Vyacheslav Mikhailov: "I see positive interethnic dynamics in North Caucasus"
A professional standard for the sphere of national and religious relations was presented in Moscow. One of the developers of the professional standard, the ex-minister of the Russian Federation for Nationalities, a member of the Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations, the head of the Department of National and Federative Relations of IPACS RANEPA, Vyacheslav Mikhailov, told about the current state of interethnic, migration and national processes in Russia, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of this event.
- First of all, how normal is the interethnic situation in the republics of the North Caucasus today?
- There is a positive dynamic the sphere of out interethnic relations, tension in the focal points of conflicts is gradually disappearing. For example, the Ossetian-Ingush conflict is in the search for a positive solution, the heads of the republics meet regularly, there is interaction between Ingushetia and North Ossetia, and it seems to me that sooner or later a full-fledged compromise will be found there. Today's situation in the Chechen Republic can be considered satisfactory, there are positive trends, although some media are trying to aggravate the state of affairs. There is exactly the same positive dynamics in Dagestan. Speaking about training, there is a very large influx of good, intelligent guys from the North Caucasus in our academy, including at my department, in regional studies and management of interethnic processes.
- What principles should govern Russia's modern national policy?
- The principles are already defined and, for example, the word 'friendship' remains there, moreover, now this word is being rehabilitated. It should be understood that the national policy is not only just a political issue, since it also includes economic issues, social issues, issues of governance and personnel promotion. It is necessary to approach the building of the national policy in a comprehensive way, understanding that in general, people want to be friends, not enemies. In my opinion, conflicts arise from the widening gap between the rich and the poor, which showing recently a catastrophic growth and bringing social issues to the brink of a foul. National policies is not only the definition of the idea of the Russian nation and other concepts, but, first of all, it's the solution of the economic and social problems of the population.
- Speaking of the Russian nation, what is the meaning of this term today?
- Very heated discussions are under way now, and some are convinced that if it is about the Russian nation, then it seems that ethnic nations are abolished. I think that it's necessary to divide the ethnic nation and the political nation, understood as co-citizenship. In our vocabulary, nationality, as a rule, is perceived as an ethnic factor, not as a political one, but the understanding of the Russian nation is based on the concept of co-citizenship, that we are citizens of one country. It is a regional identification: Russians live in Russia. Also, Russians are the concept of 'we'. This is how I explain the difference between the notions of 'I' and 'we' to students: 'I' is an ethnos, for example, 'I'm Russian', but I will never say that we are all Russians in Russia, because 'we are Russians' says only about our co-citizenship, not about ethnicity.
I should add here that, in accordance with this approach, the nation is formed with the creation of the state. That is, when the serfs together with the nobles rallied and fought against Napoleon in 1812, they were a single nation, because they were citizens of one country. A nation has already been formed and it would be wrong to say that the Russian nation needs to be formed - in fact, it needs to be strengthened. We need constant dynamics in strengthening the nation, to seek consensus in society, so that there is no split, like in the US now, where the recent presidential elections have shown that the country's society is very fragmented. Of course, we should strengthen the nation on the interethnic direction as well, through the establishment of inter-ethnic and interreligious harmony.
- What is the current state of the internal and external migration in Russia?
- As for internal migration, it should be more dynamic, I think. For example, we now have a very high unemployment rate in the North Caucasus: the region is experiencing a demographic explosion and there are not enough jobs there - and if the dynamics of internal migration were higher, people could find work in other regions of the Russian Federation. Undoubtedly, for this purpose it is necessary to create economic and other incentives that would interest the movement of labor within the country.
External migration, in turn, needs regulation, it should not be spontaneous, as it results in the formation of enclaves. One can see on the example of Western Europe that at first the enclaves are not bad, they open schools, countrymen communicate with each other, but then there is a blockage: entire areas are closed in London because enclaves of migrants are formed there. Such ethnic ghettos are inadmissible, and therefore, migration processes need to be managed. And here is the problem in law enforcement practice: there is a very good presidential decree and regulations on protection and involvement of compatriots, but, unfortunately, these documents do not work. For example, there are many people in Ukraine wishing to obtain Russian citizenship, but they face great difficulties. The idea of the Russian world is a very good thing, because the Russian people are a divided people, 25 million Russians live outside the Russian Federation, but we need to improve the law on the return of compatriots to make it work.