On June 14, winner of the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2020 competition was announced in Shorunzha (Mari El Republic), the current title-holder. The next Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture is Mishkino village in the Republic of Bashkortostan (Russian Federation).

Mishkino, a village of 7000 residents of whom 60% are ethnic Mari, is located in the predominantly Bashkir and Tatar speaking Bashkortorstan. Hence, Mishkino will be the first Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture located in a region where majority population speaks Turkic languages.

Mishkino was selected by an independent international jury as the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture  2020 from among three candidates, including Estonia’s Viru-Nigula Rural Municipality and Kihnu island.  

Photo: Jury congratulates Mishkino delegation on winning the title of Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2020. 

In the words of Käbi Suvi, President of the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) and Chair of the jury, „Mishkino ultimately won thanks to its thorough application, youthful energy and the novelty of its location – i.e., outside the Finno-Ugric world as it is traditionally perceived. Nonetheless, Mishkino is every bit part of the wider Finno-Ugric world as majority of village residents are indigenous Maris.“  

Further reasons to award the title to Mishkino included the upcoming 300-year village anniversary in 2020, as well as integration of its programme with the CIOFF International Folkloriada that will be held in Bashkortostan in 2020.  

According to Eda-Riin Leego, jury member from Estonia (representing Fenno-Ugria Youth), this decision did not come easily, „In the end, the jury was debating between Mishkino and Viru-Nigula who had also a strong application with many innovative programme elements such as a sauna festival and emphasis on revitalizing the regional dialect (coastal language). We hope that Viru-Nigula will continue collaborating with the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture programme in the future.“ 

Photo:  Villagers of Shorunzha and members of international jury are observing the ceremony of announcing Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2020.

Nadezhda Gainetdinova, member of the Mishkino delegation, views the cultural capital year as a significant opportunity for Mishkino and Bashkortostan., „Most importantly, we would like to make a cultural contribution to Finno-Ugric peoples in Bashkortostan and in our neighbouring regions.“ The flagship event of the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2020 year will be a bear festival in the autumn – given that the village name both in Mari and Russian refers to the bear, and due to the significance of bear in the mythology and identity of many Finno-Ugric peoples.  

Photo: Enjoying the festivities at Shorunzha - Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture 2020. 

Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture is an initiative by the Youth Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples (MAFUN) established in 2013. Its aims are to raise awareness of Finno-Ugric peoples and languages, to strengthen International Finno-Ugric collaboration and to stimulate local socio-economic development in Finno-Ugric regions. Past holders of the Finno-Ugric Capital of Culture are Bygy (2014, Udmurtia), Obinitsa (2015, Estonia), Iszkaszentgyörgy and Veszprem (2016, Hungary), Vuokkiniemi (2017, Karelia), current title-holder is Shorunzha (Mari El). URALIC Centre for Indigenous Peoples NGO (Estonia) currently serves as the secretariat of the Finno-Ugric Capitals of Culture programme.  

Further information:  

Oliver Loode  (Oliver.loode@uralic.org, Tel. +372 513 2992)