Official in charge of Olympics preparation to oversee interethnic relations

Dmitry Kozak (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)
The Russian leadership has authorized Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak to supervise state policies in the field of interethnic relations.

­Kozak is adding new responsibilities to the numerous ones he already has. Seen as one of the most efficient officials, he is responsible for the preparation for the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Kozak also oversees the state policies in the socio-economic regional development, investment and construction programs and the creation of free economic zones.

The deputy prime minister also supervises the activities of the Ministry of Regional Development which houses the department on interethnic relations.

During a meeting of the State Council late last year, President Dmitry Medvedev noted that it would be right if a deputy minister headed the Council on interethnic policy.

In the wake of the nationalistic riots at Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square on December 11 last year, the issue of creating a special ministry on nationalities was raised. Although that idea has not been realized, it still has a lot of supporters in the regions.

“Russia needs an updated conception of interethnic policy,”
chairman of the state council of the Republic of Tatarstan Farid Mukhametshin said recently. Every ethnic group has its own problems, including the protection of its language, culture and traditions, he noted.

It would be easier for the ministry on nationalities to solve these issues, he assumed. The present Ministry of Regional Development is more preoccupied with housing and utilities issues.

However, Mukhametshin supported the idea of establishing a government commission to fulfill the state interethnic policies, headed by one of the deputy prime ministers. Hopefully, the new body will be coping with these issues “on an everyday basis, not from Manezhnaya to another problem,” the politician said.