Tag Archive for 'Leonid Markelov'

Finnish Broadcasting Company program MOT covers Mari-El

Finnish Broadcasting Company’s MOT program covered Mari-El during their most recent show this Monday.

Unfortunately the transcript is only available in Finnish at the moment, but the program covered most aspects of Russian oppression of Mari-El culture brilliantly.

The unsolved murders and other violent acts towards Mari-El activists were thoroughly discussed. The journalists wanted to interview Mari-El President Leonid Markelov over the issue, but their interview request was never answered. The little dictator has a history of animosity towards Finnish media, so it’s not surprising at all. He put his propaganda machine at news12.ru in full swing though, and the questions sent along with the interview request somehow ended up on the pro Russian propaganda website with “commentary” from the morons running the site. Apparently asking about how violent acts towards Mari people never seem to result in arrests is “preparing for another Finnish provocation of Russia.” Well, you can’t really fault the logic of neo-nazis, simply because there is none.

Leonid Markelov is in good company for not commenting on the story. The Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, joined him in the club. It’s interesting to see Finnish Government staying silent on this issue. Apparently criticizing Russia is just as “delicate” as criticizing Soviet Union once was for Finnish Government officials.
The program also investigates some curious “public works” projects in the Republic. Mari-El is one of the poorest regions of Russia, but yet the President is proudly building a 2nd swimming hall (not a small one either) and a third hockey arena (the region’s best hockey teams do not play in any major league in Russia). Well, bread and circuses worked for Romans, why not for a small-time communist wannabe dictator in Russia.

The program covered the cultural oppression as well mentioning mari language school closures and firings of Mari activists from their jobs.

All in all, the show was one of the best, if not the best, coverage over the Mari-El issue in recent times. Kudos to MOT and the Finnish Broadcasting Company for showing it.


How to stop the press from interviewing your citizens – Soviet style

A reporter for Helsingin Sanomat, the most important Finnish newspaper, visited Mari-El in October 2005 and tried interviewing local Mari-El activists. The interviews of the most prominent activists weren’t exactly successful due to the active harrassment from President Leonid Markelov’s goons.

The article describes how three of the interviews the reporter was able to secure were interrupted Gestapo style by the local (Russian) officials. From fabricated criminal charges to eviction procedures that just had to be scheduled at the same time with the interview.

If you want to oppress your people, couldn’t you find something slightly less transparent than harrassing them when a foreign reporter is visiting? I mean, you can’t possibly harrass the foreign reporter when he’s back in his home country to stop him from writing about it.

How about paying neo nazis to beat the living daylights out of whoever you want beaten? Oh, wait, Markelov’s been there and done that, too.

The Russians clamoring for old the Soviet era must truly be happy these days. At least the authoritarian dictatorship is well established again.


Vladimir Kozlov, a Mari-El activist, illegally held inside Russia

The news article on the Information Center of Finno-Ugric Peoples website continues to document the persecution of Mari-El activists in Russia.

The latest trouble leaves Vladimir Kozlov unable to leave Russia. The Russian authorities have purposely delayed issuing a new passport for Mr. Kozlov to replace the one that was torn by Russian border officials the last time he tried leaving the country. This is unconstitutional in the new “democratic” Russia.

I’ve written about Vladimir Kozlov’s troubles with the Russian dictatorship before:
Mari-El activists still persecuted in Russia

English translation of the Estonian language news article appended.


Mari opposition leader barred exit from Russia

Russian authorities are refusing to issue a new passport to Mr Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the Mari Congress (“Mari Ushem”) — principal opposition force in the Republic of Mari-El, — thus preventing him from attending an international conference on minority rights in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, over the weekend.

Mr Kozlov’s problems with his passport began in May 2006, when Russian border guards in Vyborg removed him from a train bound for Helsinki, Finland, where he was to attend a summer course for museum workers. The official reason for the move was that Mr Kozlov’s passport was torn. Russian border officials had ripped two pages off Mr Kozlov’s passport, thus rendering the document invalid.

