Effect of Plebiscite of Russian Federation’s Constitutional Amendments on Circassians

Effect of Plebiscite of Russian Federation’s Constitutional Amendments on Circassians

Adel Bashqawi

25 June, 2020



Today, Thursday, 25 June 2020, a rescheduled June 25-July 1 plebiscite on the amendments of the Russian constitution has begun. What matters in this prospect is the impact on the Circassian rights as a result of the proposed amendments, which an expert said to BBC, when asked about his opinion, that there will be no surprises in the results as they are known in advance, based on previous experiences.

In January-March 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated an agreement to the Constitution hastily adopted by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, causing extremely negative reactions from Russian civil society, representatives of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, human rights defenders, and the expert community. [1]

It is neither reasonable nor acceptable for people to be driven according to the whims of those who complicit to melt into a crucible that loses its basic components, which consist of national identity, language, culture and other important elements of the national character that cannot be ignored. What concerns the Circassian nation in this field is that the new constitution “introduces ethnic segregation in Russia and discrimination against its indigenous peoples and national minorities.” [2]

The new expected amendments and changes will detract from the Circassians’ right to exercise their natural right to use their mother tongue and the right of return to their original homeland in a manner that is appropriate to their needs and according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [3] “The proposed declaration to the Constitution of Russia, in particular the new version of Article 68 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, establishes: {The state language of the Russian Federation throughout its territory is the Russian language as the language of the state-forming nation, which is part of the multinational union of equal nations of the Russian Federation}.” [4] 




Moreover, instead of the Russian state working to adapt its laws to fit in accordance with international laws and norms that respect human rights and the rights of small peoples in self-determination, Russia is working hard through new constitutional amendments to avoid alignment with these international laws. “The amendments prioritize the Russian Constitution over international treaties and other acts. Experts view the change as targeting Europe’s top human rights court, where Russia remains the runaway leader in the number of cases and has amassed millions of euros in fines for violating citizens’ rights.” [5]

The majority of Circassians, especially the intellectual part of the Circassian communities in all their whereabouts, whether in their historical homeland or in Diaspora are aware of what their national status has reached nowadays. It is logic and prudence to avoid reaching a dead end for peaceful relations and reconciliation between various peoples and nations. Wise people avert getting in trouble, which could be created due to the magnitude of damage that these amendments might create to non-Russian peoples and nations, especially the Circassians.

It is no coincidence that an article has been published on the Internet in the Russian language by an anonymous author aimed at what it aims to praise the desired changes and the President of the International Circassian Assembly for his supportive position of the constitutional amendments, but with some spices. The article claims in its title that the “Adygs of Germany condemned the calls of opposition groups of Circassians from Turkey and other countries to oppose amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation.” [6] The Federation of Caucasian Associations in Turkey (KAFFED) has published a statement to condemn such move. “As the Circassian organizations in the diaspora, we urge the persons and institutions of the peoples of the Russian Federation to say NO to the anti-democratic constitutional changes that may lead to monist practices incompatible with the principles of the federative state and the cancellation of the acquired rights.” [7]

However, there is no such declarations or statements have been issued by the Adyghe associations or individuals in Germany regarding the approval of the Russian constitutional amendments. No real Circassian is prepared to introduce himself to consider promoting the Russian language as the main official language in the country, disregarding others, in addition to the centralization of decision-making that relates to the peoples and nations that make up federation.

Through looking and scrutinizing this article, efforts to mislead, propagate and spread false rumors can be clarified without relying on real names, addresses and sources. What is mentioned in this article is well known to what is its source and gives a clear picture of the determined efforts aimed at creating confusion and disruption in the  presence of the Circassian societies in the homeland and diaspora.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela [8]



[1] (https://aheku.net/news/society/obrashhenie-v-parlamentskuyu-assambleyu-soveta-evropyi)

[2] (https://aheku.net/news/society/obrashhenie-v-parlamentskuyu-assambleyu-soveta-evropyi)

[3] (https://www.un.org/en/sections/what-we-do/protect-human-rights/index.html)

[4] (https://aheku.net/news/society/obrashhenie-v-parlamentskuyu-assambleyu-soveta-evropyi)

[5] (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/06/25/explainer-what-are-russians-voting-for-in-putins-constitution-poll-a70692)

[6] (https://kavtoday.ru/article/5461?fbclid=IwAR1qhBQdZd4hOM65Y3mCLQwHzJojfq1V454Hjrvkrxwear1ZWB2GWvmsSWg)

[7] (https://www.kaffed.org/haberler/federasyondan/item/4074-rusya-federasyonu-anayasa-degisikligine-hayir.html?fbclid=IwAR1CF1GjW7Qzv8YKs5BAf8IbJp_BTYavs9oYNrzgKl_F0lFrTPObc7D6r5s)

[8] (https://www.traffickinginstitute.org/incontext-nelson-mandela-3/)

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