WE – the undersigned representatives of the Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East living outside of Russia against our will—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.
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.
As representatives of Indigenous peoples, WE are outraged by statements of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) on March 1, 2022 and the statement of civil society leaders on March 2, 2022 in support of the decisions of President Putin. Such public statements can only be considered as direct support for the military aggression against the Ukrainian people, and their signatories are accomplices of the murderers of civilians in Ukraine.
WE believe that the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) has become an adjunct of the Russian Government domestically and internationally. Once a leader in the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, it is today became an organization whose main purpose is to justify the actions of the Government and extractive companies that feed President Putin’s regime and destroy the traditional lands of indigenous peoples.
WE believe that the leaders of RAIPON—Grigory Ledkov, Alexander Novyukhov, and Anna Otke who signed the letter 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.
From now on, WE will consider any statements on any international platforms made by RAIPON and its representatives or by representatives of other organizations of Indigenous peoples which supported Vladimir Putin’s decisions regarding Ukraine as falsehood and propaganda as their main purpose is maintaining the prestige of the Russian authorities at the international level.
WE call on any international organizations, nonprofit and intergovernmental, scientific, environmental, human rights and others, including institutes and branches of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Arctic Council to ignore the statements of RAIPON representatives and spokespeople of other organizations which supported Vladimir Putin’s decisions. Those statements are propaganda originating in the Russian political regime. We appeal to the international community to no longer consider RAIPON a legitimate representative of the Indigenous peoples of Russia.
WE also declare that we are withdrawing from all Russia-based organizations and networks of Indigenous peoples of Russia in which we were previously members. We announce the creation of a new, independent organization—the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia.
Tjan Zaotschnaja – Itelmen
Dmitry Berezhkov – Kamchadal
Pavel Sulyandziga – Udege
Yana Tannagasheva – Shor
Andrey Danilov – Saami
Vladislav Tannagashev – Shor
Irina Shafrannik – Selkup