Photo exhibition dedicated to the commemoration day of the victims of the Caucasian War, Sukhumi, May 21, 2019. Photo by Dmitry Stateinov for the Caucasian Knot

22 May 2019, 11:34

Protests in Abkhazia change programme of Remembrance Day for Caucasian War victims

The protest actions in Abkhazia made amendments to the programme of the commemoration day of the victims of the Caucasian War and Circassians' deportation from the Caucasus. Most of the events were cancelled.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Circassians mark May 21 as the Day of Remembrance and Grief; mourning marches take place on this day. On May 20, more than 300 people took part in a commemoration action held in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria; on May 21, three thousand people gathered there for a rally.

The Caucasian War, which lasted from 1763 to May 21, 1864, put the Adyg nations on the verge of extinction. After the war and the mass deportation of Adygs (Circassians) to the Ottoman Empire, no more than 50,000 of them remained in the homeland. Circassian organizations demand from Russian authorities to recognize the genocide of Circassians during the Caucasian War.

In the evening on May 21, in Abkhazia, a mourning march with torches had been planned from Bagapsh Square to the Monument to Muhajirs; and at 8:00 p.m. Moscow time, a minute of silence had to be announced throughout the country. It was supposed that the President of Abkhazia, Raul Khadjimba, would take part in the events.

However, on the eve of the Remembrance Day, on May 20, the opposition rally in Abkhazia announced the start of an action of civil disobedience, as on May 20, the Abkhaz parliament refused to postpone the presidential election till the autumn.

The opposition's request to postpone the election was caused by the illness of Aslan Bzhaniya, a presidential candidate from the opposition.

Despite the disruption of commemoration events, the members of the World Abkhaz-Abaza Congress, honoured the memory of the victims of the Caucasian War, said Inar Gitsba, the executive secretary of the congress.

"It’s clear that the socio-political situation is somewhat tense, but nevertheless, it is such an ideologically unifying factor. We very much hope that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow the political elites will come to a consensus. I wouldn't like to see some residue from the fact that on such a significant day no one has honoured the memory of ancestors," Mr Gitsba told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

At 8:00 p.m. Moscow time, about a hundred people gathered at the Monument to Muhajirs. They laid flowers to the monument and launched a wreath to the sea; and when the sun went down, they set up a traditional Nart Fire.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 22, 2019 at 04:01 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Dmitry Stateinov; Source: CK correspondent

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