Ingrian Finns' Associations Feuding Over State Grants ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Ingrian Finns Union has accused a recently founded association for furthering the Finnish culture in Estonia, SKESA, of invading its territory.

Both the union and SKESA are umbrella organizations for the same ten regional Ingrian Finn societies in Estonia, which themselves have a total of around 1,000 members, and both have applied for a 50,000-euro grant from the Ministry of Culture, Eesti Päevaleht reported today.

SKESA, which was set up by former board member of the Ingrian Finns Union Toivo Kabanen and the union's former secretary Ester Pruul, beat the union to the grant in February. Kabanen has accused the union's other leaders of financial violations and tampering with records taken during board meetings.

Seven of the ten regional societies have applied for their share of the state grant from SKESA, while three have decided not to do so as a sign of protest.

All ten societies sent a letter to the ministry in July, saying they do not support SKESA, but had to comply to be eligible for applying for funding from the newly founded organization.

Sakari Neuvonen, head of the society in Tartu, said that Kabanen lied to the ministry when he claimed that he had the backing of the ten societies, but the ministry has remained neutral on the issue, saying that it does not matter who receives the grant, as long as it reaches the right people.