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    MOSCOW, March 1, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- Sergey Kharyuchy, president of the Association of indigenous peoples of the Extreme North, Siberia and Far East, believes that the Russian Federation should pursue a more consistent nationalities policy, especially in regard to ethnic minorities in the Extreme North. He made a relevant statement at the third congress of the Assembly of Russia's peoples held in Moscow.

    In his opinion, measures being taken by the government in accordance with a programme for support to the indigenous peoples of the Extreme North are absolutely formal.

    "The life span in the Extreme North has diminished and is now 20 years less than in Russia on the average and 30 years less than in Europe," said Kharyuchy.

    "Disease No.1 among the indigenous peoples in the Extreme North is still TB, as well as cardio-vascular ailments," said Kharyuchy.

    He sees the main reason for this in upsetting the habitat and the nutrition system plus the shortage of drugs and the ruined social infrastructure with a widespread closure of schools and kindergartens.

    The Association president mentioned also the ongoing re-targeting of the social policy, which gives him hopes on positive shifts in the destiny of peoples in the Extreme North.

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