Circassian Public asks Council of Europe to defend republican status of Adygea

ADYGEA, 30 January, Caucasus Times. On 29 January Circassian Congress of Adygea addressed a request to Council of Europe signed by a number of public movements including Circassian Congress of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, “Adyge Hase” of Adygea and Kabardino-Balkarian Public Human Rights Center. This request has been sent to Christian Strole, Head of OSCE Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Office in Warsaw.

Alii Berzegov, press secretary of Circassian Congress of Adygea, told CaucasusTimes correspondent that he got instruction from the Council of the organization to get into contact with OSCE main office in Vienna where he was given coordinates of the Warsaw Office.

“Adygeans (Circassians) are indigenous ethnic community in the North-West Caucasus, – the document says. – Folk traditions, culture and Adygean language are a product of the long process of historical evolution lasted for several thousands years. Starting from the late XVIII century Russian empire was waging a colonial war against Circassians. Main aim of the Tsarist regime was not only annexation of the territory and conquest of Circassians, but also extermination and expulsion of the local population from their historical lands. After October revolution in 1917 remaining parts of Circassian people received autonomies: Kabardino-Balkarian, Karachaevo-Cherkessian autonomous republics, Adygean autonomous region and Shapsug autonomous district. However, Soviet authorities who proclaimed equal rights for all nations were far from solving Circassian question, that is, returning of all expelled Circassians to their historical territory.

In 1991 Russian Federation proclaimed democratic values and rule of law. In connection with that, Adygea cancelled its status of autonomous region and proclaimed itself a republic. This change was confirmed by a Declaration of State Sovereignty of Adygea in 1991, by the Federal Treaty of 1992, by Russian Constitution of 1993 and, finally, by the Constitution of the Republic of Adygea in 1995.

On 21 June 2001 Russian President signed a Decree establishing a special Presidential Commission dealing with the division of powers between federal and regional authorities. This decree became an instrument of changing republican legislation in the sphere of national interests.

As a result of this decree, around 90 legal norms, regulations and laws defending the national interests of Adygean population which corresponded to both international and Russian laws have been abolished. In particular, articles on sovereignty of the Republic of Adygea and on obligatory knowledge of Adygean and Russian languages have been removed from the Constitution of Adygea.

Among other abolished laws there was the Law “On referendum”, which prohibited any referendum concerning the status and borders of the republic. At present new draft law “On referendum”, which does not have those norms, is actively being discussed in the republican parliament. In its current format, this new law contradicts to UN Charter (article 1; article 55; article 73), to international laws proclaiming equal rights and right for self-determination of peoples as well as to the norms of the Russian Constitution (article 5, article 15). Conducting a referendum in a republic where Agygians make up just 24% of the total population would quite predictably result in a liquidation of the republic, which is a violation of Adygians’ right for self-determination. This result is a continuation of a policy of genocide towards Adygeans conducted in a different form. Federal center is obviously relying on such an outcome.

At present those forces who are supposed to commit this new genocide are on the rise in the republic. During last 6th Congress of the republican public movement “Union of Slavs of Adygea” conducted on 18 December 2005 in Maikop those forces formed a united block and adopted a common program. Resolution accepted at the congress urged the population of the republic to support those who are going to adopt new law on referendum and to arrange such a referendum concerning the unification of Adygea with Krasnodar krai.

Therefore, under current conditions Adygean (Circassian) people as 140 years ago found themselves in a situation when they can be physically liquidated. Our numerous addresses to federal authorities on that issue remain unsuccessful.

We are addressing you with the urgent request to immediately interfere in the situation in Adygea in order to protect its statehood in the form of a sovereign republic. We urge you to send a special commission to Adygea authorized to analyse all above-mentioned facts and to evaluate the situation. We would prefer that situation in the republic is taken under control by the Council of Europe and settled in accordance with international laws”.

Aslan Shazzo, Maikop, Caucasus Times

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