2659000 residents populate the region, including the representatives of more than 100 nationalities. According to the census of 1989 the ethnic structure covers: the Russians – 89,1%; the Ukrainians – 3,0%; the Kazakhs – 1,6%; the Germans – 1,1%; the Tatars – 1,0%; the Byelorussians – 0,6%; the Chechens – 0,4%; the Chuvashes – 0,4%; the Mari – 0,3%; the Azerbaijanians – 0,3%, the Armenians – 0,3%; the Gypsies – 0,2%; the Mordvinians – 0,2%, the Moldavian – 0,2%; the Udmurts – 0,1%, the Jews – 0,1%; the Kalmyks – 0,1%. The Kazakhs, Chechens, Chuvashes, Mari, Udmurts, Kalmyks populate, mainly, the rural areas.
The interethnic and interconfessional case does not consider stable in the region. Disputing the national minorities’ problems is greatly politicized.
The Volgograd regional Administration fixed the Congress of Peoples, inhabiting Volgograd region, for 2001 (the Governor’s elections took place at the end of 2000). Besides, there planned to establish the Committee of Nationalities, a consultative body subjected to the Regional Governor and the House of Peoples’ Friendship. However, the Congress went through. Summing up 2001, the Governor N. Maksjuta said that the Congress planned did not take place because of poor preparedness of the society for unification.
The public opinion, treating, deep down, negatively the new diaspora, national-patriotic forces and mass media, turns the heat on the authority ethnic policy.
Both the federal and regional mass media publish a lot of articles, painting the regional situation in black colors, the in-migrants being represented as a source of all misfortunes in such publications. There is a widespread point of view that “ the system of voluntary migrants’ assimilation among the native population must be set up. If a person moves to another area, he is to accept the language, traditions and lifestyle of the native population. There must be no exceptions. There must be national and cultural autonomies, no ethnic schools, excepting federal, not to mention the economic structures, for all these “distinctions” lead, finally, to the hatred, dissension, war. If a migrant agrees on such terms, he will be a member, enjoying full rights, and get an opportunity to work. If he doesn’t, he must go on living in his historical homeland” (http://www.pravoslavie.ru/rusdom/200108/23.htm).
The national-patriotic organizations – the Don’s Cossack areas, Volgograd Russian People’s Council, Russian Community of Volgograd region (Russian People’s Alliance), Russian National Unity (RNU) and more three dozens non-communist patriotic formations – actively work in the region.
The RNU position is rather notable:” The authorities are aware of the fact that the prohibitive measures are unable to stop the ethnic enlightenment of Russians and other native peoples of Russia. Therefore, the Volgograd Regional Governor N. Maksjuta does not dare to quarrel with Russian nationalists. He excuses his position by considering Russian nationalists any important force.” (http://www.rne.org/gazeta/nov_sist/ns-2.html) (In their part, the rights’ defenders blame the Governor N. Maksjuta for “ lacking the open opposition to national extremists, creating hothouse conditions for luxuriant “ growing the brown weeds.” (P. Kaznacheev. New shapes of Russian Fascistization) http://www.hro.org/editions/hrdef/04.0402.htm).
The state authority bodies suppose the ethnic factor and migratory processes a threat for the regional security.
According to the Volgograd regional security Conception, against the background of the economic difficulties, increase in unemployment and political tension, the population of some area treats the in-migrants arrived disapprovingly and sometimes even with animosity, this creates the real grounds for interethnic and religious breakdowns. In particular, a sharp isolation of the ethnic communities was marked in the process of migration (p.3 of Volgograd regional security Conception) as well as the negative attitude of the local Cossacks and public formations’ representatives to settling migrants of other nationalities (p.2 of the Conception).
The authorities’ rhetoric is severe enough:” the criminal gangs of the Caucasian. Central Asian and other diaspora almost without hindrance act in the region, they strengthen their positions in economic, monetary and criminal spheres”. (The Resolution of Volgograd Regional Duma of 14.09.2000 N12/353)
The regional authority bodies see the solutions in increasing the number and density of police (militia) detachments in the habitual residences of ethnic communities, the forced migrants and refugees; attracting the security and detective services of enterprises and commercial structures to ward off the interethnic conflicts; forming the public order squads of the Cossacks.
Lately, the position of the authority bodies, especially, legislative ones, has been strengthened. The Regional Duma suggests that the police officers (militia) number should be greatly increased in the areas, where the Caucasian and Central Asian communities inhabit. It also demands that the operative groups for struggling against the armed criminal gangs and terrorists be set up. The City Home Affairs Department proposes that “the leadership, operative structures, divisional authorized militia agents’ service in the towns and districts with the considerable number of citizens from Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Caucasus, the forced migrants and stateless persons be strengthened… It is necessary that the additive measures for increasing the density of militia detachments in the ethnic communities’ residences be taken” (The Resolution of Volgograd Regional Duma of 13.12.2001 N 19/464, sp.1ã),3).