Alexandra Kellner: the most important thing that everyone involved can do is to make people aware that if such cancellations are made, it will result in a lot of attention and generate critisicm

Уралистика попросила  заметных деятелей финно-угорского движения прокоментировать отмену III-го международного финно-угорского социально-экономический форума.


Alexandra Kellner
Cтудентка Хельсинкского университета по специальности "финский язык и культура", автор баннеров, посвящённых отмене Социально-экономического финно-угорского форума.


What do you think about the cancellation of the Socio-Economic Forum? What was the real reason?

According to the official release, the forum was cancelled for "objective reasons". I am not entirely sure what this means, but there has been some talk about the hotel in question undergoing a renovation in the heating system (a letter was released about this), and before that I also heard something about it being fully booked by members of a political party. I am not sure what to think about the explanations. I think that if the hotel was planning to be out of use because of a renovation, the organisers and owners would have known about it before, and could have postponed the event rather than cancelling. Anyone else unrelated to the forum who had booked a room at the hotel would also have had to be informed about the renovation. And while it is true that there is only one hotel in Kudymkar, I think other arrangements could have been made for accommodations for the duration of the forum if the organisers had been informed in a reasonable amount of time. I do not know about the political party explanation, although I know that elections will be held in Kudymkar on the 4th. I would like to believe that this is a place where a forum and elections can be held side by side without them affecting one another.


Do you have any experience of the Finno-Ugric events' cancellations, postponements or another outside influence on them before?

I am a relatively new student in the field, and have only been involved with Finno-Ugric events for about a year now, so I don't personally have any experience of cancellations. Some events have been postponed or locations have been changed, and the flow of information is not always ideal (at least to Finland), but this is the first time I have encountered a cancellation of this type, in which we have been informed of the cancellation of such a large-scale event so close to the date without clear reasons.


What is your opinion about Finno-Ugric events' atmosphere? Is it true, that because of the secret services they have to be held in secret atmosphere? 

None of the events I have attended have ever been held in a secret atmosphere. Quite the contrary! Events have been well advertised through e-mail and social media, and discussed openly at organisation meetings. As an international student living in Finland, I do not think I would have known about Finno-Ugric events in the first place if they had been kept secret. Openness and transparency are values we have discussed explicity, such as during the Branding Conference in Tallinn in October. There, the importance of open communication and transparency of operations was stressed many times both in speeches and in the discussions that followed.
How should Finno-Ugric peoples respond to the cancellation of the Socio-Economic Forum?

I think the most important thing that everyone involved can do is to make people aware that if such cancellations are made, it will result in a lot of attention and generate critisicm, and to stress the importance of such events for the vitality of the Finno-Ugric community and the organisations involved. One of the best ways to raise awareness is through social media channels. We have been talking about the people who "should be in Kudymkar but instead are on the internet". We have also created a series of campaign advertisements opposing the cancellation of the forum, which people have made as their avatars and posted on their walls on Facebook and Vkontakte. Answers to these questions have also been posted on social media sites, and I know that other media outlets, at least in Finland and Estonia, have been informed. In terms of future planning, we need to ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again, as it hurts everyone involved. There should be people specifically appointed to ensure that events are logistically feasable and to arrange a better and more transparent flow of information in the event that cancellations or postponements are necessary.

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