June 28, 2008
June 28 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the 5th World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples provided an opportunity not only for a serious discussion of pressing issues but also for joyful meetings, exchange of views and plans, “bringing together representatives of different peoples from different countries”.
“Over 16 years that these congressed are held, they have become truly international events. They help strengthen public and personal contacts as evidenced by the fact that the presidents of four countries where Finno-Ugric peoples live are attending this congress,” Medvedev said at a reception for the congress participants in the oil town of Khanty-Mansiisk on Saturday on Saturday.
“This congress reflects the big interest of the Finno-Ugric peoples in their roots,” he said.
“It is not incidental that the congress is taking place on the land of ancient Yugra that is home to people of different ethnic backgrounds who live respecting and supporting each other through civilised interethnic dialogue. These are fundamental conditions for comprehensive consensus in our country,” he said.
He noted that a considerable part of the Finno-Ugric world had been historically and geographically connected with Russia; of 24 Finno-Ugric and Samoyed peoples, 19 live in Russia’s five republics (Karelia, Komi, Mari-El, Mordovia, Udmurtia), two areas (Perm and Krasnoyarsk), and two autonomous areas (Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets). Representatives of these peoples also live in many other regions of Russia .
Finnish President Tarja Halonen, Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom , and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves attended the congress together with Medvedev.