Martin Kochesoko: A Circassian Hero

Martin Kochesoko: A Circassian Hero

By: Adel Bashqawi

14 June 2019


“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom,” and by considering other associated circumstances, the concept is embodied and symbolized. People redeem their homeland and the just cause they believe in while utilizing all their strength and knowledge to achieve legitimate aspirations through legal, rational and peaceful means. [1]

There is a recent example of realistic events that can be referred to. Vivid facts have provided various issues of the Circassian Question and placed them in the spotlight. Seemingly, as a result of an awareness movement by a group of Circassian activists in Nalchik, the capital city of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria (KBR), there are certain and identified influential parties that did not like to see the Circassians discussing and debating their present status affairs. Among those courageous activists is Martin Kochesoko who is acknowledged as one of a kind.

The Circassian activists, have cooperated with research and study centers, academicians, human rights activists and consulting on legal issues to discuss matters of concern to the Circassians.

They have been active in publishing information, holding meetings and gatherings in addition to reviving and commemorating various events such as the Circassian Memorial Day on the twenty first of May. [2]

This concrete awareness activity appears to cast a shadow over the concerns of authoritarian interests in the North Caucasus and beyond, possibly because of the unwillingness of the Russian authorities to relinquish direct autocratic control and their desire not to compromise; but to go beyond acceptable limits in ruling indigenous peoples according to police and intelligence methods that transcend all borders and limits by the infringement of the rights of citizens in a reckless and non human ways and means. Data confirms that the constitution and laws (rules and regulation) are deliberately ignored and not applied on all citizens on equal footing. Despite the collateral damage that is produced by antagonizing the Circassians, Russia has not shown any sign to recognize the crimes committed by the Tsarist Russian Empire.

Martin Kochesoko، who is known by his high morals, gentleness and perseverance، was arbitrarily arrested when he was driving his car heading home, where they charged him with possession of drugs, which they themselves planted on him. His arrest was published on the eighth of June, 2019 in media outlets such as “CAUCASUS UZEL” [3] and “Kavkaz.Realii.” [4] This is not surprising behavior to expect from the Russian authorities when they want to detain anyone, as they did recently in Moscow. “Ivan Golunov, a 36-year-old journalist known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, was detained by police on Thursday and accused of serious drug offences which he denies.” [5]

“Russian officials have adopted exactly the same strategy and for the same reasons against Martin Kochesoko, a Circassian activist and leader of the Khabze organization, arresting him and planting drugs on him because of his staunch support for freedom and the rights of his people ( What is even worse and more instructive about the nature of the Russian powers that be is that there is clear evidence that in Kochesoko’s case, the authorities plotted this well in advance and have embedded the charges against him into a larger campaign against all Circassian activists who dare to criticize Russian oppression.” [6]

Referring to what has happened with the journalist from Moscow, all journalists were fortunately willing to defend his case. “Three of Russia’s leading newspapers took the unusual step on Monday of publishing identical front page headlines to protest over what they suspect is the framing of an investigative journalist on drug charges.” [7] Eventually, “Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has fired two police generals over the discredited criminal case against journalist Ivan Golunov, the Kremlin said.” [8] This is unusual to reach such a happy conclusion. “Police made a rare U-turn on Tuesday when they abruptly dropped the charges against Golunov and let him walk free.” [9]

On the similarities between the two recent cases, there is an urgency to observe the human conscience, moral responsibility and the human duty to defend the lofty concepts, freedom of speech and human rights. “Those who are defending Golunov should also be defending Kochesoko. They can find good reporting on his case at…/,circassianprogress-…/2019/06/ The actions taken against both are rooted in politics, not drugs. Golunov has exposed the criminal activities of Putin’s power vertical and the oligarchs; Kochesoko has taken the lead in declaring that “the constitution isn’t working, federalism is being destroyed, and the powers have distanced themselves from the people and thereby deepened the systemic crisis” (…/circassians-must-govern-the…).” [10]

Martin Kochesoko considered himself a member of a nation demanding the restoration of their rights, and therefore he acted only in accordance with legal concepts that could be followed to reach the legitimate goals. “The case Russian officials have trumped up against the Circassian leader should spark just as much outrage as the one they have manufactured against Golunov. They deserve no less. (For background on Kochesko’s impressive activities all too often passed over in silence in Moscow, see and” [11]

Instead of listening to the voice of reason and prudence, and even thinking about settling unresolved issues related to the direct control by the center on local authorities, the situation is worsened and made more confused by irritating the inhabitants. Consequently, the apparent improvised behavior of the authorities welcomes usual and natural reaction, which stimulates those who feel persecuted to demand restoring their confiscated rights. This leads to a conclusion that these authorities follow a one-way method with those who are supposed to be partners in what is described as federalism.

It can not be called and described but a mixture of abhorrent racism, injustice, violation of rights, tyranny, dictatorship, domination, tyranny, unilateralism and dispersal of the Circassian nation at home and in the world. A Circassian has commented on Facebook: ‘They allow drugs to be consumed by their own athletes and they create lies about it…but they accuse completely innocent people of dealing, handling or possessing drugs! The worst corrupt, racist, imperialistic country in the world.’

In conclusion, it should be noted that journalists, academic historians, anthropologists and political scientists who study and write about the past and present of the Caucasus, from eighteen different countries have signed an appeal to demand the immediate release of the Circassian journalist and human rights activist, the head of the public organization “Khabze,” Martin Kochesoko. The appeal mentioned: “Precisely the same criminal case is being fabricated against this Circassian activist as was fabricated against Medusa correspondent Ivan Golunov. Law enforcement agencies are accusing Kochesoko of drug possession.” In addition, it is mentioned that “Martin Kochesoko is being persecuted for political reasons. In particular, after a round table was held in Nalchik on May 17 about the problems of federalism in Russia, a man from the local administration came to Kochesoko’s parents and warned that Martin would have problems if he did not ‘curtail his activities’.” [12] 



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