Practice of Nationalities Policies Implementation
Regional nationalities policy is implemented even in those regions where authorities avoid articulating it, where there is no institution or instrument of such policy and where funds for its implementation cannot be detected. Thus, there is no territory the authorities of which would not take advantage of and not give support to a ethnic feast or another action in order to interpret such event as a good information opportunity for self-advertising.
Ethnic feasts, festivals and days of nationalities cultures, anniversaries, performances of ethnic song-and-dance groups, other ethnic cultural events the administrative resources and/or budget means are involved in are impressive: in some regions one may imagine that nationalities celebrations go on in tight succession. Even nowadays the folklore cultural component of nationalities policy is the dominant in some regions.
However in a greater part of Federation’s regions awareness of the fact that this component does not constitute the essence of nationalities policy is growing. Regions devote ever increasing attention to specific and extremely painful problems of nationalities education, minorities’ languages support, support of national minorities' mass media, minorities’ organizations, development of tolerance assumptions, struggle against xenophobia and discrimination of minorities. Some regions have achieved impressive successes along all above mentioned lines.
Several parameters have been used for comparison of nationalities policy implementation practices:
- availability of inter-ethnic communication centers, i.e. regional Friendship Houses, local centers; such centers are created in one third of all regions;
- support provided by regional authorities for various actions (festivals, days of ethnic cultures, ethnic festivities etc); these actions are organized virtually everywhere;
- support for national minorities' mass media. Unfortunately, it is possible to argue that authorities provide their help to minorities’ organizations to publish printed materials or to air electronic media only in respect of a few regions. In a greater part of regions nationalities media exist due to enthusiasm of minorities’ members. However there are exclusions: until recently the unique “Radio-7” worked in Samara region until recently; it broadcast in 11 languages. Nationalities newspapers are published in Samara region with support from the regional budget. The situation is quite good in republics of Bashkiria, Dagestan, Tatarstan, in Perm, Orenburg and other regions;
- development of and support for ethniceducation. As a rule, ethnic schools work in areas of minorities’ dense residence. In areas of disperse residence such schools exist, most frequently, due to initiatives of ethnic cultural centers, the authorities do not provide financial support for these schools though there are exceptions from this rule (for example, Moscow);
- non-conventional solutions. A creative search is carried on nearly in every region. Many solutions are exceptionally interesting: In Volgograd region authorities give their consent for organization of the “hot line” on inter-ethnic problems; in Astrakhan region authorities arranged trip of the Consultative council under the governor in full composition for settlement of conflicts at the site; in Udmurtia ethnic cuisine cafes are arranged; “Ethnic beauty” competition is organized in Tver region; in Stavropol regions training of town and district administrations’ personnel is organized while courses for the public servants and law enforcement bodies servicemen to improve their professional level are organized in Moscow. In Tatarstan the Association of ethnic cultural organizations is established, in Sverdlovsk region the Day of Middle Urals nations is celebrated as the regional feast, in Perm region “Teacher of ethnic school” competition is organized. Examples may be multiplied. Every region finds out its own “cream”.
The real work is going on virtually everywhere, only in Voronezh and Tula regions no trace of it has not been detected (See Appendix 1. Assessment of Comparative Effectiveness of the Russian Federation Regions’ Nationalities Policy.