Playing “the Circassian card”, again
Circassian activist A.Kabard, a representative of New York’s Adyghe society, supported by information resources (“Echo of Caucasus”, etc.) and financed by Western funds, announced in September 2015 the founding of a new transnational structure – “Circassian polity,” with its headquarters in London.
As was stated, the new structure would focus on the unification of Circassians of various countries and acknowledgement of their ethnic identity on the international arena. This initiative is actively supported by the US and the European Union, which are interested in setting up a puppet organization that could counterbalance the quite moderate International Circassian association and provoke tensions in relations with Moscow.
The theme of “Russia oppressing Circassians for centuries” started to be actively promoted by their overseas and European “friends” almost right after the beginning of the cold war. Nowadays, the theme of genocide is cultivated in an intensified way by organizations abroad, which is characterized by quite specific reputations and ties. Besides the Jamestown fund, the following entities are “fighting” for the “independence of the Circassian people”: American Agency STRATFOR, National Fund for Support of Democracy (NED), Circassian Cultural Center in Georgia, the Institute of Eastern Partnership from Israel, “Amnesty International”, Turkish organizations, etc.
Recently we observed the activation of these forces before the Sochi Olympics. At that time, a number of organizations of the Circassian Diaspora opposed the Sochi Olympics, giving as their reason the necessity to honor the memory of their ancestors, which Russia was going to violate with its construction projects and sports events in the places of ancient cemeteries. Some Circassian activists in Russia supported such a position.
But they were not a successful. Even during NATO’s aggression against Serbia, several dozen Circassian families managed to be brought from Kosovo to Russia. They were given the possibility of settling on their historical territory in a newly built Mafehable (“Village of happiness” – Caucasus type of village). A Syrian Circassian delegation visited the republics of Russian Northern Caucasus in January 2012. At that time, agreements were reached on cooperation with the Circassian side to solve the problems of Syrian Circassians; this was well timed. Soon Circassian families started escaping from Syria and other countries, to escape the war and other misfortunes, and Russia warmly welcomed them despite its own difficulties. The refugees were given accommodation, jobs, and helped to study languages (Russian, Kabardinian, Adygean, which they had mostly forgotten). In other words, Russia proved its concern about the problems of the Circassian population in unsafe regions not only verbally but practically as well.
“When I lived in Jordan, I did not know anything about things that were happening in Kabardino-Balkaria”, said one repatriate, sharing his experience.
“We were told that there was no freedom and that the life of the people was hard. But when I came there, I saw for myself that we had been told lies. Russia built the Kabardinian theatre. Excuse me, but where else in the world could it happen? In Russia, only! There are Kabardinian, Circassian, Chechen theatres. And there in Jordan almost nobody speaks their native language any longer,” said another. Really, for many returnees it became a discovery that people who lived in Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Circassia and Adygea, jointly celebrated Circassia Memory Day, and Victory Day and last year, on September 20, they celebrated for the first time the Day of Adygeas (Circassian). Adygeas of various families, people from Karachaevo, Balkaria, and Russians jointly celebrated that day. All Circassians, who arrived from Turkey, Jordan, and Syria were saying the same things: “We were all foreigners in those countries. To become one of them, it is necessary to stop being a Circassian and finally assimilate with the local people”.
“It is senseless to try to create Circassia abroad” states Mr.Orfan Barsik, a representative of the Kabardino-Balkarian Diaspora in Syria. “One can call ‘Circassia’ even some territory in Africa but it does not mean that it will become their motherland. The Motherland is here. It is Russia”. Those people who are behind the subversive processes do not care that much about the fate of the Circassians; they are eager to hurt Russia. And we know who they are – the US and Great Britain.
There is a strange thing that cannot be logically explained: Circassians, who had escaped from the Russian Empire, settled in 50 countries. They forgot their language, culture, customs, and many of them consider Russia as an oppressor of Circassians. And those Circassians, who remained in Russia, are living, developing their culture, having their statehood, and thriving as a nation.
