The representatives of the Independent Kuban Movement bring you brief — as it is possible — message from the part of the modern Russian «federation» which in fact has been occupied by Russia for about 100 years — a century of stolen opportunities. Unfortunately world is not clearly informed about the situation in our land — Kuban (or officially Krasnodar Krai) as well as in the other parts of Russia, because of the traditional Russian isolationism, which lets to hide all atrocities of the authorities. We’d like to describe some details from history and modernity of our region and introduce you into affairs of our movement.
First (in this series) crime of the Russian Empire against our ancestors — Ukrainian Cossacks was committed at 1775, when Moscow occupants destroyed Zaporozhian Sich and Cossacks were forced to immigrate to Kuban. Situation in Kuban of the 18-19th centuries was very complicated. From the one side native tribes of Caucasian Mountains had a lot of conflicts with each other and of course their meeting with the new neighbors wasn’t peaceful — although the first contacts between highlanders and Cossacks were known before the Russia’s invasion. From the second side Cossacks had to survive and build new life in other conditions with hostile environment. From the third side Russia had plans of violent integration of these lands and peoples into its colonial Empire.
Former Zaporozhian Cossacks (they had got a name of Black Sea Cossacks) fought for Russian interests without enthusiasm — they remembered atrocities of Tsarism against their ancestors and also they often tried to build friendly relations with neighbors. That’s why the Empire decided to attach to them Caucasus Line Cossack Host, which was more loyal to Russia and showed itself active in the Caucasus War. This new formation got name of Kuban Cossacks. Caucasus War of the 19th century in fact was a real genocide of the native Caucasian peoples (Russian warlord Aleksey Yermolov was known for his violent massacres of villages). In particular, two ethnic groups — Ubych (territory of the Big Sochi nowadays) and Zhane (the habitants of the territory near the modern Krymsk) disappeared from the Earth. Approximately 1,5 million died, numerous natives lost their possibilities to live in their mother places.
The collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917 let its former parts (including Kuban) begin their own independent development. The Kuban People’s Republic was formed in 1918. Among the leaders of the young state such prominent figures as M. Ryabovil, historian F. Shcherbina, L. Bych, K. Bardizh, V. Ivanis, A. Kulabukhov and others were. Comparing to many other parts of the former Russian Empire, the economic situation in Kuban was quite stable, which was facilitated by competent management of Kuban people themselves, freed from the imperial reign. The first constitutional document was adopted, and Kuban delegations participated in the international negotiations. As historians, researched this theme, say, the Constitution of the Kuban People’s Republic was a paragon of the best qualities of Western democracy and was not inferior to constitutions of the developed European countries and USA on many points.
However, the new republic could not survive due to the internal contradictions and external pressure. The planned alliance with Ukraine against the Bolsheviks did not work out, and the Denikin regime, which became an ally in its place, behaved on our land as usual Russian invaders. Mykola Ryabovil was killed by Denikin’s assassins in Rostov-on-Don, Alexey Kulabukhov was hanged in Ekaterinodar (former name of Krasnodar). A lot of other leaders of the independent Kuban had to emigrate. However liquidation of the Kuban leadership did not bring special profit to the Denikin dictatorship: in 1920 they had to leave the region to the «mercy» of the Soviets. This fail, as history showed, became too much expensive for us: 100 years of degradation under the Russian rule — in both forms — the Soviet and the modern criminal-chekist ones.
Russian/Soviet occupation of Kuban stands in the same row with occupation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania during the Second World War and other countries and territories in other times. Moreover — with the usage of the similar mechanisms of military aggression and hybrid methods.
The fall of our republic did not mean the end of the liberation struggle. Partisan squads operated for a long time, fighting against the Bolsheviks. During the Second World War, the Cossack Rebel Army acted on the territory of Kuban, they fought against both the Nazi and Stalinist occupation regimes and continued to resist the Soviet regime until the early 1950s. The Soviet government could not forgive Kuban people for love of freedom and organized the terror in the 1930s. Through repressions, a policy of population replacement, Decossackization, artificial hunger and forced Russification, it was able to break the willful Kuban region, the consequences of which we have now. Policy of Holodomor conducted in Ukraine, also heavily damaged Ukrainian population of Kuban — hundreds of thousands victims. Ukrainian cossacks, intellectuals and peasants were the basis of the Kuban liberty and they were the main targets of the Soviet terror. Physical extermination was accompanied by the cultural genocide. Ukrainian schools were closed, Ukrainian language was forced out from Kuban.
And in the modern times crimes and pressure against Kuban people go on. The local dialect of the Kuban Ukrainians — «balachka» was officially recognized as a dialect of the Russian language, despite that it is a dialect of the Ukrainian language (one of the movement founders as a bachelor of the Russian philology can assure you). Nevertheless, some Ukrainian cultural centers are exist in Kuban and obviously they work under pressure of the official Russian authorities. Moreover, they are forced to preach the things which are useful for the Russian propaganda. And finally it leads to disappearance and artificial erasing of the Ukrainian culture and language in Kuban. We know it all, because our families and relatives have lived through this. Now official data draws Kuban as mostly «Russian» region: first of all because significant part of the native Kuban Ukrainians were recognized (but not self-recognized) as «Russians» by the authorities in 1930s. And the second step was the destruction of our self-determination. That’s why a lot of people of Ukrainian origin in Kuban declare themselves as Russians and don’t know much about their roots. So-called modern official «Cossacks» took part in the occupation of Crimea in 2014 and in the Russian invasion in the Eastern Ukraine.
