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The future is born today

The future is born today

Ilyas Umakhanov

Russia is increasingly paying attention to the development of relations with the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, in cooperation with which regions of the Russian Far East are particularly interested. Our questions are answered by the deputy chairman of the Federation Council, Ilyas Umakhanov. 

- Ilyas Magomed-Salamovich, speaking on January 11, 2012 at the first meeting of the 20th anniversary session of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Tokyo, you spoke about the need to create an international emergency response system in nuclear energy, proposing to develop common safety standards , which would become a norm of international law, binding on all states of the world. In your impressions, to what extent are the APR countries ready for such cooperation with Russia?  

- First of all I would like to note that our country is one of the recognized leaders in the field of nuclear energy. Let me remind you that the first nuclear power plant in the world has worked in the USSR. Overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe and studying its causes is, unfortunately, also our domestic experience, which we must share with everyone so that such a tragedy will not happen again.  

It should be said that the interaction between the centers of expert support of different countries after certain nuclear radiation incidents occurred before. For example, at the request of the Japanese Embassy in Moscow, the Technological Crisis Center of the Institute for the Safe Development of Atomic Energy of the Russian Academy of Sciences advised the Japanese side on special measures to protect the public during a nuclear accident at the 30 September 1999 fuel processing plant in Tokai-Mur. There were other facts of direct interaction between states, in addition to the recommendations of the IAEA experts, developed in connection with each incident. But, unfortunately, such interstate cooperation is not yet systematic.  

The creation of an international emergency response system will allow not only to establish interstate exchange of information, but also, based on the accumulated world experience, to develop measures that will quickly and effectively eliminate the consequences of possible accidents in the nuclear industry.

On the basis of the Far Eastern Federal University of Russia, the Scientific and Educational Center for Nuclear Technologies, Radiation and Technological Safety was created. The program of its activities was prepared by the leading expert organizations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as enterprises and organizations belonging to the State Corporation Rosatom, and the structures of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters. This center could become a good platform for international cooperation in the field of nuclear and radiation safety in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby initiating the creation of a unified world security system.  

The above examples and proposals found a positive response from foreign delegates, which generally indicates the interest of the APR countries in cooperation with Russia in developing uniform safety standards in the nuclear power industry and fixing them in binding international legal norms. In this regard, it is appropriate to recall that one of the points adopted at the 20th session of the APPF Resolution No. PPF20 / RES / 8 "On Nuclear Safety", in particular, states: “The 20th annual session of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum ... urges parliaments Member States to improve national legislation and international law aimed at increasing the level of responsibility of states and organizations operating nuclear power plants, the promptness and quality of information provided on a nuclear accident, as well as to improve legislative acts governing the construction of nuclear power plants. "  

This formulation, in essence, expresses the meaning of the proposals made by us. 
However, it should not be forgotten that, despite the fundamental agreement of approaches to the safety of nuclear energy, in many countries of the Asia-Pacific region there are various factors influencing specific decisions, including governmental ones, which are caused by fierce competition in the international market of construction and operation of nuclear facilities. energy. 
Overcoming this kind of consideration for the interests of our own or partner corporations, reaching direct and concrete cooperation in solving the problems of nuclear safety that are vital for everyone without exception - this is our task today and for the near future. It must be said directly that it will take a lot of effort to solve it. And we are ready for this.  

- You are a member of the board of the Integration Club recently created under the chairman of the Federation Council, which is designed to analyze the prospects for Eurasian integration and help replenish its ideological baggage. Today, the Eurasian project is being implemented in the format of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space of the three countries - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. At the same time, it is obvious that in the successfully launched project of such a “caliber” there is inevitably a great potential for ideological self-development. In what directions, in your opinion, will it occur?  

- Indeed, 24 in November 2011 of the year in the Council of Federation on the initiative of Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko and under its chairmanship a round table was held, the participants of which discussed the accelerating process of mutual integration of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Much attention was paid to the creation of the Common Economic Space, which began operating on 1 on January 2012 on the basis of the Customs Union, and the launch on this basis of a new integration project, taking into account the Declaration on Eurasian Economic Integration signed by the presidents of the three states 18 on November 2011. During the meeting, a proposal was made to create an Integration Club within the Council of Federation. The primary tasks of the club should be to study the state and prospects of Eurasian integration within the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, prepare proposals for improving the legislative and international regulatory framework for cooperation in the Eurasian space, and develop new approaches to deepening integration. 
An additional ideological impetus to the work of our club was given by the article by V.V. Putin "New integration project for Eurasia - the future that is being born today", published on January 1 in Izvestia. In it, in the development of the economic perspective of the task, a significant place is given to the project of creating the Eurasian Union - "a powerful supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles of the modern world <...> along with other key players and regional structures such as the EU, USA, China, APEC, ensure the sustainability of global development ”.  

I am convinced that, by virtue of its historical scale, the idea of ​​creating a Eurasian Union contains, along with the directions marked “in the first presentation”, many other “points of ideological growth” that will start to develop and bear fruit in the near future. I will try to predict some of them.  

Probably everyone remembers the feeling of being lost that we experienced twenty years ago at the time of the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Understanding the logic of the then disintegration process with the mind, many of us were painfully worried about the loss of the country in which we were born and grew up. Speaking in scientific language, at that moment, with all its tough (if not cruel) necessity, we faced the problem of finding a new national identity. The problem is equally difficult for residents of all former Soviet republics, which was to be solved separately. Unfortunately, the CIS formula found at that time, with all its merits, did not help in finding a satisfactory answer to the question: “Who are we now?” I think that the acuteness of this issue to a certain extent contributed to the growth of nationalist sentiments and inter-ethnic tensions that arose here and there for two decades in the space of the former USSR. People who were accustomed to greater community, who were previously aware of their belonging to a larger space, after the losses suffered, tried to “find themselves” in a narrower local circle of self-identification, often electing an ethnic or confessional community, or one region or another.  

