Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Russia and the Circassians

by Alexander Born - Pravda - 13 January 2009

One event that took place in Russia earlier this summer, in my opinion, has not been given a sufficient attention. The event was the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation in August after a five-day war with Georgia.

The cynicism of Russian leaders shocked the world. Forgetting two bloody Chechen wars and tens of thousands of civilians killed, with a voice trembling with outrage Mr. Putin spoke about the atrocities of the Georgian military. To give even greater magnitude of these events the actions of the Georgian army have been identified as genocide of «people of Southern Ossetia». Yet for everyone it was too obvious that the actions of Russia in Chechnya and the actions of Georgia in South Ossetia were painfully close.

Under the impulse of noble feelings Russian leadership has decided to recognize the right of establishment of separate states by small part of the Ossetians and Abkhazians. Yet, other indigenous ethnic groups, which are still members of the Russian Federation, will soon pose a question: in what way are they worse?

To date, the biggest unsolved problem of Caucasus is the Circassian issue. Despite the tight control over all public organizations in the Circassian Republics the main problem has been formulated. Circassian Congress of Adyghea demanded the recognition of the genocide committed by the Russian government towards Circassians in the middle of the XIX century. The request is fair by a virtue of the fact that the Russian Federation is the legal successor of Russian state. After the refusal of the federal government to resolve this problem, Circassian Congress appealed to the European Parliament for the recognition of genocide of Circassian people. Unlike the Russian side, the European Parliament did not ignore the request of Circassians (Vladimir Filin article «According the notions of Davos», the newspaper «Tomorrow», № 06 (690) of 07 February 2007).

With the recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the situation of Circassians becomes totally inexplicable. Beside the fact that they are split into 6 subjects on their historical motherland (which is against the international law), more than 80% of the people are still in exile. Such a clearly unbalanced approach to the peoples living in same region will inevitably lead to a conflict situation. General atmosphere that is created by Kremlin's surrogates in the republics is biased. In case of aggravation of the situation the Ethnocracy will not be able to provide substantial support to the federal government because of the lack of credibility of its representatives.

The Russian leadership demonstrates absence of analysis of the changed geopolitical environment. For example, the events in KCHR and the KBR have shown that Moscow has no new approaches in dealing with ethnic and national problems. Not willing to solve the Circassian issue, Russia placed its stake on the Karachay and Balkars. Balkar and Karachay belong to one nation that speaks one of Turkic languages. In the wake of the historic dream of the Turks to build the Great Turan in the North Caucasus, where Balkars and Karachai are first to serve as allied nations, the approach of Russian Federation seems to be strange. Given the potential of Circassian world, there are no doubts, that the issue of recognition of the genocide Will continue to spread around the world. Whether with the help of Russia or without it, Circassians will return to their historical territory. The only difference is that, if Russia decides this issue, Circassians will remain in its body. But if it will be decided by the international community - that will bring to a further complications.

All these problems, which could have been in the slow state of resolution for many years more, have been suddenly accelerated the Russian leadership itself, or rather by its recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The economical crisis, which Russia is getting drawn in, will further accelerate these processes. The experience of the past tells us that today's political leadership is hardly capable of solving any dramatic issues. Most likely, the initiative that one could have taken to resolve the issue of Circassian people will be foregone.

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