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PACE Bureau blocks report on situation in Mari-El - Russian parliamentarian


MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - The Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) blocked a report on the situation in Mari-El at one of its regular sessions, in Lisbon.

Konstantin Kosachev, leader of the Russian delegation to PACE and head of the international affairs committee at the State Duma (the Russian parliament's lower house), said this on Monday .

Mari-El is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation in the Volga area.

"The Lisbon event was a first-ever PACE Bureau session with an enlarged Russian attendance. We were success there in blocking an attempt made by a number of assembly members to offer a special report about the situation in the Russian republic of Mari-El, which alleged the Mari population's rights violated," the parliamentarian said.

The assembly will have no special report on the situation in Mari-El mainly thanks to Russian participation in the session, Kosachev added.

The European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on the situation of the Mari ethnic community in the Russian Federation at a plenary session in Strasbourg on May 12. The resolution alleged rights and freedoms violated in the republic, obstacles to using Mari as tuition language, and attacks on journalists working for independent media.

Spokesmen of Finno-Ugrian public organizations based in Mari-El qualified the resolution as an act of interference in the domestic affairs of the republic and of the entire Russian Federation.

"We cannot put up either with the content or the form of the document." They described the European Parliament resolution as "an act of interference in the domestic affairs of the Republic of Mari-El and the Russian Federation."

"Every ethnic community has its specifics, language, culture, customs and traditions, as well as the forms in which these find expression. Finno-Ugrian peoples, as all the other peoples of multi-ethnic Russia, can solve their problems themselves," they said. "To involve in those efforts advisers unasked-for; advisers who have no information about developments in the republic, the way they really are; advisers who are pursuing goals that do not coincide with the interests of the Mari people, will bring nothing but damage, and will discredit the idea of European cooperation."

The Mari-populated land was incorporated in Russia in 1551-1552. The Mari were granted autonomy in 1920, with the establishment of a Mari autonomous area, which was upgraded to an autonomous republic in 1936.

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