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Lessons of Tolerance

One of the sorer points of our society of today is interethnic relations. The problem did not begin today and, most likely, will not be resolved tomorrow. A detailed, serious study with a sober, carefully thought out approach is needed. In Moscow, much is being done on that path, but even more questions are left unanswered. In particular, a discussion on the city program Capital of Multiethnic Russia recently took place at a session of the section of the Youth chamber under the Moscow city Duma.

The program was recently mentioned in the Moscow government, when Yuri Luzhkov directed criticism at it and described it as incomplete. During the session of the government, alarming figures and facts were announced. More than 40% of Muscovites experience a feeling of deep hostility towards newcomers, and only about a third of youth from the capital declare solidarity with them. The challenging situation in higher learning institutes, where conflicts on ethnic grounds take place, is sometimes, frankly, xenophobia. In summary, young politicians are now involved in the work of this city program.

Irina Velikanova, the deputy responsible for the session underlined:

A large part of this program directly affects youth. The mayor and the government expect interesting and promising proposals and observations from you. I think that our cooperation with different public organizations will be appropriate, such as the Russian Congress of People from the Caucasus. The kids there are really great, thoughtful. Students who are newcomers have additional problems: they are not always successful in integrating and socializingI think we should supplement the program with some of their proposals. I discussed this question with the leaders of Kabardinsky and Azerbaijani organizations. They have many ideas; we need to actively cooperate with them.

Young Guard Alexander Bugayev highlighted financing of the program:

The situation is thus: yes, youth are designated a large place in this program, yet financing of this point is nominal, in the order of 2 million rubles. I think that this is a drop in the ocean for Moscow.

One of the tasks of the program is the interethnic patriotic training of youth. In the Department of Family and Youth Policies of the city of Moscow, generally, no funding was set aside for organizing youth festivals which were to include historical reconstructions and handicrafts. The financing was simply not provided, so how they will carry out their events is unclear.

Of course, not everything is dependent on money. According to Irina Velikanova, the Youth chamber needs to ask questions on tolerance. Interethnic relations are a road with two-way traffic. Newcomers also need to respect the laws under which they live.

We need lessons on tolerance in schools, serials of television programs on the theme, especially for the youth audience, directed at youth. It is no secret that the reasons for internationalism among the older generation were concrete. The main problem concerns the adolescent generation, Velikanova confirmed.

The idea for a serial program People of Russia was discussed. Each serial would be dedicated to different people of Russia, of which we have more than one hundred. After all, interethnic conflicts emerge most often because neighbors do not know each other. Each person speaks their own language, and has their own culture and history. It seems to many people that the person of Caucasian nationality is not connected to Russia, despite the fact that many of the aforementioned are patriots of Russia. Irina Velikanova proposed to revive interethnic friendship clubs, arrange interethnic folklore festivals and, in general, add some brightness and fun to tolerance lessons.

A related problem, according to Irina Yakovlevna, is that newcomers stick together in their enclaves and many do not know the Russian language well, some even up to the point where they cannot explain themselves when in publicThey are not tourists however, they live here, we live side by side with them! And on the street, on our streets, in both a literal and figurative sense, a cultivated and civilized double-sided movement needs to be organized. This depends on every one of us, and young politicians understand this distinctly. All of their observations and proposals, expressed in the course of discussions, will be taken into account during the development of the city program Capital of Multiethnic Russia from 2008 to 2010.

The issue has already been passed directly to the Youth chamber itself from a separate division in the Moscow city Duma. Its chairperson on interethnic and inter-faith relations, Igor Yeleferenko, stated:

The programs proposal has a wide-ranging national significance, he underlined, and is complicated by the fact that, at present, a complete understanding of all the dangers related to interethnic conflicts does not exist in society. Our country can ONLY destroy large-scale interethnic conflicts. This cannot be allowed in any case

The chairperson for the Committee of interregional liaisons and ethnic policy of Moscow, Alexei Alexandrov then took the floor:

The situation at present is gloomy: the number of xenophobes in the capital is growing, myths are being spread, they say that Muscovites have lost their status of owners of their own city. At the same time, migrants arrive with their own mentality, their own customs; many of them do not even know Russian. The causes of the situation include the following: first, the social stratification of society; second, the low level of education, in terms of society having no desire to learn about the culture and history of their own people, let alone that of their neighbors; and third, youth who are continually adding to the number of skinheads. Now, Alexandrov affirmed, the ironic, slightly pejorative phrase a person of Caucasian ethnicity which is currently being used needs to be replaced with a different image: a person of Moscow, with a different, positive slant.For this, favorable circumstances for adapting and integrating migrants needs to be created. Radio and television serials should be prepared. At present, one can find sites dedicated to pro-fascist themes on the internet, they need to be brought down by the way of dialogue. Skinheads are also people. For this teams of specialists need to be formed.

A wonderful system of interethnic training existed. This was a successful experience. It is necessary to develop such a faculty in institutions of higher education, like People of Russia and World Religions. With knowledge of different cultures, rejection can be overcome. As a side note, the Tatar-Bashkir festival of Sabantui, which was never held in Moscow, has now received the status of a city festival.

Source: Evening Moscow


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