05:51 GMT +3 hours26 November 2014
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Putin Warns Against Ignoring Nationalism

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday any negative tendency in inter-ethnic relations should be dealt with promptly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday any negative tendency in inter-ethnic relations should be dealt with promptly.

 

“We have no right to ignore any negative tendencies that appear in this sphere, and we must understand that such conflicts cannot only undermine our statehood, but also shatter its foundations,” Putin said at the first session of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations.

 

He said that regional nationalist groups that became active in Russia in recent years “provoke separatist and divisive tendencies in our country.”

 

He blamed the recent violent ethnic clashes, such as in Kondopoga on the Finnish border and on the Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, on inaction by law-enforcers and irresponsibility by local officials.

 

Kondopoga experienced a wave of racial violence, including mass brawls and arson attacks, in early September 2006 after two local residents were killed and five others injured in a restaurant brawl with ethnic Chechens on August 30. The incident sparked racially motivated violence in the community, and a wave of nationalist protests elsewhere in the country.

 

The Russian capital saw its biggest public disturbances for almost a decade in 2010 when a 5,000-strong crowd of nationalists and football hooligans clashed with police, following the death of Spartak Moscow supporter Yegor Sviridov, who was killed in a brawl between football fans and North Caucasus migrants.

 

“Corruption, bias by state officials, their inability to serve justice, and defend people’s rights fuel ethnic tensions, while some benefit from turning citizen’s indignation over a certain case of injustice into an ethnic conflict,” the Russian president said.

 

He added that most conflicts originate at a local level and “this is exactly when they should and must be efficiently solved.”

 

“A timely and adequate response and prevention is even better,” Putin added.

 

The Russian president said that he would instruct his special envoys to federal districts to pay “utmost attention” to ethnic issues.

 

He also said that Russia should modernize its migration services and create a network of state-run adaptation courses for labor migrants and their children.

 

“To take advantage of positive potential that migration processes carry… the whole system of managing them should be modernized,” Putin said.

 

“However, migrants should respect Russian laws and migration rules, and treat with respect our traditions, culture and behavior rules of the regions where they reside. Only mutual respect will lead to harmony instead of isolated ethnic groups,” he added.