MINELRES: SURI press release: Ethnic Minority Organisation Threatened in Russia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Aug 19 08:59:32 2005

Original sender: Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples <press@suri.ee>

Press release                 Tallinn, 17 August 2005
For immediate release

Tallinn, Estonia
Phone/fax:      (+372) 644 9270
E-mail:         suri@suri.ee


The authorities of the Republic of Mari El, Russian Federation, are
planning to sue leaders of Mari Ushem (The Mari Union), the organisation
of indigenous population, for speaking at a public meeting and for an
interview given to the Finnish television on Sunday, August 14.

Under the orders of the Russian-dominated administration of Mari El, a
group of lawyers analysed video recordings made during the meeting and
concluded that the opinions expressed by speakers as well as by those
who gave the interview discredited the situation in Mari El and
slandered the local administration.

The meeting held on Sunday was to welcome the arriving participants of
the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies, held this time
in the Mari capital, and to attract attention to the interethnic
problems in Mari El.

A couple of hours before the beginning of the meeting, the area in front
of the Drama House in Yoshkar-Ola was blocked with road-building
machinery with motors working at full speed to prevent people from
gathering and speaking. The picture story of the meeting is on the web
page http://www.mari.ee/rus/news/polit/2005/08/09.htm.

This June, former head of the Zvenigorod district Mikhail Zherebtsov and
lecturer of the Pedagogical Institute Vsevolod Zaytsev were found guilty
in libel by the local court. It was their reward for having a
conversation with Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian ambassadors who
visited Mari El.


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