April 27, 2015

Russia’s Policy of Double Standards



The extermination and the expulsion of the Circassian population from their homeland in the Caucasus to Turkey that took place in 1860s, was no doubt one of the tragedies that the Turkish Foreign Ministry had in mind.

Lidia Zhigunova

On April 24, 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey issued a Press Release Regarding the Approach of the Russian Federation on the 1915 Events. In this statement, Turkey condemns the Russian governments’ official recognition of the massacre of the Armenian population that took place in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide and the participation of the Russian president Vladimir Putin in the ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of this tragedy.

Turkey calls the Russian approach to this issue “biased” and emphasizes Russia’s own long history of denying the atrocities committed by the Russian empire: "Taking into account the mass atrocities and exiles in Caucasus, in the Central Asia and Eastern Europe committed by Russia for a century; collective punishment methods such as Holodomor, as well as inhuman practices especially against Turkish and Muslim people in Russia’s own history, we consider that Russia is best-suited to know what exactly “genocide” and its legal dimensions are.”

The extermination and the expulsion of the Circassian population from their homeland in the Caucasus to Turkey that took place in 1860s, was no doubt one of the tragedies that the Turkish Foreign Ministry had in mind, when referring to Russia’s biases regarding this issue. Russia still denies the fact that as a result of the deadly tactics used during the imperial conquest and the colonization of the Circassian territory, only a small percentage of population of Circassia remained in the homeland, the rest were exiled to Turkey, hundreds of thousands of them were starved to death or perished on their way to Turkey, or immediately upon their arrival.

The cynicism and the double standard of the Russian government regarding this issue is underscored by the fact that it has been over 30 years, since the Circassian organizations started demanding from Russia to reevaluate its attitude toward these historical events, and to classify the actions of the Russian empire that led to the dislocation of the Circassian population, its dispossession, and physical annihilation as genocide.

The largest Circassian diaspora in Turkey (estimates 6-8 Million) preserves the memory of these tragic events, and each year, on May 21, commemorates the victims along with million of other Circassians worldwide. 


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