Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Russian Outsider Moscow Installed as Elista Mayor Tried to Block Unofficial Commemoration of Kalmyk Deportations

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 29 – Seventy-six years ago today, Stalin deported the Kalmyks from their homeland in the North Caucasus. Today, officials organized memorial ceremonies, but efforts by those who first marked this date in 1989 was partially blocked by Dmitry Trapeznikov, the former Donbass official Moscow has installed as mayor of the capital of Kalmykia

            Between the Kalmyks’ return in 1957 and 1989, Soviet officials prevented any commemoration of this event. In that year, the Peoples Front of Kalmykia held its first meeting on this date because of its centrality to the life of that nation in recent times (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344089/).

            This week, on the 30th anniversary of that first meeting, the situation in Kalmykia has changed but not been transformed. Officials now mark the date with their own meetings, but they have sought to prevent anyone else from doing so lest the messages from such a commemoration work against Elista or Moscow.

            Valery Badmayev, head of the Congress of the Oyrat-Kalmyk People, said he had applied for permission to hold the meeting on December 17 but did not receive a response within three days as the law requires. Then, a few days ago, his attorney, another former Peoples Front activist, did – and it was negative.

            Because the mayor’s office was not playing by the rules and informing the applicant, thus replicating its effort to block an earlier meeting, Badmayev and his colleagues appealed to a local court.  They won in the court of first instance, but then that decision was overturned by the republic’s supreme court.

            They decided to go ahead anyway, but the 30 to 40 people who showed up were fined for participating in an illegal assembly.  This action threatens to restart the Kalmyk protests against Trapeznikov (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/11/kalmyks-now-protesting-about-more-than.html).

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