Representatives of Circassian society have begun collecting signatures to an appeal to Putin about a new monument in Adler

Representatives of Circassian society have begun collecting signatures to an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the “Monument to the Exploit of Russian Soldiers” unveiled in Adler a few days ago.

“We, representatives of peoples who enjoy equal rights with others, and who consider what is happening with regard to monuments in the North Caucasus an example of the falsification of Russian history, demand that Russian President Vladimir Putin officially abandon this course. We, who today consider it necessary to remain good neighbors, demand that the local authorities in southern Russia immediately begin dismantling monuments that distort historical reality and sow ethnic hatred, "the address to Putin says.

Alik Shashev, a writer from Adygheya, believes that the new monument is “an undisguised continuation of colonial expansion": "Only now the focus is not on conquest. That has ended. Now the focus is on assimilation and changing cultural identity. If the regional authorities are under the heel of the center and blindly carry out any vague orders from the center, the people should respond appropriately to whatever they do."

Zamiret Pseush, a financier from Adygheya, sees in the monument a test of people's tolerance: “These are routine markers, touchstones to measure our patience, how long we will put up with these monuments to Zass, Ermolov, Lazarev, who systematically killed Circassians. And by the same token it’s a test of whether we can make the transition from a federal structure to a unitary state. The new monument in Adler is almost the same as erecting a monument to Hitler on Red Square. Why does national chauvinism and the desire to erect monuments to the executioners of the Circassian people flourish in post-Soviet Russia? Let the regional government say publicly to whom we owe these numerous monuments."

main image 4The sculpture was installed in the place of the Holy Spirit Fortress, founded in 1837, after the landing of the Russian Army on Cape Adler. "In June 1837, Russian soldiers and officers fought a fierce battle with the highlanders," the Sochi administration website has informed.

The authors of the current appeal are confident that these structures are a clear demonstration of how "the current federal centre tries to exonerate the true culprits of the tragedy and shift responsibility for it on to the modern indigenous inhabitants of the region."

They believe that it is on orders from above that monuments to Catherine II, Suvorov, Ermolov, Zass, Lazarev, Alexander II, et.c. are appearing in the North Caucasus.

According to Kavkaz.Realiy, the new monument in Adler has caused outrage among Circassian society, whose ancestors opposed the Russian Empire in the 19th century Caucasian War.

The monument comprises a small elevation with a map of the fort. An announcement by the Sochi municipal authorities says that “in June 1837, Russian soldiers and officers fought a fierce battle with the mountaineers,” and that “it was then that the poet and Decembrist Aleksander Bestuzhev-Marlinsky died from an enemy bullet.”

The Circassians have on more than one occasion expressed their indignation at the erection of such monuments on the territory of their historic homeland and branded the actions of the authorities a continuation of discrimination against the peoples living in Russia.

See also:
Historians criticize installation of Caucasian War monument in Sochi (Caucasian Knot)