Indigenous peoples of Russian Federation, and with them Erzya people, continue to comprehend the act of Udmurt scientist Alberta Razin, namely self-immolation as a form of resistance to aggressive assimilation policy.
Unfortunately, we are compelled to note, that this frightful tragedy caused no reflections of Russian authorities. Moreover, federal Russian media completely ignored this act of political protest. Local media also avoid to mention actual reasons of the self-immolation, namely protest against russification policy to which Finno-Ugric peoples fell victim. Next day after the tragedy local authorities ordered to remove portraits of Razin and flowers (delivered by ordinary people) from the place of self-immolation. So not only principled stand of Udmurt scientist was subjected to censorship but also his memorial images.
“Undoubtedly, our comrade burned himself to death not for the sake of words of sympathy or bringing in some attention to his person. He wanted revision of national politicy of Russia, which was calmly and prudently explained in his interview in the day of self-immolation. However no revision of Russian chauvinistic politics does not take place in relation to national republics and native peoples. Moscow tries to sweet-talk the problem, officials repeat that “it’s not necessary to dramatize”, “it’s not necessary to politicize”. Just imagine that authorities develop the Russian culture in gymnasia, universities, in academy of sciences, cinema and television, in cultural centers all over the world, and Erzya are offered to organize “groups for language study”! Moreover, officials ask us not to be indignant, not to spoil international reputation of Russian authorities”, – Syres’ Boliayan’ explains.
Taking into account current situation, Inyazor (chief elder) of Erzya people decided to appeal to Eerik-Niiles Kross, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from Estonia, with a request to initiate several international procedures against Russia.
Syres’ Boliayan’ asks to mandate the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to learn circumstances under which Albert Razin was forced to commit such a frightful form of protest:
1. Are sufficient conditions for realization of constitutional right to education in native languages of indigenous people created in Russian Federation, particularly in Udmurt Republic?
2. Is Udmurt language properly presented in domains of public administration and public spaces in Udmurt Republic?
3. Are cultural needs of Udmurt people satisfied to the same extent as cultural needs of Russians?
4. Is there any substantial dialogue between Russian authorities and representatives of indigenous people, or only imitation of such dialogue takes place?
Taking into account results of this monitoring mission, Inyazor of Erzya people asks PACE to issue an estimation of national policy in Russian Federation as well as observance of human rights, particularly rights of indigenous Finno-Ugric peoples to receive education in their mother tongues.