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Category: History

Problems of implementation of regional national policy during reorganization (1985-1991) in Lower Volga area

o. V. Pitsenko


Work is presented by department of history of Russia of the Astrakhan state university

The events which were taking place in 80-90-egg .HHv. in the USSR, led the krostumezhnatsionalny conflicts in federal republics, to huge number of refugees and displaced persons to the region of Lower Volga area. Unregulated migration led to violation of balance in the developed interethnic relations. From the authorities the serious judgment of the situation, development of the concrete practical measures directed to regulation of the international and interfaith relations was required.

O. Pitsenko


The events that took place in the 1980-1990 in the USSR resulted in a growth of international conflicts in the republics of the Union and a huge number of refugees and people resettled to the Lower Volga region. Unregulated migration led to the balance destruction in the existing international relationships. The government had to conceive the situation seriously and to work out some concrete practical measures aimed at regulation of international and interdenominational relationships.

Reorganization - the event which radically changed not only our country, but also the world. The turn was made not only in domestic, but also in world history. In the first years of reorganization the real contradictions in the international sphere which promptly developed into a global ethno-political crisis and brought down after all, the multinational Soviet state were found. Events of 1985-1991 sharply found those latent political processes which it is reserved developed almost in all republics, in lives of many people. Their result became: the collapse of the USSR, creation of the independent states and sharp aggravation of relationship between the nations.

The state national policy of the USSR during the perestroika years which caused growth of nationalist sentiments in the republics

especially at the level of autonomies, became an important factor of the collapse of the USSR, emergence of the new states on the world map. Geopolitical and psychological consequences of the collapse of the USSR, social and economic and political difficulties of a transition period designated a number of crisis situations and complex problems in the field of the international relations in the territory of the former Soviet Union.

Most sharply they were shown in the regions adjoining to zones of the open conflicts in places of concentration of refugees and displaced persons, in territories with a difficult social and economic, ecological and criminogenic situation, in places where the sharp lack of resources of life support was felt.

Destruction of uniform economic and political space of the USSR changed

a geopolitical position of Russia, many regions internal before became border territories. The region of Lower Volga area also belongs to such territories. The changes which happened in the mid-eighties - the beginning of the 90th. of the 20th century in the territory of the former Soviet Union, caused profound changes not only in life of Russia in general, but also in this region.

In the course of centuries-old cohabitation and interaction in the territory of Lower Volga area of representatives of many people there were strong traditions of neighborliness, mutual understanding and respect, international dialogue and toleration. The unique civilization image of Lower Volga area was historically formed under the influence of world religions, pagan beliefs and ethnocultural influences of various people.

However, polyethnicity of the region was never the reason of tension in international relationship, and, on the contrary, promoted creation of the general material and cultural wealth, mutual enrichment of cultures.

"The Volga region is an attractive zone for migrations" [2, page 4], with disorder of the Union and sovereignization of the republics the wide flow of refugees and displaced persons went to the region. Lower Volga area became one of the main regions on number of the accepted migrants.

One of the directions in the solution of national problems which demanded close attention of authorities of the region was connected with questions of arrangement and placement of the increasing flow of refugees and displaced persons. The increasing flow of migrants fell upon the unprepared soil as at that time in the region there was no public migration policy, social policy for support and for improvement of the arrived population. In many cases the region was the transit point for advance in the country, to its central regions.

Result of unreasoned policy in this question, disorder in social

the plan of the arrived population there could be, on the one hand, interethnic conflicts, and with another - formation of criminal groups on national sign, illegal drug traffic and weapon.

It is essentially important to note that Lower Volga area can serve as an example of how in difficult social and economic and political conditions the management of the region is frictionless solved a problem of resettlement of refugees, displaced persons. In this situation there was a difficult task of preservation of international cooperation and the unique culture of the region. From authorities the development of the concrete practical measures directed to regulation of the international relations, achievement of interethnic concord with the purpose of satisfaction economic social, ecological, national cultural requirements of the people inhabiting the region and newcomers, creating favorable conditions for preservation and development of language, cultural and religious identity of the people of Lower Volga area was required.

The population census of 1989 testifies to the multinational structure of the population of the Lower Volga region: representatives more than 113 nationalities lived in the Volgograd region; in the Saratov region - more than 111 nationalities; in Astrakhan - more than 105 nationalities; in the Republic of Kalmykia - more than 90 nationalities [3].

The largest streams of migration from regions of the North Caucasus and the republics of Transcaucasia led to a regrouping of historically developed structure of the population.

