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MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/ Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to consider and submit by April 15 the proposals to set up the Federal Agency for Nationalities, the Kremlin press service said on Friday.
"Look into the matter and come up with proposals on establishing the Federal Agency for Nationalities, which will perform the following functions: the implementation of the state policy in the field of inter-ethnic and ethno-confessional relations; the accomplishment of measures aimed at strengthening the unity of the multi-national Russian nation; ensuring inter-ethnic and inter-confessional accord as well as measures aimed at ensuring ethno-cultural development of peoples of Russia; the development and implementation state and federal target programs in the field of inter-ethnic and ethno-confessional relations; the implementation of state monitoring and control in the field of inter-ethnic and ethno-confessional relations", the presidential instruction says.
Russia had a similar agency, which was abolished in 2001, and its powers were divided between several ministries. Before 2014, issues related to the state national policy, inter-ethnic relations and protection of the rights of ethnic and indigenous minorities were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Regional Development.
Back in 2012, Putin drew public attention to the government policy in the field of inter-ethnic relations. "We must not only comply with mutual obligations, but also find universal values", he wrote in his article.
In early March, lawmakers representing Russia’s Communist Party have approached the head of state with a proposal to set up an agency that would oversee the issue of inter-ethnic relations. Currently, Russia has 22 federal agencies, some of them are answerable to the ministries, others — directly to the Prime Minister or the President of Russia.