Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
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Press release

27 December 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

print version 

Finnish journalist denied Russian visa

Finnish journalist Ville Ropponen applied for Russian visa in the end of this December but his application was rejected it without explanation.

This autumn, Ropponen published a number of articles in several Finnish newspapers including Ilta Sanomat, Kaleva, and Voima on the political regime in the Republic of Mari El, an administrative unit of the Russian Federation.

This September, Ropponen visited two Finno-Ugric autonomous regions, Mari El and Mordovia. Among others, he met with representatives of the democratic opposition. In both regions, Russian special services applied pressure on him. In particular, he was interviewed by the Federal Security Service (FSB).

It is quite evident that Ropponen was denied visa due to political reasons. Ropponen says that the Russian authorities propose to finance and organise travel of foreign journalists in its territory to prevent their criticism of breaches of human rights and freedom of expression in Russia.

The Russian Federation is a signatory to basic international conventions on human rights.

Lately, the treatment of foreign journalists by the Russian authorities has worsened. Visas and work permits for journalists are delayed and conditioned by sending examples of texts to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visa was denied to Matti Posio, a journalist of Finnish Aamulehti, while an attempt was made to reduce the number of work permits for the Finnish Yleisradio from twenty-five to five. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the work permits only when the Yleisradio threatened to make the pressure public.

The Russian State Duma has drafted a law stipulating the denial of visas to foreigners who have demonstrated 'open disrespect to the Russian Federation and its federal authorities". In addition, visas may be denied for 'actions demonstrating disrespect' towards 'spiritual, cultural and social values historically rooted in the Russian Federation, or activities that caused substantial damage to the Russian Federation'.

The political regime established since 2001 in Mari El, a region situated in the Volga region and populated by the Finno-Ugric nation called the Maris, has clamped down severely on the political opponents of the local President Leonid Markelov. These repressions have been particularly directed against the Maris. During the Markelov's rule, dozens of journalists, opposition leaders and human rights activists were physically assaulted or murdered. The oppression increased since the beginning of 2005 when Markelov was re-elected for the second term and opposition challenged the results of elections. Hundreds were fired from their jobs for political reasons this year.