Erzya delegation will not take part in VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. This was reported by Syreś Boläeń, Inyazor (Chief elder) of Erzya people.
“18 months ago in January 2020, I sent an official letter to Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples about composition of Erzya delegation. For a few months I could not get an answer. Only after repeated appeals and phone calls to Estonia I received an answer by phone that my letter is received. Because pandemic reasons the Congress was postponed from 2020 to 2021. Already this year I decided to appeal repeatedly, because status of delegates still was not confirmed officially. And after numerous letters and calls with a requirement to confirm status of our Erzya delegation officially, after my address to Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonian minister of foreign affairs, I got an official answer from the Consultative Committee. The letter informed me that our applications to the Congress are improperly documented”, – Boläeń explains.
The response of the Consultative Committee says that they decided to provide further clarifications, which indicate that official letter from chief elder of Erzya people was not a sufficient reason for delegates to be registered; in order to register properly Erzya delegation should provide a scanned copy of minutes of their formal meeting with the results of the general vote.
“In my numerous and lengthy negotiations with Jaak Prozes, Niina Sinko, Tatiana Kleerova and other representatives of the Consultative Committee and Fenno-Ugria Foundaton improperly document applications were never a problem. This so-called “problem” have appeared two weeks before the Congress, when it is impossible to secure our visas in time. Today is registration deadline for the Congress. We believe that it is not appropriate to visit the Congress without the right to vote, without possibility to influence decisions of the Congress. Any computer and broadband internet would be enough just to read the adopted resolutions of the Congress at home”, – Inyazor of Erzya people comments the situation.
He believes that decision of the Consultative Committee is somehow influenced by active public position of some members of the delegation. “Bureaucratic issues are just an excuse. We were turned away because of knowing that we’ll raise sharp political questions on the Congress, that Estonia is afraid to talk aloud not to anger Moscow: violent policy of assimilation against indigenous peoples in Russia, Russification of secondary and higher education, persecutions of activists of national movements, Albert Razin’s self-immolation, interference of Russian authorities in the activities of Erzya elders’ council, recent prohibition of traditional Mari religion and so on. Eventually, we had other, fully certain suggestions for the Congress, that I will not prematurely pronounce. I’m very sorry that in this fight Estonia have chosen not the Erzya side, not the side of Albert Razin”, – Boläeń explains.
Also Inyazor of Erzya people declared his intention to hold a briefing for Estonian media in Tartu on June 16, opening day of VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples, where he is going to inform about current position of finno-ugric peoples in Russian Federation as well as address to Estonian officials.
Earlier Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples asked Syreś Boläeń to agree on the composition of the Erzya delegation with Nikolai Khramov, ex-Deputy Minister of culture and tourism in Russian government, and Mikhail Yakunchev, a member of Assosiation of Fino-Ugric Peoples of Russia (AFUN) Presidency.
In April 2021 Assosiation of Fino-Ugric Peoples of Russia (AFUN) had officially withdrawn from participation in VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. AFUN accused Congress of politicizing and “playing a finno-ugric card” to put pressure on Russia.