Russian indigenous leaders protest Putin's war

Exiled leaders of Russia's Itelmen, Kamchadal, Udege, Shor, Saami and Selkup indigenous peoples issued a statement on March 10 declaring that they are "outraged by the war President Putin has unleashed against Ukraine. At the moment, the entire population of Ukraine is in grave danger. Old people, women and children are dying. Cities and towns of an independent country are being destroyed because their inhabitants did not want to obey the will of a dictator and a tyrant." The statement adds: "As representatives of Indigenous peoples, we express solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their struggle for freedom and are extremely concerned about ensuring the rights of Indigenous peoples during the war on Ukrainian territory, including the Crimean Peninsula that remains illegally occupied by Russia."

The seven exiled leaders also express outrage at statements by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) in support of Putin's war effort. The exiled leaders charge that RAIPON leaders Grigory Ledkov, Alexander Novyukhov and Anna Otke, who signed the pro-war statement, "should be also treated as war criminals, not merely accomplices of the war, because they voted for military action as members of the Russian Parliament."

The exiled leaders call upon the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Arctic Council to withdraw recognition of RAIPON as a representative organization of Russia's native ethnicities. They announce the creation of a new, independent organization—the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia. (Indigenous Russia)

See our last post on anti-war dissent in Russia.