Manifesto of the Civil Movement "Free Ingria"
The level of support from the residents of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region for the idea of self-sufficiency and independence from Moscow was always high. This includes both Soviet and post-Soviet period of the region history. April 25, 1993, along with an all-Russian referendum, population survey was conducted about the promotion of St. Petersburg status to the level of a republic within the Russian Federation. 75% of citizens voted «for». Initially, a full-scale referendum was planned instead of a survey, yet it turned impossible for legal reasons. According to Russian law, issues of such level already at that time were not allowed to be put to a referendum by the decision of local authorities.
The current political processes in St. Petersburg region of the Russian Federation are very reminiscent of similar processes in the Baltic countries — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, on the eve of the First World War and the collapse of the Russian Empire, where barely noticeable outside people’s organizations and movements for three decades were setting the stage for obtaining national independence in the hour H.
The political history of Ingria (or Ingermanland) goes back centuries to the days of the reign in Novgorod of the future of Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The region received its name in honor of Yaroslav’s wife – the Swedish princess Ingigerd. This period was the time of the first economic prosperity of the region through transit trade between Novgorod and Sweden. In the following centuries, Ingria was part of the Republic of Novgorod, Moscovia, Sweden. As a result of the Northern War, it became part of Russia. At the location of Ingria capital, the city of Nienschanz that was destroyed by war, Tsar Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg, which, before becoming the capital of the Russian Empire, became the center of Ingermanland Province, which was later renamed into St. Petersburg.
During the Civil War, on the territory of modern Leningrad Region, to the north of St. Petersburg, the independent republic North Ingria was formed, which fought against the Bolshevik Russia. A nobleman and a white officer George Elvengren was the head of the republic. He was the commander of the Northern Ingermanland Regiment that fought against the Bolsheviks. In addition to the Northern, South Ingermanland (in other sources West Ingermanland) Regiment also existed, which was striking at Petrograd from Estonia. Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (also an officer of the Russian tsarist army, then — president of the independent Finland) offered white general Yudenich to take the city together, yet the latter said that he supports the «united and indivisible Russia» and does not recognize the independence of Finland and Estonia, not to mention Ingria.
Independent North Ingria existed two years. Its state symbols were the flag of the Ingermanland Regiment and the historical coat of arms of Ingria of Swedish times, which later became the Chevron of the Ingermanlad Infantry Regiment, formed by Peter the Great. According to the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920, the territory of Ingria became part of the RSFSR. Raising the Ingrian flag over Petersburg was postponed by the History until better times.
Ingria is a region with great tourism, scientific, industrial and transit-logistics potential. Even today, with all kinds of obstacles from the central Moscow authorities in conducting an independent foreign economic activity, the St. Petersburg region is one of the few Russian regions-donors. At the same time, more than 80% of the income forcedly goes to Moscow into the so-called «federal budget of the Russian Federation«. Petersburg region is completely self-sufficient from the economical point of view. In case Ingria gains the political and economic independence, it quickly enters the number of economically developed countries of Europe.
Ingria should and will seek to join all international organizations that would promote national independence and the international prestige of Ingria, first of which is the United Nations Organizations. Furthermore, taking into account the historical experience and cultural identity, the accession of Ingria to the European Union and the North Atlantic NATO military bloc is likely to be only a matter of time.
In Ingria, the church will be separated from the government, and all religious denominations and communities will have equal rights under the Constitution. The most widespread religions in the region are traditionally Orthodox and Protestant. After dismantling and lustration of artificial Stalinist structure of ROC, Ingermanland Orthodox Church will depart to the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and become one of the local Orthodox Churches. Lutheran is traditionally the largest Protestant community in Ingria. In terms of political and economic freedom, Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ingria will overcome its excessive reliance on seclusion from Finland and will become one single church for all Ingrian citizens of Lutheran confession, irrespective of their nationality.
Russian is the native language for 90% of the region’s population. It is likely to become the official language of the country. Nevertheless, considering the history of the region, based on the principles of linguistic equality and tolerance, a law will be adopted on regional languages, according to which, in places of compact residence of representatives of relevant nationalities, the regional status with all the rights will be given to Finnish, Izhorian, Vodian and Vepsian languages.
The vast majority of Ingrian population is ethnic Russian. The inhabitants of the region also includes people with Ukrainian, Polish, German, Swedish, Finnish, and Jewish roots. The phrase «ethnic ingrian» is the same absurdity as «ethnic Novgorodian» or «ethnic St. Petersburger«. The descendants of the Slavs-Novgoroders, as well as the Vikings-Scandinavians, live on the territory of Ingria for more than one thousand years and are the same indigenous people, like the Finns, Vod, Izhora and Veps. Respect for and interest in the historical and cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the region will be cultivated in every way. A number of theorists for Ingermanland independence regard Ingria as the so-called «The Big St. Petersburg». St. Petersburg’s population is 5 million residents, of Leningrad region — 1.5 million inhabitants, of which 1 million is connected with St. Petersburg one way or another way. Petersburg local identity was established already in the period of the Russian Empire, and has long been a fact. One of the most popular slogans among supporters of Ingrian independence: «Ingria is a country! Petersburger is a nationality!»