Claim for recognition of Circassia as a state being occupied by Russia
Circassia that was thriving and flourishing in former times, that gave to the world both Maikop and dolmen cultures, legendary Nart Sagas, which became an archetype for many of ancient Greek myths, Circassia that inspired about itself a lot of legends floating all over the world, was entirely and finally occupied on the 21st of May 1864 after almost one hundred and fifty years of heroic resistance to Russian occupation troops and struggle for independence and territorial integrity. It was destroyed and eliminated as a State, all the native Circassian lands were annexed and peopled on a mass scale by Russian invaders.
In accordance with a premediated plan of the Russian Empire’s government all the Circassian population, taking no heed of age and gender, was deliberately annihilated at 9/10 of the area of its historically native lands.
All the examples of massacres being known in the human history are pale in comparison with that unprecedented cruelty when lives of more than 3 530 000 persons were taken, about 418 thousand persons were expatriated from native lands to the Ottoman empire against their will and most of them died of starvation, cold and epidemic diseases. They were banished to alien lands from their own country, which was throughout thousands of years inhabited by their ancestors, without any right to return back some day.
At present time descendants of those shotgun expatriates – more than 6 million of Circassians, that are scattered in more than 50 countries of the world – for the period of more than 152 years bear status of an “exiled nation” and still experience consequences and aftereffects of that appalling shocking crime.
According to the data available in the “Declaration of Independence”, addressed in 1835 from the Сonfederation of Grand Dukes and from the Elders of Circassia to the sovereign supreme governors of Europe and Asia as well as by reports of a German periodical “Archive” of 1837, less than 5% of autochtonic population could stay at their native lands. Population of Circassia before the year 1835 was estimated as more than 4 million persons. After predatory actions of the Russian Empire only less than 53 thousand of Circassians remained at the native Circassian lands.
There should be made special emphasis on the fact that in the end of the war between Russia and Circassia no capitulation statement was signed from the side of Circassians. The same as there was no peace treaty that might fix the results of the war. After suffering defeat in that war, to dragging existence under the heel of the occupant Circussians preferred leave to the alien lands.
Since the moment of the end of the Russian- Circassian war Russia in its turn does everything to obliterate historical memory of Circassia.
The tsatist government pursued a policy of forced assimilation towards small groups of Adyge (Circassians) which stayed at their native lands.
The present-day Russian Federation that actually enunciated democratic way of its development virtually continues the same policy, pursued by the Russian state in the past. For some time past in Adygeya Republic as well as all over the Russian Federation a great number of organisations propagating national-chauvinism work actively with the federal centre’s tacit consent. The ultimate aim of these organisations is carrying out a referendum on status of the Republic using underlying principle of simple majority, it means that desired results of the voting would be achieved just with numerical superiority created by the results of the Russian-Circassian war (the native Adyge population at the Republic of Adygeya makes up 24%).
Nowadays population size of Adyge at the native lands of their ancestors is about 700 thousand persons in general, but they are sparse in 6 regions of Russian Federation (Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Karachayevo-Circassian Republic, Republic of Adygeya, Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol Territory, North Ossetian – Alanian Republic). They nominally possess not more than 2% of their former native areas and they are separated over two Federal districts without any right nor to live together nor to assume their common name “Circassians”.
Owing to the fact that more than 6 million of representatives of our nation live outside the Northwestern Caucasus in more than 50 countries of the world, ethnic Adyges (Circassians) gradually lose their culture and language in consequence of that man-made disunity.
Russia changed its state system more than once during 152 years after the Russian-Circassian War was finished, but attitude to Adyges (Circassians) was the same immutable – it was a customary forced assimilation of the remaining indigenous population at their native lands as well as forbidden homecoming of Adyges (Circassians) that were ousted from the Northwestern Caucasus.
Parliaments of two Circassian Republics (Kabardino-Balkarian Republic in 1992 and Republic of Adygeya in 1996) passed resolutions on recognition of genocide against Circassians in the course of the Russian-Circassian war in XIX century and addressed it to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation with a proposal to recognize the genocide. There was no reaction from the side of the Federal Parliament to the requests of the regional Parliaments.
On the 1st of July 2005 Circassian NGOs addressed to the State Duma of the Russian Federation an appeal on recognition of genocide of Adyge (Circassian) nation. Nevertheless members of the Russian legislative body couldn’t overcome religious and ethnic prejudices, they refused to acknowledge moral and legal responsibility for outrageous inhuman deeds of Russian state.
On the 20th of May 2011Genocide of Circassians was officially recognized by the Parliament of Geogria as a crime against humanity and humaneness.
The genocide of the Circassian population, and, in first instance, against young people, goes on in Caucasus up till now, and it is carried out under pretence of so-called “counter-terrorist operations”. Defence and law-enforcement agencies of Russia persistently contrive to find amongst Circassians so called “religious extremists”, though Circassians are well known all over the world as supporters solely of temporal and democratic society system.
From the end of July 2011 Syrian Circassians, descendants of the Circassians who were ousted by Russian Empire from their native lands to the Ottoman Empire, started to apply to the then President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, as well as to the leaders of the republics in which Circassians are considered to be a titular ethnic group (to Aslan Thakushinov, head of the Republic of Adygeya, to Arsen Kanokov, head of Kabardino-Balkaria, to Rashid Temrezov, head of Karachayevo-Circassia) for a possibility to return back to their historical homeland, when Syria in fact found itself on the brink of a civil war.
