English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World Living Arctic) No. 9-10, 2002
RAIPON Coordination Council
A regular session of the Coordination Council of the Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON) was held in the RAIPON head-office on February 11-13, 2002. Apart from the Coordination Council members the session was attended by A.A. Mikhailov, Staff Director of RAIPON; V.V. Uvachan, Chair of RAIPON Council of Elders; R.V. Sulyandziga, Director of the Training Center for Indigenous Peoples of the North; F.M. Lekhanova, Moscow State University post-graduate and representative of the Association of indigenous peoples of the North, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya); L.M. Yeroshina, Deputy Head, Department of Population Census and Demographic Statistics of the State Committee for Statistics of the Russian Federation; L.I. Ayeshina, Chair, Committee for Ethnic Policy, the Republic of Khakasiya; N.M. Pechenina, Deputy, Assembly of People’s Deputies of the Kemerovo Region. Also attending were foreign guests: Dixon Cynthia Rose, Executive Director of Canada’s Athapaskan Arctic Council; Roddick David Nittleton, Advisor to Canada’s Athapaskan Arctic Council and Peter Johnson, Member of the Athapaskan Arctic Council, a young chief in charge of handling youth problems.
The agenda of the Council session covered the following issues:
1. Russia’s population census in 2002 and possible forms of participation of RAIPON regional organizations in this endeavor;
2. The analysis of critical remarks and proposals voiced during the Fourth Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East;
3. Preparation for the upcoming first session of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues (May 2002, New York);
4. The priorities in the RAIPON activities (results of enquiries carried out by questionnaire);
5. The revision of the managerial structure of the Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON);
6. The experience gained by the Khabarovsk Territory’s Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North;
7. Preparation for the next regular session of the Coordination Council.
Ms. Lyudmila Mikhaylovna Yeroshina, Deputy Head, Department of Population Census and Demographic Statistics of the State Committee for Statistics of the Russian Federation made a report on the first item of the agenda. She informed the attendees of the session that the All-Russia population census is slated for October 9-16, 2002. It is essential for us, she said, that the active members of Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON) as well as those in its regional sections would help us carry out this effort and obtain the fullest possible information about these peoples. It is vital for all the representatives of indigenous peoples to participate in the census.
It should be emphasized that for the last 12 years we have relied on the data collected during the previous population census. Significant changes have occurred in this country since then: a reduced birthrate, and an increased deathrate, a rather massive migration of population, etc. while updated information is badly needed for the government to make a normal, purposeful policy of giving assistance to those sections of populations which are looking after it.
The Coordination Council has decided that “taking into account the importance of the Northern indigenous peoples’ representatives participating in the population census” A.A. Mikhailov, Staff Director of RAIPON is appointed, on behalf of the Association, as official in charge of contacts with the RF State Committee for Statistics providing it with a list of regional organizations of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East as well as their addresses to organize interaction in carrying out the population census. The Association’s first vice-president, P.V. Sulyandziga has been entrusted with supervision over the implementation of this decision.
S.N. Kharyuchi, RAIPON President, and vice-presidents P.V. Sulyandziga, M.A. Todyshev and L.I. Abryutina spoke at the session on the agenda’s second item: “Fulfillment of decisions taken at the Fourth Congress of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East of RF and the analyses of critical remarks and proposals made by the Congress delegates”.
As President S.N. Kharyuchi pointed out, “… the efforts in this direction are still underway. We have sent a number of appeals to the Federal authorities on the basis of proposals voiced at the Congress. We have arranged various functions both at the regional and Federal levels. In our work we have pursued the directions outlined at the Congress coping with problems pinpointed by the Congress delegates and regional associations and holding regular meetings with the Committees of the upper and the lower chambers of Parliament. We have already signed cooperation agreements with many of these Committees, still new agreements are being drafted. These efforts have clearly shown that the Association is trying hard to actively participate in drafting the documents bearing on indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation”.
