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Participation to the 6th Free Nations of Post-Russia Forum in Washington D.C., April 25, 2023

As the Council of United Circassia, we attended to the 6th Free Nations of Post-Russia Forum, which is organized with the support of Hudson Institute and shared our opinions and objections about Circassia.

Thank you for this opportunity,

I’m Mustafa Canbek. Greeting you with respect on behalf of the Council of United Circassia. Today is our national flag day. I would like to congratulate all Circassians national flag day. We hope our flag to fly freely soon.

For the beginning, I want to make a comment about what Mr. Goble said about ethnicity. The situation may be different in the US and in the EU but at the rest of the world ethnicity works, ethnicity is functional. I am here because of we, Circassians are tired of the behaviors of Ethnic Russians. Additionally, I agree with Mr. Torijev. We have similar problems.

We all know how Russia is a huge threat for the earth and the humanity. In the past, my nation faced brutal face of the Russians and resisted their aggression through decades. Circassia has never stopped being an eye-witness of several genocidal practices during the Empire, Soviet Union, and Federation periods. Even after the spread of the universal values throughout the world, it seems nothing changed in Russia’s mind. Russia’s history is based on three main essences: killing people, plundering resources, and lying to the world. If you read the history of Russia, you can see many examples about what I said. If we want to have a clear vision about the circumstances, we have to make our assessments according to irrefutable truths. These are the Russia’s truths.

Russia is holding countless nations, cultures and languages under pressure and continues Russification. This madness must end and nations must be liberated, as soon as possible.

I do not want to take your time with well-known issues and want to proceed with our projections for the post-Russia era.

We are aware of the risks which may be occurred after Russia collapses. First, nuclear weapons can be handled by uncontrolled groups. We know handling and transferring these weapons is not so easy. Nevertheless, a research and program should be implemented by the experts. However, I want to imply that Russia is already an uncontrolled, outlaw structure. I don’t want to name it as “state”. It is already not possible to trust and feel in safe while Russia is holding a horrible quantity of nuclear weapons.

Second, A significant amount of people will try to immigrate or to seek asylum. This is an inevitable result of crisis in general. In this context, I can make a suggestion according to specific circumstances of Russia. Russia is the largest country with its vast territory accounting for almost 1 in 7 of habitable areas in the world. It seems impossible holding this territory for decades with its 143 million population. Anyway, numerous safety areas can be established within Russia and all the asylum seekers or irregular migrants can be led to these areas. Safety can be provided by the UN or the NATO. Such operations were managed in the past. Mostly third-country territories were used before, but in this case Russia’s own territories can be used with an international agreement. Western countries have to support minorities of the RF, to gain independence. Because currently many Russian Federation citizens have already left the country and most of them prefer to settle in Western countries. West has to support these nations to make them stay in where they are now. Russia is collapsing and this must be hold under control. Will the west wish to manage the situation or willing to face shocks?

Third, China can occupy valuable natural resources of Russia. It is a claim discussed by experts, but this is also a manageable issue. An international union should be founded led by the UN with the participation of Russia’s border neighbor countries and representatives of the post-Russia republics. A consensus can be issued which indicates how the resources and the lands of the territory will be used and by whom. This consensus must give priority to the peoples already living in the region and regulate prevention illegal capture or use of the resources. In the other hand it can create a mistake for China if it occupies large areas of Russia. Only cancer cells grow out of control. This option can weaken China too.

As you can see, humanity can find a way with international collaboration to cope with the biggest threat for itself. Russia is the most serious threat for the earth and the humanity. Russia must be weakened as much that it won’t be able to create a threat even for its neighbors or its own people, immediately. We are obliged to do that for the sake of humanity. First, we have to decide how we want to live: Living with the threats of a plunderer and illegal superpower or protecting our children from the biggest genocide machine. If we can give a decision, then we can find a way.

