Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
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Press release 15 August 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)

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 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies opened today, 15 August, in Yoshkar-Ola, capital city of the Republic of Mari El, Russian Federation.

Of late, the Republic of Mari El has become notorious for constant reports about the violation of rights of the Mari people, cultural and opposition leaders being violently assaulted and murdered, the teaching of Mari language being curbed. For example, notwithstanding the fact that the Maris make up 43 per cent of the population of Mari El, the yearly amount of radio broadcasting in Mari has been limited to 271 hours (44,5 minutes per day).

These circumstances have cast a shadow on the most important event for fennougrists, the international congress. Its President Prof. Yuri Anduganov was recently killed in a mysterious car crash. Three years ago Anduganov was constrained to leave Mari El and continued his work in the neighbouring region; like many other fennougrists, he had doubts about holding a congress in Mari El in the present situation. Many scientists from all over the world have joined The Appeal on Behalf of the Mari People (see The Appeal was signed by each tenth of those who had intended to participate in this congress and, outside Russia, even by each fourth. Many have now refused to attend the event held in the Mari capital. For example, out of the initial 70 members of the Hungarian delegation, only some twenty have arrived.

One of those who refused to attend the congress, Finnish member of the International Organizing Committee Prof. Pauli Saukkonen, sent the following letter to the Organizing Committee:

'I will thus cancel my participation to the X International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies as a PROTEST against president Markelov's administration and the Russian Foreign Ministry. The answer of the Russian Foreign Ministry to the resolution of European Parliament, concerning the oppression against the Maris and other Finno-Ugric people, included lies and support to Markelov's policy. This i s n o t against the local Organizing Committee. On the contrary: all my best wishes to the Congress and Finno-Ugric Associations.'

The authorities of Yoshkar-Ola have prepared the riot police ready for action. The last week the police carried out exercises in the centre of the city to improve the technique of blocking the street traffic, dispersing demonstrators and evacuating people from the Opera House where the congress will hold its plenary sessions. A ban has been imposed on public assembly in Yoshkar-Ola. The city administration refused to permit the Mari organisation Mari Ushem to hold a meeting this Sunday to welcome the delegates.

At the same time with the congress, Estonian Social Democrat MP Mrs. Katrin Saks will be visiting Mari El with the mission of drawing an official report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the situation of Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia.

The first congress of Finno-Ugric studies was held in 1960 in Budapest. Since then, congresses are convened each fifth year successively in each of the Finno-Ugric states (up to the 1990s Hungary, Finland and USSR, and today Hungary, Finland, Estonia and Russia). The previous congress took place in 2000 in the Estonian city of Tartu. This will be the second congress hosted by Russia. The 6th congress in 1985 was held in Syktyvkar, the capital of the Komi Republic of the Russian Federation.