President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, and the leaders of Finland, Tarja Halonen, Hungary, Laszlo Solyom, and Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, spoke at the opening ceremony.
The theme of the Congress this year is ”Identity in a Changing World“. The forum normally focuses on ethnic-political issues, rights, language and education, health, culture, demography and the family. This year some 300 delegates and 350 observers from 11 countries are taking part. At the plenary session representatives of 21 Finno-Ugric peoples spoke.
The World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples is held every four years. The Congress in Khanty-Mansiysk continues until 30 June.