Consequences of April 2020 Russian Constitutional Referendum (3)

Consequences of April 2020 Russian Constitutional Referendum (3)

Adel Bashqawi

1 July, 2021


In continuation to a previous article published on 24 June in the title of:“Realistic Reading of KAFFED Strategy” and what followed thereafter, the rest of the information related to the activities that took place during the past years, which are directly related to the Circassian Question and other Caucasian affairs are published in this article.

— On 9 June, 2018, Madina Khakuasheva, a senior researcher at the Kabardino-Balkaria Research Institute of Humanities, published an article in which she spoke about the amendments and gradual changes taking place in the Russian Federation to the Education Law, stating: “We have only one sacred channel of communication – from top to bottom, but the one from bottom to top, thus it has not worked for a long time, but it did work at one time. However, it is precisely this circumstance that constitutes the {Achilles’ heel} of federal representatives of different branches of government, since the rhetoric that they still use, without further ado, has been delayed for 50 years and has not been taken seriously for a relatively long time.” The scholar  added: “The majority of people all this time have been more silent because of this one-way communication, but not only because of tiredness, indifference, and the absurdity of the issued decrees (as you know, the most difficult thing to dispute is the absurdity, especially if it is so obvious). But even from the people’s silence and patience, those in power learned to inject gains, and interpreted silence as a sign of acceptance. But that was the case until the current law bill, which was a kind of red line, the intersection of which changed everything.”[1]

In March 2020, in light of the support of the president of the International Circassian Association, Khauti Sokhrokov to Russian President Vladimir Putin to introduce amendments to the Russian Constitution, and his unconditional support for the changes made by the Russian Federation in the Basic Law of the country, Valery Khatazhukov, Head of the Kabardino-Balkaria Regional Center for human rights has said: Neither Skhrukov nor his organization speak on behalf of the Circassians. Instead, both reflect the views of the Russian Federal Security Service, which took control over this category two decades ago.[2]

— On 14 March, 2020, the Jordan Association of Circassian Caucasus Friends issued a statement in which it indicated the position of the International Circassian Association (ICA) regarding the amendments made to the Russian Constitution, showing the issue of dwarfing the role of the Circassian language and thus downgrading the importance of peoples and nations in the Russian Federation:

* The International Circassian Association did not take a positive and responsible stance regarding the referendum held on 22 April 2020, regarding changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which made the Russian language the main and only official state language in all parts of the country. Considering that honesty of responsibility requires that the head of this association, who is one of the members of the working group for drafting the constitutional amendments in the Russian Federation, should have acted on the basis of preserving the Adyghe language and the peculiarity of the Circassian nation, but, on the contrary, he declared his blessings and approval of the amendments, without making any reservation.

  • The association did not take a constructive position towards the unification of the language that was divided into languages ​​of several nationalities by the defunct Soviet Union. It does not make the teaching of the national language compulsory in schools, universities and scientific institutes. The ICA must not stand against the wishes of the Circassians of the North Caucasus in their quest for a union into a united republic.
  • It ignores the fact of arresting Circassian activists in their homeland in the North Caucasus who wish to express their opinions freely. It condones the violations taking place against them.
  • One of the sensitive issues on the Circassian arena that does not receive the required attention is the lack of interest of the International Circassian Assembly to positively intervene in the issue of falsification of Circassian family names carried out by the Abkhaz authorities, in exchange for granting Abkhaz citizenship to some applicants, as if it were not of its concern.
  • As the Jordan Association of Circassian Caucasus Friends declares its condemnation and denunciation of this deliberate self-paralysis, it urges all those interested in Circassian affairs to participate in addressing this institutional morbidity.[3]

— In an open letter that I sent on 18 March, 2020, to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a reference was made to the “new amendments to the Constitution of Russia, in particular the new version of Article 68 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which states that {the state language of the Russian Federation throughout its territory is the Russian language, since it is the language of the nation that makes up the state, and that is part of the ‘Plurinational Federation of Equal Nations in the Russian Federation.’ This criterion introduces the racial segregation and differentiation of the indigenous peoples and national minorities in Russia, the division of the multinational people in the Russian Federation and the granting of a special status to ethnic Russians as a nation-forming state.”[4]

— On 27 April, 2020, Madina Khakuasheva said: “Moscow’s falsification of the Circassian history and its disavowal of the imperialist nature of Russian policy that led to the displacement of most of that nation’s members not only shows that the Russian government is committed to the neo-colonial agenda, but continues the path of ethnic genocide.” Khakwasheva continues: “Russia’s approach to non-Russians has gone through the following four stages in the case of the Circassians: physical destruction and deportation without the right of return, outright discrimination against the mother tongue, level of culture and identity, and the complete elimination of Circassians’ history of books and museums. In addition, Moscow continues to work to create “all conditions for the realization of artificial assimilation and the erasure of all evidence of the existence of an entire people,” including declaring the lands and resources of those territories as Russian {from time immemorial}.” This is {the ultimate goal of geopolitical control}.”[5]

— On 11 July, 2020, a senior researcher at the Kabardino-Balkaria Humanities Research Institute published on the website of the “Kabardino-Balkaria Regional Center for Human Rights” that it was planned in Belorechensk, a city in the Krasnodar region on the Belaya River, to erect a monument to General Nikolai Evdokimov, one of the main architects of the Circassian Genocide. However, the wave of widespread public anger prevented or delayed this initiative. “In the Krasnodar Province, many monuments bear the name of the cannibal General Zas.” Two monuments to General Yermolov were erected in the Stavropol Province. And now — Evdokimov. It seems that someone is doing everything possible so that the Circassian people do not forget the tragedy of the past centuries” — as public figure Ibrahim Yaganov said in an interview with the “Caucasus Facts” Website.[6]

— On 28 July 2020, Madina Tlostanova, a Circassian Professor at Linköping University of Sweden pointed out that those who want to preserve the monuments want to reduce the indigenous peoples of the North Caucasus to mere “footnotes” in Moscow’s imperial narrative. She added in a press interview: “The discourse of those who demand the preservation of memorials to military criminals, colonialists and moreover, the construction of new memorials, is based on a crude simplification and distortion of history, and on the barbarism that authorized this by the high commands.”[7]

— On 29 July, 2020, Zarema Tsveyeva said that erecting more memorials to the Tsarist forces invading the Caucasus “can be seen as anything but a massive apostasy of imperial colonial consciousness” on the part of the Russians as it commemorates those who killed and subjugated non Russian peoples there, whose descendants still feel the pain from those events. The Circassian language and culture specialist at the Adygea State University added that regional and federal authorities erect such memorials to send very different messages to Russians and non-Russians.[8]

In this regard, the “Patriots of Circassia” demanded that the United Nations should consider the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation that were recently introduced after the referendum in which the opinion of the Slavic majority was taken to make the Russian language as the first language in the state, thus making the languages of other nationalities have no official value in the fields of education and official transactions in the state and other cultural matters.

To be continued in future articles…










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