Программа первая международная студенческая Интернет-конференция «Разнообразие культур в полиэтничном регионе», 24 Марта 2009

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Astrakhan region – southern outpost of Russia. A reality or just illusion?
Федосенко Роман, студент

Астраханский государственный университет
Not long ago our region enjoyed its 450 anniversary celebrating. This event was not only a cultural sensation, but also an important economic and political break through the South of Russian Federation. The government worked out a number of projects on strengthening economic positions of Astrakhan in the Caspian region. The jubilee of the city was an original presentation of results of the actions done. How much positive were the results of heavy capital investments?

Over the years Astrakhan region has been an important political and economic area. The city of Astrakhan is located on the border of Europe and Asia and it is a link between the West and the East. Astrakhan is located on eleven islands and it is divided into 4 administrative districts. The occupied area is 500 sq. km. The population of the city has recently grown to more than 500 thousand people. More than 100 nationalities live in Astrakhan. The Astrakhan region is the southern outpost of Russia. The main waterway of Russia – the Volga River – passes through the territory of the region, and through it the waterways from the By-Caspian states pass in the Black, Mediterranean, Baltic, Northern seas. Astrakhan is the natural center of transit trade and a large transport unit at the junction of Asia and Europe. This is an obvious advantage both for regional economy, and for national economy as a whole. Besides in Astrakhan there is a well developed powerful ship-building and ship-repairing industry; significant reserves of the hydrocarbon raw material and abounding bioresources are available; in Astrakhan we have also a unique tourist - recreational zone of the Volga delta. The points of growth at present are such industries as oil and gas production (equivalent fuel prognostic resources are 4,5bn ton); processing hydrocarbons; international transport corridors (“North-South”, E-40 «West-East»); shipbuilding and ship-repair; home construction activity and the production of building materials; tourism (ecological, recreational, sports, etc.) The development of the given branches creates a favorable investment climate. According to the experts investments into a fixed capital in 2008 will make 47 971 million rubles, that in having given with superfluous time surpasses the level of the given indicator in 2007, which was 20 742.3 million rubles on that period of time. We should mention, that the given indicator was twice less than in 2007, and was equal to 12 715 million rubles. The turn of retail trade also tends to growth. Thus, for example, in 2006 it was 28 034.8 million rubles, in 2007 it came to 41 280.1 million rubles, and under forecasts of economists will make 53 600 million rubles in 2008. It’s also impossible to disregard the progressive growth of the per capital income.
In 2008 it will increase to 16 010 rubles in accordance with 11 607 rubles in 2007 and 9 705 rubles in 2006.

Certainly the figures promise the worthy future to our region. Financial investments form the basis of the future development of Astrakhan region. And still it is a far way to achieve ultimate goals. First of all it is necessary to build up a good educational basis, keep and promote the developing of the human resources. Bring to nothing corruption and swindle. Create a number of programs attracting tourists. Form an institutional basis of using tax proceeds. It is necessary to use federal financing in a proper way, so that, after its termination, the created financial and industrial institutes could provide a continuous stream of monetary resources. And, at last, create the authority tracking and controlling the realization of investment programs. Only the precise control and direct assistance of the region’s government will yield positive results in short terms. Taking into account all the above-listed criteria we will make a powerful monetary independent region in the south of our country, which at political and economic points of view will carry the proud name “Southern outpost of Russia”!

An insufficient level of interethnic tolerance as the factor of instability in a polyethnic regionhe example of the Ukraine.
Григорьев Александр Владимирович, студент

Астраханский государственный университет
The processes of globalization and increase in mobility have led to the fact that there are no more monoethnic states in the world. Joint residing of ethnoses in one territory assumes coexistence of cultures, and a certain tolerance degree of these ethnoses under the attitude to each other. The problem of tolerance in a polyethnic region is one of the most important and widely discussed global problems of the present. Absence of the necessary interethnic tolerance level is one of the factors of instability and interethnic conflicts in a region.

