Circassian Genocide Recognition Being Key Factor For Rights Restoration

Circassian Genocide Recognition Being Key Factor For Rights Restoration

By: Adel Bashqawi

The First North Caucasus Conference

Ethno-Cultural Problems of the Circassian Nation

November 7-9, 2022 Potockich Palace, University of Warsaw

9 November, 2022

Abstract 

Imperialist policies and plans of the Russian Empire were nothing but applying methods of imperial ideology. Clumsy behavior was the common denominator according to invariable standards of colonial policies against the afflicted peoples and nations. The Russian authorities are not only satisfied with what has been committed against the indigenous inhabitants, the regime that has resulted from the state succession of the imperial and soviet regimes has denied legal obligation and liability. It seems that had it not been for this last unjust war against the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state, it would not have been possible to shed light in this public way on other oppressed peoples in the Caucasus and beyond, who were in the past and still, victims of campaigns of the Russian Empire’s conquest, occupation and extermination. Blessed and invaluable efforts are being made by people of good conscience to recognize the Circassian genocide and thus restore the forgotten rights, and the right of peoples to freedom and the right to self-determination. The Russian state has shown stubbornness and more denial of responsibility of committing war crimes against humanity, physical and cultural genocide, ethnic cleansing and forced deportation against the Circassian nation. The crime of genocide does not have a statute of limitations. Accountability of states in the crime of genocide, does not have a statute of limitations. The Circassian legitimate rights must be addressed and retrieved. They include: Genocide recognition, an apology to the Circassian nation, receive an appropriate compensation, the right of repatriation with an international support, and the realization of the right to self-determination.

Introduction

Observers and those who are familiar with the insides of what’s going on, say that the conditions were never as favorable as they are now to discuss a topic that had been obscured, rather has witnessed cases of attempts to erase it from human memory. Monitors and experts concluded that invading Ukraine and threatening other neighbors, has prompted to speed up reaching the right time and suitable conditions to address the permanent insomnia that affected many, in search of a solution to end the long time subjugation of dozens of peoples and nations.

Background

— The Russian policies and methods used in the invasion and occupation of countries, the extermination and displacement of their people, and the annexation of afflicted and defeated countries and regions were nothing but a systematic policy followed by the successive Russian regimes since the era of Ivan the Terrible to this day.

— The Circassian nation has been nothing but one of those victims, which suffered greatly from being adjacent to one of the greedy colonial powers that did not spare any of its neighbors from its evils and crimes. Nevertheless, the successive Russian regimes did not learn from their own wrong doings what they and their predecessors had committed, which kept their hands stained with innocent blood.

— Even though the Circassian nation has suffered greatly when it was exposed to savage annihilation crimes and atrocities, which is considered extermination, that wasn’t in any way a blessing. There weren’t future prospects or interests shown at the time to deal with what happened in regard to what dozens of nations and peoples were exposed to.

— Not caring about the suffering of human beings, even if it contradicts the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, unilaterally, rules are replaced by typical and desirable practices of trampling down what comes on their way, with merciless and aggressive methods. Actual acts are contrary to all the rules of international law and all United Nations resolutions. They condone the sovereignty of neighbouring peoples and nations in a state sponsored terrorism.

The Birth of the Russian Federation

— The sequence in political developments reached the emergence of the various Russian regimes and the emanation of the Russian state in its current form at the present era. As a result of the developments and wars that occurred after the chaos that prevailed in Russian society in the nineteenth century, the Bolshevik Revolution won and took power. Afterwards, the Soviet Union was established and a communist regime prevailed at the beginning of the twentieth century until the time of the Soviet collapse and disintegration, after a little more than seventy years. That led to the difficult birth of fifteen independent republics.

— Among them was the true and legitimate heir of the Romanov Empire and the commissars of the Soviet tyrannical state, which popped out under the name of the Russian Federation. It contained dozens of small peoples and nations that the higher authorities decided to include it in the so-called federation, but without taking the opinion of those concerned. It even avoided applying the minimum international legislation in this regard.