I want to continue with some post-Russia project which ignore Circassians and historical truths of Circassia. Circassians were living between Black Sea and Don River before Russia invaded our ancestors. Russians killed our ancestors, burnt their homes, villages, and forests, destroyed their farms to occupy the region. As you can see this is an obvious genocide. Ethnic Russians and Cossacks were settled to the places where Circassians were living for centuries. Unfortunately, it is a fact that Cossacks had a key role for the success of the Circassian Genocide. This is inevitable. If the Russians had not found reliable settlers to protect the places they occupied, Russians would not have dared to advance further. Cossacks were their reliable partners who made the genocide and exile possible. There was no Cossack existence in Caucasus before 1822. Cossack population increased in Circassia commensurately while Russia was decreasing our population brutally. In 1856, Russia founded the “Kuban Oblast”, which population was mostly Cossacks and ethnic Russians, on the territory of Circassia. If someone steals something and gives it to you, can you say, “it is mine”? It is really hard to understand how Cossacks feel so relaxed while they are talking about independence on the territory of Circassia, while their history was full of blood and tears. Cossacks must accept their responsibility at the Circassian Genocide and try to invent peace between these two nations. If you listen to the speech of the representative of this idea in the previous forum, you can see that the speech is like a confession of the Cossacks’ role at the Circassian genocide. Being rival to the Circassians with absurd arguments is not beneficial for Cossacks.

We don’t demand anything which is not ours, but it seems Cossacks demand the lands which were taken from us forcibly. We want to make a new beginning together with all Caucasus nations, but everybody has to accept the rights of Circassians which are coming from the history and from the international law. The borders and historical territories of Circassia can be easily seen in reliable historical records. Additionally, according to article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we, Circassians have right to self-determination.

Circassians are indigenous people of Circassia, Cossacks are not. Cossacks were systematically transferred to Circassia. Everybody must see the difference.

Today, supporting the idea of “Kuban Republic” literally means saying that “Circassian Genocide was right”. We don’t want to believe any person to support Circassian Genocide, but this attitude means so. Making plans or imagining dreams on Circassia without Circassians obviously mean "seeking way to laundering the great genocide and the plunder".

Some Ukrainian officials seem supporting the “Kuban Republic” idea, but it seems they have forgotten the existence of Russians in the east part of Ukraine is much older than Cossacks existence in Circassia. How should we asses a person who supports the Cossacks to be independent in Circassia and objects the Russians in Ukraine to make a decision to be tied to the Russian Federation with a referendum? If Cossacks are right while they talk about independence in Circassia, Russian settlers in Ukraine have also right to talk about their future. We do not accept both groups have such rights.

Additionally, Cossacks, Greeks and Armenians have their independent countries to settle as an alternative.

We don’t have any independent country to settle even though we face vital risks such as wars and disasters. We don’t have any single school on earth, and we are not supported by any state to protect and to grow our culture, our language and national identity. Additionally, we are not represented by any state in the international area. Therefore, most of the people have no clue who the Circassians are and where Circassia is. It means we do not have any chance to survive outside of Circassia. We need our homeland, Circassia, to survive. It means supporting another occupier in Circassia is helping the death of Circassian culture, language, and identity. Nobody should be a partner of this crime by supporting the “Kuban Republic” Idea.

We invite all parties to stop supporting this unfair and baseless idea.

We will never accept any occupier state or organization on our homeland. Everybody should see how we are determined, and we will never give up our homeland, while we are struggling against the second biggest power on earth.

We are willing to work together with international partners and Caucasian ethnic minorities in the frame of universal values. However, we are expecting to see our historical and legitimate rights respected.

Circassians will gain independence sooner or later and Circassia will be free wholly. This is certain. Circassians could keep their homelands and their national identity for centuries against Romans, Mongols, Genoese, Ottomans, Crimeans, and Russians. For the last two centuries we struggled with many vital problems but somehow, we could reach today with our unique culture, language and Khabze. We are not desperate or helpless. Greeks, Serbians, Bulgarians, Albanians, and many other nations gained their independency after 400-500 years of captivity. I assure you, Circassian nation will also be free.

Thank you so much!

The Council of United Circassia 

April 25, 2023

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