Russia united by polyphony of cultures

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Russia united by polyphony of cultures

The authorities responsible for inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in the regions should be unified, according to Igor Barinov, the head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs. He told Vedomosti that the most effective model is when the authorities responsible for inter-ethnic relations and cooperation with religious organizations are united in a common structure and are controlled by a vice-governor who is responsible for internal policy. “The current processes – migration and penetration of extremist ideas – are carried out through religions as well, and their leaders need support.”

Yevgeniya Mikhaleva, Director General of the Federal Jewish National and Cultural Autonomy, thinks that a systematic approach is needed in work with ethno-cultural organizations and raising of public awareness of what they do in the ethno-cultural organizations. “It is necessary to work with the media, the work should be targeted on building an intelligent, competent information policy. If the media begins to write not only about headdresses and sundresses, but also about what Diasporas really are, what wonderful people are there, it would be great. It is necessary to carry out projects aimed at communication, to interact, to build a rational dialogue. And if serious transnational projects are created, people are working together at them, know each other, they begin to work better, communicate better.”

Mikhaleva says that a positive approach is the main thing: “You have to believe in success and not be afraid and not be closed in any case. On one hand, of course, it is very important to preserve our national traditions, culture and national language. But on the other hand, we live in a multi-ethnic country and a lot of different people are living next to us. We cannot close ourselves off only in our area. Because the well-being of our nationalities and every person depends on how much everyone is content. So, naturally, we have to work more widely. And if we are open and engage with civil society, it seems to me that everyone will benefit from this.”

Galina Bogolyubova, President of the Slavonic Fund of Russia, member of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations, spoke about the prospects of strengthening of inter-ethnic contacts in Russia: “We have common policies and economies, and the social problems are also common. The only thing that is different, and we are proud of it, is our cultural heritage. It is multidimensional, it is plural; this is our advantage. The polyphony of cultures unites us, because it distinguishes Russia among many countries. The peoples living in Russia create a kind of cultural code of Russia… Our main task in international relations is to turn the people from the crowd which it is now into a civic nation which is united by a common idea and a common goal. And our first goal is to turn Russia into an enlightened, civilized state, giving the example of its progress, science, education and of course, its diverse culture to the whole world.”