Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: There is not a single family in Kalmykia that does not keep the sacred the memory of relatives and friends who died during the years of repression

I returned from a business trip abroad and found out that the chairman of the Supreme Council of Khakassia Vladimir Shtygashev made a statement at the session of the republican parliament justifying Stalinist repressions. He also called the deportation of Kalmyk people “deserved”. The politician probably forgot or did not know at all that this one of the most tragic pages in the history of our people was recognized as genocide as per the Russian legislation.


It is obvious that a person in their right mind cannot justify a crime and call the death of many thousands of innocent people happiness. The total number of evicted Kalmyks was about 120,000. 67600 died, that is, more than half. Is this to be considered a blessing to the people? So, Stalin, as the speaker stated, saved the Kalmyks?

In Kalmykia, there is not a single family that does not keep the sacred memory of relatives and friends who died during the years of repression. But we are told that that’s how Kalmyk people were saved in exile from persecution and obliteration.
In the centre of Elista, there is the memorial complex “Exodus and Return” made by my now deceased friend, the world-famous sculptor Ernst Neizvestny. This monument concentrates the nation-wide grief over countless sacrifices and the tears of joy from the return of ancestors to the native land.
No matter how you look at the scandalous speech of the speaker of the parliament of Khakassia, it is completely incomprehensible what purpose Vladimir Shtygashev pursued, grossly distorting historical facts, rewriting history and even denying the current legislation, which estimates the crime committed by the Stalin regime against the Kalmyk people. In the law of the Russian Federation issued on 26 April 1991 “On the rehabilitation of repressed peoples”, deportation was recognized as genocide against Kalmyks. This alone makes it possible to call Vladimir Shtygashev to criminal responsibility for the grossest distortion of historical truth.
The people of Kalmykia are kind and merciful. We remember the centuries-old friendship of Kalmyks and Khakasses, which give reason to put unity of peoples, and not discord, at the forefront.
In Kalmykia, they heard and appreciated the statement of the head of Khakassia, Valentin Konovalov, who, in a rather harsh form, cooled the ardor of the chairman of the Supreme Council and officially indicated that the purely private opinion of Vladimir Shtygashev should in no case be considered the position of the authorities of the Republic of Khakassia.
It should also be noted that on 30 January, Vladimir Shtygashev apparently realized that he had made a serious political blunder and so he tried to convey what was said in a different light. The Speaker of the Republican Parliament expressed regret that he "hurt someone’s feelings" and at last recognized "the deportation of the Kalmyk people as a tragedy".
I believe that this statement is not enough. An official who has made such a serious blunder in public must publicly make amends for his guilt. He should apologize to the people of Kalmykia. From the same rostrum of the Supreme Council, from which black untruth has been spread. Then it will be a good lesson for everyone.
I want to assure all residents of Khakassia that Kalmykia remembers the hard years of exile and gratefully recalls the help and support provided to the repressed Kalmyks by the Khakass brothers and other peoples of the republic. Our friendship and our unity, which cannot shake the accidental and clearly erroneous statement of one, albeit a high-ranking person, rests on a common memory and common destiny.