In this article we will report about interethnic tolerance in the Ukraine on the basis of the article by N.Panina "National tolerance and identity in the Ukraine: experience of social distance scale application in a monitoring sociological research”. In her work the author allocates 5 social distance degrees as preconditions of formation of a certain national tolerance level:

  1. National identity. That means that a person identifies himself with a considered nation

  2. Openness. This social distance degree means that a person regards to a nation with tolerance and is ready for direct contacts with representatives of this ethnos

  3. National seclusion. Here we assume national isolation presence. A person supposes coexistence in one territory with representatives of any ethnos, but tries to avoid direct contacts with them.

  4. National isolation. We can consider this social distance degree as a latent form of xenophobia. A person tries to avoid any contacts with representatives of this nation. He or she can regard to them as a temporarily staying people on the territory of his or her country, but not as its citizens.

  5. Xenophobia. It assumes presence of the open nationalist moods in relation to people of considered nationality, utter unwillingness to suppose them in the country.

The data of the research is unfavorable: in the country direct xenophobic moods in relation to some nationalities are presented; about half of the Ukrainians show isolation sights; about 75 % of respondents completely tolerantly concern only to representatives of East-Slavic ethnoses. The ethnic tolerance level has been decreasing during last 5 years. This index is higher in the East regions, among old people and people with high education. Especially guards that fact, that the level of interethnic tolerance is low enough among modern Ukrainian youth. It allows us to assume, that the situation in the given area will worsen in future.

The data received as a result of described research are supported with the actual material. The third report on the Ukraine of The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, which was published on the 29 February 2008, was informed on the increase in number of interethnic conflicts, acts of anti-Semitism and also about imperfection of the language legislation. The authority of the Ukraine does not give enough attention to improvement of the situation in this area, but also, on the contrary, promotes a deepening of contradictions between the ethnoses living in the territory of the considered country, spending a number of actions on making nationalist, profascist groups of the Ukrainian army heighten their power. We can come to the conclusion that insufficient level of interethnic tolerance in the modern Ukraine, absence of national unity is one of the factors causes long political crisis in the analyzed country. The further aggravation of conditions in studied region can lead to the worst consequences of the considered phenomena.

The given example shows importance of establishment of a sufficient national tolerance level for a polyethnic region. The newest history dazzles with reports about interethnic conflicts in various regions of the planet that result in set of human victims. Only the harmonious actions of the world community on strengthening national tolerance, prevention of the actions provoking national discord can improve the situation in the given area.

The Letts and the Russians: friends or foes?
Храмова Екатерина, студентка

Астраханский государственный университет

Latvia is known as a multinational region, populated by Letts, Lives, Lithanians, Russians, Belarussians, Ukrainians, Poles and others. As a rule, multiculturalism could cause some misunderstandings between different nations and their traditions, but sometimes problems of a multicultural region couldn’t be called only “misunderstandings”, when the so-called international “Cold war” is obvious. Unfortunately, there is no other name for relationship between the Russians and the Letts on the territory of Latvia. It too hard to decide who’s right and who’s wrong in such a situation. But there must be reasons for this conflict. Some people say that the Russians are wrong because they try to live their own way of life on the territory of foreign country, others suppose that the Letts limit Russians` rights too much. It`s almost impossible to say on whose side the truth is. According to the history, both sides have made some mistakes.

The Russians are really keen on blaming the Letts for terrible actions of Lettish shooters supported the formation of the USSR and, in fact, murdered the imperial family. At the same time the Letts accuse the Russians for the occupation of the Soviet Army. Both sides only mention advantageous facts. Russian people insist the fact they`ve lived on the land of contemporary Latvia since the ancient times as well as the Letts. But the Letts have another point of view. A Lettish philosopher and historian Vilnis Zarinish says: “It`s just a myth that the Russians live here so long. Of course, there were some Russian-speaking people inhabiting this territory, but there was no Russian community.” Anyways, it’s rather difficult now to recognize whose roots are more ancient. But we can observe the history of the 20th century. During the Second World War and deportations in 1940-s the population of Letts considerably decreased. Changes of social and ethnical structure of the population destroyed the prewar middle class (officials, intelligentsia, industrialists). As a result, during the post-war period the government of Latvia mostly consisted of russified Letts, grown up at the prewar Soviet Union, what proves that the Russians influenced the development of Latvia. Afterwards, the main question to ask is : “Could the Russians be called occupants?”

