III World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples

Helsinki (Finland) December 10–13, 2000

 
   
 

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Consultative Committee
of the Finno-Ugric Peoples

   

SPEECHES OF THE PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVES

A. GOLOVKIN,
deputy governor of Tver region, Tver

Dear participants of the congress! Ladies and gentlemen!

The four-year long period between the II and the III World congresses of the Finno-Ugrian peoples has been successful but complicated for the Tver Karelians. The Tver regional national and cultural autonomy of the Tver Karelians was founded and also 7 local autonomies, which build their work in accordance with the law of the Russian Federation on "National and cultural autonomy". The Karelian language is taught at schools, a college and the Tver state university. Regional festivals of national cultures are organized, schoolbooks and newspapers are published and TV and radio programs are broadcast in the native language. In February 2001 we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Karelian written language which came into existence in the land of Tver.

We wish that all the Karelians in the Earth had one written language or otherwise while we argue about dialects and sibilants and whistling sounds no Karelians could remain. This is testified to by the data of official censes. In 50 years of the Soviet power the number of the Tver Karelians dropped by 6 times between 1939 and 1989. Some specialists on demographic matters state that we can speak about a genocide of this branch of the Karelian people. The situation about demography, language and culture of small nations of Russia ought to be changed. We should build the nationality policy in strict accordance with the concept of official nationality policy in the Russian Federation. In Russia again, in our judgment, they now restrain the initiatives of the peoples to develop their native language, culture and mass media.

Up to the present time the program of support to the Finno-Ugrian peoples is not passed, there is no financing of the nationality policy in Russia. Namely, when declaring about a democratic development, they in Russia not very seldom commit deviation from international standards and norm of international law in respect to small nations and national minorities. In this circumstances we hope only in a support of the Consultative committee of the Finno-Ugrian and a support of the kindred peoples. This hope found in it its justification and confirmation in the last four years. Members of our delegation will tell it at large in the meetings of working sections.

Supporting the draft resolution of the III World congress we propose that problems of demography and ecology be given a priority.

It is important for us that water, air and soil are clean and we hold that nobody has the right for building enterprises with detrimental production or to pollute the atmosphere without taking into consideration the opinion of the people which compactly resides in the territory concerned.
But so far they do not ask our opinion and do not consider the people. To reverse the situation we need good laws that are based upon the norms of international law. The Finno-Ugrian factor grew very noticeable both in Russia and in the world.

I should like to express my confidence in that in the following 4 years the official structures and national movements will settle the matters - in a civilized way and legally and on the strength of changes in nationality policy - which disturb many Finno-Ugrian nations: preservation of language and culture, improvement of economical and demographic situation, solving issues of ecology in the places of their compact residence.

I should like to wish a successful work to the III World congress of the Finno-Ugrian peoples.

Thank you for your attention.

Source: III World Congress of the Finno-Ugrian Peoples. Helsinki, 2000 [Joshkar-Ola,2001], pp 66–67.

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I - Syktyvkar, 1992
II - Budapest, 1996
IV - Tallinn, 2004