Sunday, January 31, 2021

Circassians Denounce Putin’s Palace, Praise Navalny’s Exposure of It in Open Letter

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 30 – Non-Russians are often criticized for focusing on their own ethnic issues and not participating in broader political movements involving the all-Russian opposition. But in a happy exception, Circassians from the North Caucasus and the diaspora have sent an open letter to Aleksey Navalny denouncing “the Putin palace” the Russian activist has exposed.

            “The Putin palace,” the letter notes, “is located on Cape Idokubas on the shore of the Black Sea not far from Gelendzhik, on the motherland of the Circassians. It, just like the Olympic objects in Sochi, was erected on the territorial of the Caucasus reserve” ( and

            “Both projects are clear examples of corruption, and we declare this in the name of a significant part of the people who suffered enormous misfortunate when they were deported in 1864 from these very lands” where today, the Kremlin has been building illegal structures. We praise Navalny for bringing this to the attention of the world.

            The letter says that the signatories like all Circassians and their supporters respect the Russian activist for his courage, given the illegal repressive measures, including a direct attack on his life, and that they are thrilled that his film exposing Putin’s “palace” has been seen more than 90 million times on YouTube.

            Putin and his cronies, of course, have denied that the palace is his, but his regime has established a no-fly zone around it as it would for a Russian presidential facility, The Kremlin explains this action as required to keep NATO airplanes from threatening it.

            For the record, the author of these lines is proud to be a signatory of this letter, a document that reflects the feelings of millions of Circassians and their supporters and their desire to work with rather than be kept apart from the all-Russian protest movement that Navalny is playing such a key role in promoting.


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