Educational Seminar in Anapa: “Professionals Can Solve It All”
The educational seminar (or more simply, training) “Interaction between Ethnic Associations, the Administration, and Law-Enforcement Agencies” took place from July 23rd through 26th in the city of Anapa, located in the Krasnodar region of Russia. The training was conducted within the framework of the project “Ethnic Minorities and Access to Justice,” financed by the European Union and the Fund for Global Opportunity of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain. The Center for Interethnic Cooperation, along with some of its partners (namely, the organization “European Dialogue” from London, and the group “Roma of the Urals” from Yekaterinburg), had already conducted similar seminars in the cities of Yekaterinburg, Moscow, and Samarra. But the Krasnodar region is like a state within a state, and here the law is both written and unwritten. The region shares a border with the Caucasus, and over many centuries, a fierce battle has been waged here over every scrap of land. In personality, the residents of the Krasnodar region do not differ greatly from residents of the Caucasus, since after the breakup of the Soviet Union a particularly large number of Caucasians migrated to the Krasnodar region. The region, however, was neither economically nor psychologically prepared for this. After all, the former brother regions - Soviet socialist republics - had firmly declared their resolution to live as sovereign states. But it is one thing to declare independence, and another to create possibilities for the citizens of your country to live in normal conditions. Currently the standard of living in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia is much lower than in Russia. As a result, tens, even hundreds of thousands of citizens from the Southern Caucaus and Central Asia are forced to abandon their independent but poor homelands in search of work in Russia. As a rule, the most active people, those who are ready to take the risk and work wherever and however they can, are the ones who come. The authorities of the Krasnodar region have spoken out in cruel pronouncements against migrants more than once. And where there are migrants, there are also ethnic minorities. As a well-known saying goes, “they don’t beat you on your passport, but about the mug.”
Consequently, our training was relevant, but still sufficiently complicated. For that reason, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation decided to introduce necessary changes to the composition of the participants. We decided to invite to the Anapa training staff members of police forces in different regions - policemen who had already taken part in our activities and who in fact have become friends of our Center. In this way, our traditional team was strengthened by the participation of members of the police departments of Saratov, Nizhniy Novgorod, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, and Stavropol, three of whom were female. As in other regions, Ivan Shushkevich, chief of the 10th Department of the Main Personnel Administration of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, gave much support in organizing and conducting the training. The majority of officers invited from other regions were instructors at police academies run by the Main Personnel Administration.
As a result, Ashot Airapetian, the Director of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, deferred from his usual presentation about interacion between the police and ethnic communities in other countries. Instead, Ivan Shushkevich, Anatolii Nikonov, and Victor Stepanenko, officers from the internal services of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, spoke about this topic to the training participants. Participating in the training were leaders of ethnic associations and representatives of the authorities and law enforcement agencies. This time around, though, no one asked why the Americans and British, whose interethnic experiences we were studying in detail, bombed Yugoslavia, as a member of the administration had asked Ashot during the training in Pyatigorsk. A few months before the actual training in Anapa took place, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation had begun to established good working relations with the administration of the Krasnodar region. Ashot met with representatives of the regional administration and discussed the goals and tasks of the training with them. The regional administration responded to the idea of the training with interest, and promised to provide assistance, which once again proves that it is possible to cooperate successfully with the administration. The members of the administration not only supported us in the organization of the training, but took active part in it as well. As a result, the official number of employees of the local administration taking part in the training was noticeably higher than in Samarra or Yekaterinburg (in Moscow, representatives of the local administration did not participate at all).
Alexander Kozitskiy, the Commissioner of Human Rights for the Krasnodar region, and Mikhail Savva, an ethnologist and professor at Krasnokar State University, both played a large role in the successful conducting of the seminar. After the official opening of the seminar, Mikhail gave a wonderful presentation on interethnic relations in the Krasnodar region. It was a very academic report, which set forth the facts as they are, without attempting to please anyone or exaggerating. As opposed to many of his fellow scholars, Mikhail is able to explain his ideas in an interesting and simply way, and the training participants listened to him with great interest. Since he has already published several texts on this topic, we will not go through the text of his presentation here (but if you would like to receive any of them by email, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org) As a result of his presentation, we learned important information about the interethnic environment in the region.
