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THE PEARL OF REVITALIZED SIBERIA. TOP PRIORITIES OF THE KHANTY-MANSIYSK AUTONOMOUS OKRUG

Among a wide variety of Russian regions the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra is a unique territory that combines natural, socio-economic and demographic phenomena. After the silver Urals lies vast Siberia that is still mysterious and attractive for the neighboring countries of Europe and Asia. Exploitation of mineral resources in harsh conditions of Siberian taiga made the Okrug economically self — sufficient donor - region where half of Russian or 7% of the world's oil is produced. The names of the Okrug's biggest cities such as Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk,  Nefteyugansk sound symbolic for the E&P sector of the country. However, the exploitation of the earth's resources, transport and infrastructure development impose more and more responsibility for the ecological security and the preservation of biological diversity of the region where even permafrost becomes fragile facing commercial exploitation. The safety of plant formation and the purity of waters with a lot of fruit and berry, fur animals, fish and birds' species in pine forests, rivers and lakes are becoming increasingly important.

         The living conditions of both the oil production staff, whose work is really heroic and the indigenous small ethnic communities who, in effect, host the industrial civilization are determined by the nature of the Siberian region. The very name of the Okrug administrative center Khanty-Mansiysk shows that there are actually two  honorable indigenous peoples i.e. Khanty and Mansi inhabiting this territory. Although they represent only 2% of the Okrug's population, these peoples are an inherent part of the conglomerate of the world's indigenous peoples that comprises  350 million people living in more than 70 countries and speaking 5000 languages. Today there is a growing recognition of invaluable role of indigenous people in the continuity of nature and a human-being. Moreover, their culture provides the link between traditional and modern lifestyles. As a source of the alternative viewpoint they balance the anthropogenic era of humanity and preserve its original and natural existence. Relying on natural resources they know how to preserve them for the generations to come. It helps preserve biodiversity of the planet. On the other hand, it does not mean that such peoples should be deprived of  benefits of civilization and advantages of the Information Age.  They should not be endangered by risks of globalization,  global climate change and other negative factors.

         This is true to Khanty and Mansi people, who traditionally represent half-nomad hunters and fishers, they also master reindeer breeding, harvesting and many others unique crafts that provide their living, everyday and spiritual culture.

         We are confident that today's Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra is one of the leading Russian regions as for both the level of the socio-economic development of small indigenous people and statutory regulation of their development. The fundamental guarantees of small indigenous people's rights are enshrined in the Charter (Basic law) of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug. In order to provide their living, more than 50 regulatory acts including more than 10 special laws on the indigenous small-numbered people of the North were adopted. Besides, the Concept of sustainable development of the indigenous small-numbered people of the North of  the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra in 2011 — 2014 as well as its road map were adopted. On the initiative of the Governor the traditional holiday of the indigenous people of the Autonomous Okrug “Voroniy den'” (“the Crow Day”) - the second Saturday of April - was granted a status of the Okrug's holiday.

         The region's budget provides for support Khanty and Mansi in conformity with the Okrug's programs, additional resources are allocated from federal budget. Cultural establishments, the system of additional education and individual craftmen of applied art, folklore and national rituals are supported as well.

         In general, “The Socio — Economic Development of the Indigenous Small-Numbered People of the North of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra for 2014 — 2020” programme is being implemented, approved by the decision of the Okrug's government of October 3, 2013 #398-p (hereinafter referred to as the State Programme).

         The State Programme is elaborated in accordance with the “The Strategy for the Socio-Economic Development of the Okrug until 2020 and through to 2030”, “The National Policy Strategy through to 2025” and “The Concept of Sustainable Development of the Indigenous Small-Numbered People of the North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation.”

         The State Programme is aimed to create favorable conditions for sustainable socio-economic and cultural development of the indigenous small-numbered people on the basis of the rational environmental management, the strengthening of socio-economic potential, the preservation of the native habitat, traditional culture and life, the improvement of the national supporting system.

         The total amount of the funds intended to realize the State Programme from 2014 to 2020 equals to 700 million rubles, with annual financing level of about 100 million rubles.

