Monthly Archives: June 2013

THE HISTORY OF SOCHI: ALEXEI ERMOLOV, THE DECEMBRISTS, AND GENOCIDE

THE HISTORY OF SOCHI: ALEXEI ERMOLOV, THE DECEMBRISTS, AND GENOCIDE

This is a new post for Sochi Watch. I got bored just retelling the history of the Sochi region. So I’m going to talk about some themes rather than stick to a chronological format. The first theme is the despicable nature of the generals in charge of the Caucasus. This post consists of some notes from an earlier version of my latest book about one of the most despicable human beings in history, Alexei Ermolov.
At the beginning of the 20th Century John Baddeley, a British adventurer, wrote the first comprehensive narrative about Russia’s conquest of the Caucasus in English, and in it he spent a great deal of time discussing the tenure of Alexei Ermolov as Caucasus Commander-in-Chief from 1816 to 1827. In his description of Ermolov, Baddeley seems torn between relying upon the traditional Russian portrait of “the Proconsul of the Caucasus” (as Grand Prince Konstantin Pavlovich dubbed him) and his own sense of human decency. For example, after repeating the Russian claim that, owing to his military prowess, uncompromising determination, and harsh yet fair dealings with the Caucasus peoples, Ermolov was remembered long after all the other Caucasus commanders had faded into obscurity, both by the Russians and the natives, Baddeley presents another interpretation:
If . . . his name and fame still linger in the memory of the mountaineers of Daghestan and Tchetchnia when those of most of his contemporaries and successors have already been forgotten, it must be admitted that this survival is due not merely to his commanding personality or actual accomplishment, but in part, at least, to the calculated cruelty of his methods — methods, unhappily, too generally characteristic of Russian warfare, morally indefensible, but possessed of undoubted advantages in dealing with Oriental peoples . . . campaigns conducted on the good old plan with fire and sword—the devastation of crops, the sacking of villages, the massacre of men and the ravaging of women—gave a lesson they thoroughly understood and fully appreciated.[i]
Just a few paragraphs later, Baddeley conveys Ermolov’s theory of civil administration:
Yermoloff was wont to insist that the word of a Russian official should be sacred, so that the natives might be led to believe it more firmly than the Koran itself; and to the extent of his power he enforced good faith on either side.[ii]
Setting aside the question of how someone could “enforce” good faith, how anyone could expect a people to believe the word of, or have good faith in a man who led his troops on a rampage of pillage, rape and slaughter against them is a puzzle Baddeley never solves. However, it does give us a glimpse into the incoherence of the Russian narrative concerning Ermolov.
Russian historian Mark Bliev attempts to explain Ermolov’s behavior, apparently aware that someone who took a close look at his actions in the Caucasus would judge them to be genocidal:
One shouldn’t think that A. P. Ermolov nurtured the idea of genocide. This had neither practical nor ideological reasons for the commander-in-chief. The conversation here should concern the cruel “rules” for the conduct of war, with the help of which A. P. Ermolov thought he could not only accomplish his goals but also bring peace to peoples who were being torn apart by internecine fighting.[iii]
Like Baddeley, Bliev ignores the contradiction, which seems rather obvious, in the idea that peace can be brought to people by subjecting them to cruelty on a massive scale. Of course, Bliev also fails to understand that genocide need not have a practical foundation: as just one example, Stalin’s deportation of the Chechens and others during World War II diverted urgently needed troops and resources from the front while serving no military purpose. As for Ermolov’s ideological reasons for committing genocide, they will be discussed shortly.
Such was Ermolov’s apparent mentality that not only did he consider his brutality justified because of his “higher” motivations, but the people whom he slaughtered, robbed and raped should have understood he was doing it for their own good and been thankful. “Ermolov and his close associates,” Yakov Gordin writes,
truly believed themselves to be paladins of ‘peace, prosperity and enlightenment,’ which they were bringing to a kingdom of barbarity and cruelty [ . . . ] Ermolov could be cruel, but he was cruel in the name of enlightenment and prosperity, he shot and hanged people–sometimes by their feet—in the name of progress for this edge of the empire, for its people.[iv]
Baddeley, who was only a traveler writing his impressions and not a professional historian, ultimately finds the truth beneath this implausible theory:
The Russian General Erckert says of Yermoloff, “he was at least as cruel as the natives themselves.” He himself said: “I desire that the terror of my name should guard our frontiers more potently than chains or fortresses, that my word should be for the natives a law more inevitable than death.
Condescension in the eyes of Asiatics is a sign of weakness, and out of pure humanity I am inexorably severe. One execution saves hundreds of Russians from destruction, and thousands of Mussulmans from treason.”
“In these words,” says Potto, “we have his whole system . . . in his hands the former system of bribery and subsidies gave place to one of severe punishments, of harsh, even cruel, measures, but always combined with justice and magnanimity.” Politically, it is difficult to see where justice came in, but in this respect Russia was only doing what England and all other civilised States have done, and still do, wherever they come in contact with savage or semi-savage races. By force or by fraud a portion of the country is taken, and, sooner or later, on one excuse or another, the rest is bound to follow.[v]
Somewhat resigned to the reality of the situation, Baddeley sees Russia’s invasion and conquest of the Caucasus as no worse than Britain’s conquest of India (although again he seems to miss the irony of calling the invading nations “civilized” and their victims “semi-savage races.”) Referring to Biblical passages used by the British, Americans, and other colonial powers to justify their conquest and slaughter of “pagan” peoples, Baddeley concludes his remarks with a welcome condemnation of this mentality:
It comes then to this, that if once we allow Russia’s claim to exact submission and obedience from the tribes; if, further, we admit the right of man to play the part of Providence in punishing the innocent with the guilty, and both alike with the utmost severity, then Yermoloff’s justification is complete. Yet a tolerance so wide would vindicate not his misdeeds alone but the crimes of a Tamerlane, and, failing a reversion to Old Testament ideas of man’s duty to man, Christianity must ever reprobate the one and the other.[vi]
A man of the 20th Century whose study of Russia and the Caucasus was published the same year as the Hague Regulations, Baddeley ultimately sees through the rationalizations of imperialists such as Ermolov and condemns them.
Alexei Petrovich Ermolov is remembered in popular culture unambiguously as one of Russia’s greatest heroes, “the idealization of the Russian man,”[vii] whom Potto lauds as “the first to embark upon the proper path of relations with the Caucasus peoples—a military path, a path of open warfare, the conclusion of which Russia could have no doubt.”[viii] After serving in the Persian campaign of 1796 at the age of 20, he was unjustly imprisoned and exiled by Emperor Paul, only to return and become one of the great heroes of the Napoleonic Wars. Assigned to the Caucasus in 1816, he established the “Ermolov system,” based upon his famous metaphor of the Caucasus as a fortress that must be taken bit by bit, which was the foundation for the ultimate conquest of the region. He was cruel in warfare, but only to replace despots with enlightened Russian rule for the benefit of the repressed majority. His simple ways created tremendous loyalty among his officers and soldiers, whom he addressed as “comrades.” For his connections with the Decembrist uprising of 1825, he was again unjustly punished, removed from his command in 1827, but was remembered long after he retired as the “conqueror of the Caucasus.”
