Friday, 19 March 2010

Asker Soht: “Dialogue is the only formula for a solution of accumulated problems”

16.03.2010 – 12:20 – NatPress.Net
Source: Caucasus Knot – 04 March 2010
(translated by Asker Soht)

Asker Soht (Chief of the Press Service of the Ex-President of Adygea Khazret Sovmen): “Dialogue is the only acceptable formula for a civilized solution of accumulated problems”.

Last years’ events actualized problems in the West of the Caucasus, which can be collectively specified as a “Circassian issue”. Exclusively for “The Caucasian Knot”, Senior Research Associate of the Civilizational and Regional Studies Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Naima Neflyasheva discussed them with Asker Soht, one of the most active members of the International Circassian Association, Chief of the Press Service of the Ex-President of Adygea Khazret Sovmen.

Q. Let’s return to the main for the North Caucasus event of January 2010, when the North Caucasus Federal District was established by the Edict of the President of the Russian Federation D. Medvedev. In the context of the new Caucasian policy of Dmitry Medvedev, the establishment of the North Caucasus Federal District is a natural phenomenon. Features of traditional social organization and, as a consequence, of political culture of the North Caucasian peoples, are quite specific. They require a governance model different from other Russian Federation regions. However, Adygea, the only of North Caucasian republics, was not included into the new district, though all problems of this small republic are similar to overall Caucasian problems, and its development trends have the same vector. Besides, new districting is artificially breaking relationship between Adygea and two other republics – Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, where the Adyghes are titular peoples. What do you think about this? Does it seem probable that a new impulse will be given to the project of merger between Adygea and Krasnodar Territory?

A. I disagree with the thesis that all problems of the Republic of Adygea are similar to overall Caucasian problems. In my opinion, Adygea is the only North Caucasian republic, where all preconditions for effective modernization and development are present. I just feel inspired by the fact that the Republic of Adygea has not entered the “disaster circle” outlined by the Edict. It should be remembered that division of the state into federal districts has nothing to do with its territorial system. The administration of the federal district as such is only a coordinator of federal structures. And nothing more. I don’t find threats to the unity of our people and especially to its nationhood in this decision.

Q. It is known that geographical and administrative separation of the Adyghes in the Russian Federation is one of problems of the present-day Adyghe ethnos. On the other hand, there is an idea of merger of the Adyghes into one subject of the Russian Federation – it is supported by some Adyghe social movements, for example, the Circassian Congress. This idea is very popular among the young people and is actively debated at the Circassian portals forums. Don’t you think that most likely this project will hardly be implemented after the establishment of the North-Caucasus Federal District?

A. The idea of merger of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and the Republic of Adygea into one federal subject is not at all on the agenda of Adygea social life. At the moment, it is a virtual problem, which is practically not debated in our republic at any level. Moreover, it is by no means interrelated with the establishment of the new federal district.

The President of the Russian Federation clearly formulated objectives of the establishment of the North Caucasus Federal District: counter-terrorism, economical and social modernization, stabilization of socio-political life in the region.

With respect to plans on the merger of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and the Republic of Adygea into one federal subject, I expressed my viewpoint on the matter many times: I do not see political preconditions for this. In my view, the idea has a right to exist, but, at this historical stage, it can’t be implemented for a variety of reasons, and will remain same over the next decades. Setting up and solving problems of such level should rely not only on the public consensus in republics (as a matter of fact, there is lack of it in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and the Republic of Adygea), but be actively supported, on the whole, in the Russian society – by leading political parties and leaders of the country. Failing all this, the idea as such will become a factor of political manipulations, acute ideological struggle and have extremely unfavourable political repercussions. That is why, it is counterproductive to put continued emphasis on it.

Q. What is productive then?

A. Today, we have to concentrate our efforts, first of all, on the development of horizontal relations, active interaction with the Circassian Diaspora. Population Census coming in 2010, which induces a launch and widening of the campaign for registering all Adyghes of the Russian Federation under a single ethnicon – the Circassians; intensification of the Circassian youth’s contacts; creation of a common available information space; assistance in learning the mother language, studying culture and history in countries of the Diaspora; protection of rights and interests of the Adyghes, assistance to returnees and their adaptation at historical homeland – here are problems, which, in my view, our generation is destined to solve.

Q. The development of horizontal relations was also mentioned at the Public Forum “The Caucasus: Tradition and Modernization”, which was held in Nalchik on November 30th, 2009, on the initiative of the member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation Maxim Shevchenko. What is the benefit of horizontal relations’ formation for stabilization of the present-day North Caucasus, and actually, what is that?

I do not support active involvement of the Circassians in overall Caucasian processes. Interaction is a two-way street. From this perspective, the Eastern Caucasus is unable to give us anything positive. We don’t have leverages over the socio-political situation in this Caucasian region. Our area of responsibility is Krasnodar Territory, Adygea, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic and the Kabardino-Balkar Republic. On the basis of this thesis, it is more advantageous for us, at the present stage, to focus on developing horizontal relations within our people, to “reopen” the Diaspora in its whole variety to ourselves, and historical homeland with its successes and problems – to the Diaspora. It is impossible to restore the unity of the people in the absence of available information space and active human contacts. 99% of the Diaspora Circassians have never visited historical homeland, 99% of the Russian Federation Circassians have never been to the Diaspora – that is the area of focus.

Q. It seems to me that such an approach, when those horizontal relations, mentioned by you, are severely restricted only by the limits of their region, will lead to isolation. It is a throwback to medieval clanship, which is simply destined to fail in the present-day world. And I cannot agree with you that the Eastern Caucasus is unable to give us anything. In Dagestan, for example, four opposition periodicals are being published, traditions of political culture are more advanced there than in the Western Caucasus, and the culture of political polemics is higher.

- The isolationism is needed by today’s realities. An inextricable tangle of unresolvable contradictions is being formed in the Eastern Caucasus. In fact, there is a war on there. In spite of our apparent historical and cultural unity, today it is a different world, and we have to distance ourselves from it in all senses. Our goals and objectives are different. We must preserve stability, predictability and clear understanding of our apparent desires by the country we live in. Otherwise, we shall be unable to solve any problem our people are facing.

Q. There is no doubt that Population Census of 2010 will play a certain part in creation of common Adyghe cultural space. Being one nation united by history and system of values, the Adyghes are variously named in different subjects of the Russian Federation. Such name as the Adygeis, actually, was created by the Soviet time and, on the whole, was always rejected by the Adyghes living in the West.

A. The coming Population Census will become a peculiar kind of barometer reflecting development trends of our people. Undoubtedly, I do support the return of a single name – the Circassians, to the “Adyghe” ethnos. I am looking forward to the Census as such and its results.

Read more... Nat Press

March 1st, 2010 Caucasian Knot.

No comments:

Post a Comment