As the objective reasons of large-scale migration from the Caucasian regions to Lower Volga area it is possible to allocate the following:

1) crisis of the industry in the North Caucasus which led to reduction in production, release of labor, migration to other regions;
2) the reduction of agricultural production which worsened food supply of the population and also promoting release of labor;
3) the concentration of the population in the central and capital cities of the Caucasian regions which aggravated a complex of social problems, including problems of employment and providing with material benefits, intensifying growth of marginal groups of urban population and aggravated a criminogenic situation;
4) the development of the international conflicts which had the investigation population shift to safe regions;
5) protectionist measures of administrations of the Rostov region, the Krasnodar and Stavropol regions which limited transit through the territory from the Caucasian zones and entrance on the constant settlement which took protectionist measures in the sphere of business and also purchase and sale of property, cultural development and education promoted strengthening of scales of migration to Lower Volga area as the safe region with higher standard of living, a possibility of the favorable room of the capital in the sphere of business and presence of historically living corresponding national groups which are engaged in crafts, primordial for immigrants.

During the post-Perestroika period in Lower Volga area, as well as in Russia in general, growth of national consciousness of citizens became more active that, in turn, caused updating of their ethnocultural requirements (on maintaining originality, development of language, education, national culture, traditions and customs). The interest of nationalities to each other which is expressed in aspiration to dialogue of representatives of various nationalities, to participation in various actions organized by national and cultural associations began to be observed. Existence of places of compact accommodation of representatives of certain national communities created necessary conditions for functioning of steady structures of national public associations.

One of ways of realization of interests of national policy in the region is close cooperation of administration with national and cultural, religious societies.

Problems of revival of customs and traditions of the people living in the region, learning the native language, satisfaction of national and cultural needs of the population are the cornerstone of activity of the national and cultural organizations.

The first public organizations appeared in the Lower Volga region approximately in the late eighties of the 20th century. Creation of societies of national cultures was result of interaction of the following factors: own initiative of the population and its separate groups, vigorous activity of public authorities and an example of other territories where those associations arose earlier. All this work was considered in the general course of process of reorganization and democratization in the country. For the Lower Volga region with its traditionally multinational structure of the population and, in general, friendly style of communication of its different groups experience of such societies was acceptable and interesting.

National problems in general including problems of national cultural societies, began a thicket to be lit in regional mass media. So, in publication of administration of the Astrakhan region "Astrakhan sheets" since 1991 the special constant heading "News from the Center of National Cultures and Department of National Policy" was entered.

Since the end of the 1990th weekly telecasts in Turkic languages began to appear constantly: on Tatar - "Tougan of bodies" ("Native language"), on Kazakh - Zholdastyk, on Nogai - Tulpar (fantastic winged horse). Separate telecasts appeared as well about other national and cultural societies.

Practice of joint activity of authorities and the management of societies included holding such mass actions as the holiday "Sabantuy", Days of the Nogai, Tatar, Kazakh cultures, etc.

Considerably the number of the school students learning the native language including optionally and in circles increased. The number of national amateur art collectives and individual performers grew. Were organized a tour -

ny performances of theaters and concert crews taking into account multinational specifics of area. The subscription for periodicals, sale of literature and library service in the Kazakh, Tatar and Kalmyk languages was carried out.

Lower Volga area from time immemorial differed in variety of beliefs and the favorable interfaith atmosphere which was traditionally supported at the time of the monarchy.

It is characteristic that almost all societies provided a possibility of contacts with the corresponding religious communities "as keeping influence on people" (from the Charter of the Tatar society). In structure of management on work with associations of citizens the department of communications with the religious organizations was created. An important role in interfaith dialogue was played by representatives of two most numerous confessions of Lower Volga area: Russian Orthodox Church and Spiritual Administration of Muslims (muftiate).

According to the Russian legislation Orthodoxy is not the state or obligatory religion. For this reason negatively the announcement day off on January 7 was apprehended by other faiths (Christmas) [1, page 35]. Only in the Astrakhan region 10 faiths worked, at most of them the religious holidays do not coincide therefore this decision could cause international tension. However it should be noted with satisfaction that in the region there were no significant religious conflicts and followers of Islam had an opportunity to train children in bases of the belief and to get a spiritual education.

The religious situation in the Astrakhan region at the beginning of the 90th of the 20th century was characterized by the following signs: first of all sharp activization of religious life took place from all faith that was promoted by last anniversary celebrations of Russian Orthodox Church, Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the European part of the USSR and Siberia, adoption of law of the USSR "About freedom of conscience and the religious organizations" and the Law of RSFSR "About Freedom of Religions" [1, page 5].

Activization of religious life was promoted by exchange of religious delegations with foreign churches and also expansion of interchurch communications within the country. So, since the end of the 80th of the 20th century the Christians of belief evangelical established strong connection with the missionary center of ARHE church of Hamburg (Germany), the Jewish community - with Israel; evangelical Baptist Christians cooperate with churches of the neighboring regions, Russian Orthodox Church - with some members of the Sacred Synod who visited Astrakhan and held church services.

