Sunday, January 6, 2019

Daghestan’s Kumyks Outraged After Local Officials ‘Vandalize’ National Monument

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 6 – The Kumyks, a 400,000-strong community of Turkic Muslims in Daghestan, are outraged by what they call an act of vandalism by local officials who replaced a monument the Kumyks put up less than a month ago with one using different languages and carrying an entirely different message.

            On December 15, Kumyks from seven villages in Daghestan erected a plinth in memory of the soldiers of the Caucasus Islamic Army who liberated their region from the British-backed White Russian forces of General Lazar Bicherakov (

            Three days ago, officials of the Karabudakhent district and Agachaul village secretly removed the original marble plinth, which featured the story in Kumyk, Turkish and Russian, and put up a new one whose text was only in Russia and was devoted not to Turkic forces but only to “unnamed” armies whose soldiers fell for “the freedom of Russia and Daghestan. 

            The representatives of the Kumyk community who erected the original monument were outraged by both these changes and by the fact that the local officials listed those who put up the first version as being responsible for the second.  The officials thus not only changed the text and language but falsified who was responsible.

            “The establishment of the monument on the centenary of this historical event,” the Kumyk organizers said. “was from out side an act of purely human Muslim relations, a tribute to the holy memory of the 192 Turkish soliders who fell here and many of whom remain buried in Daghestani land.”

            “To our deep regret,” they continued, “certain nationalist-chauvinist Russain (Daghestani) and Armenia media and certain republic (Daghestani) bureaucrats” took part or supported this act of vandalism and historical travesty.  The organizers demanded that the authorities restore the initial plinth.

            “We cannot observe with indifference those who inflict harm on our good names and reputations and politicize our noble goals,” the organizers said.  “We unanimously condemn this act of vandalism … and demand the un-altered restoration of the original text.” And they said they would use all Russian and international legal avenues to achieve their goals.

            Not surprisingly, this issue has attracted widespread attention among bloggers in the North Caucasus; and their posts, which express even more outrage than the statement of the original organizers, are raising the temperature of relations between the Kumyks and other Daghestanis and between Turkic groups in the region and all others as well.

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