Andrey Danilov is a Sami politician. He is a director of the Sami heritage and development fund and a member of the Sami Parliament of the Murmansk region (Sam Sobbar)
This article based on information from the online group «The Association of the Kola Sami» in the social network VKontakte.
June 21, 2018 there was a conference organized by the public organization “The Association of the Kola Sami» (hereinafter AKS) in Murmansk.
There were many important issues in the agenda of the conference, one of which was the elections of the organization’s president. During the conference its participants unanimously elected Elena Goi as a president of the organization and Elena Yakovleva as a vice-president.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this event, so I can not speak on the substance of the issues that were discussed at this conference. So I will try to express my own opinion here in connection with this event and ask you to consider the fact that this article based on open and official sources only.
First of all I have to mention that the new elected president of the Association is an employee of the state-financed budgetary establishment (SFBE) «The Center of the indigenous peoples of the North». The owner of this organization is the Murmansk regional Ministry of internal policy and public communications. So what are the main tasks of this institution?
Here is the information from the website of the Murmansk regional government:
«The state-financed budgetary establishment «Murmansk regional center of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North» was created by reorganization of the existing State regional institution “The Murmansk regional center of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North» in accordance with the order of the Murmansk regional State Committee of relations with non-governmental organizations and youth affairs dated 27.09.2011 No. 141, as well as in accordance with the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Federal Law No. 83-FZ of 08.05.2010 «On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in connection with the improvement of the legal status of State (municipal) institutions» and other legal acts of the Russian Federation and the Murmansk region.
State regional institution «Murmansk regional center of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North» was established in accordance with the resolution of the Government of the Murmansk region of July 8, 2004 No. 232-PP / 7 «On the establishment of a state regional institution «Murmansk regional center of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North» according the initiative of the Governor of the Murmansk region.
The founder of the state-financed budgetary establishment «Murmansk regional center of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North» and the owner of its property is the Murmansk region. The powers and authority of the founder of the organization are carried out by the Murmansk regional state Committee for relations with non-governmental organizations and youth affairs. The owner of the property of the organization is the Ministry of the property relations of the Murmansk region.
The main objective of the state-financed budgetary establishment is the implementation of international, federal and regional projects and programs with the aim to improve the living standards of the small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North, to protect their rights on authentic historical, cultural, socio-economic development and to protect their ancestral habitat, their traditional economy and style of life.
The clause 2.4 of the SFBE statute proclaimed that:
«To achieve the goal specified in paragraph 2.3 of this Statute the organization implements following activities: — Representation and protection of the interests of small numbered peoples of the North in state and non-governmental organizations on federal, regional and municipal levels.”
So what do we have here? The employee of the state organization which controlled by the Government of the Murmansk region and who receives the salary from the regional budget and «represents the interests» of the indigenous peoples both in public and state organizations was elected as a president of the non-governmental organization which represents Sami people. So this is a clear conflict of interest.
Can you imagine a situation in which the new elected president of the AKS will need to protect the rights of the Sami people and represent the interests of its members, while also being a staff of the regional government? In a simple phrase: will she write indigenous rights requests as a representative of the Sami people to the Government and then will answer as a representative of the Government to herself?
Since an information about the venue was not distributed among Sami in advance, some members of the Association did not receive it. So a number of questions arose with regards to the organizational procedure of the conference. For example the issue of delegates’ elections at AKS branches. In accordance with the AKS Statute (Art. 5.3) «the meeting of the Branch is authorized to take decisions, if 50 percent plus 1 (one) vote of the payroll of the Branch takes part in its work.»
Let me remind that February 4, 2015 there was organized a previous election conference of the AKS in Murmansk which has the only issue in its agenda — the election of the president of the organization. After the conference I did prepare an appeal to the regional Ministry of Justice that the conference was organized by ineligible way.
The appeal was received by Ministry of Justice and registered March 3, 2015 with the number 32-of/15. The Ministry of Justice had started the procedure of verification of the conference but as a result the Ministry asked me to prove my own membership in the AKS because in accordance with their correspondence with AKS secretariat I am not a member of this organization.
In response to the Ministry of Justice I requested to prove my membership in the AKS and provided some supporting information: in many minutes of the Monchegorsk branch of the AKS there is my signature as a secretary of the AKS local organization, I also made an application for AKS membership and submitted it to the previous AKS president Nina Afanasyeva who can confirm this fact.
But after that the Ministry of Justice asked me to provide additional documentation to prove my membership in the AKS including: application for membership, confirmation of payment of membership fees, decision of the organization’s board which confirms my membership in the AKS and also a membership card.
But I have no such documents of course as any other AKS member so I did not able to provide supporting documentation to the Ministry of Justice and that became a technical reason for the Ministry to not check the validity of the conference’s decisions in 2015. Finally I received the answer from the Ministry of Justice: «… as you didn’t provide the documents requested by the regional office of the Ministry of Justice, we could not check the validity of the conference as well as your membership in the AKS. Therefore there is no reason to conduct more tightened inspection of facts stated in your appeal».
Thus I am sure that the presidential elections in the AKS in February 2015 were organized with violations of the election procedures and the Ministry of Justice intentionally did not want to conduct a detailed check of these facts.
A story of its own is about the AKS conference in 2014 at which Valentiva Sovkina won the presidential elections in the AKS. But that time the Ministry of Justice immediately reacted (during a weekend time) and made an official statement that the elections of Valentina Sovkina was organized illegally. Alena Martynova who was a representative of the Murmansk regional State Committee of relations with non-governmental organizations and youth affairs (this Committee later became a part of the Murmansk regional Ministry of internal policy and public communications) also commented that elections of Valentina Sovkina was illegal. That time the interventions of regional Government and the Federal Ministry of Justice were made instantaneously.
Taking the above into account I can make a few conclusions:
Currently the Association of the Kola Sami (AKS) is a typical GONGO organization. The amalgamation of the state structures and indigenous organizations is a going on process in the Murmansk region which organized by state bureaucrats through elections of loyal leaders in regional NGOs. This practice undermines the process of self-determination of the small numbered indigenous people of the Murmansk region — the Sami people.
2015.05 Updated appeal of Andrey Danilov to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation on violations during the regional conference of the Association of the Kola Saami with evidences of his membership in AKS.pdf