Tallinn, 22 July 2005Tallinn, 07 July 2005
For immediate release
Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
phone/fax: +372 644 9270
e-mail: suri@suri.ee

Estonia supports publication of works by the classic of the Mari literature

The Estonia’s Ministry of Education and Research has allocated more than one hundred thousand Estonian kroons (nearly 6500 euros) for publication of books by Valentin Kolumb, a classical author of the Mari literature. The books will be published in the language of the 604 thousand strong Mari people living in Russia. The money was transferred yesterday by Fenno-Ugria, a non-governmental organisation authorized by the ministry, to the account of a publishing house in Yoshkar-Ola, Russian Federation.

This money is enough for printing the second volume of Valentin Kolumb’s collected works. The volumes are compiled by Vladimir Kozlov, director of the Valentin Kolumb Museum and a leader of the Mari national movement.

The support became feasible after a memorandum was signed last August by ministers of education of Estonia and Mari El on creation of favourable conditions for bilateral cooperation in education and culture.

The choice to support this publication was not accidental, said Tonu [T - O with tilde - N - U] Tender, counsellor of the Language Department of the Estonian Ministry of Education. The meaning of Kolumb’s works for the Maris is enormous, he can be compared to Juhan Liiv, an Estonian writer whose poetry became an incarnation of the people’s national spirit.

Valentin Kolumb (1935-1974) released the Mari poetry from the Soviet pseudo-pathetic element and modernised it thematically as well as in form. He became famous in his homeland already during his life-time. His works were valued beyond the Iron Curtain as well.

The demand for Kolumb’s writings in the Mari language is high. Today they are a rarity. Readers as well as schools and libraries in Mari El will be interested in the new publication.

In 2005, the total of seven books in the Mari language were published in Russia, funded from the republican budget, according to Mr. Mikhail Vasyutin, Deputy Head of Government and Minister of Culture, Press and Nationalities of the Republic of Mari El. (See the press release of 20th January 2006 by Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples at http://www.suri.ee/press/Eng2006/p060120eng.html).