In order to answer this question we should know some facts about the ratio of Lettish and Russian culture. After Latvia had become a part of the USSR Lettish culture also became soviet, as well as the educational system. Young generations of the Letts learnt that the present level of Lettish culture is the highest one, they didn`t think it was so necessary to support the development of culture. Socialist realism of literature and painting really flourished at that period. Lettish masters, working in Europe at the moment, were ignored and known as “bourgeois nationalists”. There was no other culture for Latvia except the soviet culture.
As a result of this, Russian language became more useful than Lettish. Lettish culture had been undergoing dramatic changes for a half of a century. But in 1991 Latvia became independent from Russia. It was a very difficult time for Russian culture in Latvia. Unfortunately, this time is not finished yet. After the proclamation of sovereignty the Lettish government began a fierce extermination of Russian culture in Latvia. Over 20 Russian schools in Latvia have been closed during the last few years. The monuments of Russian soldiers are being moved from the centre of the country as far as it’s possible. The number of conflicts between the Russians and the Letts is still growing. But do we have a right to accuse the Letts? For example, let`s just mention the Mongols: we still remember that 300 years, when they suppressed the development of Russia`s individuality, and probably some people still hate them for it. So, why do we think that the Letts can`t also be angry about the Russians and their actions during the twentieth century?

Anyway, we all are people and we must respect traditions and individual features of other nations. If some Russian people want to stay in Latvia they ought to study Lettish language and accept Lettish traditions. Many philosophers say: “A tactful person is a smart person”. Diplomatic relationship between the Russians and the Letts could solve the problem of multiculturalism. And here is our question: “Could the Russians be called occupants?”. Though I am Russian, I`d like to say: “Yes, probably they could. But it’s not a reason for conflicts now. The main thing that differs people from animals is an ability to agree with each other.”

All things considered, it should be said that the Russians and the Letts are probably not friends, but also not foes – they are neighbours, and ought to respect each other.

Youth and intolerance
Айсаева Люция, студентка

Астраханский государственный университет
In the history of the humankind people have often surged hopes that all the ethnical, racial, religious differences will completely fade or melt one day. Globalization has a controversial impact on stability of cultural differentiation of ethnic and religious groups within humankind. Anyway there is no such country in the world now (including the most developed ones) that can boast a total and terminal solution to the problem of integration of ethnic, racial, religious minorities, and especially members of immigrant groups, into a fully formed system of a state-nation. Recently, we have become the witnesses of some very serious events that occur on the European continent, touching upon questions of tolerance, xenophobia, the liberty of speech and spirituality. Zooming from barricades in the suburbs of Paris up to universal scandal, that broke out in the light of blasphemous, insulting Muslims cartoons, published in some European mass media. Today we may see that all the mechanisms created by the international community for reaction on charged threats to the world are being checked for strength. In spite of the thought that after the World War II all possible institutions to prevent the nightmares of worldwide conflicts and Holocaust has been created. Europe today suffers from open wounds on the territory from Atlantic Ocean to the Urals. It is certain, the scale of conflicts is already less than in the past, but weapon, bombs and fratricidal bumps are still destructive. Until recently the world had been divided on the principle of ideology, and then the humanity got through it. But today – xenophobia becomes the most powerful bomb of the 21century. We are unable to overlook that now such calls are poured not only through TV films, but also the Internet, where to this moment at least 873 Web sites of extremist views can be found.

Unfortunately there is a stereotype that young people are only interested in there personal leisure time and not in investing there energy for the good of society. People skeptically think about youngsters’ creative potential, power and resistance of their civil position. This decreases the role and influence of youth participation in decision – making. This stereotype should be broken. We also must work on improving named toolkits of evaluating the efficiency of youth participation on social life. Now stern new anti-terrorism laws have become a cause for a worry. The Basque ETA separatists, who have claimed more than 800 killings in Spain over 33years, were listed as a terrorist organization.

For example, in my region, in Astrakhan, numerous national youth movements as The Astrakhan national Tatar organization «Duslik», the Astrakhan national Chechen community «the regions youth», the public region organization of Uzbeks culture «Uzbekiston», the national association of Turkic people and others carry out a lot of actions and participate in conferences, discussing the issues of the ethnical, racial, religious differences and collaborates with the legislative powers. It contains youth exchange projects – exchange of volunteers, training of youth leaders, non-formal education on democracy, peace education, and the development of civil society.

