A parliamentary hearing is taking place at Russia’s State Duma devoted to a bill which should formulate the basics of Russia’s policy in the field of interethnic relationships. Valentin Nikitin, the chairman of the Duma’s nationalities committee, is the main speaker. The bill is expected to secure the unity and integrity of Russia while guaranteeing the freedom of expression to various ethnic groups, RIA Novosti reports. In the foreign policy, assistance shall be given to expatriots in preserving their native languages and cultures, the refugee problems being solved at the inter-state level, Mr. Nikitin elaborated. Compared to a 1989 census, the number of ethnic groups living on Russia’s territory has increased by 45. In Mr. Nikitin’s view, this may reflect a growing sense of national identity in the peoples of Russia.