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11 Russian Cities to Get Tolerance Centers

Tolerance centers are to be opened in 11 Russian cities by 2015, the Regional Development Ministry said Friday.

The program is estimated at some 1,5 billion rubles ($48 billion), and construction is set to get underway in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and the other selected cities in 2014.

The centers will provide a basis for exploring the culture and traditions of the Russian people, and prevent xenophobia by teaching respect for various faiths, especially among young people, Izvestia reported.

"The main task is to revive the tradition of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence, which has always been characteristic of Russia. We need to talk more about religion, culture, and tradition," said Regional Development Ministry head Igor Slyunyaev.

A typical tolerance center will consist of two or three rooms, one of which will be equipped with a monitor for watching educational films.

There will also be a discussion room and an area for interactive voting, Izvestia reported, said the head of Russia's Jewish Communities Federation Alexander Boroda, who is participating in the project.

The tolerance center initiative was put forward after President Vladimir Putin urged the government in October 2012 to organize a program promoting unity among Russia's many indigenous peoples from 2014 to 2018.

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