In the late eighties of the 20th century in Privolzhsky district of the Astrakhan region worked 4 mosques, in Leninsk, the Krasnoyarsk, Narimanovsky districts - 3 "holy sites", the high level of commission of religious practices was noted (in 1985 2870 all types of religious practices) [1, are made by page 11].

In 1990 23 religious organizations of all faiths were registered, including: Russian Orthodox Church - the 15th Moslem doctrine -6

Buddhists -1

Molokans -1

The end of the 1980th in Russia was noted by the celebration of two anniversaries: orthodox and Muslim, shown revival in our country of religious life. In 1988 the 1000 anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus' was widely celebrated. The Saratov Muslims sent in this regard a congratulation to the managing director of the Saratov diocese of Russian Orthodox Church archbishop Pimen. In the following, 1989 the archbishop Pimen congratulated the Saratov Muslims on the 1100 anniversary of adoption of Islam by the people of the Volga region. Since then in Saratov the custom of Orthodox Christians and Muslims remains to congratulate each other on the largest religious holidays.

In 1989 the 1100 anniversary of adoption of Islam by the people of the Volga region was celebrated. In the region there took place solemn meetings and meetings. In Saratov the Muslim literature began to leave. At first it were single annexes to various local editions. And in April, 1991. "The Muslim messenger" was registered by the Soyuzpechat agency.

This newspaper became the first independent printing edition of Muslims of new Russia. In January, 1991 on the basis of the Muslim communities of the Saratov region he was educated Saratov mukhtasibat the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the European part of Russia and Siberia which head was Mukaddas Bibarsov. This organization closely cooperated with the Islamic Party of Revival (IPR) created at a congress in Astrakhan in June, 1990. The physician Akhmedkadi Akhtayev, and the ideologist - the philosopher Heydar Dzhe-mal [4, page 16] was the founder of IPV. Preservation of the USSR, cooperation with the Islamic world and opposition to the degenerating West was their slogans. The Muslim channel "To Allah Akbar" began to operate on the Saratov teleradio center. Once a month telecasts, two times - broadcasts aired. Transfers had two directions: information and educational. They told about Islam history, about traditions and customs of Muslims, covered the important events which are taking place in the Lower Volga region. On air there were morality lessons. Reading and interpretation of the Quran, Islam lessons, Hadiths by the prophet Muhammad, holidays was the main subjects of broadcasts of the Muslim channel.

The Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Volga Region (SAMVR) annually held congresses of Muslim female, Muslim youth, festivals of cultures of the Muslim people. Representatives of the highest echelons of local government, traditional faiths and public organizations, guests from other regions and from abroad always participated in these actions. The main Muslim holidays - Eid al-Adha and the Eid al-Fitr - were widely lit in media, including - on television.

According to DUMP, from 200 thousand migrants who arrived in the Saratov region in the 1990th, the third part was made by Muslims [4, page 46].

DUMP approved a position of the regional authorities which were not interfering emigration (as was in some regions), and considered it necessary to help all immigrants regardless of their nationality.

The national public organizations of the people which are traditionally practising Islam formed in the area developed communications from THOUGHTS. Heads of societies entered an asset of the mosque, and imams participated in meetings and holidays of national societies.

Analyzing the international relations in Lower Volga area in 1985-1991 it is possible to note that in general they developed steadily: there were no open forms of manifestation of ethnic contradictions and the conflicts, the leaders of areas created conditions for equal and full development of the nations.

Tension of the international relations in the territory of Lower Volga area during transformation of the Russian society was caused, generally by a consequence of influence of external factors - events in the republics of the USSR and in the independent states which arose after its disintegration.

It is important to emphasize that the international relations in the region were very resistant to social and economic and political changes of Russia. The national problems shown during transformation: uncontrollable migration flows of refugees and displaced persons, growth of national consciousness of indigenous people of area and revaluation of the importance of an ethnic factor in a socio-political system, dissociation and social and economic and demographic crisis of the Russian ethnos, need of a solution of the problem of Germans of the Volga region - nevertheless did not cause open international crisis and manifestations of international tension and the conflicts in the region.


1. Astrakhan archive of modern documentation. T. 325. Lake 120. 10.
2. Sepulchral S.I. Epistemological bases of ethnosocial researches//Ethnosocial situation in the Saratov Volga region and problems of management. Saratov: RAGS, 1996. Part 1. 56 pages
3. Working archive of Goskomstat of Russia. Table 9c. Distribution of the population on nationality and the native language.
4. V.V. Semyonov. Islam in the Saratov region. M.: Lagos, 2007. 120 pages
Franz Fritz
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