24 February 2014
Source: HRO.org (info)
A representative of the Chechen presidential and government administration told a correspondent from Caucasian Knot: “By decision of the Republic’s authorities, events commemorating the deportation will now take place on 10th May each year. This day has been declared Day of Remembrance and Mourning of the People of the Republic of Chechnya. Today, as is happening across the whole country, the Republic marks Defenders of the Fatherland Day.”
The decision to move the Day of Remembrance from 23rd February to 10th May was taken in 2011. At the time, as reported by Grani.ru, the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov declared that the Republic should, like all other regions, mark all Russian state holidays.
“As advised by academics, elders, religious and civil bodies, we have declared 10th May to be a united day of mourning,” wrote Kadyrov on his Instagram on Sunday. “On this day we will grieve for all victims, regardless of their political views and roles in the history of the Chechen people. And on the day marking 70 years since the deportation, each community will pray, help the lonely, the elderly and the poor.”
According to Radio Svoboda, the ban on public commemorative events to mark the deportation is linked with the fact that the date coincides with the Olympic Closing Ceremony.
Recently in Grozny the memorial to the victims of the deportation was taken down.
In Ingushetia, 23rd February was also void of ceremonies commemorating this tragic date. On Monday near Magas a memorial to victims of the deportation will be unveiled. From early on Sunday people started to gather at the memorial ‘to memory and glory’ in Nazran. Police guarding the entrance turned them away, explaining that commemorative events were set for the Monday.
The former press secretary of the president of Ingushetia, Kaloi Akhilgov, suggested that the order to postpone commemorative activities had come from Moscow. Akhilgov remarked in an interview on Echo Moskvy that for the first time there were no comments on the commemorative date on the website of the government of Ingushetia. According to Akhilgov, the events have left people in the Republic indignant.
The mass expulsion of Chechen and Ingush peoples to Kazakhstan and Central Asia “for collaboration with Fascist occupiers” (operation “Lentil”) took place between 23rd February and 9th March 1944. According to the International Memorial Society, over the period 1943-44, 485,000 people were deported from Chechnya and Ingushetia.
Translated by Holly Jones
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