— That is compulsory federation with the Circassians and other peoples of the Caucasus for example. Apparently, it followed the footsteps of the same colonial policy of aggression against neighbouring peoples and nations. It has consistently denied the right of peoples under colonial or occupation control to regain their legitimate rights by recognizing the crimes of genocide committed by the armed forces and their mercenaries based on orders issued by Russian political, military leaders and senior officers.

The Present Time Genocide Recognition

— Diverse diaspora faced difficulties to create a unified data bank due to the multiplicity of languages utilized since the Circassian deportation. 

— Among the most disastrous elements of the Circassian Question is the Circassian genocide issue, which has emerged as one of the repercussions of the Russian-Circassian War. It is including but not limited to murder, destruction, occupation, annihilation, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement.

— With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the demise of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the policy of isolation that was imposed and followed by the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe, it became possible to access archives, documents, history books, memoirs, testimonies, notes and information that were preserved without anyone being able to view them since the end of the war and preserve them until the specialists were able to view them and inform the public opinion on the unspeakable cruelty and crimes.

— Knowing that the most prominent obstacles encountered in gathering information were the widespread diaspora in many countries and the inability to get a unified database as a reference for anyone who wanted furthering the available facts. This is not the only obstacle, but in the absence of the Circassian language from the scene, which is a problem in itself, there is a multiplicity of languages used, according to the place or location of the source of the information.

— The languages used are English, French, German, Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Georgian and other languages. For this reason, there will be no integration of information unless a unified reliable scientific body is established. At the same time it will collect available information in all languages and all topics that affect all walks of life. This will allow us to share, exchange and pass information between different languages with the aim of providing information in all languages. The platform can be used to conduct studies and research. Facts will be published about the repercussions and results of the Russian-Circassian war or, as the Russian vocabulary calls it, the Russian-Caucasian War.

The Russian Savage War in Ukraine

The situation awareness in the past has indicated that political insomnia disorder was the predominant factor impacting such exceptional status. It matches the predominant situation that favors narcissist procedures, policies, and strategies to achieve colonial objectives. The ambitions goals and greed in Ukraine are due to the value of its unique strategic location as a gateway to Europe, the fertility of its agricultural lands, its wealthy natural resources, and the importance of its territorial waters.

— Ukraine’s abandonment of nuclear weapons following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, came in light of the willingness of the United States, Britain and the Russian Federation to protect Ukraine’s independence. “Three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world. Thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil by Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to completely denuclearize. In exchange, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia would guarantee Ukraine’s security in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum.” [1]

— In direct conflict with signed memorandum, the agreement was breached when Russia occupied and annexed the Crimea in February of 2014, then occupied some areas in the southeast of the country, while Russia began eight years later, specifically in February 2022, a military campaign from land, sea and air aimed to invade and occupy Ukraine. “In late February, a few days after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president was ousted from power, strange bands of armed gunmen began seizing government buildings in Crimea. Some Crimeans held rallies to show support for the ousted president and, in some cases, to call to secede from Ukraine and re-join Russia. The bands of gunmen grew until it became obvious they were Russian military forces, who forcefully but bloodlessly brought the entire peninsula under military occupation.” [2]

— Reasons have been given with evil motives for starting a war and attacking the independent country of Ukraine. Neighboring Russia turned out to be a nightmare, for Ukraine, the way it did to dozens of other peoples and nations in the past, both in the Caucasus and beyond. To say the least, Russia gave an excuse worse than a sin, which has proven the reality the necessity of Russian accountability. “The claims of Nazis and genocide in Ukraine are completely unfounded but part of a narrative repeated by Russia for years. {It’s crazy, sometimes not even they can explain what they are referring to}” complained Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. However, an opinion piece by state-run news agency Ria Novosti made clear that {denazification is inevitably also de-Ukrainisation} – in effect erasing the modern state.” [3]

— The solid heroic stance taken by Ukraine, represented by its president, armed forces and entire people supported by the civilized world, forced the aggressor forces scale back their plans. They reconsidered their plans to occupy and annex Ukraine and therefore, to change the map of the region. “Russia that is now accused by the international community of carrying out war crimes. Several countries including the US and Canada go further and call it genocide. After so much destruction, the Russian leader’s words ring very hollow now: {It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory; we do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force.}” [4]

Recent Events Drew Attention to a Forgotten Caucasus 

Actually it’s shocking and surprising when going through the documents of the Russian invasion and extermination during the Russo-Circassian War (1763 – 1864), taking into account the horror, extermination and atrocities committed in Circassia in the nineteenth century. It is worth mentioning in this scope that Georgia’s recognition of the Circassian Genocide remains a symbol, rather a beacon of hope and truth for all.