While it is true that Ermolov served in the Persian campaign and was (most likely) unjustly imprisoned, the rest of the popular narrative is a product of spontaneous and deliberate myth-making that bears little resemblance to reality. His “exile” was spent in the town of Kostroma, 200 miles from Moscow, where he devoted most of his time to studying Latin and reading the works of Tacitus, Titus Livius and especially Julius Caesar.[ix] He did indeed serve in the Napoleonic Wars, as did many other generals, but his service was no more spectacular than his compatriots and not worthy of special distinction.[x] Even the often-repeated detail of his calling his officers and soldiers tovarishch (comrade), used as evidence of his democratic ideals, overlooks the fact that in the 19th Century tovarishch meant “helper” when used in a military context and was a normal form of address for a superior officer toward his subordinates.[xi]
While these examples are common enough in the creation of cultural heroes and are fairly innocuous, the portrait of Ermolov in his role as commander-in-chief of the Caucasus is significant not only for the image it created, but also for the facts it conceals. According to Potto, when recommending Ermolov for appointment, Defense Minister Alexei Arakcheev cautioned that “Ermolov’s appointment would be very unpleasant for many people because he quarrels with everyone.” [xii] Perhaps this was one of the reasons Ermolov coveted the appointment of Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasus: he would be virtual tsar over a kingdom far away from the Russian capital, where no one could contradict him. Once there, he carried out his “plans” without consultation, debate or examination. However, while Arakcheev’s assessment of Ermolov’s relations with others was certainly accurate, the rest of the above quote is debatable, particularly the comment about his unselfishness. While it may be true that he was “incorruptibly honest, simple, even rude in his habits, and of Spartan hardihood,”[xiii] Yakov Gordin notes Ermolov’s “boundless love of glory and superlative opinion of himself” and certain belief “in his right to a great destiny.”[xiv] This should come as no surprise, given his passion for Julius Caesar and other Roman military historians. Ermolov fancied himself in the mold of Caesar (and, of course, Napoleon), and was playing the role of the great conqueror, loved by his troops and feared by the enemy.
The European theater was stable, though, and of little use to a great conqueror destined for glory. This is why Ermolov sought the appointment in the Caucasus. “For the generals,” Vladimir Lapin writes, “the activity of diplomats, who were creating post-Napoleonic Europe, essentially meant farewell to their hopes of receiving further rewards.”[xv] Asia’s military backwardness would make victory and glory easy. Even before he arrived in the Caucasus, the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief wrote, “We can’t take a step in Europe without a fight, but in Asia entire kingdoms are at our service.”[xvi] Ermolov reveled in his overwhelming firepower against which his opponents, particularly the mountaineers of Chechnya, Dagestan and Circassia, were powerless to combat: “It is very interesting to see the first effect of this innocent means [cannons! W. R.] on the heart of man, and I learnt how useful it was to be possessed of the one when unable all at once to conquer the other.”[xvii] In his quest for personal glory, Ermolov chose adversaries (victims might be a more appropriate term) who stood no chance against his superior weaponry, and employed levels of brutality and inhumanity as yet unseen in the Caucasus to achieve his goal; and while the popular legend portrays him as an unqualified success, a close examination renders an entirely different picture.
It was Ermolov who established the ideology through which successive Russian commanders justified their increasingly ruthless actions against the Circassians. While a full study of Ermolov’s ideology is beyond the scope of this book, a brief look at his relation to political theorists of his day shows that he did indeed have a genocidal mindset, despite Bliev’s claim to the contrary. In addition to clarifying the connection between Ermolov and the later perpetrators of the Genocide of 1864, such an examination also reveals one of the earliest stages of the formulation of the genocidal mindset that found its fulfillment in the bloody 20th Century. At the same time, the methods Ermolov employed both in the Northeastern Caucasus and Circassia—forced starvation, leaving whole communities homeless to perish from exposure and the use of terror to force communities to flee their homeland—would not only be the primary methods Nikolai Evdokimov employed in the Genocide of 1864 but also the standard practices of the Turks, Stalin, and many other perpetrators of genocide.
In his approach to the Caucasus peoples, Ermolov was either inspired by or thought similarly to Pavel Pestel, leader of the southern branch of the Union of Salvation, who became famous in Russian history as the Decembrist. One of the myths about Ermolov was that he was dismissed from his position in the Caucasus for his role in the Decembrist uprising. While, as will be discussed shortly, he was dismissed for other reasons, Ermolov’s name was in fact found on a list of potential supporters of the Decembrists, meaning that the conspirators must have found him amenable to their ideas, which are delineated in Pestel’s treatise Russian Justice, written in the early 1820s. In this text, Pestel rejects the notion of federalism in favor of a unified Russian state and forced russification of the peoples living within its borders. Patrick O’Meara forwards the possibility that Pestel derived his ideas from Enlightenment thinker Destutt de Tracy, “who urged that a state’s strength ultimately depends on its integral character.” Any autonomy within one or more of the parts of a state whatsoever “renders the state vulnerable no matter how strongly united such parts may be.” Therefore, O’Meara concludes:
Pestel’s overarching concern was that the new government should make one Russian people out of all those which inhabited the territory of the republic throughout which ‘the Russian language alone should hold sway.’ The very names of all other tribes and peoples should be obliterated and united under ‘the one common Russian designation. [emphasis mine; W. R.][xviii]
Pestel also proposed complete subjugation of the Caucasus and deportation of those who continued to resist:
Considering that all previous experiences have unquestionably demonstrated the impossibility of turning these peoples to peace through friendly and gentle measures the Provisional Administration is authorized to:  (1) Conquer definitively all these peoples in the lands north of the border that is to be established between Russia, Persia, and Turkey.
[ . . . ] After pacification, the peoples are to be given the same organization as Russia. The peoples who cannot be pacified are to be resettled in the interior of Russia, and Russians are to be settled in the Caucasus to russify this area.[xix]
It is interesting that even at this early date Russian intellectuals, students of the Enlightenment, had already conceived of the notion of mass deportation of peoples from the Caucasus. The destruction of the Circassian nation in the 1860s, as well as Stalin’s deportations of the Cossacks in the early 1920s and a dozen small nations toward the end of World War II, was already a central element of the program of the first Russian “republican” movement. Also noteworthy is Pestel’s mention of “friendly and gentle measures,” repeating the fictional justification that would be used all the way until 1864. As the overwhelming majority of measures used by the Russians up to this point were massacres, destruction of homes and food, and forced starvation, it’s difficult to understand to what Pestel is referring.
