Denis Sangi. Degradation of federal law “On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation”

At the outset, it should be noted that there are two key rights for indigenous peoples around the world. This is the right to ownership of ancestral lands and territories, and the right to self-government and independent decision-making about their own development. The significance of these rights is reflected in international normative documents.

On April 16, 1999, the Russian parliament adopted the federal law “On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation”. Its name fully reflects the importance of this law. The Russian Federation recognizes that indigenous peoples have special rights and guarantees their observance.

I found the original version of this document, and tracked all the changes made since its adoption. In this article, I will highlight the most significant of these changes with my own comments.

I. The first edition of the law contained Article 4 as follows:

Article 4. Ensuring the rights of small peoples to socio-economic and cultural development

The state authorities of the Russian Federation, state authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and local self-government bodies, in accordance with federal legislation and the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, ensure the rights of indigenous peoples to a distinctive socio-economic and cultural development, protection of their original habitat, traditional way of life and management.

Organizations of all forms of ownership, public associations and individuals have the right to assist small peoples in the exercise of their rights to original socio-economic and cultural development in the manner determined by federal legislation and the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

This article is aimed at realizing one of the key rights of indigenous peoples – the right to self-government and independent decision-making about their own development. State authorities at all levels are charged with the responsibility to ensure this right of indigenous peoples. And organizations of all forms of ownership are endowed with the right to assist indigenous peoples in the exercise of their right to self-government and independent decision-making about their own development.

This article was declared invalid (completely canceled) in 2004.

II. Article 5. Powers of federal bodies of state power.

The bodies of state power of the Russian Federation in order to protect the primordial habitat, traditional way of life, economic activity and crafts of indigenous peoples have the right:

Clause 10)
To regulate, together with the state authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the legal regime of possession, use and disposal of lands of traditional nature management and lands of historical and cultural purposes in places of residence of small peoples.

This rule allowed federal government bodies, together with regional government bodies, to establish the procedure for the ownership, use and disposal of lands significant for indigenous peoples in favor of indigenous peoples.

This clause was completely canceled in 2004.

Clause 12)
Establish the boundaries of lands of traditional nature use of small peoples and the procedure for granting these peoples for these purposes lands in federal ownership.

This rule, among other things, allowed the indigenous peoples to be granted lands in federal ownership. For the conduct of traditional nature management.

Canceled in 2007.

III. Article 6 conferred on regional public authorities the following, inter alia, rights:

Clause 1)
In accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, to adopt laws and other normative legal acts of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation on the protection of the original habitat, traditional way of life, management and crafts of indigenous peoples, as well as on the procedure for organizing and operating communities of indigenous peoples, taking into account historical, national and other traditions these peoples.

Canceled in 2004.

Clause 6)
Establish general principles for the organization and activities of territorial public self-government of small peoples in places of their traditional residence and economic activity.

Canceled in 2004.

Clause 7)
Establish the procedure for the allotment, use and protection of lands of traditional use of natural resources by small peoples in the ownership of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Here, a comment is needed on what is the allotment of a land plot. This is a complex of land management actions to establish a land plot in nature, grant it ownership, possession, use, and lease. This is a kind of alienation of land. That is, regional government bodies can transfer their land plots to third parties. Including in favor of indigenous peoples.

Canceled in 2007.

Clause 9)
Establish administrative responsibility for violation of the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation on the protection of the original habitat, traditional way of life, management and crafts of indigenous peoples.

Canceled in 2004.

Clause 11)
Together with local self-government bodies, ensure compliance with federal legislation and the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation with regulatory legal acts of local self-government bodies on the protection of the original habitat, traditional way of life, economic activity and crafts of small peoples.

Canceled in 2004.

Clause 12)
Issue licenses and establish quotas for the traditional crafts of indigenous peoples and monitor compliance with the terms of these licenses and quotas.

This is a very important point that needs clarification. For indigenous peoples, hunting and fishing are traditional trades. They hunt and fish not for entertainment or commercial enterprise, but for survival. And it is quite true that for such purposes it is necessary to separately allocate quotas and permits for the production of animals and catching fish. These quotas must be issued separately from quotas for all other hunters and fishermen.

However, the question of entrepreneurial activity of indigenous peoples also remains open.

Canceled in 2004.

In the current version of the federal law “On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation,” regional government bodies are deprived of all of the above rights. Which were aimed at protecting the interests of indigenous peoples.

IV. Article 7 endowed local governments with the following, inter alia, rights:

Clause 1)
Allocate funds from local budgets to provide financial assistance for the socio-economic and cultural development of small peoples in order to protect their ancestral habitat, traditional way of life, economic activity and crafts.

Canceled in 2004.

Clause 3)
Exercise control over the allotment, use and protection by persons belonging to small peoples of lands necessary for conducting a traditional way of life and engaging in traditional crafts of small peoples.

In 2007, the word “allotment” was changed to the word “grant”. And these are completely different legal meanings.

Clause 5)
Adopt normative legal acts on the socio-economic and cultural development of small peoples, as well as on the protection of their ancestral habitat, traditional way of life, business and crafts.

Canceled in 2004.

In the current version of the federal law “On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation”, local governments are deprived of all of the above rights. Which were aimed at protecting the interests of indigenous peoples.

V. Article 8 lists the following, among others, the rights of indigenous peoples:

Clause 1 of Part 1)
Own and use, free of charge, in places of traditional residence and economic activity of small peoples, lands of various categories necessary for the implementation of their traditional management and engaging in traditional crafts, and widespread minerals in the manner prescribed by federal legislation and the legislation of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

A comment is needed here. This regulation deals with the ownership of indigenous peoples to ancestral lands and territories. Truncated truth. Indeed, in full measure, the right of ownership includes the right of ownership, the right to use, and the right to dispose. Here, indigenous peoples were endowed with the right to own and use land. Without the right to dispose. That is, without the right to sell, donate, rent, and so on.

In 2007, the words “own and” were removed. We were deprived of the right to own land.

Clause 8 of part 2)
Receive free social services in the manner prescribed by the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In 2004, the word “free” was dropped.

VI. The first edition of the law contained Article 13 as follows:

Article 13. Representation of small peoples in the legislative (representative) bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and representative bodies of local self-government.

For the purpose of the most consistent solution of issues of socio-economic and cultural development of small peoples, protection of their original habitat, traditional way of life, business and crafts, the laws of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation may establish quotas for the representation of small peoples in the legislative (representative) bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and representative bodies of local government.

This article was completely canceled in 2004. Regional governments are no longer allowed to allocate quotas for indigenous peoples to be represented in the regional parliament.

Over the past 20 years, the legal status of indigenous peoples in Russia has deteriorated dramatically. I have reviewed only one key law. To track all negative changes, an analysis of a large number of different regulatory documents is required. Many of which are not directly related to indigenous peoples, but have a direct impact on us.

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