THE CIRCASSIAN QUESTION DURING THE YEAR 2013
By: Adel Bashqawi
10, March, 2014
The year 2013 was such another year for Circassians seeking to restore their confiscated/legitimate rights which were extorted by Tsarist Russia, but were not given back by the consecutive Russian regimes that followed? Both the Soviet and the Russian Federation regimes have ignored looking into solving out serious issues created by the Russian state such as the Circassian Genocide, which is a crime, no statute of limitations.
*-Since the Syrian civil war erupted in March, 2011, the Circassians of Syria have suffered being in the center of the battles between the warring factions, which brought back the memories of suffering of the Circassians since they were deported from their homeland. The problem is like a snow ball enlarging with time and developments, but what has been the worst for this topic is the blockage and clog up of all the prospects in regard to enable Circassians of Syria to return to their original homeland, that was and still prevented by the Russian authorities, regardless of the misery of war consequences.
*-The year started with increasing Russian propaganda pressing against the Circassian nation, especially the people working in the human rights issue and the activists who seek addressing the Circassian national agenda whether at homeland or abroad in the widespread Diaspora. Not to misjudge the practice of declared propaganda war by most of the Russian media which apparently continue in many different occasions as typical evil ways and means to attack and offend the peoples of the North Caucasus in general and the Circassians in particular, in addition to persecuting and harassing any individual from the North Caucasus, to address openly and negatively the nationalities’ issues by waging a misinformation campaign in seemingly a coordination with the local authorities. The practice extended to be performed in conferences and workshops that remind of the hostile workshop against Circassians held in Rostov in December, 2012, and consequential aggressive activities that occurred after.
The debates, of the Russian experts addressed issues pertain to the "Circassian Question”, which had "received in recent years a wide international response and became a tool of media pressure on Russia, especially with the approach of the date of Sochi Olympic Games in February, 2014, and its escalation might lead to expansion of the scope of instability in the North Caucasus and the spread of extremist ideas, especially among the youth.”
*-The Circassians in the North Caucasus, and the "far larger Circassian community abroad” were shocked by a declaration of a Russian official that his government has not yet decided whether the Circassians in Diaspora are "compatriots” which they are consequently entitled to return to their homeland!
Aleksandr Zhuravsky, the Head of the International Department of the Russian Ministry of Regional Development responded to a letter sent by Adam Bogus, the Head of the Circassian Adyge Khase in the Republic of Adegea to Sergey Naryshkin, the State Duma Speaker, requesting that Moscow provide assistance for Circassians of Syria to return to their homeland, which was transferred to the Russian Regional Development Ministry for consideration. The Ministry’s letter had provoked anger after it was widely disseminated, because it stated, "the Syrian Circassians are the descendents of refugees from among the Adyge peoples of the North and West Caucasus who did not accept Russian citizenship and made a voluntary choice to leave the region after the completion of military operations in the course of the Caucasus War”!
"By stating that, the Russian State Duma has recognized the non-joining of the Circassian nation voluntarily to the Russian Empire 450 years ago, in contrast to Russian official claims, which the Russian government celebrated accordingly in September, 2007, the anniversary of that event with the participation of Circassian parties considered part of the Russian official administration in the North Caucasus and some other Diaspora Circassians associated with the Nalchik-based International Circassian Association, meaning also, that the Russian State Duma has thankfully acknowledged that the Circassian homeland was not at any time among the properties of the Russian Empire, but the Tsarist Russian Empire had occupied in the nineteenth century after a brutal and devastating war.”
*-A letter from the President of the Circassian Social Movement "Adygeya Khasa – The Twenty-First Century” Amin Zekhizv to the Russian State Duma and the Russian Ministry of Regional Development on behalf of Circassians in the North Caucasus (which respectfully addresses Diaspora Circassians opinion) which was addressed to Zhuravsky, and thanked him for being "the only person who placed the point on the ongoing historical lie since 500 years ago on the so-called Circassia’s voluntary accession to Russia”.
On behalf of the members of the social movement, on my own behalf and on behalf of Circassians of the Northern and Western Caucasus, I thank you for your response No. 31 368/04 dated 21/12/2012, as you are the only person who placed the point on the ongoing historical lie since 500 years ago on the so-called Circassia’s voluntary accession to Russia, and consequently meant that: Circassians are occupied people, they are the descendants of the occupied people, as long as Circassia is within the Russian Federation, Circassians got no way to return, the rulers of the North Caucasus region are the colonial administrative rulers in the Caucasus, Maria’s status and the Russian Tsar’s wife, in the city of Nalchik must be removed, which concluded that: "These are some of the issues that you have opened the Circassians and other Caucasian peoples’ eyes on.”
*-Window on Eurasia, has started a special Blog every Friday, Sochi Countdown from 51 weeks downward to Sochi Olympiad and called it "Sochi Countdown — 51 Weeks to the Olympiad in the North Caucasus”, which is prepared and published by Mr. Paul Goble, the well known scholar, analyst and expert. "Windows” turned away to be very informative and valuable series of bullet points about developments regarding all news and events that pertain to holding the Sochi Winter Olympic Games on the soil of the Circassian Genocide.
*-On every occasion the Russian state executes certain measures and actions that speak louder of itself, which confirms the Russian well known self-centered policies (ignoring the nations federal principles of respecting the feelings of all partners in the so-called compulsory Federation), which indicates a continuation of the colonial policies since the Russian Tsars. This example is the issuance of a new coin of two Rubles that shows on its face, one of the Russian criminal generals, the Patron of Genocide, Ermolov.