After Mikhail’s presentation, William Ekinu, a representative from the Greenwich Center for Racial Equality in London, and Chris Taylor, an expert and former London policeman, also spoke. The organizers of the training were able this time to secure all the necessary technical support for the presentations. The hotel “Anapa Ocean,” where the training was held, had an excellent room with all the proper equipment. First, William talked a bit about himself, then about the Greenwich Center and its monthly meetings with the leaders of the local polict district. Then Chris described how the police in London do their jobs, how they interact with ethnic minorities, and why they are interested in cooperating with ethnic communities. The training participants had the chance to ask questions at any time, and the English experts answered them readily. Mikhail Kravinyuk, our translator, conveyed not only the thoughts, but also the inflection with which they spoke. The training participants learned in turn that the profession of policeman is very prestigious in Great Britain; that their salary allows them to live normally; that even the average employee can take credit for the purchase of a modest (by British standards) house; that the police do not record statistics on which ethnic groups commit more crimes, since they believe that criminality does not have an ethnicity, and so on.
After a break for lunch, the Center for Interethnic Cooperation gathered all the leaders of ethnic associations together in one hall, and the representatives of local authorities and law enforcement agencies in another. Victoria Shukhat, the Center’s trainer, worked with the leaders of ethnic associations, and Ashot Airapetian, the director, worked with the members of the administration and law enforcement agencies. First the groups decided what they thought were basic problems during a brainstorming session. The leaders of ethnic organizations were asked the question “What problems with the activities of law-enforcement agencies are there in the Krasnodar region?” and the representatives of law-enforcement agencies were asked the question “What problems with ethnic groups exist in the Krasnodar region?” Every participant had the opportunity to express their point of view, even if it differed radically from others, and Victoria and Ashot recorded them all.
The participants in both groups were then invited to pick from their lists three problems that they considered to be most relevant or of current importance. Here we also came across the peculiarity of the Krasnodar region. In Moscow, where representatives of the Moscow region participated in our training (excluding representatives of law-enforcement agencies), the diversity of opinions was far fewer, and the process of voting and choosing the three most pressing questions for the region took place more quickly and calmly. In Anapa, the discussion of existing problems and the voting were accompanied by strong emotions. It should be pointed out, however, that only the representatives of law-enforcement agencies actually voted, but that even after the vote the fervor did not die down. Elena Myasnikova, a long-time assistant to the General Prosecutor of the Krasnodar region claimed that one of the points that had received many votes was written incorrectly, and a discussion began about how to phrase this point more correctly. After a few different versions of the argued point had been proposed, Ashot put them to a vote. In the end, the variant that received the most votes was written down on the list of “Basic Problems.” After that, it was discovered that there was a principal objection to yet another point, and it was necessary to once again hear out all those who wished to speak and to determine the final result by a vote. The resulting list of “Basic Problems” from the point of view of personnel from law-enforcement agencies looked like this:
PROBLEMS AS UNDERSTOOD BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
1. Illegal migration;
2. Attempts to corrupt the government;
3. Non-integration of the new diasporas;
4. The absence of a normative base (problems in legislation);
5. A lack of interethnic education among young people.
“We have considered the problems that exist in the region connected with the ethnic groups that live here, but half of those which are written here relate only indirectly to ethnic minorities. They are first of all problems with our state and our society,” Ashot said to the group of participants from law enforcement agencies, “and we also get this result in different regions, where the ‘ethnic factor’ is smaller than here.” In the other hall, the leaders of ethnic associations came up with the following list:
BASIC PROBLEMS AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE LEADERS OF ETHNIC ASSOCIATIONS
1. The Ministry of Internal Affairs does not use ethnic NGO’s as a resource;
2. There is no economic motivation to enforce the law;
3. Law enforcement agencies forget that they exist on our tax dollars;
4. A low level of education and professionalism among law enforcement personnel.
Next, following Ashot’s request, the employees of the administration and law enforcement agencies created a “Portrait of a Representative of an Ethnic Minority.” In the other room, following Victoria’s request, the leaders of ethnic associations composed a “Portrait of a Policeman.” Each participant expressed his or her point of view, sometimes very argumentative, sometimes extremely radical. Then the participants chose three definitions that in their view were the most accurate. Into the resulting summary went the characteristics that had received the greatest number of votes. We had the following results:
PORTRAIT OF A REPRESENTATIVE OF AN ETHNIC MINORITY
1. One who is different in behavior;
2. A person of atypical appearance;
3. One who exhibits in-group solidarity.
PORTRAIT OF A POLICEMAN
1. The higher in rank, the easier it is to associate with him;
2. Uses the law for his own financial gain
3. Recieves a low salary;
4. A victim of the current legal system;
5. Blindly executes orders from above;
6. Knows what he wants.
And again, in this fourth region, these portraits were much kinder than the majority of points in the resulting lists. So it seems the peculiarities of the “Southern Region” did not strongly influence the results of the training. Consequently, one could expect that results received in different cities will be equally strong in the Krasnodar region.
The second day of the training also began with presentations by specialists from Great Britain. As opposed to the first day, there were many more questions asked by the audience on the second day. For example, Olga Naumkina, a police major from Nizhniy Novgorod, asked Chris Taylor the following question:
“Last year in our city 11 police officers died while serving in the line of duty. What are the numbers like in London?”
“That many police officers die over the course of maybe 30 years,” Chris answered.
“And look,” Ashot summed up, “if you take into account the fact that London’s population is 7 times larger, then the profession of police officer is 200 times more dangerous here than in London.” The questions and answers were so interesting, that Ashot had to make a significant effort to get the participants to break for lunch.
After lunch, the two groups were brought together into one room. Victoria divided the participants into pairs so that there was one leader of an ethnic association and one representative of a law enforcement agency in each pair. Each pair was given five minutes, during which they had to find out as much about each other as they could. After five minutes Victoria asked each participant to present his or her partner to the group. Here the “southern temperament” played a large role. If in the other cities this activity took no more than one hour, then in Anapa the participants were so absorbed in this spectacle (it could not be called anything else!), that the entire rest of the evening was devoted to the presentations. The result was delightful! After the training finished at 7 PM we were left with one single group of like-minded people.
But the organizers of the training had prepared one more surprise. In the evening a boat was rented for an excursion, and the port where it was docked was only 100 meters away from the hotel where we were staying. The weather was wonderful, the water was only slightly choppy, and the ship majestically glided along on the waves of the Black Sea. The beauty was indescribable! The organizers made an agreement with the captain, and the excursion was extended for another hour. While the sun was seting and the ship was gliding along the shoreline, a group of dolphins swam up alongside of us.
We returned to the harbor at 11 o’clock, but no one wanted the group to disperse. The night was unusually warm. “What shall we do next?” Ashot asked the participants. “Let’s go swimming!” he said, answering his own question. Not far from the hotel was one of the most well-known beaches in Anapa - ‘Visokiy Shore’. It was probably an interesting sight to see: black night, lantern light, and thirty grown-ups in a long line unhurriedly walking along the street of a nighttime southern city … We were lucky again, in that the wind, which had been blowing all day, disappeared come evening. The water was surprisingly warm, and we swam with great satisfaction.
Beginning at 9 AM the next day, the training participants again worked together in one room. To give them the credit they deserve, not a single person was late! This shows that they fully understood how important it was that all the beautiful words about friendship be supported by solid results in the seminar room.
Victoria asked the participants to go over their impressions of the first two days, and divided them into mixed groups, each of which was given large sheets of paper and markers. After that Victoria asked them to draw their impressions. This method made it possible to connect with the emotional sphere and help the participants become better aware of what they thought. The group’s drawings and commentaries produced boisterous delight among the participants when they were shared.
And only after that did Ashot and Victoria begin to discuss what went on two days ago when this group of people had been divided in two. On the rooms of the wall they hung up the lists of “Basic Problems of Interethnic Relations in the Region,” created separately by the different groups, and so the culmination of the training began. When the sheets with “Portrait of a Policeman,” created by the leaders of ethnic associations, were hung up, Victoria asked the members of law enforcement agencies to rate this portrait on a five-point system, on the basis of its “realisticness.”
