Estonia is asked to stand up for indigenous peoples in Russia

Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas. Uued Uudised.

Representatives of Bashkir, Buryat, Erzya, Kalmyk and Tatar national movements appealed to parliament of Estonia. Activists claim about further strengthening of assimilation and russification policy and expanding of new wave of political repressions against activists and national organizations of indigenous peoples in Russia.

Open address to President of Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) contains numerous facts of obstructions against activity of national societies and religious organizations, unconstitutional limitations of both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, interference with work of national representative bodies, repressions against native peoples and others like that.

Authors of the document draw attention of Estonian politicians to politically motivated prosecution of Bashkort public organization and prohibition of its activity. Numerous trials against leaders of Tatar, Ingush, Kalmyk, Circassian and Buriat national movements are mentioned in the appeal. It is specifically stated about lack of transparent and just investigation of murders of Aslan Zhukov, activist of Adyge Khase – Circassian youth movement, in 2010; Muslim Khashagulgov, Ingush activist, in 2018; attempted murder of Evgeniy Khamaganov, founder of Erkhe – Buriat human rights advocacy organization, in 2015; kidnapping of Rustam Lianov, Ingush activist, in 2018.

Signatories of the appeal inform about artificial marginalization of indigenous peoples’ native languages out of school education that makes activists to move on towards more radical steps, such as self-immolation Albert Razin, Udmurt scientist, in 2019, made as an act of protest against violent russification of Udmurts. 

Estonian Parliament is requested to:

1. Condemn actions of Russian Federation aimed to violate and limit political, civil, national, religious and cultural rights of indigenous peoples in Russian Federation.

2. Strengthen diplomatic pressure on Russian Federation aimed to stop policy of actual assimilation of indigenous peoples.

3. Draw special attention to urgent need to protect native languages of indigenous peoples in Russian Federation as well as to provide their restoration in school curricula as obligatory disciplines.

4. Demand immediate cessation of all pursuits against national activists of indigenous peoples and liberation of political prisoners.

5. Use any available international political and diplomatic sanctions mechanisms against Russian Federation aimed to stop ongoing systematic violation of human rights and freedoms.

6. Demand from Russian Federation to immediately implement the Fourth Opinion on the Russian Federation of the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ACFC / OP / IV (2018) 001).

7. Apply sanctions, restrictions and limitations of any possible kind against officials of Russian Federation, involved in pursuit activists of indigenous peoples’ national movements in Russian Federation for latter’s opinions and activities in protection of indigenous peoples’ right.

8. Assist all the efforts of indigenous peoples aimed to human rights protection, preservation of identity, language, culture and traditions.

“We call upon Estonians as people who know the heavy price of freedom. You don’t need a lecture on how difficult is to resist assimilation policy, to fight back cruel attempts to make everybody’s mouth shut, to be at risk for most active of you to be killed or imprisoned. Estonians passed these tests in their recent history. If history really can teach us something, then is teaches not to tolerate crimes, not to bargain your principles and values. We look forward to your support and solidarity!”, Syres’ Boliayen’, appeal’s initiator, commented.

Document was signed by

Fauziya Bairamova, Mejlis of the Tatar People, chiefwoman

Rafis Kashapov, Free Idel-Ural civic movement, co-founder

Syres’ Boliayen’, Inyazor (chief elder) of Erzya people

Arkadiy Garaev, Kalmyk Regional Foundation of repressed peoples

Vladimir Khamutaev, national unity movement Negedel, chiefperson / Congress of Buriat people, president

Bashkort public organization – national Bashkir movement

Dmytro Dorovskikh, Kuban activist.

To The President Of The Riigikogu

Henn Põlluaas

Dear Mr. President!

We, the representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, request that this appeal be considered. 

Following the principle of international solidarity in the protection of human rights, expressing its commitment to the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 61/295 of 13 September 2007, and strongly condemning the systematic and mass violations by the Russian Federation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation, in particular: 

– revocation of registration or declaration of national societies as “extremist” (Tatar Public Center, Union Of Tatar Youth “Azatliq”, Chuvash Society Of National And Cultural Revival, etc.);

– hindering the activities of public associations of indigenous peoples (initiation of criminal cases against the activist of the Union Of Tatar Youth “Azatliq” Batyrkhan Agzamov (2019), the leader of the organization “Bashkort” Fayeel Alsynov (2019), detention of activists of the Circassian National Movement Ruslan Gvashev and Shamsudin Neguch (2017), etc.);

– interference in the activities of religious associations of representatives of indigenous peoples, in particular the recognition of the holy books of the Mari traditional religion as extremistic;

