MINELRES: SURI press releases: 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies Opened in Russia

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Thu Aug 18 09:38:41 2005


Original sender: Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples <press@suri.ee>


Press release                             Tallinn, 16 August 2005
For immediate release

INFORMATION CENTRE OF FINNO-UGRIC PEOPLES
Tallinn, Estonia
Phone/fax:      (+372) 644 9270
E-mail:         suri@suri.ee
http://www.suri.ee/


SCIENTISTS REPLACED WITH OFFICIALS AT A SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS IN RUSSIA

At the opening of the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies
yesterday in Yoshkar-Ola, capital city of the Republic of Mari El in the
Russian Federation, none of fennougrists was given floor for the first
time in the history of these congresses.

A lengthy opening speech was delivered by President of the Republic of
Mari El Mr. Leonid Markelov who announced that, as he took his office in
2000, democracy was established in Mari El. He also spoke about economic
successes and about installing gas pipelines in Mari El. Other speakers
were representatives of various Russian ministries, Chairman of the
Advisory Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples Valeri Markov, Finnish and
Hungarian diplomats. The congress received greetings from both houses of
the Duma (Russian parliament).

Estonian Minister of Education Mrs. Mailis Reps emphasized in her speech
that ethnic culture is a complex phenomenon that must be lived and not
just studied or taught. She pointed as an example at Estonian composer
Veljo Tormis who, in his choir music, applies traditional tunes of all
Baltic-Finnic peoples and texts in their languages.

The participants stood in memory of the late President of the congress
Professor Yuri Anduganov who died in a mysterious car crash a month ago.
His widow who was with him in the car suspects that the collision was
not accidental. Three years ago Anduganov was constrained to leave the
university in Yoshkar-Ola and continued his work in the neighbouring
region. There, at the Yugra University in the city of Khanty-Mansiysk,
he chaired the department of Finno-Ugric studies and general
linguistics.

At the congress, there are 31 members from Finland (against 210 at the
previous congress in Tartu, Estonia, in 2000), 17 from Estonia (165), 35
from Hungary (44), and about 500 from the Russian Federation (156).

Yesterday, Estonian Social Democrat MP Mrs. Katrin Saks arrived in Mari
El with the mission of drawing an official report on the situation of
Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia for the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe.

On Sunday, a day before the opening of the congress, a mass rally
against President Markelov was arranged in Yoshkar-Ola by the Mari
organisation Mari Ushem. The participants in carried slogans 'Our
president is Putin, not Markelov', '1937 again?' (the year notorious for
Stalin's repressions), 'No to Fascism!' 'No to breach of human rights'.
A message of the Maris to the President of Finland Tarja Halonen was
read at the rally.

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. Although 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). Many
scientists from all over the world have joined The Appeal on Behalf of
the Mari People (see http://www.ugri.info/mari). 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 refused to attend
the event held in the Mari capital.

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

'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 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.


Prof. Anduganov's photo: http://www.mari.ee/rus/news/soc/2005/07/01.htm
Photos of the rally: http://www.mari.ee/rus/news/polit/2005/08/09.htm

______________________________


Press release                 Tallinn, 15 August 2005
For immediate release

INFORMATION CENTRE OF FINNO-UGRIC PEOPLES
Tallinn, Estonia
Phone/fax:      (+372) 644 9270
E-mail:         suri@suri.ee
http://www.suri.ee/


TENTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF FINNO-UGRIC STUDIES OPENED IN RUSSIA

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 http://www.ugri.info/mari). 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.

______________________________

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