Council for Interethnic Relations Board Meeting 2017-03-16 15:00:00 Moscow Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chairman of the Board of the Council for Interethnic Relations Magomedsalam Magomedov chaired the first Board meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations in 2017. Mr Magomedov noted the positive trends in interethnic relations that have emerged over the last three years. He said that the establishment of the Presidential Prize for Contributions to Strengthening the Russian Nation’s Unity was a symbolic development, as was the approval of the state programme for implementing the national interethnic relations policy (with total financing of 26 billion rubles). Commenting on the work of the working group drafting proposals for a law regulating relations in the area of strengthening the unity of the Russian Federation’s multiethnic people (the Russian nation), Mr Magomedov noted the importance of the public discussion underway, but advised against drawing conclusions before the working group has finished its work. Mr Magomedov said that this work should be based on the Russian nation’s solid foundation of a common centuries-old history and culture, and the uniting force of the Russian language, which is the country’s common heritage. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly in 2016, President Vladimir Putin said, “Let us not forget that we are a united people, a single people, and we share this same Russia”. At the meeting, Mr Magomedov announced the start of nominations for awarding the 2017 Presidential Prize for Contributions to Strengthening the Russian Nation’s Unity. The prize is awarded for productive work to strengthen Russia’s general civic consciousness and the multi-ethnic Russian people’s spiritual commonality, harmonise interethnic relations, and develop the ethno-cultural diversity of Russia’s peoples. The prize is awarded by the President on National Unity Day in the Kremlin. The meeting examined implementation of presidential instructions issued following the Council meeting on October 31, 2016, in Astrakhan. In particular, Deputy Chairman of the Council Board and Scientific Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Miklukho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Valery Tishkov briefed the meeting on the Russian Academy of Sciences Board’s decision to establish a scientific council on matters concerning ethnicity and interethnic relations, with the aim of assisting the state authorities to make effective decisions in this area. Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs Igor Barinov spoke about the implementation of the President’s instructions to draft a law on the social and cultural adaptation of migrants. The agency is currently searching for solutions that would encourage the establishment of regional programmes for migrants’ sociocultural adaptation, considering that it is the local authorities who are responsible for the bulk of work with newly arrived foreign citizens. Mr Barinov also briefed the meeting on work on the main indicators for measuring the efficiency of state interethnic policy implementation. In this work, the agency will try to avoid excessive evaluation criteria and will take into account the different Russian regions’ specific circumstances. The meeting concluded with the relevant decisions approved.