Officials told Erzyans that they don’t need Erzyan gymnasium

Ěrzäń gimnazijaś. Saeź: (Postimees/Scanpix).

Ministry of education of Republic of Mordovia reacted to a public campaign by Erzyan activists who send their claims to the head of the republic demanding to open Erzyan gymnasium in Saransk.

Four-pages letter signed by Ivan Dugushkin, deputy of Mordovian education minister, justifies that Erzyan gymnasium isn’t nessesary, because a regional module “We live in Mordovia” is already being implemented, and Erzyan language is taught in 73 groups, visited by 1340 enthusiasts. Mister Dugushkin summarizes his letter with a conclusion that “optimal conditions are created for study and support of Erzyan language in Republic of Mordovia and municipal district of Saransk”.

At the same time the ministry itself provides sad statistics. There are only 28 schools in all Mordovia, where Erzyan language is studied at least 2-3 hours per week and 93 schools, where it is studied for 1-2 hours per week. So practically in all Mordovian schools Erzyan language is studied less than English or other foreign languages (including many schools that don’t study Erzyan at all).

“It was politely explained to us that gymnasiums and universities are for Russian culture, Erzyans should be glad to have study groups and regional module “We live in Mordovia”. Instead of education in Erzyan language they offer us local history groups and conversation about folklore. Actually Russian officials are laying our people into a grave and already filling it up. We are trying to get out from that grave, but they say to us: “You’d better lie down, lie down. It is not necessary to aggravate! It is a natural process”. I can see only one solution of this situation. If we are not heard by Russian authorities then it is necessary to appeal to international community, because we are actually deprived of our right to education by mother Erzyan language”, – Yogan’ Min’ka, participant of a civil campaign for opening Erzyan gymnasium in Saransk, told reporters.

Four-pages letter signed by Ivan Dugushkin, deputy of Mordovian education minister, justifies that Erzyan gymnasium isn’t nessesary.

It should be reminded that a campaign for opening Erzyan gymnasium in Saransk started in October 2019 when such demand to Mordovian government was publicly filed by Syres’ Boliayen’, chief elder (erz. Inyazor) of Erzyan people.

The same month Piotr Tultaev, head of Saransk, rejected the idea about gymnasium and mentioned that “in schools of Saransk, especially in districts with compact residence of Mordva, national languages are studied. National culture and languages of peoples of Mordovia are taught in kindergardens”. Already in January 2020 dozens of Erzyan families sent their letters to Vladimir Volkov, head of Republic of Mordovia with a suggestion to create gymnasium in Saransk, “where Erzyan language will be studied not just as language class but a number of compulsory classes would be taught in our mother Erzyan tongue too”.