Government turns eyes to youth for raising tolerance

A draft concept for the state youth policy in the North Caucasus up to 2025 will soon be submitted to the government. The measures are mostly aimed at improving the image of the Russian republics in the Caucasus.

­The document was co-authored by the Federal Agency for Youth affairs and the Ministry for Regional Development.

“Previously, there were no program documents for youth policy at all. The aim of this concept is to systematize every aspect of youth policy,” Mikhail Markelov, who is in charge of domestic policy in the North Caucasian region, told Izvestia daily.

The concept is supposed to be implemented through several special-purpose programs on the federal and regional level. There are five priority aspects in regards to the work: “Youth Information Space”, “Career and Human Resources”, “Youth Initiative”, “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, and “Tourism and Student Exchange”.

From 2012 to 2015, to carry out these programs, the concept estimates a budget of 100 million rubles (around 3 million dollars); not a huge figure, specialists note.

“It is just 33 million rubles (approximately 1 million dollars) for the entire North Caucasus. Just to compare: the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan’s youth policy is 1 billion rubles (36 million dollars) per year,”
head of the State Duma Committee for Youth Affairs said. “The Events program should be expanded and financing should be increased.”

Over the first three-year period, the authors of the concept plan to organize at least 18 media tours for regional and federal editions of the project. The goal is to “show journalists what real life is like in the Caucasus, as well as its attractions”, the document outlines. The launching of a TV show on the Rossiaya 24 federal channel has also been suggested. It is believed that this would help to “form a pan-Caucasian information space.”

The authors point out the importance of the blogosphere, saying they want “constructive cooperation” with influential bloggers.

Other events include bike rides, a youth ball, a number of forums and festivals for high school graduates, students, young professionals, and academics. It is also planned to set up a youth business school where students are supposed to obtain “practical skills of business communication, business planning, and decision-making skills.” Another initiative is to establish a network of regional recreation clubs.

Experts note that this set of measures can indeed be effective. Firstly, raising cultural awareness about the region makes it more attractive for tourism. Secondly, the interaction of young people from different nationalities across Russia is important for improving inter-ethnic tolerance.

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