Government and Education

Since seceding from Magadan Oblast' in June 1992, the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug has been an independent subject of the Russian Federation, with an elected governor and legislative assembly, or Duma. Roman Abramovich has been governor since January 2001. The Duma has powers of budgetary approval and must ratify okrug laws, but in practice administrative power resides with the governor's administration. Chukotka has been represented in the federal Duma by Vladimir Etylin, a veteran Chukchi political leader, since 2001.

There is little independent political activity in Chukotka, partly an outcome of the policies of Abramovich's predecessor, Alexander Nazarov (1992-2000). The only active political party in 2003 was the federally sponsored Unity Party, which began operations in 2002 on the initiative of members of the okrug government. However, there are native organizations with a growing record of independence, including the Chukotka Indigenous Peoples Association and the Association of Marine Mammal

Hunters of Chukotka. Local media, including the regional newspaper Krainyi Sever, local television programming, and two local radio stations, are not a forum for political debate and criticism.

Chukotka is considered a closed border zone, and the Federal Security Service (FSB) controls access for both Russians and foreigners through a special permit system.

Secondary education in Chukotka is provided in major towns, but to complete the state-mandated nine years of schooling, rural children are usually compelled to attend residential schools away from their communities. Some postsecondary education opportunities exist, including training in a number of vocational institutes in Anadyr; however, Chukotka is the only Federation Subject without a university. Heavy investment in education since 2001 is enhancing secondary schooling and improving vocational training, and a new vocational college opened in Anadyr in 2003.

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