Komi-Permyak activists, residents of the first small non-Russian federal subject to be folded into a larger and predominantly ethnic Russian region as part of Vladimir Putin’s amalgamation policy, say that this process, despite the promises Moscow made at the time, is leading to “the cultural genocide” of their small nation.
Because that result violates Russian laws, the country’s constitution, and Moscow’s commitments under international treaties of various kinds, the activists in the last ten days have stepped up their campaign both within Russia and abroad to reverse the results of 2005 amalgamation of their region into Perm Kray — if not indeed the amalgamation itself.
At the end of last week, Marina Belavina, an activist of the Komi-Permyak national movement, distributed an appeal to the Russian and Finno-Ugric media describing the terrible conditions the Komis in the new Perm Kray now find themselves and promising to mobilize international support to change their status.
“We consider,” she wrote, “that such actions contradict state policy and violate the rights of national minorities and human rights. We will speak out in defense of district and urban cultural institutions” now “under threat.” And “we intend to attract the attention to this problem of all fraternal Finno-Ugric regions both in Russia and abroad.”
Belavina’s declaration served as the basis of an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Russian officials in Perm and Moscow. Signed by more than 100 people already, the letter denounces what the Perm kray officials are doing as “cultural genocide.”
Putin’s Regional Amalgamation Scheme Leads to “Cultural Genocide”
Paul Goble, 16.03.2009