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Thursday 23 February

Главная News of the Center Training in Yekaterinburg 29th-31st May 2006 for municipal employees of Sverdlovsk region
Training in Yekaterinburg 29th-31st May 2006 for municipal employees of Sverdlovsk region
Written by Alex   
In Yekaterinburg from 29th to 31st May 2006 the Center for Interethnic Cooperation and the Association of Tajik culture “Somon” held a training for municipal employees and leaders of national organisations of Sverdlovsk region.
Subject of the training was “Tolerance – constituent part for a civil society”. This was the third training which was carried out within the framework of the project “Education for tolerant attitudes towards ethnic minorities, migrants and foreign citizens” which is financed by the embassy of the United States in Moscow and in parts by the American independent Mott Foundation. 

It should be immediately emphasized that this time the participants of the training themselves took parts of the financing. The employees of municipal institutions paid for their tickets from their city to Yekaterinburg and back, as well as parts for their accommodation and meals in the guest house “Selena”. The leaders of national organisations assumed the costs for the cultural program. Actually, we created a precedent in Russia. Our project has a clear human right dimension. And there we were all together: NGOs, administration of Sverdlovsk region and municipal government agencies organizing and holding trainings, which is of great significance for ethnic minorities. Moreover, employees of State services paid for their participation in the training. Of course, for the implementation of such ideas strong support of the administration of Sverdlovsk region is necessary. This is not the first time, that the administration of a region renders support for our projects. The cooperation between the Center for Interethnic Cooperation and the administration of Sverdlovsk region has become a good tradition. This is not because we are so remarkable, but because the authorities in this region not only help in words, but in deed try to help the civil society to grow. Typically, that while in some regions, local officials are mortally afraid even of the very name of foreign funds, in Sverdlovsk region more than one international project has successfully been implemented. We observed that the Department of Internal Policy of the Administration is headed by a known scientist, Doctor of Philosophy Anatoly Gaid. Unlike many of the officials of this level, he can listen and is not afraid of unusual solutions, if he is convinced that they are for the good of Sverdlovsk region.

The support of the Department of Internal Policy has played a crucial role in the successful organisation and implementation of the training.

The training began in the evening of 29th May. At first, the participants gathered in the foyer of the building nr. 4 of the guest house “Selena”. Ashot Ayrapetyan, Director of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation, told about the aims and tasks of the training. The participants received handouts. Ashot said that he and a volunteer of the Center, Joanne Edwards from Great Britain, had not the task to teach the participants. The task of the training was to get to know some international experience, experiences of the regions of Russia with the tolerant attitude towards ethnic minorities, and to think afterwards of how to make the inhabitants of Sverdlovsk region more tolerant. “Why does the administration of Sverdlovsk region help in the realisation of this project and why do ideas of tolerance have an important significance for the regions” explained Marina Plyasnova, the main specialist of the Department for Internal Policy.

After the official part, the participants moved to the veranda next to the building. The keeper of the guest house equipped the veranda in Old Russian style, next to the noisy woods. The nature is very beautiful at this place and at the end of May everything was blooming and smelling. The in advance prepared coal helped to fry sausages quickly, and, since in the organisation of the table everyone was involved, the first team-building game was rather successful.

On the next day, the participants of the seminar met at 10 o’clock with the consul-generals of the United States and Great Britain. It should be said that the consuls to get to Yekaterinburg drove for an hour. They are clearly interested in the subject of the training and in the participants. And participants were also interested: are there similar problems in the United States and Great Britain? It turns out, there are. And the authorities spend a lot of force and means to solve them. However, before discussing “which place takes tolerance in the modern civil society”, Ashot divided the participants into pairs. After five minutes of communication, the participants including the consuls told about their partners. Considering the fact that the officials did not know each other before and that they met the leaders of national organisations for the first time, this game was not only interesting, but also very helpful. Partners of the consuls were two charming girls: Oksana from the administration in Perm and Joanne from Great Britain. In the end, the meeting with the consuls turned into a frank exchange of view. The participants of the training not only asked the consuls, how things are going with tolerance in their countries, but also themselves described the situation in Russia as well as the States and Great Britain.

After dinner, when the consuls had returned to Yekaterinburg, Ashot Ayrapetyan asked the participants of the training to explain what “tolerance” means to them. The participants were divided into three groups to do that. The leaders of the national organisations made up the first group, the other two contained the state officials. When the representatives of the groups reported about the results of the work, it turned out that there were no principal differences in the results and that they are fully consistent with the results of previous trainings. And, therefore, the manifestations of intolerant attitudes among people do not take place because few people of the society know and understand the concept of tolerance. The reason for this phenomenon is another. But before searching for it, the participants of the training rated the level of tolerance in Irkutsk region on a five-point scale. It received an average close to 4, which coincides with the observations of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation. Afterwards, the groups made up portraits. The first one consisting of the leaders of national organisations described the "official", the other two "the representative of minorities.

