Due to the issues with the legitimate representatives of the Finno-Ugric peoples on the VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples and the issues raised by Erzan Inäzor Syreś Boläeń we publish fully addressing of Mari Vasli Nikolajev he made in Facebook group Finno-Ugric People Unite to draw attention to the issues of indigenous people in Russia, from whom the majority are Finno-Ugric peoples, writes WALDEF.
I also sent my proposals in writing to the VIII World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples and its Consultative Committee on 17 June, 00:25 on the need to change the rules and procedures for the election of delegates to this forum. Unfortunately, the Mari People’s Congress, which elects delegates to the World Congress on behalf of the Mari people, has been fully under the control of the leaders of Mari El, since 2008. It is no longer an independent representative body of the Mari people. Rather, it has become a Mari people body, who is in power and who is on the local budget payroll. The control of the election of delegates to the Mari People’s National Congresses begins already at the local village level, at the regional level.
A similar situation with the Mari people is in Mordva (Erza, Mioksha) and with the Udmurts. Also, the Mari People’s Congress have stopped electing the delegates to the World Congress of the Finno-Ugric People, the delegates are picked by the Mari People’s Council – Mer kangash, or to be precise the Ministry of Culture of Mari El.
During the last session of the Mari People’s Congress, under auspice of the (Russian) federal government, suddenly transformed from the worldwide to the Russian (regional) congress, although Mari people live outside the Russian Federation. The last Mari People’s Congress refused to allow observers in order to prevent participation of the unwanted for the people in power.
I made proposal to World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples and the Consultative Committee to grant the right to choose delegates by other Mari NGOs, for instance in Estonian there are two such NGOs. NGO The Mari Union – Marij Ushem in Mari El could have proposed their candidates or summon the forum of independent Mari NGOs and elect delegates to the World Congress.
Administrator of MariUver site,
Former member of board for 13 years and founder of NGO The Union of Maris in Tartu – MTÜ Tartu Marilaste Liit
English translation by Dmitri Sädus