Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
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Press release 12 May 2005

Press releases

Finnish journalist denied Russian visa (27.12.05)

Young Finno-Ugrians at the Congress of Turkic Youth (21.11.05)

International attention to problems of national minorities in the Russian Federation is not decreasing (01.11.05)

Chairman of Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples attacked in Mari Republic, Russia (28.08.05)

Lusatian Sorbs express their solidarity with Udmurts (26.08.05)

Ethnic minority in Russia: media is filled with misinformation (25.08.05)

Closing of the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies in Yoshkar-Ola (21.08.05)

Hopeless Udmurts appeal to Europe for support (19.08.05)

Russian authorities threatening an ethnic minority organisation (17.08.05)

Scientists replaced with officials at a scientific congress in Russia (16.08.05)

Tenth International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies in Russia (15.08.05)

Estonian delegation to the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies smaller than expected (12.08.05)

Estonian and Saami Theatres Start Co-operating with the Kalevala in Estonia (10.08.05)

An ethnographic film banned in Russia now available on DVD (09.08.05)

Doctoral scholarship in Estonia for foreign Finno-Ugrians (06.08.05)

An open letter to the President of Finland Tarja Halonen (02.08.05)

Estonian students caught in the wheels of Russia's internal politics (02.08.05)

Expulsion of Estonian students from the Mari Republic of Russian Federation (22.07.05)

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation supporting the Mari people in Russia (07.07.05)

Ethnic minority convenes its congress in the underground (07.06.05)

Fascist group in Russia asserts being instructed by local administration (31.05.05)

Russian composer did not celebrate his anniversary in his home town (19.05.05)

Federal Union of European Nationalities examined the situation of a Russia's minority (07.05.05)

Members of the European Parliament pass an action plan to improve the situation of Finno-Ugric minorities in Russia (27.04.05)

Finno-Ugric Minority of Russia Grateful to the European Parliament for Support (26.04.05)

Estonian Member of European Parliament on discussion with Russian parliamentarians on Russia’s minorities (22.04.05)

European Parliament Examining the Mari Situation in Russia (11.03.05)

Mari Nation Under Threat in Russia (22.02.05)

Opposition leaders still persecuted in Mari El: Vladimir Kozlov assaulted (04.02.05)

Read more
(information and news about Mari people in Mari, Russian, Estonian, English)

 Press releases by the Estonian Institute for Human Rights:



Unrepresented Nations' and Peoples' Organisation


A resolution on the condition of the Mari minority nation in the Russian Federation was passed unanimously by the European Parliament at its plenary session in Strasbourg today. The Parliament deplores breaches of human rights and democracy taking place in the Mari Republic (Mari El), an administrative unit of Russia.

The resolution says that the Maris face considerable difficulties in
obtaining education in their native language, that there is no secondary or higher education in Mari, and that the publication of Mari textbooks has severely declined in the past years. It says that journalists of non-state mass media have been continuously and frequently assaulted, harassed and intimidated in Mari El, including the killing of three journalists in 2001 and the beating of Chairman of the Mari Congress Mr Vladimir KOZLOV on 4 February 2005, and that local and federal governments fail to take adequate steps to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The resolution calls on Russia's federal and local authorities to respect the freedom of press, to immediately stop political retribution directed at dissenting public servants, and to refrain from undue political interference in the affairs of educational and cultural institutions. It calls on Russia to respect its obligations under international law concerning protection and development of minority languages and cultures.

The Estonian member of European Parliament Mrs. Marianne MIKKO said in her speech before the voting: "Altogether, national minorities in Russia make up 28 millions of people. Four million of them speak Finno-Ugric languages. In the Mordovian language spoken by around a million people, just some twenty books are published each year, no newspapers are published, nor is this language taught in any school. The situation of the Maris is but a bit better."

The draft resolution was submitted by representatives of the Group of the European People's Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED).

This move followed a wide international protest against the oppression of the Maris, including the Appeal on Behalf of the Mari People written by a group of Finnish scientists, and an action of collecting signatures to support the Maris. The web page has collected signatures from over sixty countries.

The Maris are a 650 thousand-strong people (however, according to the last census, there number has decreased already to 604 thousands) living in the Mari Republic (Mari El), some 500 miles to the east of Moscow. Today, the Maris are grossly underrepresented in Russia. A constant ethnic cleansing carried out in the local administration of Mari republic has reduced the number of public employees of Mari origin from 30% to some three or four persons. Neither are there any people descending from the Republic of Mari El in Russia's federal representative bodies. The Maris have repeatedly demanded the observance of human and civil rights, as well as the right for education, publications and broadcasts in their native language to the extent equal to that available to Russians in the Mari Republic.

Appendix: Text of the resolution