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Students from Estonia Forced to Leave the Marij-El Republic


On the evening of July 21st the 28th Finno-Ugric expedition of the Estonian Academy of Arts, which had arrived in the Marij-El city Kozmodemyansk, was expelled from the republic. Participants of the expedition included 17 undergraduate students of the Estonian Academy of Arts, a Belgian photographer and the director of the Museum of Anthropology in Munich.

As a reason for the expulsion served the fact that the Marij-El Ministry of Culture was not informed about the expedition in advance. Furthermore, the Marij-El authorities declared that because of the Benderiada festival that is being carried out in Kozmodemyansk they cannot guarantee the safety of the expeditions participants.

On June 21st the expedition arrived in the Republic of Chuvashiya. On July 21st they went on to the Republic of Marij-El. The task of the expedition was to study the national culture of the Chuvashiyans, which is similar to the culture of the people of Marij-El, and to compare these two cultures. On the basis of the collected material they were going to organize an exhibition in the Estonian National Library and to carry out a conference.

On the threshold of the 10th international congress of Finno-Ugrism, which is supposed to take place August 15th-21st in the capital of the Marij-El Republic, Ioshkar-Ola, everything that happened creates a very unfavorable background that does not blend well with the practice of cooperation of the Finno-Ugric peoples.

Interethnic relations in the Marij-El Republic have been aggravated this year. The Marij-El government for its part has made every attempt to justify what happened. The publishers which are controlled by the government publish hostile articles against Estonia. On May 12th the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning human rights violations and the pitiable situation of the Marij language.

[29.07.2005]

Source: iamik.ru

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