Here are the results:

Portrait of “the representative of national minorities”

  • Desire for self-aspiration
  • Desire for unification
  • Resentment
  • Growth of ties of relationship
  • Preservation and transmission of ethnic traditions
  • Adaptable
  • No wish for integration
Portrait of the “official” (first version)
  • Punctual
  • Theorist
  • Formal person
  • Not satisfied with his salary
  • Careerist
  • Hardened towards the people
  • Busy
  • People with habits
  • Professionally deformed
  • Dependent
  • Significance
  • Believes in the force (righteousness) of the authorities
  • Privileges
  • Conservative
  • Corporate solidarity
  • Distance
  • A cog in the mechanism of the State
  • Stubborn
Portrait of the “official” (second version)
  • Friendly
  • Rallied, mutual assistance
  • Values his traditions
  • Untypical appearance
  • Very hard-working
  • Constrained in communication
  • Strong ties of relationship
  • Noisy
  • Sings well


In turn, Marina Plyasnova, employee of the Department of internal policy, told about the activities of the administration of Sverdlovsk region in the sphere of interethnic relations. It should be emphasized that Sverdlovsk region as the only one in Russia at the same time realised two projects on tolerance. Apart from our project a program with Germans in the framework of TASIS of the European Union is carried out. Of course, both projects could not have been hold without the serious support and direct participation of the local administration. In turn, the administration of the region is already preparing a special training course on the introduction of ideas of tolerance for State officials.

Later on, the administration of the region plans to create a network of monitoring the interethnic situation in the areas of the regions. The network will be based on the staff of the municipal agencies. So the establishment of direct contacts to them and, in particular, the clarification of the administration’s policy in the sphere of interethnic relations was the main task for Marina Yurevna. Not less interesting were the speeches of the representatives of municipal agencies of Sverdlovsk region. From the story of Alena Sobolevaya, Head of the administration of Kamyshlevskiy urban district around Sverdlovsk region followed that in their small town with a population of 30.000 people the problem with ethnic minorities does not exist. Elena Yurlova, Deputy Head of the administration of Beloyarskiy district urban represented the area where, basically, the people live in rural areas or small towns. But since the area is next to Yekaterinburg there are already the first compact settlements of “new” ethnic migrants and there are the first symptoms of possible conflicts on this ground…

Next was the speech of Elena Sayenko. She is Head of the administration of the city of Nizhniy Tagil with 300.000 inhabitants where since long exist national communities and organisations with which the local administration works successfully. After this report, Ashot Ayrapetyan asked the opinion of the speaker whether to pay attention to the rise of the level of tolerance if there is no serious problem in the given region. All participants noted that such work has necessarily to be done. Ashot told the participants that in Soviet times he was often on duty in Voronezh and never felt any tension in the interethnic sphere. Now the administration of this city makes great effort to fight racist incidents, but the total eradication of this infection is very difficult. As the Russian and international practice shows, preventive work and, in particular, promotion of tolerance is significantly more effective than the liquidation of racist attitudes and neo-fascist groupings.

Finally it was time for the main task of the training. Ashot divided the participants of the training into three mixed groups. The first had to work out recommendations for small cities, where everything is quiet and there is no intolerance towards ethnic minorities; the second group had to work out recommendations for areas where the population lives separated but there exist compact ethnic settlements; the third group had to work out recommendations for cities with a population of several thousand people. The leaders of national organisations were represented in all three groups.

The results of the group work are the following:

First group

Federal legislation

Federal educational system

Subordinate regulatory acts taking into account the local circumstances

Involvement of the media

Regional component in the education

Activities with national organisations

Collective deliberative bodies. Allocation of financial means for the support of national organisations

Interaction of the administration of the city with the police, court, prosecutor’s office

Creation of a commission to determine the need of foreign labour force

Using the media

Second group

Work with teachers

Competition of development program

Training of municipals

Active use of media

Media competition

Work with the population on the benefits of immigration (demography, jobs)

Activation of ethnic communities and of the administration of the city

Promotion of the culture and the tradition of the nations of Northern Ural

Training of officials

Series of training for officials

Educational programs for State employees

Programs on integration

Creation of an integration network

An overall program of activities of all departments, coordinating body

Work with the youth

Third group

Use of the possibilities of the media

Broad acquaintance with the culture of nations (mentality)

Support and promotion of national cultures and traditions

Financial support of programs (municipal)

Development and adoption of municipal programs and projects

Merging of economical, political and social resources

Special courses in educational institutions and use of national-regional components

Holding of trainings for leaders of civil society organisations and different structures

As can be seen, the results of the groups do not differ significantly from each other. And therefore, a special “local” recipe for tolerance does not exist. It is necessary to work with the media, to prepare State officials, to develop an interaction with national organisations and to finance all this work.

The training was completed by that. It was very good, that the municipal official took actively part in this training. Just look at the picture to see this. They did not isolate themselves. They took gladly part in our interactive games.

Thus, the main result of the training is that State employees can and want to cope with problems of tolerance in their region. And therefore, a permanent program at the federal or regional level is necessary to allocate means so that this work can be done. However, as shown by this and previous trainings, it does not matter where the means for the mentioned program come from – from the budget of the country or foreign funds. The main thing is that the local administration understands and supports this work. And national organisations are always ready to take the most active part in this work.