“Yes, we saved our language and raised our culture to unprecedented heights,” confirmed Mr. Mohammad Hafize, the head of “Adygea Hasse”, Circassian public organization. “We achieved success in sports. Our sportsmen became Olympic champions in Munich, Beijing, and Australia, and their number has already reached the number of our Turkish compatriots. We thank our Mother-Russia for all these achievements. On this issue one should not act contrary to one’s conscience. In Russia, the nationalities policy, under any system, was at a higher level than in any other country. We have 100 members in the Union of Writers, whereas, about 90% of Circassians in Jordan, Turkey, and Syria do not even remember their native languages. And we are sending teachers to them from here.”
The triumph of the Sochi Olympics discredited the propaganda of Russia’s enemies. But they did not let up and started developing other plans. One of them is the setting up of a virtual republic, “Greater Circassia,” which is planned to become real as time goes on.
The essence of the project is as follows: select via the Internet several thousand willing persons to become its citizens and let them already receive passports for this virtual state by the year 2016. Some time ago there were plans to print “Circassian passports” in Australia as souvenirs for whoever wanted them. However, experts from Jamestown advised to print not just souvenirs but real documents with fifteen degrees of protection in accordance with the requirements of the European Union. So any Circassian who voluntarily agrees to carry out commitments as a citizen of the “Greater Circassia” and is ready to transfer annually $100-200 as a tax to a specially set up account, can become a citizen of this virtual state. Some amount of money shall be paid also for the manufacture of the passport. In return, the Circassians who are living abroad are promised that they will be able to elect and be elected to representative bodies of the virtual Circassia.
“Circassian polity”, as an initiator of the project, intends to announce “its claim to statehood and representation before the international community.” Moreover, it has stated that, ”In case of any natural or other alteration of the existing borders of Russia, liquidation of Russian statehood, or other reasons which will lead to a change in the status quo, the Circassian people is the only and indisputable possessor of the right to the territory and the status that had been lost because of annexation by the Russian state.”
This quote reveals the real targets, which are camouflaged by the demands to Moscow to apologize for the actions of the Russian Empire and the USSR. Though, to be honest, the policy of the Russian Empire was quite tolerant, in modern terms. Especially, if compared with the contemporaneous behavior of Great Britain, Germany and France.
A.Kabard and A.Jemirze, the leaders of the Australian Circassian Diaspora, set up a website to facilitate the production and distribution of passports to ethnic Circassians in January 2016. It is possible to get one only upon registration on that site and the forwarding of personal data to the address of the project founders. The first batch of passports is supposedly ready for handing out and is kept by A.Jemirze.
It is clear that these passports are actually a fraudulent affair that is very similar to selling sections of territory on the Moon or Mars. Besides, stored personal data of future citizens of “Greater Circassia” on an open Internet site can be used for criminal purposes.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees renders consulting assistance to A.Kabard and A.Jemirze. This Office of the High Commissioner supported an application to the management of the EU on behalf of Australian Circassians concerning a special procedure for the absorption of Circassian refugees from Syria. Such a passport system is aimed at differentiating Circassians from Syrian refugees who are arriving in Europe and also helping them to assert their right to be considered as refugees from virtual Circassia. It is worth noting that this quasi state, from the point of view of its founders, shall geographically encompass the territory of almost a dozen countries, including: Turkey, Jordan, Georgia, not to mention Russia. However, A.Kabard and A.Jemirze do not refer to this topic in their speeches, nor do they deal with the question of whether these countries agree with such an approach.
It is planned also in the future to negotiate with the countries that have recognized the “genocide” of the Circassian people, to acknowledge the Circassian passport and agree to provide its bearer civil and economic rights comparable to the rights of natives in those countries. It would give the Circassians the right to enter those territories without visas and legalize their property.
It is obvious, if this project is successful, that Circassian separatists would not be the only ones to celebrate it. It would also benefit criminal clans with experience in sending terrorists to Europe to commit terrorist attacks. We have already seen how this works in November of last year in Paris, and in March this year in Brussels. Ultimately, the consequences may become unacceptable because the entire Circassian community will be placed under suspicion for having presumed relations and providing assistance to terrorists. Under that scenario, even the legitimate activities of Circassians, at cultural and educational levels, may become quite difficult.