Skip navigation

Four years ago, Albert Razin sacrificed his own life

On 10 September 2019, Albert Razin – a Udmurt sociologist and philosopher – set himself on fire in front of the Udmurt State Council building.

Albert Razin at his last demonstration on 10 September 2019. Photo: Pyotr Timushkin

Protesting alone, he held two posters that read “If tomorrow my language disappears, I am ready to die today” and “Do I have a fatherland?”. For years, Razin had been writing letters and appeals to various authorities, describing the plight of the Udmurt language and culture and asking for steps to be taken to remedy the situation. But to no avail.

In his letters and speeches, Razin said that the main reasons for the assimilation of the Udmurts are Russian colonisation and the fact that the Udmurt language has been made secondary, that the Udmurt language and the Udmurts are not respected in the Republic of Udmurtia.

The film “Against Russification? Why did Albert Razin commit self-immolation” (in Russian) was made a year later and shows very well what is happening among the Udmurts. Again and again we learn that fear is behind everything. At the same time, however, it is refreshing to hear several interviewees say that Albert Razin was a hero of the Udmurts, and not only of the Udmurts, but also of other peoples: the Komi, the Mari, the Tatars, who sacrificed their lives.

At the end of the film, Albert’s daughter Sofi says that her father is alive in her soul and will never die. We truly hope that he is alive in our souls too and that the memory of him will never fade.