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MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. Against the backdrop of US-led western attempts to split up Russian society the country’s authorities have been working hard to maintain and foster civil peace, the director of the Institute of Political Studies, Sergey Markov, has told TASS.
"The government coup in Ukraine has shown one and all how the technique of inciting inter-ethnic discord between Ukrainians and Russians works," Markov, a member of Russia’s Civic Chamber, said after President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a decree to set up a federal agency for nationalities affairs.
"The moment it sees the economic sanctions have failed to split Russian society, the West will begin to foment inter-ethnic discord inside Russia. The country’s authorities are prepared to resist such attempts, though."
Before, Russia had a special nationalities affairs ministry. Later, the functions were handed over to the Ministry of Regional Affairs, which, in turn was abolished at the end of 2014. Now the authorities have decided to create a more compact government agency, which, according to the presidential decree, will be obliged to promote the unity of Russia’s multi-ethnic population and protect the rights of ethnic minorities.
"Preserving and strengthening civil peace in Russia must be not just number one task of the nationalities affairs agency, but a subject matter of daily efforts by the authorities of all levels, from federal to local," the director of the public-private partnership centre at the presidential academy RANEPA, Tatyana Illarionova, told TASS.
"Given Russia’s ethnic diversity, the newly created agency is an urgent need. According to the 2010 population census, Russia has 193 ethnic groups, including foreign nationals resident in the country on the permanent basis - British subjects, Cubans, French, Japanese, Bulgarians and Greeks. The indigenous ethnic groups alone number more than a hundred - there are far fewer of them than in India or Indonesia but much more than China, which is home to 56 ethnic groups," the director of the Ethnology and Anthropology Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Valery Tishkiov, has told TASS.
"Whereas before the nationalities relations agency was focused on the ethnic republics within Russia, now there has emerged the awareness that Russia’s largest ethnic group - Russians - badly needs support for the sake of preserving its cultural traditions," said Tishkov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who in the early 1990s was the head of Russia’s Nationalities’ Ministry.
"On the list of priority tasks of Russia’s inter-ethnic policies I would single out the need for asserting a common Russian identity in society, for ensuring harmony of ethnic groups unity and diversity. This policy alone is capable of maintaining inter-ethnic peace and accord. A number of Western countries have confronted with the problem of inter-ethnic discord, because instead of promoting the integration of different ethnic groups they were carried away by the idea of multiculturalism - in fact, sponsorship of special lifestyles and cultural and religious distinctions of certain ethnic groups. In the end, France and Germany saw waves of protest against an influx of Muslim migrants. Russia has this sensitive problem, too. Since 1991 the country has accommodated about 10 million immigrants. The type of unrest that rocked Germany and France just recently should be avoided by all means," Tishkov said.
"Multiculturalism, the way Europe would like to implement it, is no good here in Russia, with its one hundred ethnic groups or more. We need an integral Russian nation, both poly-cultural, internally diverse and a historically firm basis of the state," the president of the Religion and Politics Institute, member of the Presidential Council for Interaction with Religious Organizations, Aleksandr Ignatenko, told TASS.
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