         The major finance of measures aimed to support the indigenous small-numbered people of the North will be accomplished through “The Housing Improvement of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra Population” program. In its framework 2408 families managed to improve their housing conditions over 9 years from 2005 to 2013. The Autonomous Okrug has spent more than 4 billion rubles to implement this programme. Besides, a big amount of finance and additional measures of state support are aimed at the educational sphere, social protection, health services, physical culture, employment of population and others.

         The Okrug's government has spent 6147,5 millon rubles through special-purpose programmes in order to preserve traditional lifestyle, develop traditional economic activity, crafts, social welfare for the disadvantaged indigenous people and housing in 2005-2013.

         Much attention is paid to the spiritual and cultural life of the indigenous people. There is an annual contest of the projects aimed at the preservation, development and promotion of their folklore, traditions, languages, crafts and traditional economic activity. The winners are provided with the grants. Okrug's budgetary institutions such as Ethnographic open-air museum “Torum Maa” and the Theater of the Ob Ugric peoples “Sun” were created. Besides, some newspapers are published in Khanty and Mansi languages and sent into the libraries of small national villages, schools and nomads camps.

         The Okrug NGOs of the small-numbered indigenous people such as “Ugra Salvation”,  “The Union of reindeer herders”,  “The Union of Masters of traditional crafts of the indigenous peoples' Sorni Esh”,  “The Youth organization of the Ob-Ugric peoples”,  “The Union of indigenous communities”,  “The Council of Elders of the indigenous people” were established and have influence on the whole region's civil society. Their representation in state authorities (the Assembly of Representatives of Indigenous Peoples of the North in the Duma of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug — Ugra) is ensured.

         Today the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra largely determines the sustainable development of the whole country's economy, providing a significant part of the consolidated budget by its oil revenues. Given that most license areas are partially or completely located in homelands of the indigenous people of the North, it is important to regulate their relations with the oil producers in conformity with the principles of the Second Decade of the World's Indigenous People:  “Partnership for action and dignity.”

         In the Okrug's territory there are 475 traditional nature management territories of regional significance, with the total area of about 13 million hectares. According to Ugra law it is mandatory to:

 

1) agree with the indigenous people the locations of production facilities;

 2) compensate indigenous people for restrictions of use and damage to the places of their homelands from industrial activities of organizations of all forms of ownership.

          For this purpose the oil production companies and the representatives of the indigenous people develop comprehensive contracts and agreements on the use of land within the boundaries of the traditional nature management territories. The structure of such agreements is approved and is controlled by the Okrug's government and is regulated by legal instruments. As a rule, in accordance with the concluded agreements, the oil production companies provide each family on the territory of which the industrial activity is carried out with supplies, fuels and lubricants, monetary compensation. In addition, the agreement makes provision for tuition and living costs of students of the indigenous people in educational institutions, for treatment and training, for employment in the structural units of oil production companies as well as transport services and the acquisition or construction of housing.

          In 2013, the families of indigenous people and the oil production companies concluded 741 economic agreements, which involved 3173 people in 274 territories; the total amount of compensation under the agreements amounted to 1.5 billion rubles from 2008 to 2013.

         The new direction of the Autonomous Okrug's government activity includes the development of ethno-tourism, the involvement of indigenous people in recreational activities, the modernization of traditional forms of economic management. We hope to see its more active involvement in the economy of modern Ugra, while respecting the identity of the people of the North.

         The implementation of state policy in the Autonomous Okrug over the past two decades have led to significant results. They include the establishment of a comprehensive legal framework that guarantees the rights of these peoples, the growth of population and the decline in infant mortality. Not less important is the reduction of unemployment, the growing interest of the indigenous people in traditional economic activities. There is also such criterion as the growth in number of communities associated with it.

         It is especially valuable that much of the support and the development of local indigenous people is carried out in close cooperation with humanitarian, cultural and educational projects of UNESCO. The organization that embodies the world cultural and intellectual potential has become an indispensable partner and a friend of Ugra.