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78 nationalities represented at congress in Moscow

MOSCOW, November 30 (Itar-Tass) -- The second congress of the Union of Diasporas in Russia opened in Moscow on Tuesday. The delegates suggested forming a public chamber of nationalities.

We are concerned that ethnic minorities are not represented in federal agencies, Union President Vartan Mushegyan told Itar-Tass. The public body, which may be established under the Federation Council, will protect the rights and interests of small peoples and ethnic groups, he said.

Seventy-eight nationalities sent their delegates to the congress, including the Georgian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, Tajik, Korean, Kurdish, Assyrian, Chinese and Talysh communities, Mushegyan said. He said heads of leagues of small peoples and ethnic groups of north and south Russia had also come to attend the congress.

Deputy Secretary General of the League of Northern Peoples Yuri Timokhin told Itar-Tass the League is made up of representatives of 30 peoples, whose total strength is 200,000. The largest ethnic group is Nenets (34,000), while only several dozens of ethnic Yukagir are left.

The demographic crisis, the nationalities policy and problems of migrants will be discussed at the forum. The League of Northern Peoples wants to discuss the release of textbooks in the languages of small peoples and preservation of folk medicine, which is the way of their survival, Timokhin said. We are also concerned about difficulties in the translation of literature of small peoples into the Russian language. For instance, Ohio University has recently translated several works of the kind into English, but Russia does not show any interest in literature of northern peoples.

A new media project will be announced at the forum. The TV Rainbow program will be launched on television in 2005 to give information about small peoples.



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