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Dmitry Medvedev held a joint meeting of the State Council and Commission for Implementation of Priority National Projects and Demographic Policy

December 27, 2010, The Kremlin, Moscow

Opening a frank exchange of views on ensuring interethnic harmony, the President stressed it is absolutely vital for Russia’s future, development, and survival as a nation.

Mr Medvedev said that Russia has truly unique and priceless experience as a country in which different peoples have preserved their customs, languages and religions, while forming political and cultural unity within a single state.

But the President noted that interethnic relations are nonetheless tense in many regions. Russia ranks second in the world after the USA for the number of immigrants arriving every year, and such demographic pressure confronts Russia with the same myriad problems that other countries too face in this area.

Dmitry Medvedev outlined the main directions for work to address these issues.

The regional governors have been ordered to personally monitor interethnic and interfaith relations and efforts to cultivate tolerance and raise legal awareness.

The heads of ethnic republics and territories within Russia should expand their contacts with respective ethnic communities in other regions and promote interethnic concord.

The Russian Government has been instructed to draft programmes and methodology aids for civic education for schoolchildren and students, and jointly with the regional authorities to build an up-to-date agency to take care of organising youth leisure activities, especially for teenagers.

The law enforcement agencies have been demanded to clamp down on illegal immigration channels, make use of other countries’ experience in this regard, and suppress any attempts to incite interethnic strife and provoke riots.

President Medvedev emphasised that while maintaining civic peace, priority must go to dialogue, cooperation and education, and pointed out that interethnic harmony is vital so that people will feel at home in any part of Russia, regardless of their ethnicity.

December 27, 2010, The Kremlin, Moscow