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Lessons From Vancouver: Opposing The Sochi Olympics

posted by eagle on April, 2010 as CIRCASSIA ADIGA

Lessons from Vancouver: Opposing the Sochi Olympics

Dr. Lisa Jarkasi 

No Sochi 2014 Committee
  • 30 Circassian organizations around the world
  • Mission: to create platform and lobbying effort
  • Create a common goal for involved organizations
Steps before committee formation
  • Letter sent to IOC before Sochi was awarded as 2014 Olympic site
  • Letter sent from IOC
  • Conferences, demonstrations
  • Quarterly magazine distributed throughout Diaspora

Why oppose the Sochi Olympics?

  • Circassian Genocide
  • Continual Russian policy against Circassians
  • Creation of a common platform
  • Environmental impact

Organizations opposing Sochi

  • Indigenous groups
  • Human rights advocates - Reporters Without Borders, HRW, AI
  • Anti-Olympic groups
  • Environmentalists - Greenpeace, WWF

Using Sochi as a platform

  • Capitalizing on Sochi opportunity as a platform for achieving Circassian rights
  • Once Olympics pass, Circassians will have difficulty re-gaining international attention

No Sochi 2014 tactics

  • Strategic planning for each Diaspora
    • Europe: pass resolutions of Circassian Genocide through EU
    • US: pass resolutions of Circassian Genocide through Congress
  • Pressure the IOC
  • Educate and dissuade Sponsors
  • Lobby countries on individual basis
  • Engage media

Environmental impact

  • UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Damage to unique environment
  • Thousands of Dolmen (ancient burial gravesite) in Sochi area at risk
  • Thousands of wildlife, animals and flora at risk
  • Arbitrary redrawing of natural reserve boundaries to justify further commercial building (WWF)
  • Contamination of rivers

Current problems in the Caucasus

  • Murdering Circassian activists seeking their rights
  • Ethnic Tensions Created by Russian Government
  • Language Loss
  • Land Loss (liquidation)
  • Separation of Circassian people by 3 autonomous republics
  • No Repatriation laws for 5 million Circassians

Will Olympics help Circassians economically?

  • No economic benefit to Circassians in Sochi or North Caucasus
  • No infrastructure in North Caucasus
  • Need to solve fundamental political problems
  • Sarajevo Olympics 1984

Will Olympics help build recognition of Circassians?

  • No mention of Circassians
  • Representing Cossacks as indigenous with Circassian national dress
  • Erasing Circassian history

Organization of Vancouver trip

  • Created weeks in advance
  • Collaborated with Circassians from around the world
  • Connected with new networks and partners
  • Created 

Vancouver Itinerary

  • Anti-Olympic Parade
  • Inside Sochi World
  • Sochi World Demonstration
  • Kruzenshtern Ship

What was achieved from this trip

  • Media Attention (local and international)
    • Brought Circassian issue to thousands of people
  • Brought to light Russian policy in Caucasus (ICA)
  • Reawakening among Circassians
  • Political connections

May 21 Campaign

  • Must be synonymous with Circassian Genocide
  • Pass resolutions through different states
  • Build up to Sochi Games 2014
  • Less than four years left until games

Important to note

  1. Assertion of Circassian rights while not diminishing the rights of other ethnic groups
  2. Our concerns about Sochi Olympics, right of return, and republics are about preservation of Circassians and nothing else
  3. Recognition of Circassian Genocide is part of a general desire of people to recognize past crimes, so to prevent it happening in the future

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