More importantly for the subject at hand, Pestel’s proposal, which would be labeled no less than ethnocide today, finds its reflection in Ermolov’s ideas about the Caucasus. As Potto explains:
With the appearance of Ermolov in the Caucasus . . . the passive and ineffective politics of palliative methods of giving gifts to our enemies was replaced by active politics which didn’t have as its goal a temporary and fragile peace, but rather total victory, complete subjugation of the hostile lands. [ . . . ] He looked upon all the peaceful and hostile tribes of the Caucasus mountains, if not as already under Russian rule, then sooner or later destined to be, and in any case he demanded unconditional obedience from them.[xx]
Baddeley summarizes Ermolov’s ideology in similar terms:
Yermoloff’s central idea was that the whole of the Caucasus must, and should, become an integral part of the Russian Empire; that the existence of independent or semi-independent States or communities of any description, whether Christian, Mussulman, or Pagan, in the mountains or on the plains, was incompatible with the dignity and honor of his master, the safety and welfare of his subjects. On this idea was based the whole of his policy, every one of his administrative measures, every movement of the troops under his command, and to the end thus clearly set up in his own mind he from the beginning devoted himself heart and soul.[xxi]
Ermolov’s goal was to conquer and assimilate the peoples of the Caucasus, using every weapon at his disposal. His initial target was the South Caucasus, which was intended to serve as a base for further expansion into Iran and ultimately India. The North Caucasus, which offered little material benefit, had to be conquered because it was a barrier between Russia and its newly acquired territories south of the Caucasus mountains. Again, Potto’s explanation is typical of Russian historians:
Russia could no longer turn away from its influence upon the tribes living in the Caucasus mountains. It had already permanently established its rule in the South Caucasus, a role that was nearly forced upon it by historical circumstances, by the terrible fate of the Christian peoples of this area. But between native Russia and this far-off borderland lay a single path of communication across an isthmus between two seas occupied by the Caucasus range, populated by unconquered tribes who blocked the path through the Caucasus mountains with every means at their disposal. Obviously, if Russia’s rule of the South Caucasus was to be permanent, it was necessary to compel the peoples occupying the Caucasus lands not to interfere with communications through those lands. And if the system of peace and gifts didn’t achieve this goal, then one path remained for Russia, the path of war, regardless of how many victims it would demand [ . . . ]. [Emphasis mine; W. R.][xxii]
The North Caucasus was of no use to Russia per se, but only stood as an impediment to their free travel to the Christian lands of Georgia and Armenia. As such, the land was valuable but the people themselves were of no consequence; hence, Potto concludes with an apparent justification for genocide. Of course, the fate of “Christian” Georgia in Russian hands was nothing to envy: under Tsitsianov the members of the Georgian royal family were either exiled or hunted down and killed (the queen was beaten), and Georgia was converted into a Russian province. By 1804, mass revolts against Russian rule had already begun, demonstrating what the Georgian people thought of their “liberation” at Russian hands.[xxiii] If this was the Russians’ method of dealing with a Christian nation they were purportedly protecting (the real reason was Georgia’s mineral wealth and strategic location),[xxiv] what did that mean for the Muslims of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Circassia?
Ermolov’s ideology, and in fact the ideology of the majority of Russian historians concerning the Caucasus, can be further revealed by looking at the way in which they portray Ermolov’s predecessor, Nikolai Rtishchev. During his tenure as commander-in-chief (1811-1816) Rtishchev endorsed a Kabardian delegation that travelled to St. Petersburg to negotiate, facilitated the concessions that the Russian government authorized and brought some stability to Kabardia. He allowed the Kabardians across the quarantine line to trade in Cossack towns and reinstated their rights (suspended by Tormasov) to exploit the salt fields in the Caucasus.[xxv] He worked closely with Kabardian Pshi Kuchuk Janhote to establish peaceful relations between the Kabardians and the Ossetians, who had been forced by the Russians to migrate to Kabardia (a fate that the Ossetians would suffer repeatedly throughout the 19th Century).[xxvi] During Rtishchev’s rule hostilities slowly decreased, although by no means stopped altogether, and the Commander-in-Chief was not averse to employing so-called “punitive raids” along with his more humanitarian efforts.[xxvii]
Despite his contributions to peace between Russia and Kabardia Rtishchev, recipient of the Orders of St. Anne, St. George and Alexander Nevsky, is described by Potto as “undistinguished in decisiveness of character, remarkable service, or military gifts.”[xxviii] In his memoirs, Ermolov (incorrectly) blames Rtishchev’s policies, particularly his approval of the Kabardian delegation, for encouraging “raids, murders, and banditry” by the Kabardians.[xxix] In considering this apparently unjust assessment, Baddeley conjectures that, in the same way that Tsar Alexander I’s “abhorrence of unnecessary bloodshed” caused him to be “impugned as weak and visionary,”
[Rtishchev’s] unwillingness to resort to harsh measures, his attempt to win over the natives by justice and kindness, found no favor with the men of [General Alexander] Souvoroff’s school. Yermoloff treated them with scorn and condemned them in no measured terms, with the result that his predecessor has ever since been stigmatized as both weak and incapable.[xxx]
Baddeley is correct to a point, but the difference between Rtishchev and Ermolov is more fundamental. Rtishchev still saw the Kabardians as people, and as people he was willing to negotiate with them and strive for a modus vivendi. Ermolov, like Pestel, saw the peoples of the North Caucasus as impediments to the Russification of the region. He applied what Richard Rubenstein would call the concept of a “superfluous people” to the Circassians as in a more extreme fashion than the previous generation: they were unneeded and in the way of progress and so had to be eliminated.[xxxi] While his predecessor Tsitsianov found it desirable to drive the natives off the most valuable land, Ermolov saw no value in the very existence of the natives and did all he could to decrease their numbers.
Before his assault on Kabardia, Ermolov spent several years trying unsuccessfully to destroy the Chechens and Dagestani peoples, employing methods that would be used against the Kabardians with devastating results. In his comprehensive study of Russia’s conquest of the northeastern Caucasus, Moshe Gammer notes that “Ermolov was well within the existing consensus” in his use of violence as the main tool in controlling the Caucasus, and that “[i]f he exceeded it, he did so only in the severity of his measures, in the amount of force he used, and in his brutality and cruelty.”[xxxii] This is of course correct; in fact, Bulgakov was at least as brutal than Ermolov. In the context of this study, however, two points could be added. First, Ermolov’s prestige legitimized the barbaric tactics that led to Bulgakov’s dismissal. The lack of any meaningful response by the Emperor to Ermolov’s acts assured subsequent commanders and their troops that no acts of cruelty or barbarity would lead to negative consequences. Not that Alexander, and even Nicholas I, didn’t try to restrain Ermolov when his brutality exceeded all boundaries of humanity.[xxxiii] However, these reproaches never led to the sort of investigation that ended General Bulgakov’s career. Rather, Ermolov’s officers received honors for their massacres.
Second, while in all his strategies—forced migration, colonization, exploitation of conflicts within individual nations, false promises, massacres of civilians—Ermolov followed patterns established by his predecessors, he did so in a more comprehensive, aggressive, and calculated fashion. For example, Cossacks had been taking Circassian and Chechen lands to build their stanitsy for over a century, but the natives were simply driven further into the mountains, not destroyed. Ermolov used colonization as part of an overall scheme to gradually eliminate the indigenous population. The first victims were the Chechens: in late 1817 Ermolov enacted a plan to occupy the Sunja River valley and build a new fortress in order to drive the “hostile” Chechens into the mountains, supposedly in order to starve them into submission, while allowing the “peaceful” Chechens to remain in their homes.[xxxiv] Having accomplished this first stage of forced migration, in May 1818 he requested permission to drive out the “peaceful” Chechens, who he claimed:
call themselves peaceful [ . . . ] hiding behind the mask of favorable disposition toward us, [but] they are the most dangerous to us, for being our closest neighbors they know the state of our affairs and, when the time is right, invite the hostile [Chechens] to raid us, then hide them with all their ability, assist them, and sometimes participate in the raids.[xxxv]
Ermolov’s true plan was to drive all the Chechens into the mountains, where their numbers would be reduced by the harsh conditions there. If his subsequent actions in Kabardia are any indication, he would have most likely committed genocide against the survivors had he been given sufficient troop strength.[xxxvi] In order to portray the peaceful Chechens as “dangerous” Ermolov used Tsitsianov’s strategy of offering them conditions they couldn’t accept, i.e. complete and unconditional submission as Russian subjects. The difference is that, once rejected, Tsitsianov conquered the people in question and subjugated them to Russian rule while Ermolov, seeing the Chechens as expendable, simply drove them into the mountains “to join the rest of the bandits from whom they differ in name only, and in this case the all the land will be at our disposal.”[xxxvii] Ermolov’s words are echoed in General Rostislav Fadeev’s comment concerning the Genocide of 1864 that “the state needed the Circassians’ land, but had absolutely no need of them.”[xxxviii]

[i] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, pp. 96-97.
[ii] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p, 99.
