Staunton, Mar. 12 – Few have been surprised or taken much notice of calls by leaders of non-Russian émigré groups for Moscow to stop using troops from their nations to fight in Putin’s war in Ukraine, but now a line has been crossed: Leaders of the Congress of the Kalmyk People in Elista have done the same thing, a sign that what the emigres are saying has support at home.
The most insistent calls by non-Russian emigres on this point have come from the Tatars and Bashkirs, nations that are especially numerous and well-organized abroad (idel-ural.org/archives/bashkiry-prizyvayut-glavu-respubliki-bashkortostan-zapretit-otpravku-bashkirskih-parnej-na-vojnu-v-ukrainu/e/ and idel-ural.org/archives/pravitelstvo-tatarstana-v-izgnanii-zayavilo-o-svoih-czelyah-nezavisimost-kontrol-nad-voennymi-chestnye-vybory/).
Now, the Kalmyks are speaking out, not from the relatively small recent emigration but from the capital of the Buddhist republic in the North Caucasus, a place widely known for chess championships than for political activism but that is increasingly political and increasingly at odds with Moscow.
The Congress of the Ayrat-Kalmyk People, a non-governmental group that immediately called for Russian withdrawal from Ukraine in the first days of the war, has now issued a broader demand for Moscow to end its aggression (idel-ural.org/archives/kongress-kalmyczkogo-naroda-pust-voyuyut-oligarhi-i-ih-deti/).
Below is an information translation of their appeal, signed by the president and three vice presidents of the organization, based on a photostat of that document:
An Appeal of the Congress of the Airat-Kalmyk People to the Kalmyk People, Residents of the Republic of Kalmykia and all Russians.
Dear brothers and sisters! Dear countrymen! Russians!
Full-scale hostilities are taking plave on the territory of a sovereign independent state neighboring ours, Ukraine, in which unfortunately servicemen of the Russian Armed Services are participating, something completely unacceptable in the 21st century.
We, the Oirat-Kalmyks, are a small people who have taken part in all wars over the past four hundred years defending the interests of the Russian state. In those wars, we lost the best people of our nation with the deaths of thousands and thousands of our own. And what do we have today?
Torn from our republic in December 1943 by the Stalinist regime, we today are at the bottom of all Russian regions in terms of the most important socio-economic measures.
We do not need this special military operation in Ukraine, in which our young people are again dying. Let the oligarchs and their children fight on their own! We call on all sensible people, our fellow countrymen and all Russians not to take part in this insane massacre in Ukraine. Then peace will come soon. Save the lives of our young people! No to war! Peace for the world!