Leader of Erzya delegation to VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples appeals to Estonian foreign minister

Syreś Boläeń, Inyazor and leader of Erzya delegation to VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples appealed to Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.

Erzya chief elder informes Estonian minister on the challenges faced by Erzya delegation.

“Atäń Ezemes (erz. Council of elders) of Erzya people elected their delegates to the Congress as early as January 2020, and further informed Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples about these decisions. Just to get any feedback from the Committee we were compelled to make repeated phone calls to Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples and Fenno-Ugria Foundation as well as to send repeated requests in written form. And so, when in April of this year Assosiation of Fino-Ugric Peoples of Russia (AFUN) made another politically motivated demarche, we were finally informed on the matter. They said, that Erzya delegation should contact with “represantatives of Mordovian people”, namely Nikolai Khramov, ex-Deputy Minister of culture and tourism in Russian government, and Mikhail Yakunchev, a member of AFUN Presidency”, – Syreś Boläeń resents by the response.

Erzyans asked Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonian foreign minister, to ascertain the exact formal status of Erzya delegation at VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples, to inform about any formal restrictions to visit Estonia by any member of Erzya delegation, to facilitate with consultations on procedural issues necessary for proper registration.

“I made an effort to explain to Madame Minister, that Council of elders is accountable to Erzya people, and we do not coordinate our decisions neither with the ministry of culture of Republic of Mordovia nor with AFUN. We are asking not to send us in such places”

«In my view the Congress is the place to gather delegates of national representative bodies, public activists, community leaders. This is the site to discuss problems and challenges we face together, this is the place to share our experience. According to Russian officials and bureaucrats it’s everything and always OK, it’s nothing to worry about. They say that discussion on any problems is necessarily “politization” and “hand of Washington”. These Russian officials don’t need the Congress as a place to deliver a speech, they have enough other locations for that. Their speeches are practically identical, we have heard these dozens of times. I understand that Estonian foreign affairs ministry doesn’t organize VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. However Congress is a respectable international event passing on territory of Estonia. The Estonian State is a receiving party. In the conditions when the Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples redirects Erzya delegation to Mordovian officials under direct control of Moscow, I can see the only effective solution, namely to apply directly to MFA of Estonia. I made an effort to explain to Madame Minister, that Council of elders is accountable to Erzya people, and we do not coordinate our decisions neither with the ministry of culture of Republic of Mordovia nor with AFUN. We are asking not to send us in such places”, – Erzya Inyazor comments.

In April 2021 Assosiation of Fino-Ugric Peoples of Russia (AFUN) had officially withdrawn from participation in VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples. AFUN accused Congress of politicizing and “playing a finno-ugric card” to put pressure on Russia.

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