A conference and seminar on implementing state ethnic policy took place in Simferopol. Top officials and staff members from Crimea and Sevastopol’s higher executive bodies took part in the event.
Opening the conference, Mr Belaventsev noted that ensuring interethnic harmony in the region has been a focus of attention from the moment Crimea and Sevastopol re-joined the Russian Federation. The Presidential Executive Order of April 21, 2014, On Measures to Rehabilitate the Armenian, Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tatar and German Peoples and on State Support for their Revival and Development was an important symbolic legal act that these peoples had been waiting to see from Ukraine for more than 20 years.
Mr Belaventsev noted that little was done over the years within Ukraine to address the social and economic problems of people who had returned home from earlier deportation, and this is one of the biggest problems for interethnic relations in the region today. There have also been attempts to destabilise the interethnic situation in the region, including through spreading disinformation via the media to the public about ethnic and religious discrimination in Crimea. Mr Belaventsev said that today, with Crimea under close scrutiny from the entire international community, it is essential to respond to such action by carrying out a carefully considered domestic policy that ensures harmonious relations between the different ethnic groups and between people and the state in general.
In his remarks at the conference, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Magomedsalam Magomedov described the state of interethnic relations in Crimea as stable, despite the destructive influence coming from neighbouring countries and foreign organisations. Public opinion surveys show that around 10 percent of the region’s residents consider the interethnic issue “serious”. This figure is considerably lower than the average for Russia as a whole. The ‘Crimean Spring’ and Crimea’s reunification with Russia produced a big surge in patriotic sentiment throughout the country and the level of interethnic tension has decreased. At the same time, people have started identifying themselves more strongly with a common Russian civic nation.
At the same time, Mr Magomedov said that for all the positive trends today, it would be wrong to make implementing state ethnic policy less of a priority, especially in the current geopolitical situation. Now that new government teams are taking shape following regional and local elections in Crimea and Sevastopol, one of the biggest priorities is to organise systematic work in interethnic relations and ensure a high quality of cooperation between state bodies and public and religious organisations.
Also taking part in the conference and seminar were Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, Chairman of the State Council of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov, Governor of Sevastopol Sergei Menyailo, member of the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations Valery Tishkov, members of the academic and expert communities, and heads of Crimean ethnic groups’ public organisations.