The situation of the Mari minority in the Russian Federation
Doc. 10548 12 May 2005
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Sasi and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
The Republic of Mari is located some 800 kilometers east from Moscow on both sides of the river Volga in the Federation of Russia. The Mari people represent one of several Fenno-Ugrian minorities, whose language and culture risk to disappear.
The general census carried out in the Russian Federation in 2002 revealed that the number of persons belonging to the Fenno-Ugrian minorities in Russia are diminishing. The trend can be seen with regard to all Fenno-Ugrian minorities, but it is especially alarming in the Mari republic. According to the 2002 census the population of the Mari republic is 728000, of whom 47% are Russian, 43% belong to the Mari minority and 10% other ethnic groups. The Mari people are indigenous people who have lived for centuries in their own land, and have later become a minority in their area.
The situation has deteriorated in recent years and in particular after the election of Leonid Markelov as President of the Republic in 2001. In December 2004 Leonid Markelov was re-elected President of the Mari Republic for a second four year period. Accusations of fraud in connection with the election have further deteriorated the political and social atmosphere after the elections. News have been reported from the area that the use of the Mari language in media (radio, television and the written press) and in education has been reduced and become increasingly difficult. Officials and teachers belonging to the Mari minority have been dismissed from the posts in administration and the freedom of press reduced.
President Markelov has refused to discuss with representatives of the Mari organisations. In February 2005 Vladimir Kozlov (whose name in the Mari languag ... Read more