*-The official return of Cossacks who act like the "Russian nationalists”, got direct support from Moscow and the local authorities in the North Caucasus, and they feel that they can do anything they want. The reckless Cossacks are set out to patrol the Circassian part of the North Caucasus and adjacent Russian territories, and they have the right to do things that according to the law, police is not permitted to do; in addition, "a complaint cannot be made against a Cossack, and a Cossack cannot be fired. Cossacks are free, and will not think too much about how to take a violator to a police station, but will simply give him a whipping.
*-In March, a flight full of Syrian Circassians took off from Beirut and landed in Turkey, which was followed by other efforts to transport Circassians of Syria seeking refuge away from the ongoing civil war in Syria. Circassians were taken to a camp in Gaziantep, which was selected to accomodate Circassians.
*-The Russian authorities exerted its efforts to undervalue the Circassian opposition to Sochi Olympics on the remains of their forefathers and foremothers who were murdered in Sochi when the Tsarist Russian forces had invaded Circassia and eventually occupied Sochi, the last Circassian capital city. The Circassians of the Black Sea condemned organizing a trip to the Olympic facilities for some Circassians on the 21st of May, 2013. It was reported that the initiative of entertaining trip came from the Head of the Public organization "Adyghe Khasa” of the Black Sea Shapsugia, Majid Chachuha .
The Circassian activist in Adygeya Arambi Hapay said in a comment on this initiative that "the management of the Adyghe Khasa of the Black Sea is playing a mysterious game. As it is known, on May, 21 is the Day of commemoration of those who sacrificed themselves, the commemoration of the protectors of Circassia, where Circassians around the world participate in mourning ceremonies and lay flowers at memorials to the protectors of Circassia and victims of the war.
To Complete the scene of Russian propaganda of achieving a so-called Circassian support, the Russian authorities in coordination with the International Circassian Association that is based in Nalchik, the capital city of the Republic of Kabardino – Balkaria, have organized a "Media” PR tour to the Olympic facilities for a number of individuals who were described as "the visiting foreign delegation”, and said to be representing Diaspora Circassians to give a deceptive nature that Circassians do not mind having the games on the bones of the Circassians’ ancestors, but two of the original so-described delegation have refused to go to Sochi after they participated in other planned activities! The media and press recorded nods, gestures and statements, in addition to TV video recording and footage taking, which was arranged to suit Russian propaganda interests posed to create rift and conflict among Circassians in order to fit the requirements and aspirations of the offenders who must apologize, compensate, make it possible for Circassians to return to their homeland, and to create conditions for the right of self determination of the Circassian nation in Circassia.
*-The day of the 21st of May, 2013 had witnessed events of commemorating the Circassian Genocide in the North Caucasus, Jordan, Turkey, USA and some European locations, the end of the Russian-Circassian War and deportation, which were connected and linked with the intended 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, that are planned to be held in Sochi, the well-known site of the Circassian Genocide.
*-A letter of appeal was sent in May of 2013 to both the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, and the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, signed by heads of Adigha Khasas in the Republic of Adygea, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and Krasnodar Region, stating that the Russian and international Circassian community has repeatedly raised before the Russian government the problems of the Circassian people, and the need to be solved out. The letter mentioning of the Federal Law "On the State Policy of the Russian Federation in respect of compatriots abroad,” reminding of the Circassian Diaspora abroad and the necessity to adopt the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, "on measures of state support of the Circassian Diaspora abroad”, education of the interdepartmental working group on preparation of proposals related to the development of measures of state support of the Circassian Diaspora, including representatives of the parties concerned, the development of the Federal target program for the development of culture, integration of the Circassian Diaspora abroad into (so-called) the Russian spiritual and cultural space. In brief, the lengthy letter demanded that Russia should recognize the Circassian Genocide.
*-Many Circassians welcomed the initiatives taken by the Caucasian Republic of Georgia, which "confirms the fact that Sochi is a Circassian homeland that was subjected to genocide”. Circassians highly appreciated the important and brotherly initiative that was taken by the former president of Georgia, President Mikhail Saakashvili in his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, 2013, which confirms the Georgian principled positions pertaining to the Caucasians’ worries, and his notable remarks mentioning the Circassian genocide and stated that, "one of the most unknown and tragic pages of history of the world, when the whole nation was wiped out because their land was needed by the Russian Empire”. That informed the world about the Circassian Genocide and all its consequences. He also said that Russia is mounting "constant pressures and threats” on neighbors and described it as "the last authoritarian empire in the world”.
*-In mid December, the Russian authorities the North Caucasus have arrested Circassian Activists from various locations, and were sent to Krasnodar for interrogation. The waged systematical measures of arrest, interrogation and intimidation, were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) against the Circassian Activists in the republics of Adygea, and Karachi – Cherkessk and Kabardino – Balkaria, as well as in the Krasnodar Region.
*-Apparently, for what is considered the continuation of the Circassian Genocide against the Circassian nation, the year 2014, is declared to be the "Year of Grief”, as declared by the Circassian organization in the Republic of Adygea, Maykop Khasa.
*-The National Geographic magazine, that got millions of subscribers around the world, has published in late December, the January issue, which mentioned in an article in the title of "Putin’s Party” a detailed report on the Winter Olympic Games and the facilities constructed in Sochi and Krasnaya Ployana. The report included interviews, photos, information and facts about the Circassians, including the Map of Circassia in the year 1855.
*-A "150 Days Countdown to the 150th years Circassian Genocide Commemoration”, from the 22nd of December, 2013 to the 21st of May, 2o14 has been started by "Justice for North Caucasus Group” and "Radio Adiga”, which includes posting a "Genocide document” every day (each document represents one year since the 21st of May, 1864, even though there are thousands of documents available). A "Genocide Document” is defined as an authentic document, or its translation, written by the Russian Tsar’s Military Command, containing Russian testimonies of the horrors they committed against the Circassian Nation in the Circassian homeland.