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Wednesday 07 June

Главная News Day of Unity or Tolerance?
Day of Unity or Tolerance?

In a guest house near Moscow from 24th to 25th of October the training “Youth and tolerance” was held which was organized by the Center for Interethnic Cooperation (CIC) and at which representatives of 21 universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhniy Novgorod took part. During the training, the causes of extremism within the youth were discussed. On the training was brought forward the idea of organizing a conference, inviting representatives of other Moscow universities and discussing what can be done to effectively counter extremism and how to achieve that our youth gets more tolerant. On the 2nd of November the conference “Diffusion of ideas of tolerance within the youth” took place in the Moscow University of Design and Technology.

The participants of the conference found out that there is no tolerance in the country because of poverty, indifference and moral and ethic vulgarity. The youth may improve the situation.


The participants agreed that the term “tolerance” should not only mean “tolerance” but also respect for the differences of another person. And on the 4th of November, there would be to celebrate the day of national unity and not the day of tolerance. But the national policy is not build on tolerance, as correctly observed Irina Gavrilova, Chariman of the Commission on Affairs of Nationalist and Migration Policy of the public council of Moscow.

Ashot Ayrapetyan, Director of the CIC, cited the data of the law enforcement agencies: in Russia, the majority of those who are imprisoned for extremism are youths. And the militia does not make the youth more tolerant. Keep in mind that the participants of the training rated the situation in Moscow with 2.5 points out of 5: “And that means that as long as the nationalists want to establish social justice, the representatives of any nation will be uncomfortable in the capital”. The Day of the National Unity must not be an alternative Russian march, but a demonstrative action: here are different nations, all this is Russia, but we altogether bear the responsibility for the things that happen in this country. International experience shows that forbidding the marches and processions is very difficult and not necessary. The best way to fight against racism and xenophobia is when the fascist march attracts two thousand people and the anti-fascist twenty thousand. Then those who are searching and who have a highly developed herd instinct will join the second group.

According to the words of Daria Maureen who supervises the sector “tolerance” in the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs a real information war deployed in the internet, to the address of the organizational committee of the festival “All ours” poured the accusation.

The conference set the question: who sees the Day of National Unity as a holiday? Four people raised their hands and Dasha. She explains: state holidays are invented in the beginning, but what the people should do is not explained, the understanding is formed later.

On the conference, everyone came to the conclusion that journalists give wrong and biased assessment of much what they relate to migration. In the field of vision get only incidents that are negatively related to migrants, usually murder.

After the expression “people of Caucasian nationality” appeared for the first time in the newspaper the journalists caught that up and made a stamp on it. But in the Caucasus live more than hundred nationalities who worship differently and speak different languages. “How can you lump all them together? It was simply important to create an integrated image”, said Gegham Khalatyan, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Nationalities of the Government of Moscow. At a certain point the mass-media of the internal class enemy (the bourgeoisie) attacked an enemy from another nationality (Caucasians). Journalists have to understand their work often only aggravates a strained situation.

“It is important that we know, understand and respect the culture of other people, because not only the Russians reach certain heights” said the Deputy Chairman of the Commission on Affairs of Nationality and Migrant Policy, Maria Kotovskaya. There are many subjects now at universities, but the students don’t know how many different nationalities live in our country. At the same time it is clear that tolerance is already put in the childhood. Therefore the attitudes will not change quickly. The problem of international education has to be put in the first place, in the general courses the accents have to be rearranged. Our interest in the western culture and the absolute indifference towards our direct neighbors cause such a dismissive attitude we have now. It is strange that the subject “Intercultural communication” is only available in certain specializations. This is not right.

“No state which has a multinational structure can exist for a long time if it does not become established to respect each other on the legal and educational level”, says Hamid Bulatov, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of Russian Academy of Science. We can and have to take the best of other nations. Russia has always been a multinational state and we tried to live in the world. There were other periods, but they ended tragically (fragmentation, Time of Troubles, civil war). Every time this led to the fact that no nation flourished, among them the Russian: “On the contrary – all fell into decay and everyone took a bite of the country”.

A pure Russian state is not viable; it will not exist long in modern conditions because the world takes the course of universalization. There are still peculiarities of the modern period: no conference will bring the desired result if the necessary measures are not taken on state level. Gegham Khalatyan suggested putting the topic of tolerance on the level of a national project “because we can even deal with the swine flue and this infection (nationalism) undermines us from within and it can destroy everything. Very serious measures are needed, otherwise we really slide”. Hamid Bulatov suggested in the first place leveling the economic growth of the different regions of the country: “It is clear that from the suburbs they go to where the standard of living is higher. Major cities will be overcrowded and Siberia becomes desolate.” Second, tolerance should not only be taught to students of prestigious universities, but also of lower contingent (e.g. students of vocational technical schools). And not only natives, but also migrants.

If a visitor behaves badly, this will affect the relation to everyone of his nation. Why does this happen? “Look, if Ivan Ivanovich behaves badly, than he is taken for ill-mannered. But if Mohammed Mohammedov is doing that, than he is the boor as representative of this nation. All migrants have to understand that”, concludes an employee of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Science.

However, it is unclear where the nationalistic extremism arises from as in the Soviet Union other nationalities were taken as normal, thinks Gegham Khalatyan. They used to say that if a person behaved badly that was because he was a fool. In the Soviet Union it was a shame to express hostility towards other people; intelligent people could not permit themselves to do that, added Irina Gavrilova.

The big problem lies in the migration policy of Moscow. Quotas limit the possibilities to legally formalize workers and create artificial obstacles. And this feeds many local officials, believes Gegham Khalatyan. The Union of Armenians of Russia, where he is Vice-President, more than once suggested that for the guest registration (three months) it should be possible to return to Russia only after one year because now after expiration of this period you can re-registrate on the next day under other documents. Therefore, only wholesome people remain in Moscow, and not the mass of poor guest workers.

Kirill from the All-Russian Academy of Foreign Trade emotionally told about the swellings leaving each day from Kievskaya, the crowd of migrants which is rushing towards him: “The point is not to teach culturology at universities or not. I do it namely because of the formation of a negative attitude towards these nations”.

Gegham Khalatyan answered on this: “There is no nationality which was brought up by going to Kievskaya and selling stuff. Those who do not work have to be forced. Therefore it is important to register those who have work and send those further who don’t have work”.

The director of the CIC continued: “Enemies don’t have to be searched far. Our main enemy is laziness. We think that someone else instead of us has to create that wonderful country where we want to live. The problem is that 80% of the capital of the country is concentrated in Moscow, therefore the rest has the choice: either having no work or coming here. So a state policy for nationalities and youth is needed. In Europe youth programs are financed by authorities and student unions really have not bad money. Then the students are doing some work and projects. They receive concrete practical experience”.

The two hours that were reserved for the conference flew by very quickly. “Let’s hope that some day the Day of National Unity turns into the Day of the Unity of Peoples”, summed up Ashot Ayrapetyan.

Polina Mjakinchenko