Monday, March 14, 2022

Finno-Ugric Activist in Estonia Urges Russia’s Finno-Ugric Peoples Not to Support Putin’s War

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 11 – Oliver Loode, a Finno-Ugric activist who heads the URALIC Center for Indigenous Peoples in Tallinn, argues that the Finno-Ugric peoples who are committed to cooperation among nations related by language and culture must not support Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine.

            What is happening in Ukraine now, the activist says in an appeal to the Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian Federation is “the antithesis of the Finno-Ugric idea. Two related Slavic peoples who could normally communicate and cooperate are in a horrific war” with terrible losses on both sides (

            “Unfortunately,” Loode continues, “Russia’s Finno-Ugrians are being drawn into this war in various ways and it is very probable that among the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia who even without war are becoming ever fewer, there have already been human losses.”

            “Of course,” he says, “every individual has the right to form his own opinion on this war … but I ask you to think about one thing: if you like I consider that linguistic and cultural commonalties should be the basis for dialogue and cooperation and not mutual murders, how can you support the current actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine?”

            “How is it possible on this issue to be for Putin?”

            “I see that certain organizations of the indigenous peoples of Russia including at a minimum one Finno-Ugric body have already publicly spoken in support of this war. This is painful to read because it is obvious that for them the Finno-Ugric idea, the idea that related peoples do not bomb and kill one another, has no importance.”

            Loode continues: “I very much hope that this is an exception and that the greater part of the Finno-Ugric leaders and activists will not go along that path. This war will at some point end and we will again have the chance to continue our common Finno-Ugric activities. Please don’t close off this opportunity.”

             You must remember, he continues, that such “public declarations of support of the war won’t be deleted” when that conflict ends. Instead, they will be remembered. And “now there is a chance to give a positive example on the basis of international Finno-Ugric cooperation how it is possible and necessary for related peoples to live among themselves.”

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