III World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples

Helsinki (Finland) December 10–13, 2000


Brief information


Speeches of the peoplesí representatives




List of participants

Consultative Committee
of the Finno-Ugric Peoples


The 3rd World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples was held on 13 December 2000 at the conference centre Finlandia Talo in Helsinki.

Participating in the Congress were representatives of Erzyas, Estonians, Finns, Hungarians, Ingrian Finns, Izhorians, Karelians, Khanties, Komis, Livonians, Mansis, Maris, Mokshas, Nenetses, Ostyaks, Saamis, Setus, Udmurts and Vepsians. Official observers of Finno-Ugric countries and the Russian Federation were also present. Altogether there were nearly 600 delegates and observers.

According to the rules of the Congress, delegations of each people had one vote each.

Presidents of all three Finno-Ugric states – Mrs. Tarja Halonen of Finland, Mr. Ferenc Mádl of Hungary and Mr. Lennart Meri of Estonia – attended the event and delivered their speeches at the opening of the Congress.

President of the host country arrived at the Congress directly from the airport, having returned from a summit meeting of the EU in Nice. Hungarian president read also the address from the previous president of his country Mr. Árpád Göncz. Estonian president said in his speech that resolutions are not poems but guidelines for action, and asked whether the decisions of previous congresses have been carried out. He said that while, for example, the grass named yellow rattle growing on the Estonian island of Saaremaa is protected by the law, small peoples are unprotected at all. Estonian president called on Russia to co-operate in jointly tackling the problems of our eastern kindred peoples. He also invited the participants to hold their next congress in the Estonian capital Tallinn. The highest representative of the Russian Federation at the event, Minister of Nationalities and Migration Policy Aleksandr Blokhin, read the address of his country’s president Vladimir Putin.

On the opening day, delegations delivered their reports. The Congress also approved the report of the Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples on its activities during the last four years.

On 12 December, the Congress worked in four sections:
– the Political Section focused on human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples;
– the Section of Culture and Education focused on the native language as a foundation for a people’s existence;
– the Section of Ecology and Public Health discussed the problems of regional development, the condition of environment and the health of peoples;
– the Section of Media and Information set the strategy for popularisation of Finno-Ugric languages and cultures in the next century.

The sections presented to the Congress their recommendations for further co-operation and improvement of the situation of Finno-Ugric peoples.

On 13 December, the Congress passed its resolution. It approved once again that the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Day is held each year on the third Saturday of October. It urged on the countries where Finno-Ugrians live to ratify the ILO Convention On Indigenous Peoples No. 169. At the last moment, one more amendment was made in the resolution: the appeal to Finland, Estonia, Hungary and Russia asking them to propose the United Nations to hold the decade of Finno-Ugric peoples was replaced with a proposal that these countries jointly announce a Finno-Ugric decade. The amendment was submitted in the morning of 13 December by the chairman of the drafting committee, vice-president of the Komi Republic Mr. Aleksei Konyukhov who explained it as a correction of a misprint.

It was decided that the place of next Congress in 2004 would be Tallinn and the Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples would continue operating in Finland. The Consultative Committee at its 12 December evening session re-elected Mr. Valeri Markov as its chairman.

The Congress was closed by the speaker of the Finnish parliament Mrs. Riitta Uosukainen.

Simultaneously with the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples, the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (YAFUP) held its congress in Helsinki on 9 to 13 December. It admitted two new organisations as its members.

Participating in the congress of YAFUP were Erzyas, Estonians, Finns, Hungarians, Karelians, Khanties, Komis, Mansis, Maris, Mokshas, Udmurts and Vepsians. The decisions of the congress were reported by its secretary Mr. Jussi Santeri Junttila at the final session of the Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples.

Beside the Congress, there were a lot of Finno-Ugric cultural events in Finland those days. On 10 December at the opening of the exhibition The Volga Arch showing the past and the present of the Mari people, the Finnish parliament speaker Riitta Uosukainen made a speech. The exhibition remained open in the Helsinki Museum of Cultures till 30 May 2001. At the Finno-Ugric festival The Bear Hunt Estonian, Karelian, Hungarian, Udmurt, Komi, Khanty, Saami and Finnish theatres performed. On December 11 to 13 the event named The Ugric Roaring: Kalevala World Competition took place in the city of Espoo. The participants competed in singing runic melodies and dialect songs. Nick Hennessey was elected the world champion.


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