After this incident, Mr Kozlov has failed to obtain a new passport, despite several attempts. Under Russian law, the maximum period for issuing passports is one month. Russia retains a two-passport system, in which an “internal passport” is required in dealings with officials within Russia and a “foreign passport” for travel outside Russia. Refusing foreign passports was a common practice in the Soviet Union for preventing undesired individuals from establishing contacts abroad.

Mari national leader barred from taking part in minority rights seminar Finno-Ugric Peoples’ Information Centre/ Tallinn, 06 Sep 2006

Fabricated criminal charges Russia’s latest weapon against Mari-El activists

The Russian Federation and its little dictator wannabe, Leonid Markelov, are once again persecuting Mari-El activists. As if directly from the Oppression 101 text book by Stalin and Hitler, the oppression proceeds in a truly predictable way.

Last year it was near fatal beat downs, and today it’s using the judicial system with fabricated criminal charges. I wonder when (if) the trial starts, if Markelov decides to dress the guilty, um, defendants in oversized clothing. It’s also in the same Oppression 101 text book.

Vitaly Tanakov and Nina Maksimova are both charged with “incitement to ethnic, racial or religious enmity”. Apparently promoting Mari-El culture and cultural events is streng verboten. Human rights organization are all saying there is no justification in bringing up charges against Mr. Tanakov and Ms. Maksimova.

The Markelov dictatorship is also stepping up the garden variety kind of harassment of Mari-El activists. Anonymous phone calls, interrogations and harassing relatives and children of Mari-El activists have been common place in recent times.

I guess one should be “happy” the recent terror campaign hasn’t involved the use of violence towards Mari-El activists, but that’s just a matter of time, again.

Putin is all talk when it comes to human rights. The two-faced lieing bastard lets his henchmen crack down on ethnic minorities in lesser states like Mari-El while he can prance around in Moscow introducing smoke and mirror PR statements pretending to be the patron saint of human rights in Russia making friends with western countries.

I hope the western countries are not so easily deceived.

Update: The news made it to USInfo as well: usinfo.state.gov

I’ve written about Russia’s human rights violations against Mari-El activists before:
The IHF issues a stinging report on human rights situation in the Republic of Mari El
Mari-El activists still persecuted in Russia
The people of Mari being systematically persecuted by Russians


Mari-El activists still persecuted in Russia

Vladimir Kozlov, the editor of the Mari newspaper Kudo+Kodu and Chairman of the Mari Council, was denied entry to Finland for attending a seminar of ethnic museum leaders.

The Finnish Embassy in Moscow had granted him a visa, but when Mr. Kozlov tried to leave Russia, the Russian border officials claimed his passport had all of its even numbered pages missing.

One can only guess how the pages went missing after Mr. Kozlov handed the passport to the officials.

Mr. Kozlov was badly beaten in February 2005 by “unknown” assailants. Nobody has been arrested, charged or convicted for his near fatal beating.


news12.ru is back as news12.info

The pro-russian propaganda site news12.ru is back as news12.info.

Looks like Vladimir Jashmetov from New Torial, Mari-El decided to resurrect the anti-Mari site after it dissappeared last February. news12.info has been registered on Feb 24th, immediately after news12.ru dissappeared. That lends credibility to the theory that the site was becoming a political liability, and the site owners were commanded to move it away from the .ru domain.

Here’re the domain registration records for news12.info:

