Single body to work with compatriots abroad

Within the administrative reform that is under way in Russia all work with compatriots abroad, including its new directions, will be concentrated in a single center, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Eleonora Mitrofanova said in an interview with RIA Novosti. She completed her visit to China today. Ms. Mitrofanova also said that it was premature now to speak of "how this will be administratively formalized." According to Ms. Mitrofanova who is in charge of the work with compatriots in the Russian diplomatic department, Russia's Foreign Ministry is currently "the main and the only organization to purposefully deal with compatriots abroad." Ms. Mitrofanova said that the issue of amending Russian law on compatriots to "enable it to be made more definite and so that the work with compatriots could be intensified" was raised.

Furthermore, Ms. Mitrofanova said that amending the Budget Code and having a special section in the budget for financing this work was necessary. In her opinion, this will make it possible "to more effectively work with compatriots not only in the CIS but also in other states, including the Baltic countries." According to the deputy minister, there are also plans "to concentrate efforts and work more purposefully with such groups as graduates of Russian and Soviet schools of higher learning and the technical specialists who work abroad, specifically in the United States." Other plans included increasing interaction with the Russian language mass media abroad and contacts with organizations like the World Congress of the Russian-Language Press and Media-Soyuz.

"We will strengthen the work of our foreign centers of science and culture and focus on preserving our Russian culture, the Russian language, and promoting achievements in science and technology," Ms. Mitrofanova stated.

She also stressed that work with compatriots required a large amount of attention and patience. According to Ms. Mitrofanova, approximately 30 million people from Russia and the former Soviet Union are now living abroad, including 1,300,000 Russian Federation citizens currently living abroad.

Ms. Mitrofanova was in China at the invitation of Deng Rong, Deng Xiaoping's daughter. She held talks with regional Chinese leaders, Deputy Foreign Minister Li Huei, and top officials from the Chinese Йmigrйs' Office under the Chinese State Council. She also met with Russians living in Beijing.

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