After the votes were put forward, we calculated their average, and got exactly 3. We achieved the same result when the leaders of ethnic associations rated the “Portrait of a Representative of an Ethnic Minority.” This again confims that there is no serious antagonism between these two groups in our society (if the portraits were seriously antagonistic, they would have been rated lower than 3 by the group they described, probably 1 or 2). It’s true that in Moscow, Samarra, and Yekaterinburg the ratings were a little higher than 3, but this only shows that in the Krasnodar region the interethnic environment is more complicated, and the possibility of cooperation between both of the social groups there was theoretically proved at the training.
The organizers again played off of the southern temperment of the participants, and organized an interactive game of “Everyone stand, who….” It was funny to see respectable, middle-aged people leap from their seats and rush to the nearest unoccupied chair, and their shouts and laughter could be heard on every floor of the hotel. Only after the game did the organizers of the training start a serious brainstorm on the topic of “What unites us?”. The most important themes were once again determined by the rating system used earlier.
This is what the results looked like:
WHAT UNITES US
1. A desire to preserve peace;
2. The Russian language;
5. A yearning for happiness.
And so,after lunch on the third day, the work that the training was originally organized for was finally begun. The participants were divided into 5 groups and were asked to figure out a mechanism for cooperation between ethnic associations and law enforcement agencies. The fact that Ivan Shushkevic and Mikhail Savva reported the results of the work of these groups speaks to the sense of responsibility with which the training participants undertook this task. Here are the results of the group work:
DESIGN IDEAS: “MECHANISMS FOR THE COOPERATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT BODIES AND NGO’S IN THE KRASNODAR REGION”
1. The creation of council of the heads of ethnic NGO’s at the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs of the region;
2. The publication of an instructional booklet for migrants in the Krasnodar region;
3. To reinstatement of a series of telecasts about the nationalities of the Kuban’ river region, and to introduce a representative of the Center of Ethnic Cultures (CEC) into the editorial board of “The Kuban’ news”;
4. The carrying out in the Krasnodar Regional Legislative Assembly of hearings on the bill about creating a “House of Kuban’ Peoples” in the Krasnodar region;
5. The conducting of research on the social state of health of the ethnic minorities, nations, and peoples of the Kuban’ region, through the efforts of leaders of the NGO Center of Ethnic Cultures on public principles;
6. The developing together of an agreement on the interaction of the Center of Ethnic Cultures and the Municipal Department of Internal Affairs of the Krasnodar region;
7. The preparations of a training program for the regional Department of Internal Affairs and for Cossack units of the Krasnodar region with the participation of the Center of Ethnic Cultures;
8. The preparation of a commission of experts to testify in court cases on the incitement of interethnic tensions;
9. A youth competition/tournament with students from the Krasnodar Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, titled “The People of Kuban’ - Who Are They?”
1. To sign an agreement between social organizations, the administration, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs about their interaction (CEC + NGO);
2. To develop a joint (between social organizations, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and administration of all levels) plan of working with the media through
- Round tables
- Press conferences
- Articles, other communications (either ordered, their own, or written by participants)
- and others.
3. To develop a series of informational-systematic materials:
- Methodical manuals
4. To develop a plan for creating a positive image of social organizations, the administration and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and also of their joint activity.
5. To develop a public portal for social organizations, including Internet sites and pages.
1. The coordination of an ethnic NGO council for the guaranteeing of initiatives to revise legislation;
2. The creation of a council of elders from all the national cultural associations in the Krasnodar region;
3. The creation of a special body under the administration for the comprehensive solution of the problems faced by migrants, through:
- Training for a new profession
- Medical services
- Legal support
4. The inclusion of the Ministry of Culture in the plans of NGO’s for activities that celebrate cultural traditions.
1. To create a council (by the “Greenwich principle”) as a pilot project based in 1 district of Krasnodar, in a city of regional significance, and in a rural area of the region;
2. To create (or recommend the creation of) a specially focused TV program called “Tolerance and Interethnic Relations” on the channel NTK;
3. To practice (or introduce the practice) of conducting trainings (similar to ours) on the basis of the Krasnodar Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (for cadets, representative bodies of authority, the Department of Internal Affairs, and ethnic communities);
4. To create the website: “Interethnic Relations in the Krasnodar Region”;
5. To recommend that the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the Krasnodar territory, the regional administrations, and the regional Centre of Ethnic Cultures address inquiries to similar structures in different areas of the Russian Federation;
6. To practise joint (including the Department of Internal Affairs, the authorities, and ethnic communities) statements against publications in the mass media inciting interethnic tensions;
7. To work on the question of creating a joint program to oppose and prevent religious extremism and terrorism;
8. The Saratov experience.
1. To organize joint council of representatives of ethnic diasporas with the employees of the Department of Internal Affairs for the realization of group cultural activities with youth participation;
2. To organize a joint statement to the media by the employees of the Department of Internal Affairs and representatives of ethnic diasporas, with the purpose of preventing offenses among young people.
After the groups finished, Ashot asked the participants to choose out of all five lists the task that, in their opinion, was most important. However, Ivan protested that all the tasks were equally interesting, suggesting that we not conduct preferential voting, and the majority of the participants agreed with him.
And so the training finished. But before the very end, the representatives of law enforcement agencies, national associations, and foreign visitors quickly summed up the training through informal, but meaningful statements. For example, Chris’ eloquent speech was worthy of being heard on the floor of Britain’s House of Lords. It turned out that all parties were very pleased with results of the training. Most representatives of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation were certainly pleased. We did not expect such success and such strong results in the Krasnodar region. It is always nice when the results turn out to be better than one could possibly have predicted. But for complete success, as Ashot Airapetan emphasized in the concluding remarks, the methods of cooperation developed at the training must be carried out in reality.
After a few days in the center of the city of Anapa, 50 meters from the central beach, two policemen stopped Ashot Airapetan.
“Where are your papers?” asked the older of the two. It was not a casual question.
The overwhelming majority of people who are vacationing in Anapa walk around in shorts and T-shirts. One’s papers simply could not be concealed. But Ashot had his passport with him.
“Yes, here’s my passport,” Ashot said and handed it to the policeman.
“Where are you from?” the policeman asked.
“How long have you been here?”
“And where’s your registration?”
“What? We were at a resort!”
“Yes, but the law is the law, and you should register, even at a resort.”
Then the policeman described, in what way Ashot had broken the law and suggested that he go with them to police headquarters for the drawing up of a report. The fact that other people on vacation walking around them did not know, like Ashot, that is was necessary to registration didn’t worry anyone.
At police headquarters, to which they “solemnly” escorted the director of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, there sat a young, blue-eyed lieutenant.
“Oh, I know you!” the lieutenant told Ashot, “You took part in a conference in our city. Is the lady, Temnovolosaya, the major from Nizhni Novgorod, still with you?
“Yes that’s right,” Ashot said, “but she has already left.” The lieutenant relieved the other officers and turned to Ashot:
“You are staying at the Anapa Ocean Hotel?”
“ Make sure you register and give the appropriate information.”
“Yes, I will remember. I had a paper. But I either threw it out or lost it; I decided that it wasn’t necessary. This is a resort! But your people said that I have broken the law and that you should make the appropriate report.”
“Yes, you have broken the law. But I know you. Just go to your hotel and and register.”
“Do you know how many people from Russia vacationed last year in Turkey??
“I haven’t vacationed there.”
“That’s a shame. For the same amount of money, one could have a wonderful time in Antilles, and there no one will approach you or demand registration, believe you me.”
“Good-bye,” the lieutenant said, showing that the theme of Turkey and the reasons for Russian citizens’ vacation preferences did not interest him in the slightest.
And as Ashot walked along, he thought that despite the excellently run trainings, he was, and remained, only a person of Caucasian nationality to the majority of policemen in Anapa, Moscow, Samara and Ekaterinburg. And so it’s a bit early for us to claim victory just yet.