Russian Prime Minister approves support program for Arctic indigenous peoples
© RIA Novosti. Sergey Rusanov

Russian Prime Minister approves support program for Arctic indigenous peoples

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has approved a government program to support traditional economic activity of small indigenous ethnic groups in the Arctic. Support will come in the form of wider internet access and promotion of local trades and their products on the Russian and international markets.

“This program aims to contribute to the indigenous groups’ welfare, reduce unemployment, increase the amount of traditional products and improve the appeal of the Arctic as a tourist destination,” the press service of the cabinet of ministers reported.

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic is expected to deliver a step-by-step plan of action within the next three months.

The program is divided into six main areas of focus, the first being infrastructure upgrade. More specifically, it includes providing small indigenous groups with reliable mobile communications and internet access, supporting the development of their arts and crafts, as well as subsidizing meat and fish processing equipment.

Another area where support is necessary is promoting products of traditional economic activity on the Russian and international markets. “Small indigenous groups will get assistance with marketing and trade fairs. Certification, licensing and logistics training will be provided. The government plans to partially compensate export costs,” the cabinet of ministers added.

A center for traditional entrepreneurship will be established to consult people on starting a business, support investment projects, discover and support initiatives with potential.

The program will also include measures to develop tourism in the areas where small indigenous communities live. Among other measures, subsidies will be provided to cover the costs of new facilities and improve the quality of services.

The program approved by the government also covers improvements in education. A federal education standard will be developed for specialists in northern economic activity. Students from indigenous groups who study traditional economies will receive additional scholarships.

Other measures include monitoring the quality of teaching the native languages of the small indigenous groups, improving teacher training and attracting young professionals to traditional economic activities through housing subsidies.