VII convention of Interregional public organization of Mordovian (Mokshan and Erzyan) people” was held on Octover 23-24, 2019 in Saransk. Republican authorities positioned convention of delegates from public organization as “national convention”.
Traditionally for “Mordovian conventions” delegates praised and glorified republican officials, and the latter reciprocated these feelings, giving nice comments on folk suits and hand-made wooden decorations. However the event was marred by a few unpleasant news.
At first, such magazines as Syatko, Moksha, Yakster’ Tiashtenya were suddenly discontinued for few months already because of debts to a printing-house. For four months already Mordovian budget isn’t able to find these 200 thousand roubles to close this financial debt.
Secondly, teachers in the republic report about salary delays. Salaries for October weren’t paid yet, other delays on payments happen regularly. Some of teachers already appealed their written complaints to authorities.
Therefore republican top-officails generously spilled promises. Vladimir Volkov, acting head of Mordovian republic, promised that magazines will continue to be published: “Just before convention some detractors decided to fish in troubled waters and trumpeted about threat of closing national magazines in Mordovia. With all responsibility I can refute this information. Some failures in financing happened due totechnical reasons, therefore national magazined of Mordovia will continue their work, especially as they are popular among readers’ audience”.
Also mister Volkov was proud to tell how many groups for support of Erzyan and Mokshan languages are active in the republic: “Nowadays government program named We live in Mordovia is being implemented in all republican kindergartens, and 116 preschool institutions have speaking clubs to study Erzyan and Mokshan languages”.
Obviously these stories about “support of official languages in speaking clubs” are aimed to smooth out criticism of national policy in Russian Federation. In fact Moscow and its proteges are criticized not only by activists of Erzyan national movement but also by international organizations. Earlier in its third Conclusion Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities expressed a disturbance concerning efforts of authorities to unite speakers of both Erzyan and Mokshan languages in single category of “mordva”. These efforts are quite ‘successful’, results of last censuses really demonstrate considerable increase of those who identify themselves as “mordva” and vice versa: for example, number of those who use Moksha ethnonym redused by 90 percents during 2002-2010.
It should be reminded that Erzyan Inyekuzho (erz. Erzyan Congress) decreeed in 2009 that “so-called Mordovian conventions can not present Erzyan people due to their composition, Mordovian conventions do not take the challenge to protect Erzya people and Erzyan language”.
Mister Volkov didn’t stand a chance to comment demands of Syres’ Boliayen’, newly elected Erzyan Inyazor (chief elder) about opening an Erzyan gymnasium in Saransk: “It looks artificially and deliberately. Vice versa, if we want our children to be competitive in the modern world, then we must give them high-quality and multidimensional education, – Vladimir Volkov explained his opinion. – They must be competent in technologies and IT, to have profound knowledge in national history, culture and foreign languages – but however to know their native languages better than others”.
It looks like activity of Erzyan national movement strongly disturbes the leader of Mordovian republic: “I also wish to draw your attention that artificially cultivated ethnic nationalism harms. Such actions have exceptionally political nature. It is necessary to distinguish the real care about saving our traditions from nationalism. From whom these activists are going to protect us? We will protect ourselves!”. – Volkov commented.
During two days of “Mordovian convention” its location known as Republican recreation centre was picketed by Kshumantsian’ Pirguzh (Erzyan Inyazor in 1999-2019). Erzyan activist was holding banner saying “Let us commemorate the memory of Albert Razin“. However no delegates of “convention” honored the memory of Udmurt scientist who burned himself alive near building of State Council of Udmurtia in protest against violent language policy in Russian Federation. Apparently delegates of the convention made every effort to discuss “achievements in culture and economy”.