Presentation of Erzyan poem banned in Mordovia

Source: Viesna-krasna. Mikhail Niestierov.

The presentation of the Erzyan poem “Ermez”, planned for the coming days in Saransk, was disrupted due to the intervention of the Ministry of Culture, National Policy and Archival Affairs of the Republic of Mordovia.

“Ermez” is a poem of the Erzyan poet and writer Yakov Kuldurkaev repressed by the Soviet regime. Erzyan intellectuals consider the poem as one of the most striking phenomena in the literature of its people. The poet Arthur Moro praised this work: “In the thirties, the brilliant poem by Ya. Ya. Kuldurkaev “Ermez” was created, which significance for the Erzya people can only be compared with the “The Tale of Igor’s Campaign” for the Russian people. This poem has become the shining peak of Erzyan poetry and all literature and serves as a great contribution to the treasury of world poetry…”

The poem was never published during the life of the poet. In 1988 it was published in frequent parts in the magazine “Syatko”. Just in 2019, as part of the celebration of the author’s 125th anniversary, the Erzya fund “Rutsya” initiated publication of “Ermez”. The writing was published in two languages — Erzyan and Russian with help of donations from Erzya and friends of Erzya people.

The head of the “Rutsya” fund Eryush Vezhay said that the planned presentation, which should be held at the Pushkin National Library of the Republic of Mordovia with participation of the Erzyan poetess Mariz Kemal, was disrupted due to the intervention of the Ministry of Culture, National Policy and Archival Affairs of the Republic of Mordovia.

“Those who took part in the publication of the book do not understand the actions of the Republic’s Ministry about the need for a “deep study” of the text of the publication to permit the presentation. The author of the text – Ya. Kuldurkaev was rehabilitated during the Soviet period, and the poem was published in the past. Moreover, now there is no censorship in the Russian Federation. For now. And the Ministry of National Policy of the Republic of Moldova is not empowered by the legislation of the Russian Federation in right of censorship. For now” — the head of the “Rutsya” fund Eryush Vezhay commented on the situation.

Since 2002 using Latin alphabet for the state languages of the republics has been prohibited at the legislative level in the Russian Federation, that’s why the poem “Ermez” was printed in Cyrillic.

Curriculum Vitae

Yakov Kuldurkaev (1894 — 1966) — Erzyan poet and writer. The author of the poem “Ermez” and a number of works for children. He was born in the village of Lobaski (now Atyashevsky district of the Republic of Mordovia). Participant of the First World War and Civil War. In 1923 he entered the accounting courses in Moscow, which he soon graduated from. He worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, auditor. In 1938 he was repressed by the Soviet regime as an “enemy of the people.” He was serving a sentence in the camps of the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Novgorod and Dzhambul regions. Rehabilitated in 1958.

After being released from the concentration camp, he was not able to restore health. He died in 1966. He was buried in his native village.