Sunday, October 10, 2021

Germany Now Better Candidate than Ukraine for Securing Recognition of Circassian Genocide, Temirov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 5 – Germany, following its leftward turn in the recent elections, is now far more likely to recognize Russian actions against Circassians in 1864 as a genocide than is Ukraine, largely because intensifying German opposition to Moscow reflects among other things Germany’s sense of responsibility about the past, Murat Temirov says.

            The Circassian journalist has returned to this theme because he says the Russian translation of the English version of his interview with London’s Al Araby originally published in Arabic led many of his co-nationals to assume that he opposes the pursuit of such recognition by anyone (; on that interview and reaction to it, see

            In fact, he says, he is not opposed to the pursuit of such international recognition of the genocide but wanted in his interview to make two points: first, Circassians should not focus on Ukraine as the next country likely to support them, and second, they should not focus on the past rather than on the future.

            Given Ukraine’s declared interest in coming to the aid of the non-Russian peoples in the Russian Federation, many Circassians have assumed that it is the obvious place to seek recognition of the genocide. But Ukraine is not animated by a sense of guilt about the past and therefore will be less likely to make such a declaration.

            Germany in contrast views all current and future problems through its own sense of guilt and responsibility for the past and therefore, especially after the turn to the left in the Bundestag, is likely going to be far more willing to take up what many elsewhere would dismiss as a question of history.

            But “the chief leitmotif of my conservation with the Arabic publication,” Temirov says, “was not the genocide and means of seeking its recognition but rather the idea that we must not focus on the past. We must set goals for the future so that consolidation of the nation will be ahead and not behind.”

            “It is impossible to go forward with confidence if one is constantly looking back,” he continues. “We are a healthy nation, full of strength. But it is already obvious that not everyone will be able to get into the future. Lest the Circassians lose in this fierce competition, we must look forward with faith so as to set the stage for the rising generations.”

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