English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World Living Arctic) No. 3, 2000

The results of the decade

The events celebrating the 10th anniversary of RAIPON took place on 1216 May in Moscow. The events attracted the intense interest of the Russian authorities, foreign representatives, Russian and international NGOs and the press.

More than 700 people applied to take part in the 10th anniversary celebrations, including representatives of the regional Associations (more than 300 people) that make up RAIPON, as well as representatives of the authorities – the State Duma and the Federative Council. The Government was represented by the Ministry for National and Regional Policy, the Ministry of Education, and the State Committee of Northern Development (Goskomsever).

The events drew representatives of foreign governments. All Arctic countries sent representatives from their embassies – Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the USA, and Sweden.

Many Russian and international NGOs took part in the sessions of the Jubilee conference, “Past Decade as a Basis for Development in the XXI Century”, including the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the Saami Council, the International Aleut Association, the UN Environmental Programme, IWGIA (the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs) and many others.

The events were widely reported by the press: by RTR TV in the programme Federation, by NTV in Sreda, a programme on environmental protection, the radio broadcasters Rossiya, Mayak, Radio Liberty, by the news agencies Interfax and ItarTass, by newspapers Trud and Nezavisimaya Gazeta, by magazines Migratsia v Rossii, Severnie prostory, Neft Rossii, Gosudarstvennaya vlast i mestnoe samoupravlenie, Munitsipalnoe i konstitutsionnoe pravo, by regional TV broadcasters Yamal Region, Novy Urengoy, Zapolyarnye, Chukotka, and by the regional newspapers and magazines Yamalskiy Meridian, Naryan Vynder, Aborigen Kamchatki, Naryana Ngerm.

Against this background the indifference to the conference shown by the Administration of the Russian President was somewhat surprising. Our request to the Administration to rent the hall of the Kremlin Palace for the Constituent Congress of the RAIPON for the Anniversary celebrations was rejected. We invited representatives of the Presidential Administration to take part in the opening of the conference but none attended. This indifference to an event of such significant to the indigenous minorities of Russia has, of course, upset the participants of the conference. The attitude of the current Government contrasted with earlier attitudes of the Kremlin. On a brighter note, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the USSR, who took part in the 1st Congress of RAIPON, sent a letter with congratulations to RAIPON.

The opening of the Anniversary Conference took place in the conference hall of the Federative Council. Mr Kharyuchi, the President of RAIPON, opened the conference. Numerous guests took the floor for the welcome speeches. Many were awarded with symbols and certificates of honour for their long and productive cooperation with RAIPON.

The youth conference ‘The frontier of the decade view on the future’ took place the same day. The delegates discussed the problems of the young generation of the indigenous minorities.

The programme of the Anniversary celebrations was very intensive. It included:

The cultural programme ‘Northern Sun’ completed the anniversary conference. Many indigenous musicians took part: the Itelmen group “Elvel” from the village of Kovran of the Koryakskiy Autonomus Okrug, the Nivkh group “Mengume Ilga” from Sakhalin, the Aleut group “Chian” from the village of Nikolskoe, Kamchatka, the Evenk group “Youkte” from the village of Iengra in Yakutia, Mrs Yakovleva and Ms Galkina from the village of Lovozero in Murmanskaya Oblast, the Kelchins from the village of Muzhi in Yamalo-Nenetskiy Autonomous Okrug, and the elders who preserve the national cultures Mr Suroi from Salekhard and Mrs Voldina from Khanty-Mansiysk.