Even death requires certain norms and, of course, courage

Yury Kalmykov


Y.K. Kalmykov. Reverses of fortune (In two parliaments, one government. In national movement). Moscow; publ. house «Spark». 1996, 184 p., ill.
Each person by mere fact
 of existence on the planet participates in the course of historical development. However, not many are able to accelerate it - only those whose reverses of private fortune coincide with reverses of historical predestination.
Book of his memoirs Y.K. Kalmykov called namely «Reverses of fortune». Their principal landmarks are indicated in the author`s remark - «In two parliaments, one goverment. In national movement». These memoirs are read easily and with great interests. Readers` attention to them is guaranteed for three reasons.
In the first hand, in the centre of narration there are revolutionary events which determined development of our society in crucial period of its history. The author was their active participant and so his detailed account will not fail to attract general attention, the more so as the author reports about many little known facts and events which played important role in unknown to us collisions of political objects and interests.
In the second hand, time of action is not too distant in chronological aspect. This is almost contemporaneity and most of us were though detached but still observers of these events. Memoirs of Y.K. Kalmykov permit correlate our ideas and thoughts with the author“s point of view.
And, finally, the author“s personality has great importance for readers. Yury Khamzatovich Kalmykov is a politician of all-Caucasus and all-Russian scale, eminent scientist, remarkable pedagogue, statesman, thinker. In his time he attracted great attention of mass media and journalists. Dozens of interviews in the press, on radio and TV, numerous articles and other materials permit to imagine a scale of the state and social activities of Yury Khamzatovich, system of his opinions about actual problems of political and spiritual development of our country and society. However, newspaper articles often don“t convey personal qualities of their heroes. Sometimes it is them and not political considerations and situation that become incentive for a politician“s actions. This is the case with Y.K. Kalmykov. For that reason it is especially interesting to read his memoirs.
Y.K. Kalmykov“s advent to politics, though seemingly fortuitous, was quite natural. Yury Khamzatovich was claimed by the time at the first, democratic phase of perestroyka. In that period representatives of the party nomenclature still didn“t understand that they would soon loose control levers and criminal «democratic» oligarchs didn“t still prepared for decisive rush to power and capitals. It was in that short period that conditions arised for appearance of new, bright, independently thinking persons at the public and political stage who tried to create new bases for our society. Most of them were delegates of Congress of people“s deputies of the USSR and members of Supreme Soviet. Y.K. Kalmykov belong to that levy of new Russian politicians.
Historical deserts of this generation of politicians consists in that it brought to our life ideas of democracy and liberalism. Understanding that Soviet Union needed radical changes they saw them in decisive and irrevocable rupture with negative legacy of the past, in reforming all totalitarian structures of the state which were obstacles for social, economic and spiritual development of our peoples. Practical contribution of Y.K. Kalmykov to this reformatory movement was connected with his acting as chairman of Committee of Supreme Soviet for legislation. Yury Khamzatovich made great personal contribution to drawing up package of economic laws, bases of civil legislation of the USSR many of which created base for the current Civil Code of the Russian Federation. He also was engaged in matters of political reform.
Seemingly description of routine parliament work hardly can arouse readers“ interest. But namely these pages of memoirs are the most memorable and bright. Y.K. Kalmykov leaves for us valuable historical information about initial stages of formation of civil society in our country.
At the same time Y.K Kalmykov saw that in the society began to appear and became more and more stronger disturbing trends to desintegration. On the whole Y.K. Kalmykov opposed to desintegration of the USSR. In the parliament he fight against those legislative initiatives objectively aggravating the situation. The author bitterly establishes the fact that Soviet leaders of that time didn“t correspond to the responsible historical moment the country then went through. «Our leaders either don“t understand essence of the current events at all or don“t want to take them into consideration» - he writes in this connection. Analyzing Gorbachev“s actions he repeteadly mentions their indecision and inconsistency.
Even after August putsch Y.K. Kalmykov fight for the constitutional bases of the Union state till the very end. He together with V. Koudryavtsev, S. Alekseev and others worked hard on creation of new legislative base where, from one side, the current political realities would be considered, and, from the other side, possibility of the Union“s preservation would be kept. This work was made null and void by agreements signed in Belovezhskaya Pustcha. Usually reserved and tactful Y.K. Kalmykov in this case is sharp and straightforward calling the agreements «anticonstitutional» and «contradicting to the people“s will». The same unflattering estimate is given to Russian parliament which with enthusiasm received news from Belovezhskaya Pustcha. This naiv enthusiasm reflected - in Y.K. Kalmykov“ opinion - absence of «feeling of responsibility».
«Pro-Soviet» position of Y.K. Kalmykov is explained not by unwillingness to refuse Stalin-Brezhnev «principles» or great-power chauvinism. He opposed to desintegration of the USSR, in particular in the form initiated by certain politicians, because he forsaw disastrous consequences of such desintegration. The following events proved the worst misgivings of Yury Khamzatovich.
Important reverse of Y.K. Kalmykov“s fortune was connected with his joining national movement. He became a leader of International Circassian Association and Congress of Kabardian people in the complicated historical period. Crisis of Soviet system and following desintegration of the USSR which entailed global change of system of social, political and ideological co-ordinates compelled many peoples of the former USSR to determine tasks of national development. These problems were very urgent for Adygs and Circassians: administrative and territorial dissociation, demography state, need in integration with Diaspora, adequate interpretation of essence and results of Russian-Caucasus was. By that time ethnic and political situation in Kabardin-Balkaria became aggravated. It was connected with movement for declaration of Republic of Balkaria. In Karachai-Circassian republic confrontation between people and authorities gained ethnic character. Adygeia prepared to change its state status and form system of ethnic representation in legislative bodies. In Shapsugia its small people fought for the right of administrative self-determination.
In these conditions Adyg national movement needed in working out optimum strategy and tactics. Y.K. Kalmykov writes about connected with that difficulties and mistakes. At the same time Y.K. Kalmykov himself embodied democratic trend in Adyg national movement. He was always a partisan of sober, well-thought and free of extremism approach to determining tasks of national development and methods of their realization. He posessed valuable for a politician quality - ability to foresee consequences of taken measures. He didn“t refuse to cooperate with authorities but didn“t accept pressure and dictates on the part of local «White Houses». He was a partisan of reasonable compromises but made a compromise only in the case of mutual striving to consensus.
Y.K. Kalmykov was a cautious (in the better sense of the word) politician but in crucial situations he demonstrated resolution. About his participation in the events of September-October of 1992 in Nalchik he writes little. But even from the short description one can see what importance for the conflict“s reconciliation his solid position had. In August of 1992 when Georgian-Abkhaz war began Y.K. Kalmykov directed activities of International Circassian Association and Congress of Kabardian people to support of Abkhaz people which underwent agression. Today everyone knows what substantial contribution Adyg and Circassian volunteers made to the victory of Abkhazia.
Y.K. Kalmykov knew well needs and hopes of people and was ready to share with them all adversities. His example serves as a proof that a politician may remain a moral man. It is, perhaps, the brightest characteristic of Yury Khamzatovich Kalmykov.

Yury Anchabadze,
candidate of history,
senior research worker of Institute of ethnology
and anthropology of Russian Academy of science,
head of Moscow centre of Abkhazia