Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Moscow to Recreate Nationalities Ministry Soon to Boost Attention to Ethnic Issues and Block Western Efforts to Exploit Them, Semigin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 9 – The Russian government will likely recreate a ministry for nationality affairs after the presidential elections, Gennady Semigin, chairman of the Duma committee for nationality affairs says, to increase attention to ethnic issues of all kinds and to ensure that the West won’t be able to exploit ethnic differences within the Russian population.  

            Such a step is necessary because the West is currently spending on the order of 200 million US dollars every year to spark ethnic conflicts inside Russia, Semigin says, at a time when Moscow has reduced spending to counter such dangers and to promote the unity of the population of the country (

            While the Russian government has boosted spending on nationality policy in Crimea and the Russian-occupied portions of Ukraine, it has reduced financing for this sector of public policy by about ten percent everywhere else, a cutback that could blow up in everyone’s faces by leading to “a new Sumgait.”

            In the course of a wide-ranging 5,000-word interview with Kazan’s Business-Gazeta, Semigin made the following additional noteworthy comments:

·       Moscow is also mulling restoration of the Federal Migration Service either as an independent agency or as part of the restored nationality ministry.

·       Every head of a federal subject should have a deputy head overseeing a ramified system to manage nationality and migration policies.

·       Migrants now outnumber every nation of the Russian Federation except for the ethnic Russians and thus are clearly part of the nationality question.

·       Moscow must impose tighter controls on immigrants and work to prevent or, if that is impossible, to control the formation of ethnic enclaves.

·       The Russian government doesn’t have adequate statistics on nationalities or migrants. For example, no one knows whether there are 250,000 migrant children not in state schools or as many as twice that number.

·       All Russian official documents should allow citizens of Russia to register as mixed nationality if that is what they feel themselves to be.

·       The Russian multi-national people is what was called the Soviet people in USSR times.

·       No one should see civic identity and ethnic identity as competing. Everyone is both.

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