The discussion focused on achieving the goals and objectives of Russia’s State Ethnic Policy Strategy.
Before the meeting, the President visited the Solnechny Gorod (Sunny City) children’s creative academy where he familiarised himself with projects by young designers and engineers.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to thank the head of the republic for this children’s centre that we just visited. It is a wonderful academy. I highly recommend visiting it. Similar centres are springing up in many Russian regions. By the end of the year, one more institution for gifted children will open. The academy seems to be running smoothly and the team is very nice. I am talking about the instructors. The kids are great, no question about that. The instructors are all young, energetic and well-educated. As far as I understand, they are both qualified teachers and professionals in their respective fields. They seem very passionate about their work. I was happy to see that. A centre for gifted children will open at the end of the year. They will work in collaboration with other similar regional education institutions.
I would like to welcome everyone to the meeting of the Council for Interethnic Relations. As you can see, this meeting is taking place in Kabardino-Balkaria − in Nalchik, one of the capitals of the North Caucasus.
I am sure many will agree that overall, the North Caucasus has great significance for all of multi-ethnic Russia. For centuries, representatives of many ethnicities have been living here side by side and every one of these groups is unique and authentic; they are rightly proud of their history, language, culture, their heroes, hard workers and athletes. It is a region where people cherish the traditions of hospitality, respect for parents, the elderly and family.
Of course, the people of the Caucasus have proven their love for their native land many times and their willingness to stand as one and defend our common Fatherland, defend Russia.
These patriotic values unite all of Russian society and lie at the heart of the interethnic peace and interfaith accord that form the fundamental and indisputable conditions for the sustainable development of Russian regions, the consistency of our legal framework, education and cultural domains.
That said, interethnic relations require constant attention, consistent and thorough work. Just like one’s own health, it needs to be taken care of fulltime.
I would like to ask the heads of the regions without exception to personally keep an eye on issues related to the State Ethnic Policy and rely on ethnic and cultural public associations, including those represented here today.
Today we will discuss how to define their legal status more accurately and how to better systematise the cooperation between these organisations and authorities at all levels, from municipal to federal. And the managers at all levels must, of course, pay attention to the views, expert opinions and initiatives offered by the representatives of ethnic diasporas, intelligentsia, clergy and youth leaders. Their voices must be heard from the platforms of public councils and other advisory bodies that we have already established and will create at the regional and local levels.
Of course, it is not enough to just create these bodies. It is important that they function and function efficiently, meet not just occasionally but become stakeholders in handling routine tasks, tasks that are imperative to the development of society and the state in general; that they participate in the discussions of truly topical and urgent problems, and work in partnership with the government.
On behalf of the authorities, this dialogue must be entrusted to qualified and knowledgeable people who understand the nuances of interethnic and interfaith relations, and have an expert knowledge of cultural and humanitarian affairs. As you know, I instructed you to take additional measures to improve the training and professional development of these specialists. Please continue this work so that people have opportunities for professional growth. It is necessary to utilise the potential of our leading universities, double down on modern teaching methods, online resources, distance learning, practical` training, inter-regional exchanges, including those under the Education and Culture national projects.
In addition, it is necessary to take into consideration the changes we made to the State Ethnic Policy Strategy, revise and improve other documents used in strategic planning, including such areas as patriotic education and youth policy, as well as programmes for the socioeconomic development of our territories.
The issue of labour migration and migration policy in general is topical for all regions. It is necessary to take well-considered, effective measures on the social adaptation of migrants. We are hospitable hosts and must help those who want to live, study and work with us. At the same time it is essential to resolutely eliminate risks, including the dissemination of extremism and all kinds of radical movements.
The United Nations declared this year the Year of Indigenous Languages. We will discuss today what events have been held in this country under this declaration.
By the way, it was already suggested holding a Year of Folk Art and Immaterial Patrimony of Our Peoples, in Russia. I think one of the initiators of this proposal is here in the hall. Is this right?
Chairman of the Public Council of the Moscow House of Nationalities Vladimir Zorin: Yes.
Vladimir Putin: Let’s do it. Let’s do it in 2022. It is important to fill its programme with meaningful content and take into account the specific features of each of our regions.
We have already embarked on the preparations for the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. The upcoming year was proclaimed the Year of Memory and Glory in this country. All events devoted to the anniversary of the Great Patriotic War must be held at the highest level.
Each of the peoples of Russia and the Soviet Union contributed to the victory both at the front and in the rear. We must again recall what caused the war and brought about a tragedy that took a toll of tens of millions of lives, who helped the Nazis, who pushed them eastward, and also recall that it was the Soviet Union that played a decisive role in the rout of the aggressor and the liberation of Europe and the rest of the world. We must know and cherish the truth about the greatest tragedy of humanity.
I would like to ask the Council members and public organisations throughout the country to be proactive in preparations for the Great Victory anniversary.
Let’s get own to our today’s agenda.
Vladimir Putin: It’s time to wrap it up, colleagues.
I want to thank you for this very lively and substantive discussion. In general, I must say that every time we meet, we tend to pick up the pace, and the questions get more important and to the point. They are all important.
Of course, it is deplorable that the materials posted by leading online media do not reflect the importance of what we talked about today. I have mentioned this many times before, and you know it as well as I do, since you engage in this almost professionally, that no issue is more important in Russia – a complex country with many ethnicities and religions – than ethnic relations. If we want the Russian nation to become united in the broad sense of the word, then of course, we must keep working at this all the time and we will do this.
The fact that such questions are raised at our meetings suggests that this is an endless theme of discussion for us. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, we must keep doing this at all times, just like people must always take care of their health.
I want to thank you for your proposals. We will now be getting ready for our next meeting. However, this does not mean that we will not be working during the time between now and our next meeting. On the contrary, my colleagues, including Mr Kiriyenko, Mr Mutko, the ministers, representatives of both chambers of the parliament and Mr Magomedov who is in charge of these issues at the Presidential Executive Office on an ongoing basis, and I – we will always support you. And we will do our best to implement as many of today’s proposals as possible.
In case we ran out of time before you had an opportunity to make your point, please contact Mr Magomedov. He is at your disposal, and you can use him to convey your message to me as well. Thank you very much.
I do not think we will see each other in this format before the New Year, so, even though December has not yet come, I wish you happy holidays, good health, prosperity and happiness.
Thank you very much.