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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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