Russia: Ministry in charge of indigenous affairs to be dissolved
According Russian media reports, President Putin has accepted a proposal by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to dissolve the Federal Ministry of Regional Development. Among others, the Minregion, as it is commonly known, is in charge of affairs of indigenous peoples and other non-Russian ethnic groups.
The decree signed by president Putin on 8 September stipulates, that these competences will be moved over to the Ministry of Culture. Indigenous peoples commenting the news in social networks expressed their outrage, noting that this indicates that henceforth indigenous affairs will be reduced to sponsorship for "singing and dancing", whereas rights, land and development would be off the table.
This concern is aggravated by the fact, that Arctic affairs will be handed over to the Ministry of Economic Development, indicating a renewed emphasis on industrial exploitation of Arctic resources, without consideration for the inherent rights of the region's indigenous inhabitant.
Indigenous representatives have long denounced the inefficiency of the Ministry of Regional Development. They have been advocating the creation of a dedicated goverment body fully mandated to address indigenous affairs with indigenous peoples' full and effective participation. The Kremlin's latest measure is a step in the opposite direction.