On Wednesday, June 16, the chief elder of Erzyan people (Inyazor) Syreś Boläeń held a briefing for the Estonian media.
The event took place in front of the entrance to the Estonian National Museum in Tartu, where the opening ceremony of the VIII World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples is taking place.
The chief elder of Erzyan people stated that the World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples is in deep crisis and needs to be reformed: “This is not the first World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples I am attending. I am forced to state that the Congress, as a platform for meetings and dialogue between the Finno-Ugric peoples, is in deep crisis. It is becoming a European analogue of the AFUN forums: solemn meetings that are more protocol in nature. At these meetings, they avoid sharp topics and do not want to irritate the Russian Federation, no matter what policy it may have towards indigenous peoples. The Congress is less and less like a spokesman for the Finno-Ugric peoples and is more and more reminiscent of the Soviet Party Congress.”
Syreś Boläeń believes that the Congress is not only able to solve the problems of the Finno-Ugric peoples, but also to raise and discuss such problems.
“The challenges facing all Finno-Ugric peoples today, and first of all the stateless peoples of the Russian Federation, do not need concerts, joint photos in ethnic costumes, but international instruments of pressure on Moscow,” the Erzya leader said.
Inyazor proposed to make a number of changes to the regulations, which in his opinion will allow to reform the Congress, in particular:
– The national representative bodies of the Finno-Ugric peoples do not require the approval or coordination with public authorities when forming delegations to Congress.
– Delegates to the Congress cannot be officials – only public activists. Officials may attend Congress only as observers.
– The composition of delegations on the Congress opening day should be published.
– Every nation should have the right to speak from the rostrum of the Congress and have the opportunity to express their problems, their own vision of their solution.
The Erzya elder also appealed to the Estonian authorities to respond as soon as possible to the appeal of the leaders of the national movements of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation to the Riigikogu: “We addressed this appeal to the previous President of the Riigikogu, Henn Põlluaas, in May 2020. Unfortunately, we have never received an answer. Some of the signatories of this appeal, those who remain in Russia, have already been persecuted and oppressed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. I ask the Estonian authorities not to delay the answer, because people risk their lives and freedom to turn to the Estonian brothers. We expect the brothers to hear us.”
We will remind, that on June 1, it became known that the Erzya delegation would not take part in the VIII World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples. The day before the registration closed, the Congressional Advisory Committee said that the official letter from The chief elder of Erzyan people was not a sufficient basis for registering delegates, and that the Erzya people have to provide scan of the meeting minutes with voting results. Erzya had attempted for the registration as Congress delegates since January 2020. Eventually, some Erzya activists came to the event as observers, without the right to vote and the opportunity to make suggestions in the final statements.