SCANDAL. Estonians demonstratively leave congress in Khanty-Mansiysk Publication time: 29 June 2008, 11:03
The Estonian delegation headed by the country's President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, has left a forum for Finno-Ugric nations in protest at comments made by the Chairman of Russian Duma's (Parliament's) International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, who said that Estonia's ethnic policies are "unprincipled".
"One can't be solving problems in such a way, so that they affect the aggravation of ethnic conflicts," Russian official said when he was complaining about the behavior of European Parliament when supporting the Estonian authorities.
"It is pure politics. Unlike other states on former territories of our country, Russia has no need in special policies towards various ethnic groups. We have no problem with people of different ethnicities getting along with one another and living in a good-neighborly relations," Kosachev said.
At that moment the entire Estonian delegation headed by the country's President got up from the parterre and demonstratively left the auditorium of Yugra-Classic Concert Hall, used as a conference room by the Congress. The delegates smiled and waved goodbye to the audience.
The audience started applauding, and the Russian parliament member, who was giving a speech, said, "I regard your applauds as support for the negative assessment of unprincipled policies of certain states of the Finno-Ugric world. The goal of the Congress is to really assist the people on the problems that they bring up, and use the forum as a field for cooperation instead of inflaming ethnically-based conflicts."
The Fifth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples opened in Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia on Saturday. It goes under the motto "Identity and Changing World". The event was attended by representatives of all Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia, as well as delegations from Finland, Hungary and Estonia.
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