The Republic of Karelia is an
independent state of the Russian Federation. The Karels, the Veps and the
Russians are native people of the Republic of Karelia. According to the adopted
ethnological criteria the Karels and Veps are considered to be national minorities
of the Republic. Due to a longstanding tradition the Finns, including 5/6 of
the Inkeri Finns, are believed to be a national minority as well. In accordance
with the last census (1989) the national minorities made up only 13.1% of the
total number of the inhabitants of Karelia (the Karels - 10%; the Finns - 2.7%;
the Veps - 0.4%). Modern ethno-demographic situation in Karelia is considered
to be a critical one. The average age of the Karels, the Veps and the Finns
living there is higher than in the other ethnic groups. The process of
democratization in the Soviet society aroused the national factor in the former
Autonomous Republics. Ethnic minorities began to annouce infrigement of their
rights, started organizing national movements. National and cultural rebirth of
their peoples and first of all their languages appears to be the principle goal
of these national societies. But the Karelian language has no official status.
In 1991-1993 the writing of the Vepsians was restored. As for the Finnish language
it does not have a definite status yet. The “Programme of the language-cultural
rebirth and development of the Karels, Veps and Finns of the Republic of
Karelia” was adopted in 1995 by the Karelian Government. By the end of the
1990s two approaches to the national problems were determined. The first is
cultural (the development of languages and culture within national autonomy)
and the second is political (the advancement of political demands from
national-radical movements and organizations). But the stable political and
national situation in Karelia guarantees a favorable solution to the problems
of the ethno-cultural development of the Veps, Karels, Finns.
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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
2020 Volume 65
Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.