Monday, January 3, 2022

Russian Factory Director in Nalchik Says KBR would Be Better Off if Both Kabards and Balkars were Deported Again

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 13 – Konstantin Kryuchkov, director of Nalchik’s Gidrometallurg factory, said in a video clip that has gone viral that Kabardino-Balkaria would be a better place if there were no Kabardins or Balkars there, something he suggested could be achieved by a repetition of the 1944 deportation of the two to somewhere else.

            The ethnic Russian manager added that in his experience, representatives of both nationalities do not want to work but only to be given money. Both the Circassian Kabardins and the Turkic Balkars, who have clashed in the past, have united to demand he be punished for his words (

            Kazbek Kokov, the head of the republic, said that such statements were impermissible and that his government would get to the bottom of things. Then, the republic’s Investigations Committee announced that it had determined that the voice on the tape was Kryuchkov’s ( and

            A large crowd assembled outside Kryuchkov’s factory and demanded that he appear. But his subordinates said he wasn’t there and asked people to calm down and let the investigation proceed. Few are happy about that and perhaps even fewer expect anything to happen to the director.

            One reason that Kryuchkov likely made this xenophobic comment and one that explains why both Kabardins and Balkars are demanding his head is that many residents have long wanted to have his factory closed down on environmental grounds (

            But however that may be, Kryuchkov’s words are now echoing across the North Caucasus, with many apparently believing that what he was caught on tape saying is what many ethnic Russian bosses in the region believe. To the extent that this is the case, what may seem a small matter has the potential to grow into a large one if he remains in place.

            At the same time, however, the Putin regime has demonstrated again and again that it doesn’t want to appear to be responding to popular protest; and consequently, if Kryuchkov is removed, that action won’t take place until the protests stop. Whether they will before he goes is very much an open question.

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