Domain ID:D12193850-LRMS
Domain Name:NEWS12.INFO
Created On:24-Feb-2006 08:28:09 UTC
Last Updated On:25-Feb-2006 17:06:08 UTC
Expiration Date:24-Feb-2007 08:28:09 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R139-LRMS)
Registrant ID:tuyryRijJHJIUlpG
Registrant Name:Vladimir Jashmetov
Registrant Organization:none
Registrant Street1:st. Mehanizatorov, 14-2
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:New Torial
Registrant State/Province:Mary El
Registrant Postal Code:424001
Registrant Country:RU
Registrant Phone:+7.8362631212
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:vladimiryg@rambler.ru
Admin ID:tuyryRijJHJIUlpG
Admin Name:Vladimir Jashmetov
Admin Organization:none
Admin Street1:st. Mehanizatorov, 14-2
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:New Torial
Admin State/Province:Mary El
Admin Postal Code:424001
Admin Country:RU
Admin Phone:+7.8362631212
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:vladimiryg@rambler.ru
Billing ID:tuyryRijJHJIUlpG
Billing Name:Vladimir Jashmetov
Billing Organization:none
Billing Street1:st. Mehanizatorov, 14-2
Billing Street2:
Billing Street3:
Billing City:New Torial
Billing State/Province:Mary El
Billing Postal Code:424001
Billing Country:RU
Billing Phone:+7.8362631212
Billing Phone Ext.:
Billing FAX:
Billing FAX Ext.:
Billing Email:vladimiryg@rambler.ru
Tech ID:tuyryRijJHJIUlpG
Tech Name:Vladimir Jashmetov
Tech Organization:none
Tech Street1:st. Mehanizatorov, 14-2
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:New Torial
Tech State/Province:Mary El
Tech Postal Code:424001
Tech Country:RU
Tech Phone:+7.8362631212
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:vladimiryg@rambler.ru


The IHF issues a stinging report on human rights situation in the Republic of Mari El

Earlier this month the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) released a stinging report on the human rights situation in the Republic of Mari El.

The report starts with a good summary of the history of Mari El and its current socioeconomical situation.

The report accuses The Russian Federation of escalating harrassment of Mari national activists. The report cites a mountain of evidence of discrimination, harrassment and violence against anyone trying to advance the Mari national identity.

Specifically the report mentions all recent state elections of having been rigged in favor of politicians controlled by Moscow. The report also outlines the different ways the current presidential administration of Mari El is repressing the Mari language and culture by way of economical, political, cultural and violent repression.

As recently as August 27th 2005, yet another prominent Mari activist was beaten so severely that he suffered multiple fractured bones. As usual the assailants are “unknown” to the local police. It’s amazing how many violent crimes in this small country are committed by people nobody knows about.

The report concludes with a number of recommendations to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mari El and the international community. The recommendations to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mari El encourage more dialogue with Mari activists, stopping of all forms of harrassment, introducing political reforms and such. None of those recommendations are going to get implemented as long as the Soviet era tyrants rule Mari El and Moscow.

The report asks the international community to hold the Russian Federation accountable to the numerous international obligations the Russian Federation in terms of freedom of expression, assembly and association as well as preserving living minority cultures and languages in any country. None of that is likely to also make it into the agendas of any visiting statesman, with the possible exception of the statesmen from Finland and Estonia, of course.

I’ve written about the human rights situation in Mari El before:
The people of Mari being systematically persecuted by Russians
Pro-Russian propaganda against ethnic minorities at its best


Pro-Russian propaganda against ethnic minorities at its best

I was tipped about the most interesting “news” site in Russia. news12.ru is an excellent collection of nationalistic propaganda, hate speech, outright lies and Pro-Russian posturing at the expense of the Finno-Ugric minorities in the Mari-El region.

They seem to generate half their “news” from forum postings from their “fans”, most of which are probably skinheads. Anyone acting to advance the Mari-El people is labeled as an agent of foreign countries out to get Mother Russia itself.

2006-02-28 Update: Looks like news12.ru is currently down. I wonder if the FSB ran out of money in their information warfare aka propaganda division.

I’ve written about Mari-El people before.

-TPP – tormoz

The people of Mari being systematically persecuted by Russians

The Finnish belong to an ethnic group of FinnoUgrian people. All the FinnoUgrian people have a similar language and share the same ethnic origins. The cultures are more common than different as well.

The largest groups of FinnoUgrian people live in Hungary, Finland and Estonia, but there are smaller groups of people with their own languages and cultures living in various parts of Eastern Europe. A lot of these ethnic groups have already dissappeared as younger generations adopt Russian language and culture instead of maintaining their own cultural identity.

The Mari people are among the largest of these smaller groups and live in a region in central Russia called Mari El at a bend of the Volga river. There’s about 700K people living in Mari El. 43% are Mari, 47% Russian.

In 2000 a national populist pro-Russian Leonid Markelov became the president of Mari El with the backing of Moscow. In 2004 he was re-elected in elections widely considered to have been rigged.

