The Statement of the Executive Committee of the International Circassian Association

Dear compatriots!

The Executive Committee of the International Circassian Association appeals to you in connection with a special historic date. 145 years have passed since the completion of one of the longest and bloodiest wars in the history of our country: the war of tsarist Russia for conquering the Northern Caucasus. Like any war, it was accompanied by destruction, suffering and privations of many people and entire nations. But the heaviest losses sustained the Adyghe (Circassian) people, together with the related Abkhaz-Abazins.

The Caucasian war became a national catastrophe for the Adyghe people. The war took hundreds of thousands of lives, hampered further socio-political development. Nine-tenths of the survivors were expelled from their historic homeland. Now in the Russian Caucasus live only about 700 thousand of Adyghes, but there are more than 6 million abroad.

We will always remember the sacrifices brought by our people and compassionate them with filial devotion.

Historic turns of the XIX century scattered Adyghes all over the world. And inevitably lead to broken fates of hundreds of thousands of our compatriots. However, the Adyghe people felt able to once again return to life. It has statehood within the Russian Federation.

It is inconceivable for our people to cash in on the memory of the past for momentary, all the more selfish interests. We should not forget that the war ended in 1864 and then followed decades and decades of joint social and cultural development of all the peoples of Russia, composing now the civil society of our country.

Turning to the past, today's generation of Adyghes (Circassians) is not going to turn backs to the future. And in terms of the future, there are no absolutely opposite and inconsistent approaches to history.

It is therefore more important not to break a lance over the past, but study it in its entirety as the cumulative experience of all Adyghes and the entire Russian society. To learn and know our history is important for us not to make the past rule over us, but to take over the control of the future.

Today, we have everything necessary to confidently look ahead - the growing democratic federal state, experience of addressing the most acute problems of interethnic relations, understanding of the enduring value of unity and peace, economic development strategy aimed at people’s interests. Therefore, we can boldly look into the past of our country, not hushing up such pages as the Caucasian War. The memory of it does not divide but unites us.

The International Circassian Association, coming out for the integrity and unity of Russia, finds it necessary in these memorable and painful days to address the President of the Russian Federation, Federal Assembly, the Government of the Russian Federation with a request to draw up and adopt a special program to overcome the effects of the Caucasian War for the Adyghe (Circassian) people.

We need this program in order to achieve at the federal level and through appropriate international organizations understanding and addressing the issues of repatriation of our compatriots. One of the most important aspects of this problem is simplification of the procedure of obtaining Russian citizenship to our fellow citizens who wish to return to their historical homeland.

There are other concerns. Unjustified heroization of the names of king's generals- conquerors in separate subjects of the Southern Federal District, together with commemorative events associated with the toponyms (particularly on the Black Sea coast of Caucasus, in Caucasian Mineral Waters) linked to an era of imperial conquest, cause great political and emotional tension. Such actions turn the historical memory into one of the conflictogenic factors in the Northern Caucasus. Federal authorities must stop the process in order to consolidate all the peoples of the Russian Federation.

May 21 is not only the day of national mourning and memory of the Adyghes (Circassians), but also the day when, looking at the passed historical path, we can say: no one is forgotten and nothing is forgotten, life goes on, and there is a worthy place for our People!

K. F. Dzamikh(ov), President of the International Circassian Association

19 May 2009, Nalchik