– amendments to the Federal law “On Education” of the Russian Federation which allow not to study the state (national) languages of the republics of the Russian Federation in educational institutions;

– prohibition of the establishment and activity of political parties representing the interests of indigenous peoples;

– disregard for the right of indigenous peoples to participate in the management of the natural resources of the lands where they live; 

taking into account the numerous cases of persecution of representatives of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation for their political beliefs, in particular:

– the conviction of the leader of the Milli Majlis of the Tatar people Fauzia Bayramova (2014), the leader of the Tatar national movement Rafis Kashapov (2015), the arrest of the famous Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiev (2018), and the arrest of the Bashkir politician and publicist Ayrat Dilmukhametov (2019);

– dismissal of activists of mass protests in Ingushetia Angela Matieva and Zarifa Sautieva (2018);

– prosecution of activists from Kalmykia Batyr Boromannaev, Vladimir Dovdanov (2019), etc., journalist Badma Byurchiev, Chairman of the Kalmyk regional Fund of repressed peoples Arkady Goryaev (the Fund was closed by the court decision on 02.08.2016);

– obstruction by law enforcement agencies of the right to peaceful protest during mass rallies in Elista Kalmykia, as well as during rallies in defense of the right to education in their native language in Bashkortostan and Tatarstan (in 2017-2018);

– deprivation of state registration of the Congress of Buryat people (2006), the pressure and the further emigration of Russian scientist and Chairman of the movement for national unity “Negado” Vladimir Hamutaev (2013), the prosecution of Chairman of the public organization “Buryad Soel” Bulat Sagina (2015), failure to take action during the destruction of forests in Buryatia Republic (2018), etc.; 

expressing concern about the lack of transparent and fair investigation of kidnappings, murders and assassinations on the people, defending the rights of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation, including the murder of activist of the Circassian Youth movement “Adyge-Khase” of Aslan Zhukov (2010), the attempted murder of a Buryat journalist and founder of the human rights movement “Erhe” Eugene Khamaganova (2015), kidnapping Ingush activist Rustam lanova (2018), the murder of activist of the Ingush national movement Muslim Hashagulgov (2018) and many others;

taking into account the desperate attempts of representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation (the public self- immolation of the Udmurt scientist Albert Razin (2019), committed during a picket in defense of the Udmurt language near the Parliament of the Udmurt Republic), to revise the state national policy aimed at total russification; 

taking into account attempts by the authorities of the Russian Federation at the constitutional level, to secure the priority of the Constitution over international law;

given the numerous decisions and resolutions of international organizations and parliamentary assemblies, including the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, where the Russian Federation’s actions in violation of human rights condemned, we need You to

– condemn the actions of the Russian Federation aimed at violating and restricting the political, civil, national, religious and cultural rights of representatives of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation as contrary to generally recognized principles and norms of international law;

– increase diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in order to stop the policy of actual assimilation of indigenous peoples, violation of the sovereignty of the republics of the Russian Federation as a form of national statehood of indigenous peoples, as well as to observe full and real equality of persons belonging to indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation;

– pay special attention to the necessity of protection of the languages of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation, returning the teaching of national languages in General education institutions of national entities in full, and removing artificial obstacles to the development of higher education in indigenous languages;

– stop politically motivated prosecutions and immediately release all illegally convicted political prisoners;

– use all possible international political, diplomatic and sanctions mechanisms against the Russian Federation in order to stop its violations of human rights and freedoms;

– require the Russian Federation to comply with the Fourth opinion on the Russian Federation adopted by the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe framework Convention for the protection of national minorities (ACFC / OP / IV (2018) 001);

– apply all possible types of sanctions to officials of state authorities of the Russian Federation involved in the persecution of representatives of indigenous peoples for their beliefs and activities to defend the rights of indigenous peoples; 

– fully support the efforts of representatives of indigenous peoples to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and preserve their identity, languages, culture and traditions. 

With all respect,

Fauzia Bayramova, Chairman of the Milli Majlis of the Tatar people, Republic of Tatarstan.

Syres Bolyaen, the Chief Elder (Inyazor) of the Erzya people.

Arkady Goryaev, Chairman of the regional Fund for repressed peoples, Republic of Kalmykia.

Dmytro Dorovskikh, representative of the Kuban people, co-founder of the movement “Raspberry Wedge (Malinovij Klin) – Independent Kuban”

Rafis Kashapov, co- founder of the Free Idel-Ural social movement. Vladimir Hamutaev, Chairman of the movement for national unity “Negado”, the President of the Congress of the Buryat people.

Vladimir Khamutaev, national unity movement Negedel, chiefperson / Congress of Buriat people, president

BOO “Bashkort”, Republic of Bashkortostan.