Since his election Markelov has systematically tried to undermine the human rights of the Mari people in Mari El. Teachers teaching Mari language or voting for Mari candidates have been fired from their jobs, Mari people are economically oppressed, Mari activists and journalists are routinely beaten, severely, by people who somehow never get convicted, people are getting arrested for no cause and they sometimes do not come back, FSB (the Federal Security Service, roughly equivalent to the FBI) is following foreign journalists writing about the situation. It’s basically just like in Soviet Union, straight out of Stalin’s playbook of oppressing minorities.

One would expect some two-bit wannabe communist tyrant in a remote area of Russia to behave in this manner, but what’s really surprising is that Markelov appears to have a full backing of Vladimir Putin and his government. They’ve released statements accusing the ethnic Maris of plotting, with the Finns, Hungarians and Estonians, to form a new FinnoUgrian state and actively undermining the economic development of Russia to achieve this goal.

They’re stopping one step short of accusing the Maris (and Finns assisting them) of being terrorists. Everyone knows what happens to terrorists these days. The Maris are not terrorists. They’re being systematically eradicated by a Russian ethnic majority.

An “interesting” timeline of brutality against prominent Mari people was published by Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples. None of the murders or assaults have resulted in convictions or even arrests:

Uninvestigated crimes against journalists and opposition leaders during the presidency in the autonomous Republic of Mari El of Leonid Markelov, a man openly contemptuous of democratic processes

November 21, 2001: Aleksandr Babaykin, assistant chief editor of the opposition newspaper The Good Neighbors, was brutally killed in the centre of Yoshkar-Ola, the capital city of Mari El.

November 2001: Leonid Plotnikov, assistant chief of department of the publishing house Periodika Mari El, was killed.

November 2001: Aleksei Bakhtin, journalist of a regional newspaper, was killed.

March 12, 2002: Vladimir Maltsev, chief editor of the newspaper The Good Neighbors, was attacked in the evening and caused severe bodily injuries.

March 14, 2002: The door of the Vladimir Maltsev’s apartment was poured over with fuel and put on fire by unknown persons.

April 16, 2002: Viktor Nikolayev, Member of Consultative Committee of Finno-Ugric Peoples and Chairman of the all-Russia movement Mer Kanash, was attacked and brutally beaten in front of his house. Nikolayev had just called the 6th extraordinary Mari Congress due to be held on 26 April.

August 14, 2004: a pogrom was made in the apartment of Valentin Matveyev, a public figure and author of critical articles in The Good Neighbors.

October 4, 2004: masked bandits, armed with weapons and acting in the name of the Department of Criminal Investigations, attacked the apartment of an employee of the human rights organization Citizen And Law.

October 2004: unknown persons attacked journalist Vitaliy Igitov. Earlier, in personal conversations, President of Mari El Leonid Markelov called Igitov the man who had insulted him most.

January 7, 2005: correspondent of the Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe Yelena Rogacheva was attacked.

February 7, 2005: Vladimir Kozlov, chief editor of the international Finno-Ugric newspaper Kudo+Kodu, Member of the Consultative Committee of the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples and leader of the all-Russian movement of Mari people Mer Kanash, was attacked and severely beaten.

May 27, 2005: ethnic Mari artists and musicians, among them prominent cultural figures, were attacked by a group of Russian skinheads after a concert in the Culture Hall in Yoshkar-Ola. No one responsible was found. In their conversations with local residents, skinheads said that the incident was arranged at the orders of the chief of the fascist group who was instructed by Dmitry Frolov, Head of the Presidential Administration of the Mari Republic. The latter had promised that a plot of land would be allotted to the group to build its base as an award for the action.

July 6, 2005: Yuri Anduganov, prominent Finno-Ugric scholar and President of the 10th International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies, was killed in a car crash in the Republic of Marii-El. His widow described the circumstances of the collision as suspicious because the truck in front of the car braked extremely unexpectedly and rapidly.

August 27, 2005: Vasli Petrov, Chairman of the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples, was attacked and beaten in Ismentsa village where he lives.

More information about the situation in various languages at: