Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
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Press release 19 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)

European Parliament steps forth in defence of a national minority in Russia (12.05.05)

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


The eightieth jubilee of Andrei Eshpai, a well-known Russian composer of Mari origin, was celebrated today (18 May) in the National Drama of the Republic of Mari El, but without Eshpai himself. He did not come for his birthday to Yoshkar-Ola, the capital city of his homeland. Earlier the master rejected a proposal by Aleksandr Sokolov, Minister of Culture of Mari El, to host the celebrations.

The most known Mari composer who is the laureate of many awards and titles of the Russian Federation and the USSR expressed his anxiety about the plans of local Russian-dominated administration to close down the Yoshkar-Ola Music School, the centre of Mari musical culture, and to incorporate it into a local college. He is also indignant about the present cultural and nationalities policy in Mari El and about undemocratic dismissal of the mayor of his home town Kozmodemyansk.

Andrei Eshpai, whom five years ago President Vladimir Putin personally congratulated on his birthday (15 May), has added his signature to the Appeal on Behalf of the Mari People in which a group of scientists, writers, composers and politicians denounced the restriction of cultural and language rights of the Maris and the repressions against the democratic opposition in Mari El. The appeal is open at for everyone to sign, and people from over 60 countries have already joined it.

The Republic of Mari El is an administrative unit of the Russian Federation located about 500 miles to the east from Moscow. It has the population of 728 thousands of whom the Maris make up now only 43 per cent. The press, radio and television broadcasting in the Mari language have been restricted in the recent years and education in the native language is almost nonexistent. A wide international protest was caused this February by the assault and battery of Vladimir Kozlov, Chairman of the all-Russian Movement of the Mari People. This month, the European Parliament and the Federal Union of European Nationalities called on Russia to stop infringing on the rights of the Maris.