Friday, June 29, 2018

Circassians, Balkars Denounce Language Bill, Say It Opens the Way to the End of Non-Russian Republics and Ethnocide

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 29 – A meeting of 200 leading intellectuals and officials in Kabardino-Balkaria unanimously denounced the Kremlin’s proposed language bill, saying that it is another step toward Moscow’s demolishing of the non-Russian republics and toward the launch of a new Russian wave of ethnocide against the Circassians and other non-Russian nations.

            The anger of the Kabardins, a subgroup of the Circassian nation, and of the Turkic Balkars about this measure was reflected both in that the Nalchik meeting attracted nearly all the leading intellectuals of that republic and in that two members of the KBR parliament joined them, Larisa Cherkes says (

            Olga Efendiyev-Begret of the Circassian Zhegu Organization says that “practically all the participants called this bill an act of ethnocide and compared it to the genocide of the Circassian people” in the 19th century. Balkar participants in the meeting agreed and recalled the tragic events in their nation’s history as well.

            Aslan Beshto, the head of the Kabardin Congress, says that the Kremlin measure, one that he describes as “absolutely illegal and chauvinistic,” should be have been rejected and “killed in its cradle by the deputies of the national republics in the State Duma.” That was their responsibility and they failed to meet it.

            According to him, the presence of the two local deputies is a welcome sign because both “expressed a readiness to cooperate with society and to engage in dialogue,” although as yet “there is no full recognition [by them and others] of the danger on the brink of which the republic finds itself.”

            Madina Khadkuasheva, a philologist, adds that the Russian Duma did not expect such “a stormy reaction” to the measure. It has never faced a situation like this before.  But she said that Circassians and other non-Russian nations plan to continue to fight the measure regardless of what Moscow does.

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