What mass-media publish about Idel-Ural?

Year 2019 just started, and there is already a bunch of texts in media space, dedicated to social and political situation in Idel-Ural in general and activity of our movement in particular. We tried to analyse these publications for better understanding what topics are of key importance in today’s media.

Acquiring of political refugee status in Great Britain by Rafis Kashapov had a broad response not only in Tatarstan but also in federal Russian mass-media. Newspaper Kommersant, reporting about new status of Kashapov, mentioned about lawsuit of co-founder of our movement filed to ECHR. Kashapov demands to recover €20000 from authorities of Russian Federation as compensation for moral damage, inflicted by suspended sentence to Kashapov in 2009 for a publication where he critisizes national policy in Russian Federation. 

On the eve of 2019 Russian-language and English-language mass-media responded to address of our movement to Hungarian nationalistic Jobbik party with a proposal to protect the Finno-Ugric languages of Povolzhye from Moscow. American political analyst Paul Goble in his article for Eurasia Review describes an uncomfortable situation in which Jobbik party have found themselves: reputation of nationalistic party which protects Hungarian interests outside Hungary requires to react on an appeal of Ugro-Finnic peoples from Povolzhye; at the same time criticism of Kremlin’s actions can break up Hungarian right parties with Vladimir Putin. Idel.Realii internet-newspaper reported that originally Jobbik’s top members agreed to give a comment about the appeal of Free Idel-Ural and even set a specific date, when official party position will be published. However soon, without any explanations, Jobbik refused to give any comments. Ágnes Pánczél, speaker of the party, has stopped responding to journalists. Our movement also haven’t received any answer to our appeal.

Round table “Violation of native people’s rights in Russian Federation”, that took place on December 7, 2018 at Committee on foreign affairs of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainan parliament), has also caused a pained reaction of Russian officials. Participants of the event, including seven activists of our movement, called Ukrainian authorities, representatives of Ukraine in international organizations and inter-parliamentary assemblies to appeal to European and world community, raising the question about position of native peoples in Russia and strong necessity of effective defence of their national, cultural and religious rights. On December 26 Maria Zakharova, official representative of Russian MFA, made the special statement. “Once again Ukrainian MP’s are trying to distort realities by incompetent estimations and unprofessional speculations under the guise of defence of native people’s rights”.

Our address to authorities of Republic of Bashkortostan with a request to raise a question about transfer of Kuvandykskiy and Gayskiy districts into the republic during borders delimitation with Orenburg oblast’ has become another one of the most high-profile events. Materials on the topic were published by “Idel.Realii”, “Ekho Moskvy”, “Grani.ru”, “Azatliq Radiosi” and many other web-resources. Russian journalist Vadym Shtepa critisized our initiative in his analytical publication. In Shtepa’s opinion, a question of regaining of the real sovereignty of republics is far more important than of Bashkir-Kazakh border. Also Shtepa criticizes Free Idel-Ural for excessive attention to ethnocultural and language issues, while it is better to make a proper focus on civil self-government. He offers his own solution for external border problem: including of the whole Orenburg oblast’ into the confederative project of Idel-Ural. However in this case, as rightly pointed out in the expert’s publication, the key question still remains open: What possible benefits are here to offer to Orenburg oblast’ for making them into supporters of the confederation project”?.

Opening of a branch of our movement in Great Britain on January 20 had been the subject of lively debates in social networks, first of all Russian-speaking Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. Ramazan Alpaut from Idel.Realii made an interview with Rafis Kashapov, who was elected as the representative of Free Idel-Ural in Great Britain, in this regard . Soon the interview was translated into Tatar and published on Azatliq Radiosi website. 

Free Idel-Ural activists in 2019 continue their struggle for establishment a monument to Inyazor Purgaz, Erzyan national hero, in Saransk. Since our movement exhausted possibilities for any meaningful dialogue with authorities of Republic of Mordovia, we appealed to the OSCE High commissioner on national minorities with a request to facilitate with solution to the issue. The office of High commissioner already confirmed receipt of our appeal. Saransk officials also reacted to the request. Mordovian news portal SM news published a kind of “exposing article” entitled funny enough: Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples of Russia appreciate unity of the country”. Svetlan Yudina, author of the publication, tries to convinces her readers that ideas of Free Idel-Ural are not widely supported among the population of Republic of Mordovia. Yudina labels the very idea of independence of six republics of Povolzhye as a marginal one, but at the same time, just in case, also writes quite a long opus about how much native people appreciate territorial integrity of Russia and support correct and progressive course of federal government and, of course, President Putin personally. Author summarizes her material by a very comical conclusion: “Erzyans and Mokshans do not need state sovereignty, for which representatives of Free Idel-Ural civic movement are fighting so fiercely”.

Soon after another corruption scandal, related to the peculation of 3 million roubles from the budget of Republic of Mordovia into bonuses for Aleksei Nemov and Svetlana Khorkina, both organizers of sporting masterclass and Edinaya Rossiya party members, our movement again became the subject of media attention in Mordovia. Stolitsa S, a rag paper popular in Erzyano-Mokshania, publishes a large article entitled Shades of Purgaz in February 5 issue. Nikita Vershinin’s publication was presented to readers as some kind of independent journalistic investigation. Instead, mister Vershinin stigmatizes Free Idel-Ural founders all together and one by one. Here is very short list of accusations: russophobia, nationalism, cooperation with Ukrainian and Baltic nationalistic movements, swindle, fraud, murders of Russian-speaking children in Donbass, work in the interests of Western intelligence services and others like that. Author was so concentrated on revealing part, that completly messed up on the persons he was writing about. Mr. Vershinin surprisingly combined together personal and biographical information of both Nafis Kashapov and Rafis Kashapov, thus creating some third personality, provided with the biographic lines of both these people. Also the author of the article mixed up countries of permanent residence of founders of our movement, intentionally (or not) made a wrong statement about receipt of political asylum by Rafis Kashapov (even about country of asylum), wrongly mentioned Rostyslav Martyniuk’s job, provided inaccurate information about Syres Boliayen’s service in Ukrainian army and so on. According to information provided by our source in administration of head of Republic of Mordovia, the publication in Stolitsa S, which was prepared for publication in a hurry, is a reaction on Free Idel-Ural ‘s appeal to OSCE High commissioner on national minorities, because it does not picture Vladimir Volkov, the head of Republic of Mordovia, in the very good light because of his neglect to solve simple yet important problems of Erzyan community. We are waiting for new “exposures” and “investigations” in Mordovian press. It will happen as soon as it will be necessary to distract attention of population of the republic from the duty “sawing” of budgetary millions. 

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