SPEECHES OF THE PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVES
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