— The shock becomes stronger and highly effective day by day when scenes are published by the media outlets and social media sites about the second phase of the Russian war on Ukraine that started on February 24, 2022, where the first phase was initiated in February 2014. The media indicates brutal acts performed against the sovereign Ukraine by killing its people and destroy its resources and capabilities.

— On June 23, 2022, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as the Helsinki Commission, held an Online briefing in the title of: “DECOLONIZING RUSSIA, A Moral and Strategic Imperative.” The following exceptional statement was mentioned in the initial announcement of the event, which reminded of brutal crimes committed against dozens of oppressed nations, still languishing under Russian subjugation: “Its aggression also is catalyzing a long-overdue conversation about Russia’s interior empire, given Moscow’s dominion over many indigenous non-Russian nations, and the brutal extent to which the Kremlin has taken to suppress their national self-expression and self-determination.” Four panelists have participated in the event. [5] [6]

— On the18th of March 2022, MEP Anna Fotyga Bogajski, from the EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVES AND REFORMISTS parliamentary group hosted four panelists in an unprecedented event at the European Parliament. The motto that promoted this event online, indicated: “Their only crime was not being Russian: The Circassian Genocide.”

The following explanation and reasoning was published in the event’s Website page: “The Circassian genocide, … was the 19th century Russian Empire’s systematic extermination, ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion of up to 97 percent of the north Caucasus Mountain’s indigenous Circassians from their ancestral lands.”

— The event announcement elaborated: “The almost total annihilation of this ancient, pre-Indo European people from lands they had inhabited for millennia was modern Europe’s first genocide. This was an example of the now infamous {Russian Way of War} which the world is now watching with horror, as this infamous strategy is exposed in all of its sickening brutality in Ukraine today. In the case of the Circassians, once the largest ethnic group in the northern Caucasus, this extermination was so complete that few today know this nation even existed.” [7] [8]

— On the 19th of June, 2022, a group representing all parties of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), described as the Inter- Fractional Deputy Group “For Free Caucasus,” was established, which consisted of ten Members of the Parliament headed by Oleksiy Goncharenko. This group has begun to seek raising some basic issues in the Caucasus, such as recognition of the genocide of Circassians and Chechens, in addition to other related matters. [9]

— A video speech was addressed to the Circassian people in particular and the peoples of the Caucasus in general by the Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksiy Goncharenko. He said that the Ukrainian Parliament has established a special caucus for a free Caucasus. He said that they will fight in the Ukrainian parliament to get this approved. A bill was sent to the Ukrainian Parliament to recognize the Circassian Genocide that was committed against the Circassian people in the 19th century. He continued that it was one of the awful crimes of the Russian Empire, which happened in the 19th century.

— He added that in the 20th century there were many more genocides committed by the Russian Empire including Ukrainians, Chechens, Ingush peoples and others. He expressed hope for deliverance from the Russian Empire, and called for the need to stand together and restore historical justice and to set the truth of what has happened.

He added that from his position as head of the parliamentary group “For a Free Caucasus” in the Ukrainian parliament, he would cooperate with them. [10]

— Member of Parliament Oleksiy Goncharenko submitted together with giving a speech at the Ukrainian parliament, “A Bill on the recognition of the genocide of the Cherkese (Adige) people during the Russian-Caucasian War.”

