The fire of resistance is still burning in the Erzya people, the Erzya and Moksha have not yet been completely converted into “Mordovians” with an aim to turn them into ordinary “Russians” in the final stage. There are still intellectuals who, contrary to the state line, declare, “We are separate, we are original, we are not going to forget our language, customs and culture! The soul of our people requires freedom of expression, we will not be satisfied with folklore groups and exhibitions of applied folk art! We will fight.”
How do the Erzya people and other Finno-Ugric peoples fight? What can they do, squeezed in the grip of repression and fenced in by a palisade of anti-opposition laws? An administrative protocol for an astronomical amount for an average not rich intellectual, a second protocol, a criminal case “for discrediting” – a simple and tough scheme to break off those who disagree.
The Proletarsky District Court of Saransk yesterday, November 21, found the Erzya activist Nadezhda Rodionova guilty of “discrediting” the army (Part 1 of Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation) and fined 30,000 rubles. An administrative case was opened for publishing a video with an appeal by Yevgeniy Chetvergov (Nuyan Vidyaz), the Erzya writer to the Erzya national congress held in Estonia. Nadezhda Rodionova is a leading methodologist at the state budgetary cultural institution “Republican House of Folk Art”. According to her, she “would like the Erzya people, language and culture to be preserved, so that our children and grandchildren would know that there is such a people, language. The language is disappearing. My heart hurts that we are disappearing.”
Rodionova could not answer the question of how she intends to pay the fine if the court decision comes into force. According to the activist, her pension is a little more than 8,500 rubles. I really hope that the public – both those who consider themselves Erzyan Mastor, and just decent people of the Republic of Mordovia of any nationality – will help the activist with the collection of money to pay the Jesuit fine, almost three times her pension. After all, no heroism is needed here, even publicity is not needed, just silently transfer money in any way. Perhaps for someone this will be the first step towards realizing his position on the national question. Someone from the Erzyans or representatives of other Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian Federation needs to take over the organization of this event and conduct it carefully, thoughtfully, with a safety net. With motivation “out of pity for an elderly person, a colleague who made an unfortunate miscalculation.” There is nothing shameful here, such a wording is acceptable in the fight against the imperial leviathan, and no one has canceled military cunning. The main thing is to save the fighter who went on the attack.
“Just think, an event!” someone indifferent will say. But this is, in fact, the act of the Erzya Danko. People like N. Radionova and E. Chetvergov sacrifice themselves in order to wake up those who are asleep, unable to independently understand the goals and meaning of the struggle. Someone has to light the road to freedom. Let’s remember the representative of another hero of the Finno-Ugric people – the Udmurt scientist Albert Razin, who on September 10, 2019, in protest against the Russification policy, committed self-immolation near the building of the State Council of Udmurtia. Oh, they did not save the fighter!
His sacrifice was not in vain – he became a living torch dispersing the darkness of imperial oppression. He is remembered, will be remembered, no matter how long the struggle for national liberation continues. But I want the imperial Russian courts, military enlistment offices, police departments and other government bodies to burn – symbols of the oppression of the Erzyans, and not the best representatives of the people facing the threat of extinction.
There are, there are people among the Erzyans who are ready to fight and have not bowed their heads. They are raising the torch of protest both in the Russian Federation and abroad, fighting the empire with words and weapons. There are many of them, but more are needed to reach critical mass. Such adherents of national freedom as N. Radionova and E. Chetvergov will become an example for creating a core of national intellectuals who raise burning questions in all legal tribunes. And then one can expand the circle of Erzyans, who require an answer to the asked questions with understanding and consciousness. The ideas of A. Razin, N. Radionova and E. Chetvergov should attract the maximum number of like-minded people, in the language of the classics – “master the masses.”
The opposition center of struggle already exists, a month and a half ago in the Estonian city of Otepää the Erzya National Congress was held, convened in exile because of the intensifying repressions in Russia. During the congress, the delegates adopted resolutions on new goals and objectives of the national movement, which include the struggle for independence, the assertion of desired borders, as well as the key principles for building a new state entity. This was stated by Syres Bolyaen, inyazor Erzya. The national representative bodies (Kirdiyur) are established, headed personally by the chief elder (inyazor). Popularizing the decisions of the congress is the immediate task of the internal Russian Erzya opposition. Stretching out a living thread between the government of Erzyan Mastor in exile and the Finno-Ugric patriotic intellectuals in the Russian Federation, the Erzyans are acquiring a new weapon in the struggle for national survival in modern conditions.
We would like to finish our conversation with an appeal to the Erzyans and other Finno-Ugric peoples living in the territory controlled by the Russian Federation, “Erzyans, Mokshans, Udmurts, do not become Russians! Fight for the right to be yourselves! In any way support each other in the fight! Your cause is right, victory will be yours!’’