in Russian – https://aga-tribunal.info/avar_31-5-2020/
Source: article in the newspaper “Aravot” on May 31, 2020
The article is about Avars – a Northeast Caucasian native ethnic group which is predominant among several ethnic groups living in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, neighbor republic to Azerbaijan (Wikipedia).
Translation in English by AGA-Tribunal.info
The public non-governmental organization “Society of Avars of the South Caucasus” reported on the real situation with human rights in the Belokan region in Azerbaijan (on the border with Georgia and Dagestan), where, as it is known, Avars compactly live, accounting for approximately 74% of the population of the region, with almost 100 thousand people (data on percentage – for 2013, Regional national-cultural autonomy (community) of the Avars of Dagestan).
Following a policy rooted in the Stalinist doctrine of “Azerbaijanization” and “Turkization” of indigenous peoples, doctrine of the formation of the “Azerbaijani people as a single community of Soviet Azerbaijan”, the Aliyev regime continues to severely discriminate against the Caucasian peoples – Avars and Lezghins, despite their international obligations.
We were told about the events in the inaccessible highland village of Tsalban in the Belokansky district, known since the 18th century, in which only 300 people live. Of these, only one is Azerbaijani, the rest are Avars. This year, by decision of the leadership of the Belokansky district, teaching in the Avar language at the local school was stopped in the village, and the only teacher was fired. We were also informed that in the large village of Katikh in the same region, where more than 7000 people live, and Avars make up 86% of the population (data from the same source), Avar language is not taught in schools since the beginning of the Soviet regime. Due to such situation, knowledge of the mother tongue is transmitted in families, because there is no other way to protect national identity. Naturally, this has been causing dissatisfaction for many years, but Baku has “clarified” this with an argument of the “importance of the state language”, and sometimes of the “common faith”, etc.
To the natural question to Avars of what could be by their opinion shameful or dangerous in teaching the native Avar language to Avars, we were told that “this is the essence of the entire fascist policy of pan-Turkism pursued by the repressive regime of Baku.”
With cause or without it, Aliyev’s regime declares “the need for Muslim solidarity” to facilitate his helpless attempts to “return Karabakh”, stigmatizes those Muslim countries, who maintain friendly, respectful relations with Armenia, complains that “Muslim leaders embrace and take pictures with Armenians” etc. Our Avar interlocutors noted, not without irony, that Azerbaijan “has a perverted understanding of Muslim solidarity, which is understood in Azerbaijani and in Aliyev-style as severe discrimination against ethnic minorities of the Muslim faith, including linguistic, in order to completely erase national identity over time.”
They also said that they know that Armenia supports the teaching of languages of national minorities at the state level, supports their knowledge of their mother tongue – Assyrians, Yezidis, Russians, Greeks, encourages non-governmental organizations that promote the language and culture of Ukrainians, Poles, and other ethnic minorities .
In conclusion, on behalf of the “Society of Avars of the South Caucasus”, they handed us their brief address to the public of Armenia and Artsakh: “We understand and support the struggle of all parts of the Armenian people. The struggle of Armenians in Artsakh we consider as fair. We express our pain and deeply regret that our great-grandfathers served in the army of the Musavatists and fought in the Lezghin regiment of the Musavat army against the Armenian national liberation movement.”
Note, that Avars are the largest in number among the peoples of Dagestan.
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