It seems to me that the process of building a supranational education, begun, as V.V. emphasized in his article. Putin, “on a new value, political, economic basis”, will contribute to the acquisition of a new identity much more efficiently than it has done so far - in each individual country that has chosen the course to join the Eurasian Union.  

Another prospect of the Eurasian Union, along with the “effective link between Europe and the dynamic Asian-Pacific region” noted by our president, could, in my opinion, become a similar role facing the region south of Russia - including not only Turkey, the Transcaucasus and Iran, but the neighboring Middle East, on the one hand, and Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, on the other. I suppose there is no need to specifically explain that such a geopolitical context is not contrived: it has more than convincing historical grounds, it logically follows from the intended purpose of creating the Eurasian Union as "one of the poles of the modern world."  

In this sense, it would not be a great exaggeration to say that the function of an “effective bundle” facing both east and south is quite consonant with the emergence of an integrative identity within the supranational Eurasian space overcoming nationalism and other fragmentation tendencies - just like the creation and development of the European Union largely overcame similar phenomena in post-war Europe.  

- As a representative in the Council of the Federation of the multinational Republic of Dagestan, I would like to ask you a question about the construction of a common Eurasian home in the context of the problem of European multiculturalism. How can people of different nationalities and religious views be integrated into a single Eurasian economic and cultural space for a joint, non-conflict existence?  

- I want to immediately note that the context of the problem of European multiculturalism mentioned by you is not completely identical to the Russian one. And the key difference lies in the historical age of the multicultural community - in Western Europe, on the one hand, and in our country - on the other. For example, the experience of coexistence of Christians and Muslims in Russia is measured in centuries, while, say, in Germany, where the crisis of multiculturalism is one of the most noticeable, this experience was gained only during the post-war decades.  

Therefore, speaking of the immediate prospects of Eurasian integration, we understand that we are talking about member countries that have recently been part of a single state that for centuries formed a common cultural space, not to mention a single national economy. This historical experience gives us additional grounds for optimism regarding the future of the Eurasian Union. In addition, as described in the article by V.V. Putin’s experience in building the EU will help us to avoid the mistakes made by Western European countries. It seems to me that this kind of exchange of experience strengthens a broader and promising context, which is also noted in the article of the Russian president: “The Eurasian Union will be built on universal integration principles as an integral part of Greater Europe”.  

And if you mentioned my native republic in your question, I am convinced that the experience of Dagestan, where the largest number of indigenous peoples live among all the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, contains a lot that will help you choose the right directions in the implementation of multiculturalism throughout Eurasian space.  

- The Council of Federation has repeatedly discussed issues of interaction between Russia and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, since such cooperation has great potential and demonstrates high growth rates. This topic is particularly relevant in the context of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok in September 2012. In your opinion, what additional steps should Russia and the subjects of the Federation take in order for this cooperation to develop successfully, including at the regional level?  

- To begin with, I remind you: Russia is a Pacific country with a lot of "experience". Suffice it to say that the first Russian port on the Pacific coast, Okhotsk, was founded in 1648, that is, more than half a century before the appearance of a “window to Europe” on the Baltic coast. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway that struck the world at the pace and quality at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries introduced dramatic changes in the potential of Eurasian integration, the nature and intensity of interaction between Europe and the region of the world, which today is commonly referred to as the Asia-Pacific Region. Unfortunately, in the presence of Russia at its Far Eastern frontiers over the past century, for several reasons, "military accent" prevailed, which could not but affect other components of the region's development: general economic, energy, infrastructure, personnel, demographic. In order to adequately represent our country in the community of the APR states, the Russian Far East needs an intensive policy aimed at leveling a number of important indicators. It is not by chance that a separate ministry has been formed within the structure of the new government, designed to deal exclusively with issues of the Far Eastern region.  

Speaking of the demographic problem of the Russian Far Eastern territories, it is impossible not to mention that only in the five provinces of China bordering on us live about half a billion people, while on our side the population is only a few million. Needless to say, such a disproportion makes full-blooded mutually beneficial cooperation difficult. It must be said that this problem is not new: as early as the second half of the XIX century, the Russian state began to pursue a targeted migration policy, which aimed to correct the demographic asymmetry across the border in the Far East. To some extent, that experience can be applied today: those from the regions where there is an excess of labor, could well share it with the Far Eastern territories. I think such a program could be financed not only from the federal budget, but also from the budgets of those constituent entities of the Russian Federation who are interested in balancing labor resources on their territory. 
Of course, in addition to the population, the key role is played by its “quality”, in other words, the qualifications of the workers who determine the innovative component of the development of the region. In Soviet times, a number of important steps were taken in this direction: the Far Eastern Center of the Academy of Sciences was created, a number of large educational centers appeared in the eastern part of the country. Not to lose what was achieved then and continue this direction is the task of today. Cooperation with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region can serve as a great help, since there are such powerful potential investors and partners as the United States, China, and Japan among our closest neighbors in the Pacific region who are strategically interested in the development of our eastern regions.  

And here, in addition to large-scale interstate cooperation, contacts can play a significant role in the format of interaction between “administrative lands” - border Russian regions and regions, on our part, and states, provinces and prefectures, on the part of our neighbors. According to experts, the combined contribution to the mutually beneficial cooperation of such local, interregional contacts can be quite noticeable. I am convinced that in this direction there will be a great and fruitful work, the center of gravity of which will fall on the regional power link, both executive and legislative, designed to provide the best conditions for cross-border cooperation.      

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