From: Valeri Kalabugin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 4:41 PM
Subject: Press release
PRESS RELEASE Tallinn, 9 March 2005
For immediate release
ESTONIAN INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
phone +372 630 7477
fax +372 631 1239
JEWISH COMMUNITY SUPPORTING
THE OPPRESSED MARI MINORITY IN RUSSIA
The Jewish Community of Estonia (JCE) issued the following statement in support of the oppressed Mari minority in Russia:
The Jewish Community of Estonia expresses its support to the Maris’ effort to preserve their language, culture and ethnic identity.
We find the forced assimilation and violation of the principles of democracy by Russia against the Maris impermissible.
Chair, Jewish Community of Estonia
The Maris are a 600 thousand strong people living in Russia, just some 500 miles to the east from Moscow. They have their autonomous republic named Mari El. Due to constant russification, the share of Maris in their republic is only 43,5% today. Opposition in Mari El is brutally suppressed. During the last years, many brilliant journalists, opposition leaders and public figures of Mari origin were murdered or brutally beaten with the silent approval of local authorities who are supposedly behind these attacks.
This February, the Mari El Association in Moscow appealed to the world community for help, pointing at the “climax of political terror” in the republic. The responce came from a group of American, British, Swedish, Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian scientists and public figures, including prominent politicians, European MPs and ex-presidents of Nordic and Baltic countries. They addressed the Russian government with a joint appeal calling Moscow to put an end to attacks on members of the democratic opposition in the Republic of Mari El. This appeal is open on the website
http://www.ugri.info/mari for everyone to sign.
Please find additional information about endangered Uralic peoples on the
Member of the Board
See also in this blog: Mari Demonstration