Photo: Golovin Georgiy/GeoPhoto.ru
Applying for Indigenous Benefits Becomes Easier
Members of Russia’s indigenous peoples will have better access to their rights. Effective from 7 February, they are no longer required to collect document packages to prove their ethnic identity when applying for benefits they are entitled to under law. From now on, the status of an applicant shall be confirmed automatically through an interagency communication system, provided that the data pertaining to his or her ethnicity have been submitted to a special integrated registry operated by the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs. Such data and relevant documents may be submitted via citizen service centers.
All public bodies and offices concerned with indigenous affairs shall use the registry data to ensure the exercise of social and economic rights by members of indigenous communities. However, to this end, authorities will have to introduce new administrative procedures.
In fact, Russian nationals of indigenous descent are not required to submit the mentioned documents to the registry; however, if they choose not to, they will have to present such documents by themselves when applying for their minority benefits and preferences on any separate occasion.
This development is of great importance to the indigenous people of the Arctic. For years, long distances from administrative centers and the lack of access to regular communication services have been preventing members of indigenous communities from fully enjoying their rights. Digitization and integration of their personal data within a unified database will make the interaction between administrative bodies and native residents of the Arctic region much easier and faster.
Arctic Today is a column by PORA CEO Alexander Stotskiy analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.