P.V. Sulyandziga, RAIPON first vice-president, taking the floor next, informed the delegates that negotiations had been underway at present about concluding an agreement with the World Bank. The World Bank’s practice is to sign such agreements with respective countries for the period of three years and now it is going to sign a document with Russia under the heading “Strategies of activities by the World Bank group in the Russian Federation for 2002-2004”. The RF Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is making a draft of this document. The RAIPON leadership has conducted negotiations with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade pressing for this Strategy to include joint efforts in sorting out problems of Russia’s indigenous peoples.
M.A. Todyshev, RAIPON vice-president, has provided the Coordination Council members with full information on the agenda’s third item: “Preparation for the upcoming first session of the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues due to take place in New York in May 2002”. The Council members ruled out Ms. Z.I. Strogalschikova’s appointment as member of the Permanent Forum following the disclosure of forged documents submitted in support for her candidacy to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Coordination Council has expressed its regret at the fact that the ECOSOC chairman had violated the provisions of ECOSOC resolution # 2000/22 dated July 28, 2000 while making his decision about membership of the Permanent Forum since not a single consultation had been held with either the government of the Russian Federation or organizations of indigenous peoples inhabiting the Russian Federation. The decision had been made solely on the basis of falsified documents. The Council’s ruling on this matter was as follows:
“To offer the Society of Veps Culture – a collective member of the Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON) – a suggestion that it should discuss at its extraordinary general meeting and give its appraisal of the flagrant violation by the Chair of the Society’s Board, Ms. Z.I. Strogalschikova, of the decision taken at the Fourth Congress of indigenous peoples of the North with regard to nomination for the position of a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues as well as the infringement of ethic standards of mutual relations between members of an organization of like-minded people thus causing political and moral damage to the All-Russia Association.
“To entrust vice-president N.S. Kaplin with attending the said general meeting of the Society of Veps Culture and bringing the Coordination Council’s opinion that the above fact is incompatible with Ms. Z.I. Strogalschikova’s membership in the Coordination Council to the notice of the Society’s members recommending them to elect some other member of their Society’s Board to the Coordination Council instead of her”.
P.V. Sulyandziga, RAIPON first vice-president spoke on the priorities in the RAIPON activities (results of enquiries carried out by questionnaire) analyzing the results of enquiries made among members of the Coordination Council. Besides, CC members considered the proposal put forward by E.A. Sin’kevich, President of the Krasnoyarsk Territory’s Association of indigenous peoples of the North with regard to the priority directions of RAIPON activities. Taking into account the results of enquiries the Coordination Council members have sanctioned the following as the baseline directions of RAIPON activities:
Law making and guarantees of a legal position;
- Health protection of indigenous peoples;
- Preservation and development of culture;
- Upbringing and education;
- Establishment of traditional subsistence territories (territories of traditional use of natural resources) and development of traditional forms of economic activity;
- Youth policy.
In accordance with the Association’s Charter the following vice-presidents have been elected by a show of hands:
- Mikhail Anatolevich Todyshev charged with law making issues and guarantees of a legal position;
- Nikita Sergeevich Kaplin charged with questions related to preservation and development of culture;
- Larisa Ivanovna Abryutina charged with indigenous peoples’ health protection problems;
- Fenya Matveevna Lekhanova charged with questions pertaining to upbringing and education;
- Sergey Mikhailovich Kirillin charged with special issues as the president’s advisor.
Two nominations as vice-presidents on traditional subsistence territories (territories of traditional use of natural resources) and traditional forms of economic activity as well as youth policy will be approved after the submitted candidacies have been examined and the leader of the RAIPON youth organization has been elected at the upcoming youth conference. It is envisaged that nomination and approval of these candidacies will take place at the next session of the Coordination Council.
The question of preparing the next regular session of the Coordination Council was the last item on the agenda. The CC members have accepted the invitation from the president of the Sakha (Yakutiya) Republic’s Association of indigenous peoples of the North to convene the next session of the Coordination Council in Yakutsk in October 2002.