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Training Course in Perm


On the 13th and 14th of November there has been one more training course organized by the Center for Interethnic Cooperation. Leaders of national associations from the Perm district, representatives of the district administration and the city Perm, as well as young students interested in interethnic relations had been invited to participate in the training. The course was one part of the project “Network of Ethnic Associations”, financed by the John and Kathrin MacArthur Foundation. From the very beginning the administration of the Perm district took very actively part in the organization and realization of the training course. The beginning of this co-operation was rather nerve-racking. Firstly, the staff of the Administrative Authority of the Perm district decided to let the two-day training course take place not on Saturday and Sunday, but on working days.  One has to mention here, that almost all of the leaders of national associations lead their organizations honorary based, that is that their main work is not in the noncommercial sphere. As a consequence, the participations in the training course means that they would be absent from their main working place for two whole days. Should they do that, and should we convince them to lay the work down and join our training course? These questions were not easy to answer. The second surprise for us was, that the representatives of the Administration asked us to change the issue of the training into “National Cultural Public Associations and Modern Mechanisms of Cooperation”. We already had changed the title of the training course on our own to remove such words like “rights of minorities and immigrants”, which could be “inadequate” in the eyes of the authorities. Having working experience for five years the Center for Interethnic Cooperation knows that the main problems, representatives of national minorities and immigrants are confronted with, are directly or indirectly connected with the authorities. It is clear that the problems in the different Russian regions are different ones due to objective (distance to the frontier, climatic factors, etc.) or subjective reasons. The number of person living in Perm not as natives is considerable less than for instance in the Krasnodar district. Nevertheless, human rights are violated in Perm like everywhere (even in countries of the European Union or in the United States). Important is, how many violations there are and to what amount the authorities and the society are involved in these violations.

In present Russia occurred a unique situation. On the one hand, the authorities (local as well as federal) understand, that a considerable reformation of the social and economical structures is necessary for the development of the country. On the other hand, in Russia traditionally not the laws but the authorities do define, what is allowed and what forbidden. The authorities treat the citizens as if they were little children. The citizens think, that only the authorities are responsible for the fate of country and region as they made all of the decisions. As a result the protection of human rights is a prerogative of the authorities. And any violations in this sphere proof the bad work of the authorities. Because of that, representatives of authorities from the South as well as from the North of Russia think, that there are no violations of human rights in their districts. Our experience shows, that the polemics on the side of authorities concerning the issue “Are there human rights violations in the region or not” does not help to make the national minorities feel and live better. They even are beginning to fear that the activities of the Moscow human rights activists could cause the anger of authorities at their national Diasporas. And this would be the worst possible situation for the activities of national associations. Therefore, the leaders of national associations consider any improvement in the relations with the authorities as a sign for good work, and, in addition, as reason for the growth of authority among the representatives of their nationality. Referring to this, effective negotiations with the authorities are a real instrument for the protection of national minorities in Russia. Most effective are negotiations, when the leaders of national associations know the most modern methods of negotiation conducting. And, what is very important, when they coordinate their activities well timed. For that reason, our main mission of the training course I Perm was to train the leaders of national minorities in methods of negotiation conducting. Indeed, it is already an old tradition, that a representative of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation reads a special mini-lesson on problems of protection of national minority rights. Here is to mention that our fears concerning the organization and preparation of the seminar had not been necessary. The Administration undertook the most complicated part of the work that is the invitation of the participants of the training course. And they achieved the best possible result of this work. Our meeting with the representatives of the district and the municipal Administration before and after the training convinced us, that the Perm district is much more advanced concerning the interaction with the national associations than other regions. Concerning the financial support of national association it surpasses even the Samarian district. Thus it might have been not coincidentally that all participants of the training arrived in time at the meeting point in front of the Perm Administration at 8 o’clock on the 13th November to leave together for the hostel by bus. Ten minutes after, we were already on the one hour trip to the popular Sanatorium “Uct’-Kachka”.

After the check in and the breakfast the training started in a conference room calles “Malahit”. Quite soon, there were the first and very interesting training outcomes. The participants of the seminar, that is leaders of national associations, representatives of authorities, and students, have collected 27 concerns, which should negotiated with the authorities. They proofed the old truism, that good relations to the authorities do not mean the absence of negotiation topics. And good relations to the authorities are a condition to discuss even problems which are not discussed in other regions.


The concerns were as follows:

1.                   Founding a House of Nationalities

2.                   Administrating the House of Nationalities

3.                   Problems of peoples in Russia/ Solutions

4.                   Establishment of an Public Organ of the Nationality Council

5.                   Interaction between national minorities and authorities

6.                   Establishment of leadership organs

7.                   Building a path on the property of the church

8.                   Establishment of a Polish school

9.                   Formation of a positive and sensible public opinion concerning Nationalities

10.               Overcoming of the bureaucratic barriers by getting humanitarian aid

11.               Overcoming bureaucratic borders in general

12.               Indecency of officials

13.               Privileges and responsibility of officials

14.               Fiscal Policy concerning work in the third sector

15.               How to secure the economic independence of NGOs

16.               Proportion between state and society concerning the national problem

17.               Effective use of governmental resources

18.               Bureaucratization of the interethnic sphere

19.               Formation of a new national policy with aid of the civil society

20.               Rooms for Jewish and Korean associations

21.               Artificial (non-existing) problems

22.               Intolerance/ stereotypes

23.               Absence of tolerance

24.               Mass media

25.               Responsibility for the fate of peoples and individuals

26.               Passivity of the population

27.               Found raising for cooperation


The participants liked the working in groups. The following points are considered as mistakes during negotiations:

1.                   Outward appearance

2.                   Bad mood

3.                   Lack of time

4.                   Not coming in time

5.                   Incorrectness

6.                   Aggressiveness

7.                   Speaking: “Your not right, that is not right!” Categorical behavior

8.                   Obtrusiveness

9.                   Lack of respect for the opponent as a person

10.               Lack of arguments

11.               Interrupting the negotiations

12.               Ending the negotiations with negative results


According to the participants, the following arguments should be used in the negotiations:

1.                   Declaration of the desired final result

2.                   Reference to the legislative basics, to the experience of other states and regions

3.                   Advantages for the opponent 

4.                   Role of the personality

5.                   Positive common/ joint experience

6.                   Competence of the opponent

7.                   Formation and reference to the public opinion

8.                   Effectiveness of the decision for a big group of people

9.                   Declaring that a joint decision could create a long-lasting cooperation


At the end of the first day of the training course, we got a completely unexpected result. The participating leaders of national associations decided to stay for one more hour in the conference room to create a committee for the establishment of a Council of National Organizations in the Perm district. They considered that the establishment of such an organ makes a better preparation for negotiations possible and increases the chances for getting good results. We started very soon had informed the local authorities that the single outcomes of our training course will be new skills of the participants. Thus the decision of the participants was a really good one. The more as the establishment of new coalitions in the Perm district was not planned. They showed understanding for such initiatives. In addition, the representatives of the municipal administration declared, that they have been waiting for a long time for the establishment of an organization uniting different national associations. But of course they did not want to be the one that initiate its creation.