On October 11, Syres’ Boliayen’, chief elder (Inyazor) of Erzyan people, started his visit to Estonia.
Erzyan leader arrived to Tallinn where he plans to take part in celebration of Finno-Ugric days passing annually in October. As Inyazor’s press service informs program of the visit provides meetings with representatives of Erzyan diaspora, Estonian politicians, public figures and journalists.
Syres’ Boliayen’ began his visit with the conference named “Indigenous peoples and languages in the globalized world. Challenges, opportunities and threats” which took place in Institute of Estonian language in Tallinn. Over hundred experts and scientists from Estonia, Finland, Russia, Latvia and Sweden took part in the conference.
Sven-Erik Soosaar , as a conference moderator and board member of Fenno-Ugria foundation, mentioned that the current event aims to raise awareness of the public about indigenous peoples and their languages and also to contribute to efforts on their preservation.
Syres’ Boliayen’ took part in discussion about modern situation of Finno-Ugric nations and quoted the words of Milan Kundera, Czech-born French writer: “Revival of Czeches as nation is not a merit of military force or political talent. Mighty intellectual effort is the cornerstone here to recover literary Czech language”.
Erzyan Inyazor considers that actual satisfaction of national and cultural necessities of indigenous peoples in Russian Federation is reduced to folklore festivals with dances and singing in national suits. “As soon as we declare about our problems, as soon as we create public associations for protection of our legal rights – we are pronounced “extremists” or “foreign agents” by Russian authorities”, – Boliayen’ explains. – Today Erzya need this “mighty intellectual effort” that Kundera mentioned. Such effort is impossible without own national intellectuals. However where will these national intellectuals come from? Establishments of science and culture, namely universities, academies of sciences, theatres and cinema, publishing houses and media are the cradle, where national intellectuals are born. Exactly these centers must form our national Erzyan perspective to the world. Here we must discuss aims and tasks of Erzyan national movement and challenges Erzyan people face as well as ways of their overcoming”.
Syres’ Boliayen’ held several meetings with well-known Estonians who also visited the conference. On these meeting Inyazor informed Estonian public about increasing russification in education as well as about interference of Russian authorities in the work of Erzyan Atyan’ Ezem (council of elders) and about problems with financing of magazines in Erzyan language. Inyazor also distributed English-language brochure named “Erzyan national movement” to inform Conference participants about history and culture of Erzya people and also about resistance of Erzyan activists against assimilation politics conducted by Moscow.