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Indigenous scholar commits self-immolation in Ural city to protest language death

Update: Albert Razin died of his injuries in a hospital several hours after setting himself on fire. The Investigative Committee of the Udmurt Republic opened a criminal case that it could use to charge other individuals with causing Razin’s suicide.

A veteran scholar has attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation outside the State Council building of the Udmurt Republic. According to Kommersant-Udmurtia, the man’s name was Albert Razin, and he burned himself in an act of protest against the dissipation of Udmurt ethnic traditions. The Udmurt people are a Finno-Ugric ethnic group living predominantly near Russia’s Ural Mountains.

A man named Pyotr told Kommersant-Udmurtia that he accompanied Razin to picket the State Council building. According to Razin’s companion, the scholar and activist fought “so that children would learn the Udmurt language and not forget it.” Razin, who is nearly 80 years old, holds the status of honored emeritus scholar of Udmurtia. He is also the head of Udmurt State University’s Institute of the Human Being.

Acting Udmurt Health Minister Georgy Shcherbak told journalists that Razin suffered burns on almost 100 percent of his body. The regional Investigative Committee has begun looking into the incident, TASS reported. Meanwhile, the Udmurt State Council session that had been set to open on September 10 has been postponed until September 24.