SPEECHES OF THE PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVES
deputy head of government of Republic of Mordovia, Saransk
Dear participants of the Congress! Dear friends!
On behalf of the Erzya and Moksha delegations of republic of
Mordovia I would like to give you our fervent fraternal regards
and wishes of a fruitful work to so high a forum! Whole-heartedly
I wish health and well-being to all the present and to your nations
- peace, happiness and prosperity.
It is very much symbolic that our forum takes place at the joint
of two ages, two epochs. This is a good occasion to look back
at the way passed and to muse upon it.
The peoples of the Finno-Ugrian world cover a huge expanse of
Europe and Asia in spite of their relative paucity. Their lands
stretch from the banks of the Danube to the Pacific ocean. In
this vast territory in several thousands of years they have created
an original culture whose distinctive feature is its humanistic
essence. For example, Finland and Hungary which found their independence
not long ago are among the most civilized and prosperous countries
of the globe.
The Finno-Ugrians of Russia have another fortune. As early as
the dawn of their statehood they happened to be involved into
the orbit of the activities of the Russian state. In the 7th -9th
centuries the Chud, Merya, Ves, Izhorians took an active part
at formation of the Novgorod feudal republic; the Merya together
with the Novgorod people called upon the Viking princes headed
by Ryurik to come to rein there; in the 13th-16th centuries they
fought together with the Russian principalities against the Golden
Horde, thus facilitating to the strengthening of the Moscow state
and formation of a new historical communion of peoples - the Russian
nation - and by that they became a part of it. And now we do not
see an alternative to living in the single Russian state. But,
nevertheless, problems of preservation of the nation have been
Fundamental changes in the historical destinies of the Finno-Ugrian
peoples of Russia occurred during the years of the Soviet power
when they created their statehood and relatively successfully
started developing their national culture. At once they continued
to incur great losses together with significant achievements and
that was above all expressed in the diminution of their numerical
size. When we take the Mordovian ethnos, the main reason of its
decrease lies in its intensive Russification. Aside from social
and economical reasons, the waning of the Mordovian nation was
conditioned by such psychological factors as penetration of motives
of the ethnical chauvinism into the self-conscience of the people
and erroneous under-estimation of the historical perspectives
of the own people.
In the modern epoch when a thaw occurred in the intergovernmental
relations ample ways open for the small nations. And how they
will be driven - it depends primarily upon those nations themselves.
The main provision is that they must believe in their own strength,
show love to their own nationality and readiness to work for its
The Mordovian nation is one of the largest nations of Russia,
its number amounting to 1200000. A historical peculiarity is that
the main half of the ethnos is outside Mordovia. Enough to say
that the Mordovians live in 45 republics and regions of the Russian
Federation of the former Soviet Union including the regions which
are now represented at the Congress.
The republic of Mordovia is an inalienable chain of the peoples'
economy complex of the Russian Federation. It represents an industrial-agrarian
region disposing significant economical and manpower potential.
The republic acquired and holds stable positions in the Russian
and international division of labour, in particular, in production
of the light bulbs, semiconductors for high-voltage techniques
Our republic is the biggest manufacturer of electric lamps, cement,
power-shovels, technical rubber wares, antibiotics and the latter-day
When speaking about economics it must be said that in Mordovia
like in the whole Russia the transition to the market economy's
conditions is felt very in a very painful way. An abrupt drop
occurred in the volume of the industrial production. Nevertheless,
insistent transformations carried on in the republic in the last
years fructify some results already. Lasting tempo of the increase
in the industrial production is foreshadowed, the state of matters
in agriculture is improving. Gasification of the village is running
actively - the village being a cradle of the nation, and the volume
of residential construction is increasing.
But devotion to the solving of solely economical and applied
problems nurses a danger of oblivion of one of the most important
verities of the public entity: "We do not live by bread only".
A person needs moral, political and social conditions for the
life of a full value, he needs conditions and capacities to get
education and comprehension of all the historic legacy, first
and foremost, the legacy of culture, language and national traditions.
In the republic a lot is done for the national revival, support
and development of the languages and preservation of the ethno-cultural
ambiance. A faculty of the national culture was opened and functions
at the Mordovian state University. A State committee on the nationality
policy was founded in the republic of Mordovia which coordinates
all the work on the national renaissance in accordance with the
national of the official nationality policy of the Russian Federation,
the Decisions of the World congresses of the Finno-Ugrian peoples
and the program of development of the Finno-Ugrian peoples of
the Mordovian republic.
In Constitution of the republic which declared freedom and equality
of all the nationalities many a principle is declared and fixed,
containing attention to the preservation of the originality of
the peoples living in the territory of Mordovia. The Erzyan and
Moksha languages was given the status of the official ones. A
painstaking work to a detailed design of that constitutional provision
ended in the adoption of the law on "Official languages of
the republic of Mordovia".
We see clearly that the official bodies and public organizations
of the republic have to solve with more insistence the existing
problems and secure a whole development of economical, cultural
and national traditions and potential of the Mordovian people
and the Finno-Ugrian world.
The present congress which was convened on the eve of the III
millennium will discuss all the entirety of humanitarian problems
facing us now. Taking into consideration the significance and
nation-wide status of the tasks scheduled, it is necessary to
design a state program of their realization and found a coordinating
and supervising body. In my opinion, many of the problems marked
in the program of the Congress could be more successfully settled
under the condition of founding a center of business and cultural
cooperation of the Finno-Ugrian peoples on the basis of combination
of a public initiative with a help of the state. That Centre could
be situated in Saransk, the capital of the Mordovian republic.
We are ready to accept this big responsibility.
The Finno-Ugrian world faces problems common for every nation
belonging to it:
- Preservation of language and national culture and their adaptation
to the reality of the modem world;
- Strengthening and development of their national statehood,
what can be largely facilitated by contacts on the level of
Parliaments and governments of our republics;
- Social and economic development where a great role can be
played by the integration of the efforts of the representatives
of business and business-related circles of our peoples.
The second millennium to what our conscious history falls was
hard and, possibly, the most unfavourable for the Finno-Ugrian
peoples. The 3rd millennium which we enter in a few days could
be if we wish it the beginning of a new era in the development
of the Finno-Ugrian peoples - the era of prosperity and welfare.
We do hope that it will be just so.
Source: III World Congress of
the Finno-Ugrian Peoples. Helsinki, 2000 [Joshkar-Ola,2001], pp