[iii] Mark Bliev, Rossiia i Gortsy Bol’shogo Kavkaza: Na Puti k Tsivilizatsii, Moscow: Mysl’, 2004. p. 138.
[iv] Yakov Gordin, Kavkaz: Zemlia i Krov’. Rossiia v Kavkazskoi Voine XIX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2000, pp. 114-15.
[v] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 97.
[vi] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 98.
[vii] Adol’f Berzhe, ed. Akty, Sobrannye Kavakzskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu. Tiflis: Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniia Namestnika Kavkaza, Volume 6, Part 1, 1874, p. XIII.
[viii] Vasilii Potto, Kavkazskaya Voina v 5i Tomakh, 1899, Volume 2, http://www.aheku.org/datas/users/1-potto_2.pdf, p. 11, Accessed May 28, 2011.
[ix] Yakov Gordin, “O Roli Kostromskoi Ssylki v Formirovanii Lichnosti ‘Prokonsula Kavkaza,’” Yakov Gordin, ed., General A. P. Ermolov i Rossiisko-Kavkazskie Otnosheniia v XIX-Nachale XX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2009, pp. 3-13.
[x] Vladimir Lapin, “K Obrazu A. P. Ermolova v Istoricheskoi Literature i v Kollektivnom Istoricheskom Soznanii,” Yakov Gordin, ed., General A. P. Ermolov i Rossiisko-Kavkazskie Otnosheniia v XIX-Nachale XX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2009, p. 28.
[xi] Vladimir Dal’, Tolkovyi Slovar’ Zhivago Belikoruskago Iazyka, St. Petersburg: Izdanie Knigoprodavtsa-Tipografa M. O. Vol’fa, 1882, Volume 4, p. 409; Vladimir Lapin, “K Obrazu A. P. Ermolova v Istoricheskoi Literature i v Kollektivnom Istoricheskom Soznanii,” Yakov Gordin, ed., General A. P. Ermolov i Rossiisko-Kavkazskie Otnosheniia v XIX-Nachale XX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2009, p. 23; Also see Ermolov’s usage of the word in Adol’f Berzhe, Dmitrii Kobiakov, eds. Akty, Sobrannye Kavakzskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu. Tiflis: Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniia Namestnika Kavkaza, Volume 6, Part 1, 1874, document 6.
[xii] Vasilii Potto, Kavkazskaya Voina v 5i Tomakh, 1899, Volume 2, http://www.aheku.org/datas/users/1-potto_2.pdf, p. 8.Accessed May 28, 2011.
[xiii] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 95.
[xiv] Yakov Gordin, Kavkaz: Zemlia i Krov’. Rossiia v Kavkazskoi Voine XIX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2000, p. 97.
[xv] Vladimir Lapin, “K Obrazu A. P. Ermolova v Istoricheskoi Literature i v Kollektivnom Istoricheskom Soznanii,” Yakov Gordin, ed., General A. P. Ermolov i Rossiisko-Kavkazskie Otnosheniia v XIX-Nachale XX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2009, p. 33.
[xvi] Yakov Gordin, “O Roli Kostromskoi Ssylki v Formirovanii Lichnosti ‘Prokonsula Kavkaza,’” Yakov Gordin, ed., General A. P. Ermolov i Rossiisko-Kavkazskie Otnosheniia v XIX-Nachale XX Veka, St. Petersburg: Zvezda, 2009, p. 3.
[xvii] Letter to Denis Davydov, February 10th, 1819. Quoted in John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 125.
[xviii] Patrick O’Meara, The Decembrist Pavel Pestel: Russia’s First Republican, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp. 82-83.
[xix] Pavel Pestel, Russkaia Pravda, Chapter 2, Part 11, quoted in Marc Raeff, The Decembrist Movement, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966, p. 144.
[xx] Vasilii Potto, Kavkazskaya Voina v 5i Tomakh, 1899, Volume 2, http://www.aheku.org/datas/users/1-potto_2.pdf, p. 10. Accessed June 6, 2011.
[xxi] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, pp. 99-100.
[xxii] Vasilii Potto, Kavkazskaya Voina v 5i Tomakh, 1899, Volume 2, http://www.aheku.org/datas/users/1-potto_2.pdf, p. 11, Accessed June 7, 2011.
[xxiii] David Marshall Lang, A Modern History of Soviet Georgia, New York: Grove Press, 1962, p. 49.
[xxiv] David Marshall Lang, A Modern History of Soviet Georgia, New York: Grove Press, 1962, p. 40.
[xxv] Boris Mal’bakhov, Kabarda v Period ot Petra I do Ermolova, Nal’chik: Kniga, 1998, pp. 208-9.
[xxvi] Adol’f Berzhe, ed. Akty, Sobrannye Kavakzskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu, Tiflis: Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniia Namestnika Kavkaza, Volume 5, 1877, documents 614-20.
[xxvii] Rusam Begeulov, Tsentral’nyi Kavkaz v XVII-Pervoi Chetverti XIX Veka: Oherki Etnopoliticheskoi Istorii, Karachaevsk: KChGU, 2005, pp. 216-17.
[xxviii] Vasilii Potto, Kavkazskaya Voina v 5i Tomakh, 1899, Volume 1, http://heku.ru/data/users/1-potto_1.pdf, p. 266. Accessed June 2, 2011.
[xxix] V. A. Fedorov, ed., Zapiski A. P. Ermolova, Moscow: Vysshaia Shkola, 1991, 94-95.
[xxx] John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1908, p. 99.
[xxxi] Richard L. Rubenstein, The Age of Triage: Fear and Hope in an Overcrowded World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983), passim.
[xxxii] Moshe Gammer, Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia and Daghestan, London: Frank Cass, 1994, p. 35.
[xxxiii] Moshe Gammer, The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance to Russian Rule, Pittsburgh: University of Pittburgh Press, 2006, p. 35.
[xxxiv] Adol’f Berzhe, ed. Akty, Sobrannye Kavakzskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu. Tiflis: Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniia Namestnika Kavkaza, Volume 6, Part 2, 1875, document 873.
[xxxv] Dvizhenie Gortsev Severo-Vostochnogo Kavkaza v 20-50 gg. XIX Veka, Makhachkala: Dagestanskoe Knizhnoe Izdetel’stvo, 1959, p. 25.
[xxxvi] Adol’f Berzhe, ed. Akty, Sobrannye Kavakzskoiu Arkheograficheskoiu Kommissieiu. Tiflis: Arkhiv Glavnago Upravleniia Namestnika Kavkaza, Volume 6, Part 2, 1875, document 795.
[xxxvii] Dvizhenie Gortsev Severo-Vostochnogo Kavkaza v 20-50 gg. XIX Veka, Makhachkala: Dagestanskoe Knizhnoe Izdetel’stvo, 1959, p. 25.
[xxxviii] Fadeev, Kavkazskaia Voina, 196.
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Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems.

Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems. 

The Russian government has succeeded in preventing UNESCO from putting a discussion of environmental problems in and around Sochi on its agenda, using as its ally for this purpose the government of South Africa with which President Vladimir Putin has had intense discussions about the issue, according to mediareports:

(http://www.natpress.ru/index.php?newsid=8315).

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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 32 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 18th special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowledge or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
Ever More Russians Question Sochi Olympiad Spending … A poll by the independent Levada Center found that 65 percent of Russians say Moscow’s spending in Sochi has been ineffective or was “simply being stolen. Only two percent said the money was being used very effectively (.themoscowtimes.com/olympic_coverage/article/poll-reveals-skepticism-over-olympic-spending/482423.html  and en.ria.ru/society/20130627/181907980/Most-Russians-Critical-of-Sochi-Olympic-Spending–Poll.html).
