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
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
– 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
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