Targeted destruction of the Ukrainian culture in Kuban is not only one crime of the federal authorities in the region. At the summer, 2012 the great disaster hit Krymsk — one of the little towns near Novorossiysk on the Black Sea. By reason of the criminal negligence of the local officials the water storage was suddenly open, and this occasion led to several thousands of victims — according to the witnesses of people, who was helping in liquidation of the aftermath of this disaster. Russian authorities until now hide true amount of deaths (according to official datas — 171 victims) because otherwise they would be forced to accept the international inspectors in the place of the tragedy. The dead were secretly buried in different cemeteries all over the region. A lot of evidences of this crime are published in Internet and this case still need a proper investigation.
During the preparing to Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi a lot of violent actions were committed against the population of Sochi — hometown of one of the movement founders. At first it was incredible devastation of the natural landscape, unique relic nature of the city. For example in Mzymta river bed the railroad connecting Olympic Village and Adler district was constructed with destroying of all stream of the river. One of the relic forests near Sochi was boxwood grove of age nearly 30 million years. During the Olympic preparing sanitary standards were violated and supervisory authorities missed the break-in of the species of butterfly which caterpillar destroyed the huge part of population of the boxwood. So, the grove survived through 30 million years and didn’t survived Olympic Games 2014… These are just few examples of damage brought us from «Mother Russia».
Last years the hidden aspiration to independence, especially between local Ukrainians has been growing in Kuban. We often heard in 1990s the phrases such as «it would be nice to make our region independent and free from Russia». And modern tendencies in Russian life and politics produced our movement for independence which publicly declares its aims. Public representatives of the movement live in emigration and they can speak directly, because in Russia (in country which occupied and annexed territories of the neighbors) repressions await everyone who publicly speaks about independence of their region from Russia.
The main common goal of our movement is creation the independent democratic European Kuban and support unique Kuban Ukrainian culture, which was our basis in the times of our grandparents. We see future Kuban in the European Union and NATO and with close relations with our real historical Maternal Land — Ukraine.
The movement engages in cultural enlightenment of our countrymen, publishes topical news, formulates international image of our land and conducts public campaigns, including the campaign «Russia — Kuban: 100 years of occupation» which is devoted to investigation of crimes of Russia against our people. Also we collaborate with some other liberation movements from other regions of Russia (for example «Free Idel-Ural») against modern colonial policy of Moscow. Activity of the movement is based on the rules of international law and also we support the appeal of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on violations of the rights of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation.
Our movement need of support of international society in any form, because now this project exists by resources of its participants and supporters. Collaboration with us can be useful in work to foundation of peaceful world and human rights protection.
Support regional and ethnic movements for independence inside of Russia is important for liquidation of one great problem — Russian imperialism. Putin’s Russia tries to play empire and makes constraint for its neighbors. Georgia and Ukraine already have got occupation of some of their territories. Belarus is on the way to capture by Moscow. Who will be next? Russia conducts hybrid wars against Western world, uses informational and corruption methods to create instability in Europe and America. War crimes in Syria, support of dictators… And also we should not forget about nuclear weapon of Russia and Russia’s bad influence on environment. List of the Kremlin atrocities is very long. That’s why the best way to stop this monster are real economical sanctions and support regional and ethnic liberation movements in Russia. Disintegration of this «federation» is in interests of humanity and helps to prevent the future threats from Moscow.
We completely agree with thesis that Putin is a murderer. But we should not forget — that he is just an element and current face of a long-established system called «Russian World» (Pax Moscovica). This system is based on the totalitarian ideology, imperialism, false propaganda and suppression of personality. Russia tries to expand its power and introduce these ideological patterns anywhere it can. Nowadays it becomes very obvious. And the best way to stop this aggression — to deprive Kremlin the political influence. We speak directly: Russian Federation is the criminal, fascist and terrorist state. And the ignoring this fact may cost too much.
The new independent states which would be founded on a former Russian territories can become more reliable partners in international relationships, especially after a properly conducted politics of lustration and overcoming of the bad Russian inheritance — similarly to Denazification after the Second World War. Our land Kuban has a lot of resources and possibilities (agriculture, tourism, etc.) which are not used properly such as it’d be possible in independent country.
Kuban has convenient strategic position between two seas — the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov: good place for NATO military bases and cutting Russia from the Black Sea (in the best variant also from the Sea of Azov). At last, but not at least, independent Kuban has capability to become the required link of zone of the states from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, which can help to prevent Russian imperial revanchism in future and to deprive Russia of possibilities to influence significantly the Black Sea-Baltic region.
That’s why we call for the official recognition of Kuban as territory, occupied by Russia, and supporting the movement for Kuban independence. Creation of the independent Kuban state will become a great step for establishment of democracy, Western-oriented mentality and values of freedom and human rights.
We hope for understanding and collaboration!
With best regards
Natives of Kuban
Ideologists of the Independent Kuban Movement