… And Ever Fewer of Them Say Sochi is a Source of Pride. Despite the Kremlin’s efforts to promote the Sochi Games as a source of pride, the share of Russians who say that they are proud about them about about the World Football Championship to be held in Russia has fallen from 68 percent last year to 61 percent this, according to the same Levada Center poll. Twenty-nine percent said these events did not give them any sense of pride (gazeta.ru/politics/2013/06/26_a_5394569.shtml).
Most Russian Still Afraid to Travel to North Caucasus, Moscow News Agency Says. Despite Moscow’s efforts to “rebrand” the Caucasus as a tourist destination, a Russian news agency says that “as in the past, the majority of Russians are concerned about travel to the Caucasus for skying or snowboardingbecause they, not without reason, suppose that ‘there people are shooting.’” Aleksandr Khloponin, the presidential plenipotentiary for the region, says that they should not be afraid but should come to enjoy the resorts officials and businessmen are building there (top.rbc.ru/economics/25/06/2013/863216.shtml and vestikavkaza.ru/news/KHloponin-pervyy-kurort-turisticheskogo-klastera-Severnogo-Kavkaza-otkroetsya-v-etom-godu.html).
Nemtsov Urges Sochi Residents to ‘Fight Fascism.’ Despite efforts by regional officials to prevent him from doing so, Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov appeared in Sochi to discuss his book on “The Winter Olympics in a Subtropical Zone” and to urge residents to stand up for their rights against what he described as “fascism” on the part of the authorities (sochinskie-novosti.com/%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%BC%D1%86%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB-%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BD%D1%86%D0%B5%D0%B2-%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%8C%D1%81%D1%8F-%D1%81-%D1%84%D0%B0%D1%88%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BC/,http://blogsochi.ru/content/boris-nemtsov-v-sochi-prezentoval-razoblachitelnyi-doklad-ob-olimpiade and www.facebook.com/boris.nemtsov/posts/489426061126999).
Kremlin Working Hard to ‘Neutralize’ Circassian Issue, Israeli Analyst Says.Avraham Shmulyevich says that at present, “One of the main concerns of the Kremlin regarding the Olympiad is the neutralization of ‘the Circassian Theme.’” He said that Russian officials are working to disrupt Circassian efforts to bring the concerns of that community before the world and to distract the attention of the world from any efforts that Moscow cannot prevent (avrom-caucasus.livejournal.com/270304.html).
US Olympic Committee Offers Special High-Priced Packages for Sochi. To raise money for the American athletes, the US Olympic Committee is selling special packages for fans who want to attend the games in Sochi. The prices for such tours start at 10,000 US dollars and rise to more than 500,000 US dollars for the two-week competition (luxurytravelmagazine.com/news-articles/exclusive-packages-to-attend-the-winter-olympic-games-in-sochi-russia-19650.php).
Special Sochi Passes Will Become Good Souvenirs, Chernyshenko Says …  Dmitry Chernyshenko, the head of the Sochi 2014 organizing committee says that his group is going ahead with plans to require special spectator passes that will require fans to provide information “similar to what is requested when buying airplane tickets.”  According to Chernyshenko, “the spectator pass will help to ensure the secure, hospitable and friendly atmosphere of the Games in Sochi” and aftere the games “will be a memorable sourvenir” (sportsbusinessdaily.com/Global/Issues/2013/06/26/Olympics/Sochi-Tickets.aspx).
… Adding that “Sochi is the starting point for the whole world to believe in Russia.”Not only that, Chernyshenko says, the games will help Russians to “gain confidence that Russia is ready to implement large-scale projects,” (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/sports-events-seen-as-catalyst-for-new-russia/482088.html).
Olympic Builders Continue to Despoil Environment, Activists Say.  The Ecological Watch on the North Caucasus says that the rush to complete Olympic venues and support facilities is causing builders to ignore environmental protection rules and contributing to the destruction of sensitive regions and the contamination of air, water and land. Meanwhile, the activists are seeking to save rare plans by relocating them out of the way of Olympic construction. Local residents confirm what the activists are saying (sochinskie-novosti.com/%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B9%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BB-%D0%BA%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%82/ , blogsochi.ru/content/uchenye-peresadili-krasnoknizhnye-rasteniya-v-imeretinskoi-nizmennosti and sochinskie-novosti.com/%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8-%D1%88%D0%B0%D1%85%D0%B5-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%8F%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5/).
Russian Finance Minister Says Moscow is Spending ‘Relatively Little’ on Sochi Games. Because most of the funds Moscow is spending in Sochi are for infrastructure that will be used long into the future, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says, the Russian government is actually spending “relatively little” on the games themselves and that mostly for the opening and closing ceremonies (sochinskie-novosti.com/2013/06/25/%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%BB%D1%83%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%BF%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%83-%D0%B2-%D0%B1%D1%8E%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B5-2014-%D0%B3%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B0-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%8B-%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%88%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%8C%D0%B3%D0%B8/ Силуанов: На Олимпиаду в бюджете 2014 года заложены небольшие деньги).
Russian Interior Ministry Says Its Officers are Investigating Reports of Torture in Sochi. In response to a rising tide of media reports suggesting that police in Sochi had tortured Martiros Demerchyan, a Sochi resident, the Russian MVD has announced thatit is looking into the case (23.mvd.ru/news/item/1059491/ and sochi-24.ru/proishestviya/sochinskie-policejskie-pytali-cheloveka-lomom-v-zadnijprohod.2013619.64557.html).
Russians Will Win Gold Only after Restoration of National Sports System, Experts Say. At a Sochi conference on Sports and Medicine, the expert participants said  that the Russian Federation could expect to excel in the Olympics only if it restored the kind of national sports system the country had in Soviet times, improving both opportunities for participation at all levels throughout the country and facilities for medical treatment of athletes (24rus.ru/more.php?UID=98780).
UEFA Says North Caucasus Too Dangerous for Its Competitions.  The Working Group of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) says that the situation in the North Caucasus is still too unsettled for it to sanction competitions of its member teams there during the 2013-2014 period (www.apsny.ge/2013/soc/1372229604.php).
Israel’s Circassians Oppose Sochi Competition.  The small Circassian community of Israel is speaking out against the Sochi Olympiad and participation in it, according to the Jerusalem Post. The paper noted that “the Circassians consider themselves to be victims of an historic genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign, much like the Armenian remnant also living in the country” (jpost.com/Christian-In-Israel/Politics/Circassian-pride-and-pain-317767).
Duma Deputy Says Efforts to Block Sochi Olympiad Doomed to Failure.  Gadzimet Safaraliyev, chairman of the Russian parliament’s nationalities committee, says that attempts to block the Olympic Games in Sochi are “counter-productive” because they will “in any case take place.”  As far as the Circassians are concerned, organizers of the competition will give them the chance to put their “national-cultural characteristics” on display for the world to see. Moreover, Russia will show the international community that Circassians at one time lived on the site of the Winter Olympiad,” that they have been able to “preserve andincrease their historical, national and culturala rootes shoulder to should with the representatives of the other nationalities of our Motherland – multi-national Russia” (cir.rus4all.ru/exclusive/20130626/724197061.html).
Moscow Wants to Wrap up Bolotnaya Case Before Sochi Olympics, Lawyers Say. Sochi is affecting the scheduling of many things in Russia, and now there is evidence that it is affecting some high-profile legal cases. According to lawyers for the defendents in a case about protests against Vladimir Putin and his regime, the judges want to wrap up the process before the Sochi Games begin, presumably in order to avoid adverse publicity (kommersant.ru/doc/2220403).
