On 28 April, representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Volga region, united in the civil movement of Free Idel-Ural, held protests at Russian diplomatic missions in various countries of the world, particularly in Ukraine.
The actions were held under the slogan “Protect the
languages of the Idel-Ural!” In order to draw the attention of the world
community to the problem of Russification, a policy pursued by Moscow in
relation to the [Indigenous] people of Idel-Ural: The [Finno-Ugric] Erzya,
Moksha, Mari, Udmurt peoples, and the [Turkic] Chuvash, Tatars and Bashkir
[seeking genuine sovereignty for the republics of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan,
Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Mari El and Mordovia]
“Tatars are the second largest nation [peoples] within the Russian Federation. We firmly adhere to our own traditions, religion and language. We want to remain ourselves, to be Tatars. However, our ambitions are not shared by Moscow, which attempts to turn all nations [peoples] of the Russian Federation into Russians and erase our identities. An emerging example is the aggressive expulsion of national languages from school education. Our schools curriculum are forcibly translated into Russian language, and non-Russian families are mockingly offered to write official request applications asking for the approval to allow them to learn their native language in their own native lands. Civil activists who attempt to resist the Russification of education are brutally punished by the police and the FSB. If a multi-million strong Tatar nation is going through such difficult times, imagine the situation of other peoples of the Idel-Ural, for example, the Udmurts,” points out Rafis Kashapov one of the founders of the Free Idel-Ural movement and a former political prisoner from Tatarstan.
Activists demand from Moscow that the national languages of the republics of Mordovia, Mari El, Chuvashia, Udmurtia, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan be taught in all general educational institutions and as mandatory educational disciplines.
“Moscow as well as their puppet administration treats the peoples of Idel-Ural as prisoners of the Gulag. We are persecuted and terrorized and they control every manifestation of civil activity. For the civilized world the Kremlin constantly repeats that “they can do anything they like.” They say that no one forbids them to talk in their native language or sing their songs, the main thing they exclude is that it is to be done quietly and not given as a right … Russia can not offer advancement of our peoples. We are offered only a cage, “- sums up one of the founders of the “Free Idel-Ural” movement and the Erzyian poet, Boljan Sires.