The third Saturday of October is marked across the Finno-Ugric world as the Day of Kindred Finno-Ugric Peoples. In many regions, the day has extended into a Finno-Ugric week and month.  Hence, the 2nd edition of URALIC Beat features three stories related to the kindred people's month:  interview with Arvo Maling, the new elder of Mulgi people, who next year will represent Abja-Paluoja, the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2021; an article about Raisiya Sungurova, the Mari poet and community leader in Yugra; and a summary of Artyom Malykh's analytical presentation about Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia.  
"Elder's role is to promote Mulgi cultural distinctiveness and image" - interview with Arvo Maling, the new Mulgi elder

Arvo Maling was handed over the title of Mulgi elder on October 12, 2020, in Mustla. He will keep the title for two years. This means that Arvo will play an important role in 2021 when Abja-Paluoja, the historical capital of Mulgimaa (Mulgi land) will serve as the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2021. URALIC Centre spoke to Arvo Maling with the goal to introduce him and the Mulgi people to the wider Finno-Ugric community.

Arvo Maling, congratulations on becoming the new Mulgi elder! Tell us something about yourself and your Mulgi identity.

I am an indigenous Mulgi. My parents spoke Mulgi language with me and passed it on to me. I live in a farm that was bought out by my ancestors 153 years ago from a [Baltic-German] landlord, which is where my grandfather built a Mulgi mansion. I am a veterinary physician and business manager by training. But I have been active municipal leadership in Mulgimaa for 27 years, including for 17 years as the head of municipality. Right now I earn my living with entrepreneurship. I have been a folk dancer all my life.  Read more

Raisiya Sungurova: "Mari people in Yugra are on the land of our kindred peoples"

As reported by Fenno-Ugria NPO (Estonia), Raisiya Sungurova was awarded the Lennart Meri’s Waterfowl prize for her role as Mari community leader in the Yugra region.  Raisiya Sungurova is a prominent Mari poet, who has been awarded several national and international prizes for her work. She is also a leader of the Mari community in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Yugra, where thousands of Mari migrants live. After graduating from the Mari State University, Sungurova moved with her husband to Yugra, a land of kindred Finno-Ugric peoples Khanty and Mansi, thousand miles away from their native places, to start a new life. Soon after arriving in Yugra, Sungurova established her own Mari people’s organization, Mariy Ushem (The Mari Union), in the city of Surgut, bringing together hundreds of Mari people who had moved to this new "promised land" looking for better opportunities.  Read more 

Artyom Malykh: "Decline of standardized literary Uralic languages will coexist with the promotion of dialects as standardized languages"  

On 21 October, Artyom Malykh, well-known Udmurt activist and founder of Uralistica social network, gave a talk on Uralic peoples of Russia at Sugrifest, a festival devoted to the Days of kindred Finno-Ugric peoples organized by the Finland-Russia Association (Suomi-Venäjä Seura). Artyom gave an overview of the Uralic peoples and their state of affairs in different domains from political representation and their language preservation. He grouped all Uralic peoples of Russia into 3 clusters.  

The first one is a group formed by peoples of Finnic origin living on the North-West of Russia. They are at the edge of extinction and their languages are almost lost – except for Karelians, who have their autonomy, other ethnic groups have neither autonomies nor political representation on their native lands. Read more 

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