Sochi Tour Guide Says Olympic Construction Has Left Him ‘Ashamed.’  A long-time tour guide in Sochi says the destruction of so much of his city has left him “ashamed.” The only thing he can still point to with pride, he says, is the views people have if they look beyond the buildings.  Those haven’t been destroyed yet. Other guides are talking about dangerous sidewalks, potholed streets, and burning buses (blogsochi.ru/content/kofe-po-sochinski and aheku.org/page-id-3587.html).
Moscow Uses Diplomatic Muscle to Prevent UNESCO from Discussing Sochi Problems. The Russian government has succeeded in preventing UNESCO from putting a discussion of environmental problems in and around Sochi on its agenda, using as its ally for this purpose the government of South Africa with which President Vladimir Putin has had intense discussions about the issue, according to media reports (http://www.natpress.ru/index.php?newsid=8315).
Lavrov Says Russian Citizens Now Fighting in Syria ‘Pose No Risk’ to Sochi.  Russian and international security agencies are making sure that “Russians fighting alongside rebels in Syria don’t pose a threat to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi,” Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergey Lavrov says.  Bu he noted that “when this war is over. .. these guys wouldn’t be busy and they might look for some engagement” in their homeland (abcnews.go.com/International/t/story/russian-fm-rebels-pose-risk-sochi-19457128 ).
Conditions in Sochi Beyond Olympic Buildings are Like Haiti, Latynina Says.  Yuliya Latynina, a Moscow commentator, says that Moscow is very good at putting up facades where it wants to make an impression on outsiders, but Russians like herself know that just beyond those pretty displays are conditions that are like those in third world countries like Haiti (ehorussia.ru/new/node/7762).
Despite Promises, Moscow has Not Made Olympics Accessible for Those with Disabilities.  A wheelchair-bound resident in Sochi says that the Olympic sites and support facilities are not accessible for people like himself, despite Russian undertakings with the IOC that they would be. He provides photographs to back up his statement (blogsochi.ru/content/invalid-kolyasochnik-o-sanatorii-%C2%ABizvestiya%C2%BB).
Russian Tour Firm Offers Sochi Double Rooms from 150 to 270 USD a Night.  Saying that it was offering rooms for prices set by a Russian government decree, a Moscow tour firm says Russians can rent double rooms for 150 to 270 US dollars a night during the competition. But local people say that many tour firms and the hotels themselves already appear to be ignoring these limits (blogsochi.ru/content/otkryvaem-prodazhu-mest-v-otelyakh-na-daty-olimpiady).
‘Anyone Who Tries to Build in Sochi Within the Law Encounters Official Opposition,” Architect Says. Ovanes Zadikyan, a member of the Russian Architects Union and chairman of the Architects of the Black Sea Region partnership, says that officials in Sochi put up obstacles to anyone who tries to work within the law in order to put themselves in a position to profit when those who violate the law seek, as most do, subsequently to cover themselves with legality (.u-f.ru/Article/u201/2013/06/22/656845).
Russian Appeals Court Leaves Corruption Conviction in Place.  The conviction of Oleg Sheveyko, former architecture chief in Sochi. for corruption has been left in place by the Krasnodar appeals court, and Sochi residents say that they hope he will soon start serving his prison sentence that this decision will become “the first step to restoring order in the horde of bureaucrats headed by Mayor A.N. Pakhomov” (blogsochi.ru/content/oleg-sheveiko-osuzhden).
Sochi Residents Demonstrate Against Plans to Destroy Yet Another City Park. Sochi residents, angry that yet another one of their parks is about to be destroyed in the name of Olympic construction have organnied a picketand attracted the support of some but far from all local politicians (blogsochi.ru/content/lyudmila-shestak-o-planakh-stroitelstva-byuveta-v-zone-obshchego-polzovaniya).
Navratilova Says a Sochi Boycott Would Not Affect Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation. Tennis star Martina Navratilova says that any boycott of the Sochi Olympics would have little chance of success in forcing Moscow to change its anti-gay legislation that she and others deplore (2014.info/news/navratilova-osuzhdaet-putina-no-ne-podderzhivaet-bojkot-olimpiady-2014/).
IOC Chief Praises Sochi Effort.  Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, says that “hosting the 2014 Olympic Games has enabled Russia to create its first ever elite winter sports hub and is turning Sochi into a world-class, year-round business, tourist and athletic destination” and that “for the first time in Russia, a system of ‘green standards’ will be used during the construction of Olympic venues. Sochi will set an example of sustainable development for other cities in Russia to follow” (rbth.ru/news/2013/06/21/international_olympic_committee_sochi_is_a_world_center_of_winter_sports_27341.html).
Russian Prosecutors Acuse Perm Museum of Violating Trademark Laws in Poster Case. Having secured the dismissal of a Perm museum director for organizing an exhibit of anti-Sochi Games posters, Russian officials are now saying that they will bring charges against him and others for violation of trademark law for using the Olympic symbols without permission (vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1097148,  kasparov.ru/material.php?id=51C42C3B81538grani.ru/Politics/Russia/Regions/m.215948.html  and www.rus-obr.ru/ru-web/25024).
Reporters Without Borders Raises More Questions about Yarst Case.  The international media watchdog organization says that it is concerned by “all the inconsistencies and procedural violations” that have characterized Russian prosecution of Nikolai Yarst, who remains under house arrest in Sochi charged with illegal possession of drugs. “ The group asks “Why have there been contradictory versions of Yarst’s arrest? Has it been confirmed that his fingerprints were not on the envelope containing the drugs? Why did the police take a week to realize his clothes had traces of drugs and can that be considered evidence if those traces have now disappeared? And if he really was a drug addict, why would he have drugs in his car while on his way to a meeting with the police?” Meanwhile, Sochi police continue to harass him (en.rsf.org/russia-dubious-investigation-into-sochi-21-06-2013,44833.html and blogsochi.ru/content/sotrudnik-dps-sochi-provotsiruet-narushenie-pdd).
Olympic Construction Already ‘Na Remonte.’ Even before it can be finished, some Olympic construction sites are “under repair,” an indication that it was not built very well in the first place (blogsochi.ru/content/%C2%ABna-eti-tseli-bylo-potracheno-12-mln-800-tysyach-rublei%C2%BB ).
BlogSochi Now has 10,000 Subscribers.  Blogsochi.ru, which tracks developments in that city, now has 10,000 subscribers and is seeking more (blogsochi.ru/content/v-gruppe-blogsochi-uzhe-10-000-podpischikov).
Depardieu Plans to Make Sochi Comedy Film.  NBC News reports that the French actor who recently acquired Russian citizenship to avoid paying French taxes will star in a film about the Sochi Olympics that is tentatively titled “Sports without Borders.”  This low-budget effort, NBCsaid, “doesn’t quite remind us of famous Olympic film classics like The Cutting Edge,Miracle, or Cool Runnings [but] it’s probably going to be better than Blades of Glory,Pentathlon, and both Prefontaine biopics” (olympictalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/21/sochi-olympics-comedy-already-in-the-works/).
Georgia May Seek to Host a Winter Olympics in 2022. Georgy Topadze, a Georgian parliamentarian, says that Tbilisi may make a bid to host the 2022 Winter Games, a step that Russia’s sports news agency said was “a case of keeping up with the neighbors” (en.rsort.ru/olympics/20130621/669385118).
