Discussions on autonomy11.06.2010 | 15:27
Some experts believe a new problem is starting to emerge in North Caucasus. Recently Circassian public members called on the authorities to de-facto break up the republic and restore autonomy that existed from 1926-1957within Russia. What are the prospects of this suggestion?
A decision to restore The Circassian autonomous area was taken at an emergency congress of Circassians also attended by representatives of the public organizations from Adygea, Kabardino-Balkaria and Abkhazia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The meeting participants adopted a resolution and Adyge Khasy public organization started shaping an autonomy restoration committee. According to Muhammed Cherkessov, the leader of the movement, with three presidents managers at all levels in the republic have been massively replaced by representatives of one ethnicity - Karachays.
"They dominate the president's administration, parliament and other structures, - he stated. - In a situation like this it is difficult for representatives of a different nationality to find a decent job".
Restoration of autonomy has been discussed in Karachaevo-Circassia since 2008. The situation, already aggravated, grew even worse after Boris Ebzeev, the president, dismissed the government in April. Alexander Khloponin, Russian president's plenipotentiary to North Caucasian federal district urged for crisis resolution and appointment of a Circassian as PM. A week ago Muradin Kemov, former vice PM of the republic, was promoted to the head of government. As the recent congress of Circassian people showed, the republic's main issues are mostly ethnic, not political or social.
According to Sergey Markedonov, a politologist, the call to set up a specific Circassian subject inside Russia means a real rise of ethnic nationalism in North Caucasus. The expert reminded of Georgia's attempts to take advantage of bursts of nationalism in the west of Caucasus reviving the topic of "genocide of Circassians" in the Russian empire and possible recognition of genocide by Georgian parliament in revenge for acknowledgement of Abkhazia's independence. "With a certain foreign conjuncture this topic might breed serious speculations", - Gazeta.ru quotes.
It will be remembered that a short while ago Georgian parliament got extremely interested in the history of Russian Circassians. Deputies held meetings with historians tasked to study the subject thoroughly. As a result, a special working group was created in parliament whose leader, Nugzar Tsiklauri has already informed that Georgia allegedly has archive materials on "Russia's imperialist policies".
GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed outlook for Circassian autonomy restoration and Tbilisi's attempts to split Cherkessk and Moscow with Valery Khomyakov, National Strategy Council director general.
Such plans are absolutely futureless in present conditions. Besides, this is in violation of the Constitution - Russia does not have autonomies. There are republics, territories but all of them are equal members of the Federation under the Constitution. Karachayevo-Circassian leaders won't do that. The population won't be happy to have the republic liquidated either.
What can be discussed here is a cultural autonomy. It is necessary to preserve customs and the language of ancient peoples. But it's nonsense to speak about an autonomy within Russia. These gentlemen must take a look at the Russian Constitution. I can't imagine that two thirds of the Council of Federation will vote for a decision like this. Or that this idea will be favored by three fourths of the Federation's subjects. I think all this will end with statements by public figures who recently gathered in Cherkessk. Those who might want the same in other republics must not try either. Certainly this is not a crime - people simply express their opinion, and they have a right to. But feasibility of similar projects for the coming 20-30 years is equal to zero.
Can Tbilisi where a working group studying the genocide of Circassians was established, "do their bit" for Moscow-Cherkessk relations?
There are only few reckless figures in Georgian government, but they are quite influential. Certainly Caucasus is one of the weakest parts of Russian statehood. And it has been since the time of Russian empire. Caucasus games have always been and will always be there. Russia's adversaries will always try to play in the direction of Caucasus. Nonetheless I think all these games won't be supported by common people. This might only lead to Georgia's enfeeblement. There is a risk of overplaying, and as a rule this leads to familiar facts - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia might offer a feedback - for Moscow it is easier to act in Caucasus.
The problem is that Caucasus needs well defined staff and economic policies. This is what lacks now. That is why such gaps appear with anti-Russian elements among Georgian leaders trying to wedge in.