The draft Bill suggested that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decides:

1. To recognize the genocide inflicted on the Circassians by the Russian Empire

2. The resolution becomes valid from the time of adoption.

Also, the draft Bill included six explanatory  notes, to be taking into account when adopting the Bill. [11]

— On a related topic to what is happening in the Caucasus and Ukraine alike, Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko, has submitted to the Ukrainian Parliament a “Bill on the recognition of the independence of the (Chechen) Republic of Ichkeria.” He mentioned that to subjugate the Chechen people, the Kremlin started two wars with killing civilians, and committing genocide. [12] [13] [14]

— “The second forum of the Free Nations of Russia” was held in Prague from July 22 to 24, 2022. Representatives of national minorities of Russia attended the meeting, in light of the grievances of peoples and nations, whose only fault was, being surrounded by a greedy colonial power. The conference endorsed on its concluding day, what was called “a declaration on the decolonization of Russia.” Unprecedented attendance took place by the participation of  “representatives of the Russian opposition, participants of regional and national movements, well-known activists, and experts, including former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.” [15]

— Moreover, the subsequent efforts made by the successive ruling regimes have paved the way to falsify history in order to alter irrefutable facts. The Forum has concluded: “We call upon all citizens of the Russian Federation to actively support measures for the achievement of the goals of this Declaration on De-Colonization in order to establish peace, security, democracy and concord among peoples.”

— Where the hope springs eternal, the declaration is meant to remind the whole world of forgotten peoples and nations due to blurring the marks of crimes committed against them by the invading hordes of the Russian Empire. establish peace, security, democracy and concord among peoples.” [16]

— It is important to emphasize that international resolutions, laws and norms must be implemented, knowing that no one is beyond accountability or above the law, no matter how long it takes. However, Point 2 of Article 1 of Chapter I: Purposes and Principles  of United Nations Charter states: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” [17]

Conclusion

As a result of the developments that occurred slowly but surely after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and then at a faster pace in subsequent years, especially after holding the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014, promising but challenging future prospects have surfaced for the settlement of the Circassian question. Regarding the recognition of the tragedies caused by successive Russian regimes, recent events and developments would reply efficiently and steadily to the typical speaking in clichés that the Russian state takes as a standard general policy. Contradicted by the blessed efforts of the perseveres in restoring the usurped Circassian rights, with the support of people of good will from friendly countries. Evidently, that makes them evade the recognition of oppressed peoples and nations rights. Seemingly, a logic chain would effectively make truth derive and evolve from fundamental changes in concepts and understanding the lessons that crystallized Russia’s aggression and attempt to occupy the Ukrainian neighbor’s territories or subjugate parts of Ukraine under different names and claims has revealed the facts clearly.

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References

[1] https://www.npr.org/2022/02/21/1082124528/ukraine-russia-putin-invasion

[2] https://www.vox.com/2014/9/3/18088560/ukraine-everything-you-need-to-know

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589

[4] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589

[5] https://www.csce.gov/international-impact/press-and-media/press-releases/decolonization-russia-be-discussed-upcoming

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iGtFXs9gvo

[7] https://ecrgroup.eu/event/their_only_crime_was_not_being_russian_the_circassian_genocide

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11kkP-unL3g&t=1202s

[9] https://www.facebook.com/100000877390037/posts/pfbid02ZbBqLts8TVrHB86UNVpPSJVFXzCYaA4VidkSmQDFBYvyZNsi9WRUpdfqeR9Nk8j7l/?d=n

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtNRiiOlIKU

[11] https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02vehcGo1vuo87xLoeC7WXypHBgDHNGGLUieMJ1dmZYVTyTdpww2NJY88PRYwq27ypl&id=575048622569055&fs=60&focus_composer=0&m_entstream_source=video_home&player_suborigin=entry_point&player_format=permalink

[12] https://twitter.com/GoncharenkoUa/status/1546848834936086533

[13] https://twitter.com/antiputler_news/status/1546811650359152643

[14] https://www.kavkazr.com/a/ukraina-mozhet-priznatj-suverenitet-ichkerii/31941632.html

[15] https://euromaidanpress.com/2022/07/25/national-minorities-of-russian-federation-discuss-its-deimperialization-in-prague/

[16] https://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/07/declaration-on-de-colonization-of.html?fbclid=IwAR2P-spLzcQ-xg3y9Nzbqr1aZ2_R3lO1mneWh7-0qwjXL_fzO0shWdLTUVU

[17] https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter/full-text

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