On May 29, in Elista, Republic of Kalmykia, the Chuulhn national congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people, was held, attended by 170 delegates from Kalmyk public organizations and communities. Prometheus Security Environment Research Center reported on the event with reference to the organizing committee of the congress.
The organizing committee cited “a crisis and dangerous situation in which the Oirat-Kalmyk people found themselves”, as well as “discrimination against the rights, powers, interests of the people and the Republic of Kalmykia by the federal center” as the main reason for the convocation of the national congress.
The delegates discussed the social, economic and political situation in the republic, the current situation of the Kalmyk people, and adopted several decisions and resolutions.
The Chuulhn delegates decided (169 votes in favor, 1 abstained) that the Oirat-Kalmyks, being representatives of a national, racial, cultural and linguistic minority, can sustain their own ethno-national identity for several generations only on the territory of the Republic of Kalmykia. In other territories, the Oirat-Kalmyks are doomed to assimilation in the second or third generation. Therefore, the catastrophic level and quality of life in Kalmykia is experienced not just by the citizens of Russia, but by representatives of the ethnic community. This state of affairs is a latent or soft form of assimilation and ethnocide conducted by the Russian government.
“Blooming Kalmykia became the most backward region of Russia in socio-economic terms. The leadership of the Republic appointed from Moscow, regardless if it is Ilyumzhinov, Orlov, or Khasikov, has been unable to develop industry, agriculture and other sectors of the local economy. With no fair elections, the most odious and ineffective regional leaders of Russia were appointed to lead Kalmykia for many years. Despite numerous declarations, the problem of drinking water in Kalmykia has not been resolved, and it remains the territory with the lowest water availability for the population and economy in Russia. Due to the Russian federalism crisis, the Republic of Kalmykia lost its independence completely. Because of the deliberate policy promoting the inequality of languages, cultures and rights of the indigenous peoples of Russia, an increasing number of Oirat-Kalmyk people are losing their mother tongue, their ethnic and cultural identity”, – the resolution of the congress says.
The congress also accused the Russian authorities of numerous human rights violations and persecution of political opponents. The delegates sharply criticized not only the federal, but also the republican leadership: “The crisis of political power in Kalmykia has worsened significantly: the current leader of Kalmykia, Batu Khasikov, has lost control over what is happening in the Republic, demonstrating an inability to effectively protect the interests and rights of the Oirat-Kalmyk people, and to a large extent shows political and managerial incapacity, whereas most of the deputies of the People’s Khural (Parliament) of Kalmykia are absolutely unable to pass laws in the interests of the republic. In Kalmykia, despite the birth rate above the average Russian level, the population has significantly decreased and continues to decline.”
The congress expressed concern about the possible loss of the status of the Republic and further assimilation of the Kalmyks, and also considered it inappropriate to refer to Moscow with complaints and calls for help. It accused the federal center of “pursuing a policy of intimidation, coercion and deception against the citizens and peoples of Russia.”
The delegates of the Chuulhn – Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people resolved on the following:
- Support a number of persons at the upcoming elections of the deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, to elect a single candidate among them.
- Announce the support of all delegates of this Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people as candidates to legislatures of all levels in the next 3-4 years.
- Demand and apply for criminal liability to the speaker of the parliament of Khakassia Vladimir Shtygashev for insulting the Kalmyks.
- Because of the inaction of the republican authorities of Kalmykia, to entrust the elected executive body (Congress) with the following tasks:
- Prepare and propose to the society an adequate Action Plan in the face of the current anti-national government and the Development Program for the Republic of Kalmykia in the event of a change of the current government;
- Actively seek the opportunity to elect courageous and responsible people at all upcoming local and regional elections to all representative and executive bodies of power, to put the interests of the Republic and the people, above narrow group and selfish needs, as well as instructions from higher authorities;
- Formulate and put forward specific requirements for changing the policy of the federal leadership related to the Republic of Kalmykia and the Oirat-Kalmyk people;
- Prepare and publish within a year a draft of the new Constitution of the Republic of Kalmykia, to ensure its broad discussion and promotion in society;
- Obtain the membership in international organizations uniting indigenous peoples, national, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities;
- Prepare in the next 2 years a draft Electoral Code regulating the conduct of elections to local and regional authorities of the Republic of Kalmykia;
- Determine the parameters and directions for the implementation of the constitutional principle of self-determination of peoples in relation to the Oirat-Kalmyk people within the framework of an unfavorable current political system and situation.
The delegates of the Chuulhn – Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people demanded the following:
- The members of the People’s Khural (Parliament) of the Republic of Kalmykia must return to the Constitution of the Republic of Kalmykia the provision on the status of the Republic of Kalmykia as a democratic law-bound state within the Russian Federation.
- Resignation of Batu Khasikov from the post of the Head of the Republic of Kalmykia.
- Resignation of the current body of the members of the People’s Khural (Parliament) of the Republic of Kalmykia.
- The authorities of Russia must protect the rights and interests of the indigenous Oirat-Kalmyk people in good faith.
- End to the repressive policy against representatives of the Oirat-Kalmyk people, who demand that the authorities comply with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Russian and international laws and other regulations.
- Strictly observe and fully implement the requirements of the Russian law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples.
- Return to the Republic of Kalmykia the territory of two pre-war uluses (districts), illegally transferred under the Stalinist leadership to the Astrakhan Oblast.
After the completion of the Chuulhn, three delegates and members of the Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people, the national executive body elected at the Chuulhn, were detained:
- Valery Badmaev, the editor-in-chief of the Sovremennaya Kalmykia (Modern Kalmykia) newspaper, chairman of the Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people.
- Sanal Ubushiev, the chairman of the Nasha Kalmykia (Our Kalmykia) social movement, a member of the Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people.
- Maxim Tsedenov, a journalist, founder of the ZaaN Online Youtube channel, a member of the Congress of the Oirat-Kalmyk people.
On the eve of the Chuulhn of the Oirat-Kalmyk people, the organizers received warnings about “the inadmissibility of holding an uncoordinated public event.”
The first such congress was held in 2015, the second was scheduled for May 2018, but was sabotaged – at the last moment the owners of the venue refused to host the event, and the participants were forced to gather at the Exodus and Return monument.
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