Monday, December 19, 2022

Moscow and Its Agents in KBR Shift from Ignoring Activists to Repressing and Silencing Them, Khakuasheva Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 19 – Over the last decade, Moscow and its representatives in Kabardino-Balkaria have shifted from ignoring those who call attention to the threats to the native languages to harassing and repressing them in the hopes of silencing them and keeping others from finding out what is going one, Madina Khakuasheva says.

            The senior scholar at the Institute for Research on the Humanities of the KBR Center of the Russian Academy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an institution that itself has been under serious attack ( is one of the most distinguished of those now subject to such repressive actions.

            In an open letter to senior officials in her republic, Khakuasheva asks for them to intervene on her behalf to protect her from the illegal and entirely unwarranted actions of the FSB and anti-extremism agencies against her (

            Stressing that she and her colleagues “have never gone beyond the limits of the law, the KBR scholar says that five weeks ago the FSB and its local agents raided her home and office, seizing a variety of documents and computers and then interrogating her without providing any legal documentation or explanation.

            Before this happened, Khakuasheva says, she and her colleagues had been subject to anonymous attacks in the media, attacks which she did not react to because of their “complete absurdity and provocatory nature” but which now appear to be part of a more general campaign involving the Russian and KBR security services.

            For the last 13 years, she continues, she has focused on the problem of preserving her native language, Circassian, a language that UN experts have identified as being at risk of disappearing. She and her colleagues were able to document this trend and made proposals as to how it could be reversed.

            Tragically, in the past, they were ignored, Khakuasheva says. Now they are being harassed with the clear intent of silencing them, a policy that has already limited her and their ability to publish during the last three years and has enabled the powers that be in Nalchik and Moscow to continue to work toward the destruction of Circassian.

            “Instead of listening to specialists who work seriously in their areas of experience, experienced public activists who help the state in a disinterested way to rehabilitate native languages in deep crisis,” she points out, the authorities have “in the best case ignored these people and now openly discredits, repressions and persecutes them.”

            It is the actions of the authorities and not of the defenders of the language which should be classified as a form of extremism that represents both a form of extremism and destabilized the situation,” Khakuasheva concludes. She asks that the political and legal authorities of her republic defend her rights against such arbitrary and illegal behavior.

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