Newsletter of the Fenno-Ugria Foundation. Tallinn. In Estonian

No. 4, 1996

Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days in Helsinki

Andres Heinapuu writes about the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days in Helsinki, Finland. The main event there was the seminar Minor Languages in Multicultural World, organised by the Folklore Department of Helsinki University, the M. A. Castrén Society and the Finnish National Committee of UNESCO. The Finno-Ugric Department of the university hosted another seminar on the present day and the future of Finno-Ugric Studies. Both seminars could boast with high-range international attendance. At the first seminar, which concentrated on the problems of saving endangered languages, the boldest thesis was presented by T. Skutnabb-Kangas, who stated that languages do not die but are murdered. Cultural programme added colour to the seminars. Concluding his article by comparing the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days in Finland and Estonia, A. Heinapuu draws out that Estonia, maintaining the tradition of bringing together bearers of authentic cultures, should learn from her northern neighbour how to bring the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days to a more international level and to make the event more future-orientated.

Symposium on Permic studies in Izhkar

On November 20 and 21 last year, Izhevsk University (Izhkar) hosted the first international symposium on Permic languages, dialects and history – which, in fact, was a continuation of a ten-year tradition of Permic studies. For those who expected a large international turn out, this might have been a slight disappointment, writes Jack Rueter, the only visiting foreigner at the symposium. The shortage of foreigners was probably due to another symposium held simultaneously in Groningen, the Netherlands. On the other hand, for those who wanted to find out what is actually happening in the field of Permic studies on the home front, the symposium was quite rewarding. In the academic field some bits of progress have been made; the Izhevsk University has begun expanding, i.e. they have established a branch in the Perm region for Permic studies, says J. Rueter.

Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days as seen from inside

Irina Orekhova describes her impressions as a local guide of the folklore groups’ tours in Estonia during the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days. Herself an Udmurt studying at the University of Tartu, she marvellously recreates the atmosphere of the days – and nights – full of concerts, excursions, meetings and dance-houses. She furthers the attitude of guests coming from the economically stranded Russia, who in fact are more sensitive to a friendly and open-hearted welcome than anything else.

Finno-Ugric students in Glazov

The University of Glazov in Udmurtia hosted a conference of young Finno-Ugric scientists on November 11 to 13, 1996. Sven-Erik Soosaar presents an overview of the event under the title The History and Culture of Finno-Ugric Peoples and furthers some details of his meeting with the initiator of a Finno-Ugric information centre in Izhkar, Mrs. Angelina Krylova. Mrs. Krylova asserted that the establishment of the Centre was not progressing because of the lack of finances and the prevailing negative attitude towards any Finno-Ugric development. As concerns the conference, S. E. Soosaar points out that the presentation made by a young Estonian H. V. Tolk on the genetic origin of Finno-Ugrians was received with utmost interest and won the Grand Prix.

Students’ and young teachers’ conference in Syktyvkar

Eduard Odinets writes of the students’ and young teachers’ practical-scientific conference on Permic peoples held in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, on November 26 to 27, 1996. The author himself had planned to attend the round-table for young Finno-Ugric politicians, which was in the agenda of the conference. Due to the lack of interest, as claimed the organisers, or perhaps because the striving for independence of the Komi people and the political situation in the Komi land are just the topics to be avoided, as E. Odinets assumes, this section failed to gather. In all the conference worked in six sections, each of them briefly described in the article.

A Hill Mari girls’ zither group visited Setumaa

Julia Kuprina, a Mari student at the University of Tartu and the leader of a Mari zither (kantele) group in Tartu, shares her impressions of a visit by a Hill-Mari girls’ zither group Yolasal to Setumaa in South-East Estonia. According to J. Kuprina, the Hill Maris consider a girl to be grown-up not before she has good command of zither playing. The visit brought together the representatives of two nations and cultures seemingly faraway, yet so similar.

A Mari student folk group from Tallinn visited Finland

Alexei Alexeyev, a Mari student and the leader of the Mari students’ theatre and a folk group Pamashchincha at the Tallinn Pedagogical University visited Finland with his group. Their concerts in Finland were in the frame of the Finno-Ugric Kindred Peoples Project. The project is carried out by the M. A. Castrén Society and the Committee of Kindred Peoples of the Student Society of the Helsinki University and is aimed at supporting the Finno-Ugric peoples’ striving to maintain their mother tongue and national identity.

Children’s Holy Bible in Vepsian

The Vepsian Cultural Society and the International Bible Translating Institute have published The Children’s Holy Bible in the Vepsian language. S. Yegorova briefly touches the history of translating the Word of God into Vepsian. In September the translators and publishers presented the Bible

in Vepsian villages. Those interested in getting The Children’s Holy Bible in Vepsian may apply to the Centre of National Cultures in Petroskoi (Russia, 185610 Petroskoi (Petrozavodsk), ul. Kirova 13, Centr Nacional'nyh Kultur).

The President of Estonia Greeted the participants of Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days

The Fenno-Ugria Infoleht brings to its reader the Estonian President’s greetings to the participants of the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days. The President urges not to forget the three most important questions for the minor nations, which are the following: Who are we? Why are we? and How are we? He says that the duty of a small nation is to work to find answers to those questions.

Mart Meri on the meaning of the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days

The Fenno-Ugria Infoleht also published the speech by Mart Meri, Vice-Chairman of the board of the Fenno-Ugria Foundation, at the close of the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days in the Tallinn Town Hall. In his speech Mr. Meri tries to find the message of the Pan-Finno-Ugrian Days. He suggests that the message might be the learning from each other’s cultures, learning from their differences and thereby enriching our own culture.

Finno-Ugrian ties are loosening, claims Béla Javorszky

The Fenno-Ugria Infoleht intermediates an interview by the former Hungarian ambassador in Estonia, Mr. Béla Javorszky, to the daily Uj Magyarorszag. Mr. Javorszky comments on the Congress of Finno-Ugric writers held in Lohusalu, Estonia, and throws light upon the Hungarian official attitude towards the Finno-Ugric question. He says that, today, Hungary tends to promote the Finno-Ugric developments with nothing but beautiful words. Among the kindred peoples, says Mr. Javorszky, we cannot even speak of a negative picture about Hungary because these peoples hardly have any picture of Hungary anymore.