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WINDOW ON EURASIA: SOCHI COUNTDOWN — 33 WEEKS TO THE OLYMPIAD IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

Note:  This is my 17th special Window on Eurasia about the meaning and impact of the planned Olympiad on the nations in the surrounding region.  These WOEs, which will appear each Friday over the coming year, will not aim at being comprehensive but rather will consist of a series bullet points about such developments.  I would like to invite anyone with special knowledge or information about this subject to send me references to the materials involved. My email address is paul.goble@gmail.com  Allow me to express my thanks to all those who already have. Paul Goble
London Paper Calls Sochi Olympiad ‘Putin’s Calamity Games.’ The Daily Mail says that “collapsing buildings, colossal corruption, [and] contract killings” are only the most obvious aspects of what is shaping up to be a disaster.  The 740-word illustrated article, published as Russian President Vladimir Putin came to London to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron has been widely reprinted or summarized by Russian media outlets (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342153/Putins-30bn-calamity-games-Collapsing-buildings-Colossal-corruption-Contract-killings-The-race-complete-Russias-Winter-Olympic-village-mired-scandal.html?ito=feeds-newsxmlvestnikkavkaza.net/world-press-review/sport/41639.html and www.nr2.ru/moskow/444659).
US Sports Columnist Says Sochi has Become ‘Putin’s Mafia Olympics.’ Writing on a blog for The Nation, Dave Zirin says that preparations for the Sochi Games show that Russian Prsident Putin “not unlike the decaying Mafia itself – isn’t nearly as ruthlessly efficient as his legend suggests.” Despite staking his reputation on a successful games, “he’s being exposed as little more than a thuggish front man for a kleptocracythenation.com/blog/174821/ring-and-rings-vladamir-putins-mafia-olympics#axzz2WSlREJL8).
Russian LGBT Group in New York Calls for Sochi Boycott  Nina Long, co-president of an émigré Russsian gay group in New York, says that “LGBT people in Russia are sacred, they live in fer, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human righs, they should boycott the Olympicsin Sochi.” Her comments come after the group issued a boycott appeal (passportmagazine.com/blog/archives/29426-athletes-may-boycott-sochi-2014-olympics-over-russias-anti-gay-stance.html and  en.ria.ru/world/20130618/181721132/Russian-Gays-in-US-Call-for-Boycott-of-Sochi-Games.html). See also the letter of HRW’s LGBT Rights Program on the issues the games raise at hrw.org/node/116598.
… But IOC Says LGBT Competitors Will Be Welcome at Sochi.  Despite increasing homophobia in the Russian Federation, he International Olympic Committee says that it is still ready to host gay competitors at the Sochi Games.  But gay activists are not sure. As one put it, “while the rest of the West is going forward on gay issues, Russia is heading in the opposite direction. With the Games less than a year away, there’s no way the IOC will want to rock the boat too much. Going forward, however, the IOC must consider a bidding country’s record on LGBT issues before awarding an Olympics. No country with Russia’s laws should ever get the privilege of hosting again” (outsports.com/2013/6/16/4436808/ioc-gay-winter-olympics-welcome-despite-russia-homophobia).
US, Russian Security Cooperation Highlights Threat at Sochi.  An agreement between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin to “join forces” to provide security at the Sochi Games has the unintended effect of calling attention to just how many security risks there are likely to be at a competition held on the edge of the troubled North Caucasus (insidethegames.biz/olympics/winter-olympics/2014/1014703-russia-and-us-join-forces-for-sochi-2014-security and policymic.com/articles/49079/sochi-2014-can-putin-s-crackdown-keep-the-winter-olympics-safe).
Weak Transportation Network Makes Security at Sochi a Real Problem.  Although Moscow plans a massive network of security arrangements during the Sochi Olympiad, it may not be able to react quickly to any terrorist challenges because the streets there will not allow its forces pursue anyone seeking to disrupt the games or come to the assistance of those who might suffer from a terrorist attack (.news.com.au/sport/more-sport/olympics-facing-boston-style-attacks-unprecedented-security-at-sochi-2014-winter-olympics/story-fndukor0-1226663740932).
Karachay-Cherkess Lawmakers Want to Make Denial of Circassian Genocide a Crime. Members of the Popular Assembly of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic have passed a resolution calling on the Russian Duma to pass legislation imposing criminal penalties on anyone who denies that tsarist officials committed a genocide against the Circassians in 1864. The Russian legislators are unlikely to take up the matter, but this is one more way in which the Circassian cause is attracting more attention precisely because of the decision to hold the Olympics in Sochi (news.ya09.ru/news/718141). Two new articles provide details on precisely what happened to the Circassians 150 years ago at Sochi (krasnaya-polyana-genocide1864.com/2013/06/krasnaya-polyana-breaking-the-150-years-of-silence-part-two/#more-155).
Kozak Acknowledges Some Olympic Construction Far Behind Schedule.  While insisting that Sochi will be ready for the games, Dmitry Kozak, Russia’s vice premier who is overseeing preparations, says that some hotels are far from ready and that he will seek to punish contractors building them unless they bring their projects back on schedule. He also said that a power plant slated to be built in Kudeptsa that local residents had opposed would in fact not be built (vedomosti.ru/politics/news/13141081/kozak_raskritikoval_podryadchikov_sryvayuschih_sroki and blogsochi.ru/content/dmitrii-kozak-kudeptinskaya-tes-v-sochi-stroitsya-ne-budet ).
Al Jazeera Program Focuses on Circassian Objections to Holding Olympics in Sochi. Al Jazeera World television broadcasts a 44-minute film on why Circassians oppose holding the Olympicson the site where their ancestors were expelled or even killed by Russian forces 150 years ago.  To view the program, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9JJAlVQG9c.
Oligarch Wants Moscow to Ensure He Makes a Profit in Sochi.  Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who says his firm has spent 1.4 billion US dollars for Olympic contruction is calling on the Russian government to ensure he makes a profit.  “Such a large-scale project as the Olympics should serve as an example for the development of private-public investment projects,” he says (en.rsport.ru/olympics/20130619/669035320.html andrsport.ru/interview/20130619/668902834.html).
VEB Bank Head Said Moscow Unlikely to Recoup Sochi Loans. Vladimir Dmitriyev, chairman of the VEB Bank, said that eight of the 19 projects the bank is currently funding are unlikely to show a profit and that as a result the bank is unlikely to recover the loans it has made (washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/russias-veb-bank-warns-of-billions-in-losses-from-financing-olympics-construction-in-sochi/2013/06/18/29d902a4-d849-11e2-b418-9dfa095e125d_story.html and realty.newsru.com/article/14jun2013/white_eleph).
Another Russian Olympic Contractor Charged with Fraud.  Sistema, a Russian firm involved in the construction of Olympic sites in Sochi has been charged with conspiracy and fraud for diverting funds intended for those projects into the pockets of the company’s senior officers(.nr2.ru/technology/445005.html).
Russian Officials Refuse to Open Case Against Sochi Police Who Tortured a Worker… Prosecutors in Sochi have refued to open a case against Sochi police for torturing a contract worker on an Olympic project after he demanded that the company pay him and his fellow workers their back wages (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225825/blogsochi.ru/content/v-sochi-politseiskie-izbili-stroitelei  sochi-24.ru/proishestviya/sochinskie-policejskie-pytali-cheloveka-lomom-v-zadnij-prohod.2013619.64557.html andwww.echo.msk.ru/blog/rodinol/1098910-echo/).
… But Grozny Presses for Charges Against Those Mistreating Chechen Workers in Sochi. Chechnya’s ombudsman is pressing for the opening of criminal charges against companies and officials who have failed to pay or otherwise mistreated Chechens working on Olympic construction sites, demands that put Moscow, the chief patron of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in a potentially difficult situation (www.chechenombudsman.ru/index.php).
