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Finno-Ugric movement activist banned from entering Russia for 55 years

Oliver Loode at a conference in Tartu in 2015.
Oliver Loode at a conference in Tartu in 2015. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Ehitaja

Oliver Loode, manager of the URALIC Centre for Indigenous Peoples and active member of the Finno-Ugric movement, is banned from entering Russia for the next 55 years. Loode has been working closely with Crimean Tatars for several years, which he sees as the likely reason for the decision.

Mr Loode manages the URALIC Centre for Indigenous Peoples, an initiative with the aim to foster cultural and civic cooperation among the Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic peoples and cultures, but also to protect and promote the rights of minorities in accordance with international laws.

The entry ban against him is most likely connected with his work in Crimea, Mr Loode thinks, where he has been active to promote the rights of the Crimean Tatars, the peninsula's indigenous people, since Russia occupied and annexed it in 2014.

He has advised organisations of Crimean Tatars in two projects, both concerned public diplomacy, Mr Loode said, including the launch of an international civil movement called #LiberateCrimea. "Which stands up for the de-occupation of Crimea. I suppose someone in Russia doesn't like this activity," he added.

Mr Loode said he is not rattled by the ban, and rather considers it to be recognition for his work, though he regrets that the ban will limit his opportunities to participate in the international Finno-Ugric movement, as several of the remaining Finno-Ugric minorities are in Russia.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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