi and Udmurtia, Samara and Sverdlovsk regions) are transparent as well.

All these parameters are interconnected: lack of nationalities policy programs aggravates its implementation due to uncertainty about purposes for allocation of means; a poor elaboration of programs’ financial bocks, lack of regional budgets transparency in respect of nationalities policy implementation are the evidence of inability and/or unwillingness of authorities to put implementation of policy under control of the legislative power and the public. Lack of funds allocated by individual items of budget for implementation of nationalities policy purposes put the end on this policy. Due to lack of transparency in expenditures regions that finance their nationalities policy measures through agencies and within limits of means earmarked for funding these agencies’ current expenditures proved to be unable to create an effective model of nationalities policy implementation. And lack of transparency certainly makes impossible to draw in means from other sources impossible.

Comparison of regions by extent of nationalities policy financial foundations elaboration is given in Appendix 1. Assessment of Comparative Effectiveness of the Russian Federation Regions’ Nationalities Policy. Transparency of nationalities policy funding combined with relatively considerable scale of funding (in excess of three million roubles) is peculiar to Perm, Samara regions, republics of Buryatia, Komi and Udmurtia. The closed nature of nationalities policy funding or uncertainty with such funding in parts like Republic of Dagestan, Krasnodar, Tula, Voronezh regions is an alarming signal that is to be taken into consideration. (See Appendix 1. Assessment of Comparative Effectiveness of the Russian Federation Regions’ Nationalities Policy. ).