Foreign Visitors Shocked by Shortcomings in Olympic Construction. As the Games approach, Russian officials are organizing visits to Sochi for foreign journalists and others, but instead of being impressed, many of them say and write that they were horrified by what they have seen (blogsochi.ru/content/chto-dumayut-inostrantsy-o-podgotovke-k-olimpiade-i-kak-otnosyatsya-k-rossii).
Russian TV Follows Official Script on Sochi Projects. Sochi residents say that they might be more impressed by the claims of Russian television reporters about their city it if were not the case that the reporters are speaking from texts that appear to be lightly re-written official declarations rather than what anyone can see with the unaided eye (blogsochi.ru/content/sochinskoe-tv-naidite-10-otlichii).
Perm Museum Director Fired over Anti-Sochi Posters.  Russian officials dismissed Marat Guelman as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Perm after he staged an exhibit featuring posters satirizing the Sochi Games, including one showing a picture of Stalin wearing an Olympic mascot costume and another portraying the Olympic rings as hangman’s nooses (http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130620/181773278/Russian-Art-Curator-Fired-Over-Satirical-Olympics-Exhibits.html).
Expert Says Projects to Protect Sochi Coastline Dangerous and Illegal.  Professor Vyacheslav Maltsev, a specialist on programs to protect coastal areas, says that the plans Olympic officials have come up with to protect the Imeretia lowlands are a threat to that area and violate Russian law on environmental protection (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225824/).
Circassians Finally Get Pre-Olympic Exhibit in Adygeya – About Events 5000 Years Ago. Circassian activists have long sought an exhibit that would speak honestly about what happened to them when Russian forces occupied their homeland and expelled their ancestors in the 19th century.  The National Museum of Adygeya, citing the upcoming Olympics, has responded with an ethnographic exhibition of ites dating more than 5,000 years ago (natpress.net/index.php?newsid=10478).
Kuban Governor Nixes New Road to Sochi, Woould Cost 30 Billion US Dollars. Saying that a new road from Dzhubga toSochi would cost at least 30 billion US dollars, Kuban governor Aleksandr Tkachev said that there isn’t time to complete it before the Olympics. Indeed, he said, it might take “decades” to build all the tunnels and bridges such a highway would require.  But without such a highway, those driving to Sochi will face many problems on the existing and low quality secondary roads(news.mail.ru/inregions/south/23/economics/13565497/?frommail=1).
Drug Trafficking an Ever More Serious Problem in Sochi. Officials have convened a conference of experts to map out a response to drug trafficking in the Olympic city, a problem that some say has reached epidemic proportions with dealers openly selling various drugs on the streets of Sochi (blogsochi.ru/content/vyezdnoe-zasedanie-kraevoi-antinarkoticheskoi-komissii-proidet-v-sochi).
Central Street in Olympic Venue Sea of Mud When It Rains and Dust When It Doesn’t.  A video shows that as a result of construction, the main street in Krasnaya Polyana is little more than a sea of mud whenever strong rains hit the area and a dusty path when they don’t (blogsochi.ru/content/tsentralnaya-ulitsa-krasnoi-polyany). Meanwhile, Sochi residents say that the sidewalks in their city are not safe for anyone to use (http://blogsochi.ru/content/ostorozhnei-peshekhod).
Adler Hoteliers Plan to Charge 1,000 US Dollars a Night for Rooms During Olympics. A survey of hotel operators in Adler found that local businessmen plan to charge 500 to 1,000 US dollars a night for second-tier hotels during the Olympics, far more than luxury hotels cost at present and yet another indication that visitors to the games will face serious price gouging (blogsochi.ru/content/kak-podnyat-uznavaemost-brenda-raskryvaem-sekrety-adlerskikh-biznesmenov).
Adler-Krasnaya Polyana Road May Be Even More Expensive than Reported Earlier.  Reports that Russian officials had spent three times as much on the 48 kilometer road from Adler to Krasnaya Polyana as the US did to send an exploring device to Mars may understate the amount involved, according to a report prepared by the Russian Peoples Freedom Party.  If its figures are correct, Moscow has spent almost four times as much (blogsochi.ru/content/doklad-o-stroitelstve-dorogi-%C2%ABadler-%E2%80%93-krasnaya-polyana%C2%BB);
Orders to Pull Down Illegal Construction in Sochi Being Ignored.  City officials have called for pulling down 356 buildings, including garages, that were put up without permits or inspections, but so far, observers say, only 42 have been demolished, leaving unclear just when or if the others may in fact be removed before the Olympiad (blogsochi.ru/content/kak-uskorit-protsess-snosa-samovolok-obsuzhdali-segodnya-v-sochi). At least some of the buildings not yet demolished are large and dangerous to their residents and passers by (blogsochi.ru/content/bytkhinskii-stroitelnyi-bespredel-2 and blogsochi.ru/content/sochi-navodnen-opasnymi-domami).
Sochi Organizers Sue Sportloto.  Sochi 2014 organizers have brought suit against Russia’s Sportsloto for using the Olympic symbols without permission. They seek 20 million rubles 600,000 US dollars (http://vz.ru/news/2013/6/18/637715.html).
World Wild Life Fund says Sochi River One of Ten Russian Sites at Greatest Risk. Experts of the WWF liste the Mzymta River near Sochi as one of the ten Russian nature sites now at greatest risk from pollution, in its case from oil spills and phenol (newsbabr.com/?IDE=115914).
Sochi May Not Have Enough Electric Power.  Russian officials have not taken enough steps to ensure that the the power shortages, brown outs and black outs that have plagued the Sochi area over recent months will not get worse and affect the games themselves, according to one journalist (news-ru.blogspot.com/2013/06/2014.html).
Court Refuses to End Journalist’s House Arrest in Sochi. The Krasnodar kray court has refused to end the house arrest of Nikolay Yarst, a journalist who officials say was in possession of illegal drugs but who his defenders insist is being persecuted for his honest discussion of problems at Olympic construction projects (kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/225723/).
Saakashvili Doesn’t Want Georgian Flag at Sochi. Even though the Georgian Olympic Committee has now voted to take part in the Sochi Olympiad, President Mikhail Saakashvili says that he is “categoricalliy against” that step and insists that the flag of the Republic of Georgia not appear at that competition (kavpolit.com/saakashvili-xochet-ostavit-olimpijcev-gruzii-bez-flaga/).
Activist Who Reported Environmental Depradation in North Caucasus Gets Asylum in Estonia. Suren Gazaryan, a member of the Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus who reported on the ways in which Sochi organizers are despoiling the environment there, has been given political asylum by Estonia and continues to speak out about the situation around Sochi (rferl.org/content/russia-activist–gazaryan-gazarian-estonia-asylum/25015788.html).
More Sochi Officials Depart as Speculation Grows Mayor Will Be Ousted after Games. Ever more complaints against Sochi officials about what is happening in that city are appearing in the press, apparently prompting the departure of several more senior officials last week and the lodging of criminal charges against them. But more intriguingly, some Sochi residents are speculating that Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov will also lose his job immediately after the completion of the Olympiad (blogsochi.ru/content/gorod-obkhod,blogsochi.ru/content/zamestitel-glavy-goroda-aleksandr-karandin-podal-v-otstavku, and blogsochi.ru/content/novym-merom-sochi-stanet-mikhail-prokhorov).
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A Russian Military Camp in Kbaada (Sochi) in 21, May, 1864

A Russian Military Camp in Kbaada (Sochi) in 21, May, 1864

معسكر حربي روسي في كبادا (سوتشي) في 21 مايو/ أيار 1864

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