More and more necessary for life and work in the innovative society the following factors have become: communicative skills, skill to search and find necessary information, skill to respect opinion of others, a responsible approach to business and relations with other people, readiness for changes, knowledge of culture and traditions of other people, national and religious tolerance. The modern world is rapidly changing, and the young generation should be ready to these changes, should be able to react adequately.

Exposing young people to such experiences helps them become more aware of other cultures and attitudes, their own identities, skills, talents, leadership attitudes. Each national organization works closely with its local education authorities in all aspects of program development and implementation. The success of Junior Achievement – Young Enterprise programs proves that the world of education and training is becoming more and more aware of the benefits of providing pupils with opportunities to practice entrepreneurship. Such experiences enable young people to become proactive, innovating and creative participants not only in the world of work but in the society as a whole. The partnership with business and educators brings the real world to students and opens their minds to their potential. The programs give practical help to young people to respond better to their learning needs through the possibility to gain corresponding skills and abilities. With the help of these programs young people learn to turn their ideas into action and theories into practice. This enables the participants to understand better how business works, what makes it successful, and contributes to their increased motivation and awareness of the importance of lifelong learning.

How can the civil society change the systematic intolerance? It is necessary to stop the growth of the isolationist posture, of the ethic egoism which may be overcome, only by good methods of enlightenment and upbringing. We all together must persistently and constantly remind the governments about the necessity to fulfill the accepted international commitments in the field of human rights. We should constantly and insistently convince the government in our relations that neither political nor another ideas can be above of principle of the human rights supremacy. And we must by all forces and possibilities advance the idea that politicians have moral duties and carry social responsibility for the public utterances and that they are obligated to evade expressions of intolerance because their utterances to a great extent form social consciousness and are able to induce intolerance in the society. All these conclusions once again speak of the importance of the multinational, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. It is pleasant to say that such a dialogue is developing. We have an opportunity today to meet with each other face to face and to think over joint efforts that should be undertaken to stand against forces that feed the enmity and separation among people, how to stand against actions that challenge and fight all human traditional values. There are clear preconditions to begin this dialogue just today without any «tomorrow» and that it takes course in an honest atmosphere in the name of real general purpose and not of «politesse and diplomacy». The dialogue in itself is one of the principal facilities in any efforts aimed at preventing conflicts and the post-conflict peace-building. It is a method of discharging the tension, the discussions on disputes and differences and discrepancies, obviations of misunderstanding and misspelled representations, definitions of possibilities for compromises and the matching of decisions. Without intercultural and international dialogue, tension can get to a point when there may appear an environment, in which violence can appear the only method of problem solution. That’s why the dialogue between cultures, discussions apropos of views on «own strange» become one of the principal demands of modernity.

At the same time, when regional economic and cultural associations gain strength, in some countries national minorities aim at political power and require independence. The major part of conflicts in modern world is ethnical-religious conflicts, in which manifestations of nationalism and regional religious tendencies play not the last role. When solving these conflicts it is impossible to leave without attention one of the principal measurements of a person – his religion.

Extremism and terrorism have become real threats in the modern world. There are many people who want to presume upon the strongest belief of other people to begin conflicts on the inter-ethnic grounds. One of the main reasons of these conflicts in society is poor knowledge of religion of different cultures. The common values and heritage of mankind, namely family, equality, respect for all people, personal immunity and conscience and realization that power and law aren’t the same things and they can’t be absolute – all this plays an important role in the formation of assurance in the society.

Modern schools in Europe and America, Russia and Australia are far from homogeneous: children differ in languages (languages and dialects), religious and vision attitude, in geographic origin and personal history. Every pupil has the unique structure of a person carrying the print of that culture, in which he/she was grown up. And today this society isn’t reflected in the contents of children books and school books, and children know more about the exotic cultures of other countries, than about the culture of their neighbours.

In conclusion, our goal should be to make progress towards Europe and indeed a world where all young people are supported to become active citizens and where they have a real and meaningful word in decisions and actions that affect them and their community. We need to support young people «not only to think and act for themselves, but to act for others». If given the choice the vast majority of young people will participate and take some role in community and public life and in determining their future.
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