Ethnic And Religious Intolerance Leads To Disaster

ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE LEADS TO DISASTER
by Alexei Nikolayev
Translated by A. Ignatkin

Source: Novye Izvestia, June 7, 2007, p. 2
Agency WPS
What the Papers Say Part B (Russia)
June 7, 2007 Thursday

Congress of the Caucasus Peoples pledges to fight extremism; The
Congress of the Caucasus Peoples was convened by activists from
Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia,
North Ossetia, Chechnya, Adygea and representatives of the Armenian,
Azeri, and Georgian diasporas. It will promote integration of people
from the Caucasus.

The Congress of the Caucasus Peoples was convened by activists from
Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia, North
Ossetia, Chechnya, Adygea and representatives of the Armenian, Azeri,
and Georgian diasporas. The congress is expected to promote integration
of people from the Caucasus into life elsewhere in Russia. It is also
seen as a means of fighting extremism and bigotry.

"Russia is the motherland of a great many different peoples," said
Aslambek Paskachev, Congress chairman and director of the Research
Center for Tax System Development. "That is why we maintain that ethnic
and religious intolerance is unacceptable. It is a road leading to
cataclysms, disintegration of Russia, and a disaster for everyone
in Russia."

The organization intends to address social problems of the Caucasus
and Russia in general. Its activists claim they have already drafted
a number of documents that will "alleviate ethnic tension fomented
by the so-called Caucasus factor in Russian society."

"Some politicians refuse to recognize the fact that anti-Caucasus
trends are deeply rooted in Russian society," an insider said.

Encroachment on civil and labor rights, and administrative abuses with
regard to individuals’ regional or ethnic origin, are practically
the norm in some Russian regions – and this practice foments ethnic
tension. "We will fight xenophobic propaganda in the media and attempts
from abroad to split society into ethnic and religious fragments,"
Paskachev said. "No amount of revenues from exporting oil – or
diamonds, gold, timber, or anything else – can save us from social
disturbances if the authorities don’t listen to the people."

The Congress hopes to set in motion some projects that will hopefully
solve the problem of mass unemployment in the Caucasus and do away with
vestiges of extremism and separatism." The idea is to move part of
the population to Siberia and the Russian Far East. "We are prepared
to select personnel in the Caucasus for regional and federal program
of Siberia and Far East development," Paskachev said. "We intend as
well to ask the republican authorities and their missions in Moscow to
draw up and put into motion small businesses development programs. The
region as such should be made more attractive to investors. This
would create jobs."

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