Erzya leader delivers a speech in UN blaming Moscow for ethnocide

ХХ session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continues its work. UNPFII is annual event, the opening ceremony took place on April 19 in UN headquarters in New York. In order to prevent COVID-19 UNPFII-2021 is held online in videoconferencing mode.

Syres’ Boliayen, Inyazor (chief elder) of Erzya people, also took part in the work of the Forum. In his statement he criticized policy of Russian Federation on national republics and indigenous peoples. “In the last 30 years Erzya have been degraded from a nation of few million people into a small ethnic group on the brink of complete extinction – without wars, plagues and forced deportations. Our fellow neighbours in Idel-Ural region, namely Mokshans, Udmurts, Mari, Chuvashs, Bashkirs and even Tatars have found themselves in the very similar situation. Native peoples in Russia are forbidden to have their own political parties, their national universities or even to study their mother tongues in secondary schools. Just dances in folk dresses are allowed. Those who stand up to fight for rights of their own people are pursued by police as extremists or sent to compulsory treatment in psychiatric institutions.”, he said. 

This speech have become the very first statement on an UN official event delivered in Erzya language. Inyazor’s office provided simultaneous Erzya-English translation to broadcast the speech via official UN Web TV.

Inyazor called on the international community to strengthen pressure on Russian Federation: “Erzya can survive COVID-19 pandemic, but can’t survive in Russian Federation. Only international pressure on Moscow could protect us from the very last phase of ethnocide.”, he emphasized.

Syres’ Boliayen also provided the Secretariat of the Forum with statement about violation of rights of native peoples in Russian Federation. The document draws UN attention to politically motivated prosecutions of Tatar community centre and Baskort public organization. Numerous prosecutions and repressions against leaders and activists of Tatar, Ingush, Kalmyk and Buriat national movement are described in the statement. Special focus is put on transparent and just investigation of the following crimes: murder of Aslan Zhukov, activist of Adyge Khase – Circassian youth movement, in 2010; murder of Muslim Khashagulgov, Ingush activist, in 2018; murder of Evgenii Yushkov, lappish activist, in 2020; assassination attempt against Evgenii Khamaganov, founder of Erkhe – Buriat human rights movement, in 2015; kidnapping of Rustam Lianov, Ingush activist, in 2018; compulsory punitive psychiatric treatment against Ramilya Saitova, Bashkir activist, and Alexander Gabyshev, Yakut activist, in 2020.

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