Staunton, Nov. 18 – The raids against scholars in Kabardino-Balkaria and anonymous attacks on them individually and collecting has led leading scholars in that republic to conclude that the powers that be are now using methods from the 1920s and 1930s to try to shut down the Nalchik Institute for Research on the Humanities.
That institute and its leading scholars, including Madina Khakuasheva, have been attacked before for their independence of mind and the quality of their research on controversial issues like minority languages and national histories, have been regularly criticized in the past. But the new situation is different, many in that North Caucasus republic fear.
As a result, 14 KBR intellectuals, both Kabardin and Balkar, have sent an open letter to Kazbek Kokov demanding he investigate those who are attacking the Institute anonymously and protect the institute and its scholars from further threats (zapravakbr.ru/index.php/30-uncategorised/1852-komu-vygodna-likvidatsiya-instituta-gumanitarnykh-issledovanij-kabardino-balkarii).
They say they have ignored such anonymous attacks before but feel they must speak out because the most recent wave of these has come as officers of the E Anti-Extremist Center and the FSB have raised the offices of the leading scholars of the Institute and made it impossible for them to do their work in peace.
“For us it is perfectly obvious that behind these illegal actions are those who want to close the oldest national institute under any pretext and thus liquidation the single source of the scholarly reflection of its history, language and national culture.” Destroying it would be another step toward the destruction of the republic itself.
The combination of police raids and anonymous denunciations recall the worst methods of the 1920s and 1930s, the letter continues. And these attacks and the possible closure of the Institute are wreaking irreparable harm to the two indigenous peoples of KBR, the Kabards (Circassians) and the Balkars.
Those behind these actions, the authors of the open letter say, may think that they are defending the interests of the Russian Federation. In fact, however, it is they and not those they are attacking that are undermining those interests. That must be recognized by all, including Kokov; and the republic must defend its scholars, not sacrifice them to Moscow.