Yesterday, on August 10, 2020, there was information about the arrest of the People’s Deputy of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Arsentiy Nikolaev. This is a man “from the earth”. Representative of the Evenk indigenous small people. A professional reindeer herder and a practical manager.
Nikolaev Arsentiy Prokopyevich Olekminsky single-mandate constituency No. 12. Date of birth: June 19, 1958. Place of birth: s. Tyanya Olekminsky district of the Yakut ASSR. Higher education. Specialty: zootechnics. Place of work: the head of a community of a production agricultural cooperative, a nomadic tribal community “Tyanya” of the Olekminsky ulus (district).
Unfortunately, I am not personally acquainted with Arsentiy Prokopyevich. All my reflections on this high-profile case are of a general legal nature.
1. The procedure for initiating a criminal case against a deputy of the legislative (representative) body of state power of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation.
In accordance with Part 2 of Art. 13 of the Federal Law “On the General Principles of Organization of Legislative (Representative) and Executive Bodies of State Power of the Russian Federation”, a special procedure is applied in such cases.
In accordance with paragraph 9 of Part 1 of Art. 448 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation, the decision to initiate a criminal case is made by the head of the investigative body of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the subject of the Russian Federation.
Are these requirements met in this case? There are no comments from the investigating authorities at the moment.
2. The right of indigenous peoples to participate in representative bodies.
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. local government. This is article 13 of the federal law “On guarantees of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation”. In 2004-2005 this article was canceled. Another infringement of the rights of indigenous peoples by the state.
It is worth noting that Arsentiy Nikolaev won the elections in a single-mandate constituency, not on a party list. His example is the expression of the right of indigenous peoples to be represented in legislatures through the exercise of civil suffrage rights. It is very difficult for an indigenous representative to win in the competition, given the small number of electoral support. And now, having gone through all the obvious obstacles from the state, he is detained and a criminal case is initiated.
3. Relationship with industrialists.
The professional activity of Arsentiy Nikolaev throughout his life was devoted to the Tyanskiy national heritage of the Olekminsky region of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
- Education: 2000 – Yakutsk State Agricultural Academy, animal engineer. Labor activity:
- 1974-1991 – a reindeer breeder of the Tyanskaya brigade of the Tokkinsky state farm, Olekminsky district;
- 1992-1995 – a reindeer breeder of the Tyanya tribal community of the Olekminsky district;
- 1995-2017 – Head of the Administration of the Tyanskiy national nasleg of the municipal entity “Olekminskiy ulus (district)”;
- From 02.2018 to present the head of the community of the production agricultural cooperative, the nomadic tribal community “Tyanya” of the Olekminsky ulus (district).
Awards and titles: Awarded with the medal “For Merit to the Fatherland” 2nd degree, Excellent Municipal Service of the RS (Y), Honored Worker of Agriculture of the RS (Y).
President of the Association of Reindeer Herders of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Membership in the committees of the State Assembly (Il Tumen) of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia): Committee on Village and Agrarian Policy is a member of the committee. Committee on Land Relations, Natural Resources and Ecology, member of the committee. Committee on Indigenous Minorities of the North and Arctic Affairs member of the committee.
Arsentiy Prokopyevich was detained, presumably, at the request of a gold mining company. I will not say anything about the economic disputes between the Tian national estate and the gold miners, because not familiar with them in detail. But it is clear that the case is motivated. And due to the position and professional activities of Arsentiy Prokopyevich.
4. Ethnological expertise and “compulsion to dialogue”.
Ethnological expertise is not directly related to the economic activities of industrial companies. It is impossible to place any compensatory expectations on this legal phenomenon. This is not the correct application of substantive law. From which all legal contradictions with industrialists arise. Their unwillingness to fulfill their obligations based on the results of ethnological examinations. And, even worse, the formation of a stereotype of indigenous peoples as beggars and extortionists.
All disputes arising in connection with the negative impact on the ancestral habitat of indigenous peoples from the economic activities of industrial companies must be resolved in a claim procedure. Pre-trial or judicial. On a case-by-case basis, with each individual stakeholder.
In the legal field, there is no such thing as forcing industrialists to engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples and should not exist. There are strictly regulated rights and obligations of the parties. In case of non-fulfillment of obligations, measures of contractual, judicial or state coercion should be applied.
In case of insufficient legal guarantees, it is necessary to work on improving legal norms and mechanisms. To work, and not to create the appearance of such work.
In this case, the key right of indigenous peoples comes to the fore – the right to ownership of the original habitat. Indigenous peoples in Russia are deprived of this right. And the task of all officials, who are representatives of the interests of indigenous peoples, is to systematically and consistently work to restore our property rights. Indeed, in this case, many legal conflicts and misunderstandings will disappear by themselves. Indigenous communities that own land will enter into an equal contractual relationship with industrialists. Not asking or extorting penny compensation.
And the problem of wide information coverage related to the procedure for conducting ethnological expertise is that this, inherently insignificant, issue displaces truly important, key issues from the information agenda. Today, no one talks about the property rights of indigenous peoples to the original habitat, either at the federal or regional levels.