Friday, June 22, 2018
Circassians Denounce Kremlin’s Language Bill as ‘Purely Imperial Policy’
Staunton, June 22 – The Duma’s passage on first reading of the Kremlin’s language bill that would make the study of all languages in Russia except Russian purely voluntary by a vote of 373 to 3 with one abstention has sparked outrage in the non-Russian republics generally and the Circassian ones in particular as an appalling case of the center’s “purely imperial policy.”
Even before the vote, Kavkazr journalist Larisa Cherkes reports, deputies in the regional parliaments of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya had spoken out against the measure even though they recognized that Moscow doesn’t care what they think (kavkazr.com/a/chisto-imperskaya-politika/29313613.html ‘purely imperial policy’
Aslan Beshto, the head of the Kabardin Congress, says he wasn’t surprised by Moscow’s actions because “they have made it clear that the opinion of society does not affect the deputies much.” He said that now he and other Circassian leaders plan to appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Martin Kochesoko, a Circassian activist from Kabardino-Balkaria says that “Russia has always conducted a policy of assimilating numerically small peoples.” The only thing that has changed, he adds, is that “now it is doing so openly. Today, in the Russian Federation, all the indigenous peoples except for the Russians are losing their languages and uniqueness.”
The Russian federation exists “only on paper,” he continues, but “we Circassians will do everything we can so that our people will live.”
A third Circassian activist, Zaur Zhemukha, says that the Circassians plan, if the Kremlin bill is approved on the third reading, to demand consistency from Moscow and call for the elimination of the requirement for the obligatory study of Russian” given that “Russian is not native for us.”
Despite these words, the Circassian activists both those and others have little hope that they will be able to stop this train. But they will continue to work, and it appears that one of the most important consequences of this resistance will be continuing meetings among Circassian activists who now live in different republics as a result of Moscow’s divide and rule strategy.
The next such meeting is planned four days from now in Nalchik.