The same, from the middle of July 2011 and during recent 5 years, Circassian organizations of Russia and other countries of the world repeatedly addressed relevant appeals to authorities of the Russian Federation. In August 2012 all the Circassian NGOs in Russia prepared a common appeal to President Putin with a request “to assist in voluntary resettlement and humanitarian evacuation of Syrian Circassians to Russian Federation”.
On the 28th of December 2011 The State Council (Khasae) of the Republic of Adygeya approved an appeal to the President of Russian Federation, chairmen of Chambers of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation “On rendering assistance to voluntary resettlement to Russian Federation of compatriots – Adyges (Circassians) residing in Syrian Arab Republic”.
In February 2012 a congress of Circassians residing in Russia took place in the city of Maikop. At the Congress it was announced about disastrous situation in Syria as well as about the fact that Syrian Circassians were endangered under the threat of death. Delegates of the Congress appealed to the authorities of the Russian Federation with a request to assist in repatriation of Syrian Circassians to Russia. Subsequently representatives of Syrian Circassians had a meeting with authorities of Agygeya and Kabardino-Balkaria.
According to data cited by UN, during the Syrian conflict more than 220 thousand persons lost their lives, economy and infrastructure of the country was tremendously damaged. The conflict exhibited fierce combat operations, sporadic firing of towns and settlements, wholesale slaughters and numerous military crimes against peaceful population, particularly against smaller ethnic groups including Syrian Circassians. At the areas being under control of terrorists slavery was legitimized, ethnic and religious minorities are exterminating, objects of cultural heritage are demolishing.
In spite of threat of loss of all the Circassian ethnic group residing in Syria, official powers of Russia were stating that Syrian Circassians residing outside Russian Federation are not considered to be fellow-citizens, thus any assistance in their preferential repatriation don’t believed to be necessary. “Syrian Circassians are descendants of expatriates from the environment of Adyge nation of Northern and Western Caucasus, which (at a point in time related to occupation of Circassia and after it) didn’t take out Russian citizenship and of their own voluntary choice left the region after termination of hostilities in the course of Caucasian war (1817- 1864)” was officially pronounced in January 2013 by Alexander Zhukovsky, Director of the Department of Interethnic Realtions of the Ministry of Regional Development of Russia.
Arguments of the Ministry of Regional Development of Russian Federation are as follows: ancestors of the present Syrian Circassians used to live at the territories that before the moment of their resettlement to Ottoman Empire in 1864 were not a part of Russia, that’s why according to paragraph 3 of article 1 of the Federal law “On state policy of the Russian Federation with respect to fellow countrymen abroad” “they can’t be considered as Russian expatriates (emigrants)”.
Number of Circassians that could come from Syria to the Northern Caucasus is insignificantly small. Lets take the Republic of Adygeya as an example: according to data as of the 1st of January 2015, 210 Syrian citizens settled in Russian Federation on the grounds of sojourn permits and 285 – on the grounds of residence permits.
In 2014 in the same republic 63 persons submitted applications for temporary asylum, formalities are completed for 41, 74 persons submitted applications to gain a refugee status.
According to data of the Centre of adaptation of repatriates in Adygeya, totally in the republic there are about 600 Syrian Circassians, that came after beginning of the military operations. Circassian public agencies and particular volonteers organized for them courses of Russian language and history, as well as render assistance in migration registration and obtaining the sojourn permits.
Comparison information: after beginning of the armed conflict in Ukraine several millions of Ukrainian citizens came to Russia, about 440 thousands of them applied for gaining the refugee status. At present time 531 refugee settlement places were prepared where 27 thousands of Ukrainian expatriares are temporarily accommodated.
Such a contrast sets thinking: why Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine may expect for active assistance from the side of Russia on the matter of their resettlement to the Circassian lands occupied by Russia, and at the same time Russia refuses a right of Syrian Circassians to return to their native lands, from which their ancestors were banished by Russian Empire legally succeeded by the today’s so-called Russian Federation?
Mindful of the determination proclaimed by the peoples of the world in the Charter of the United Nations to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Conscious of the need for the creation of conditions of stability and well-being and peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples,
and of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Recognizing the passionate yearning for freedom in all dependent peoples and the decisive role of such peoples in the attainment of their independence,
Aware of the increasing conflicts resulting from the denial of or impediments in the way of the freedom of such peoples, which constitute a serious threat to world peace,
Considering the important role of the United Nations in assisting the movement for independence in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories,
Recognizing that the peoples of the world ardently desire the end of colonialism in all its manifestations,
Convinced that the continued existence of colonialism prevents the development of international economic co-operation, impedes the social, cultural and economic development of dependent peoples and militates against the United Nations ideal of universal peace,
Affirming that peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law,
Believing that the process of liberation is irresistible and irreversible and that, in order to avoid serious crises, an end must be put to colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith,
Welcoming the emergence in recent years of a large number of dependent territories into freedom and independence, and recognizing the increasingly powerful trends towards freedom in such territories which have not yet attained independence,
Convinced that all peoples have an inalienable right to complete freedom, the exercise of their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory,
We convincingly demand recognition of Circassia as a state being occupied by Russia, as well as of Circassian native lands as territories being occupied by Russians, in accordance with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 We insist on putting an end to any forms and manifestations of Russian colonialism immediately and unconditionally, on assistance in creation at the historical native lands of Circassia of an independent sovereign state based on the principles of democracy and sharing the main maxims of the free world.
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August 16, 2017