of the 4th Mari People’s Congress
On the Political Situation
in the Republic of Mari El
The Congress asserts that the solutions of our people’s 3rd Congress, aimed at increasing the role and participation of the Mari people in public and political life and at strengthening the national sovereignty of the Republic of Mari El, have not been fully implemented and retain their importance. The Congress finds that political tensions in the republic are increasing with the approach of elections. The presidential elections in Mari El, in essence, are not only the elections of the first person and the constitutional head of the republic. Under the current domestic political situation, they assume an air of a national referendum on the chosen course toward strengthening the sovereignty to ensure the public welfare.
The Congress finds it inadmissible that an idea is thrust upon the newly elected State Assembly to revise the Presidential Elections Law of Mari El which contains the provision that the President must have command of the state languages. In the language domain, the legal base laid during the last years should serve a reliable basis for continuation of the political reform in the republic. Our people must not allow to deprive itself of its rights.
The Congress resolutely condemns those politicians who aspire to split the existing peace and public consent between nationalities, and calls on the authorities to take steps to prevent public confrontation in the republic.
We call on the newly elected State Assembly, which has less than 1/3 of Mari deputies, to firmly assert the interests of statehood, to have firm political will, not to yield to political arrogance, to protect ethnic rights of all nationalities in the republic, not to revise articles of the Constitution and the Presidential Elections Law of the Republic of Mari El.
We charge the executive bodies of the Congress with the task to conduct constructive dialogue with the parliament’s leaders to achieve the consent on urgent political questions. The Congress finds it necessary to develop a concept of nationalities policy in the republic, based on the organic combination of national-territorial and national-cultural autonomy.
We call on the parliament of the republic to act as the guarantor of the Constitution of Mari El and to act resolutely for the sake of peace, public consent and political and economic stability in the republic.
The Congress supports the resolute and active dialogue with federal governmental bodies on preparation and signing of a bilateral agreement on the areas of competence and separation of powers between the centre and Mari El as a subject of the Federation.
We address the Government of the republic with the request to encourage its activities under the programme of national development and in the area of ethnic and cultural policy. We express our satisfaction with the fact that a public institution on nationalities issues has been established in the republic. Training of national specialists must be one of its major aims. A special support is required to preserve and develop the mass media and publishing activity in the Mari language.
Considering the positive experience of co-operation with kindred Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia and abroad, the Congress proposes to the Government of the republic to support the initiatives of Finno-Ugric organisations in the republic, to initiate interstate cultural agreements and to ensure full-scale representation of the Maris at international Finno-Ugric organisations and institutions. The Congress confirms the decision by the 3rd Mari People’s Congress to join the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, and expresses the intention to participate in its activities.
The Congress addresses all residents of our republic with the appeal to keep the present traditions of peace and mutual understanding, and not to yield to destructive moods fraught with mutual animosity and hostility.
The Congress appeals on political movements, organisations and parties to conduct constructive dialogue in the highest interests of all peoples of our republic, and to foster growth of their political culture.
October 19, 1996