A round table of the World Abaza Congress, related to topical issues of unification of the Abkhaz-Abaza people and the importance of the annual cultural and sports festival "Abaza" was held.

Shazina Bganba

A round table was held in the office of the World Abaza Congress in Sukhum, with the participation of members of the Supreme Council of the WAC, on: "Topical issues of the unification of the Abkhaz-Abaza people. The significance of the annual cultural and sports festival "Abaza" in promoting the preservation and development of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group, the unity of the Abaza people through culture and sports." Round table moderator, head of the WAC Discussion Club - Rustam Zantaria.

The participants of the round table were: Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation of the Republic of Abkhazia, member of the Supreme Council of the WAC Vadim Kharazia, Head of AbIGI, member of the Supreme Council of the WAC Arda Ashuba, Head of a separate subdivision of ANO "Alashara" in Cherkessk Murat Mukov, deputy head of ANO "Alashara" in Cherkessk Murat Gedugov, member of the Supreme Council of the WAC Beslan Kobakhia, Head of the Sukhum office of the WAC Timur Rekvava, Head of the Department for Work with Local Branches of the WAC Dmitry Zhiba, Head of the Department of Youth Development and Physical Culture of the WAC Valery Berzenia, Head of the Local Branch of the WAC in Gudauta, captain of the volleyball team participating in the cultural and sports festival "Abaza" Amra Lakoya, representatives of the State Committee for Youth Affairs and Sports, as well as the Department for Youth Affairs and Sports of Sukhum.

The head of the delegation from Abkhazia, which took part in the VII cultural and sports festival, Vadim Kharazia noted how gratifying it is that the festival has a cultural and sports character and emphasizes the national image of the Abkhaz-Abaza people:

"Certainly, the organization of the cultural and sports festival was at a high level. I express my gratitude for the rallying of the youth, for our unity and for the support of the national ideas of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnos. I have no doubt about further success in uniting our peoples around the world. In turn, our repatriation committee will provide all possible assistance in strengthening the ties of the Abaza peoples. Festivals of this kind provide excellent examples of how and in what direction it is necessary to move. If we strive to hold national events in Abkhazia, we have something to follow," he said.

During the round table, colleagues from Cherkessk, headed by the deputy head of the ANO "Alashara" Murat Mukov, joined the conversation via video link.

"Mountains and a considerable distance separate us, but no matter how far or short the distance between us is, we are brothers and one people! The festival was conceived and created so that we and our youth meet more often. We all know that Abkhazians and Abaza have each other, but not only us, but the whole world should know about this and our unity. Therefore, cultural and sports events should be held not only in Karachay-Cherkessia, but also in Abkhazia and Turkey," Mukov stressed.

Another  important aspect of the unity of the Abkhaz-Abaza people according to Murat Mukov is the scientific exchange - the admission of applicants from Karachay-Cherkessia to the Abkhazian State University and the study of Abkhazian applicants in Circassia. This idea was also supported by the Head of AbIGI Arda Ashuba:

"I would call this aspect not only important, but also necessary for our people. To create living conditions and provide a place in the higher educational institution of Abkhazia for those who wish to study is a matter that preserves our traditions, language and culture. I am more than sure that the idea will be supported not only at the state level, it will be of great interest among the people as well," Arda Ashuba believes.

During the conversation, the participants noted that the festival contributed not only to cultural and sports promotion, but also to the presentation of other activities and arts of the Abaza people. For example, within the framework of the festival, an exhibition of national costumes, objects of arts and crafts, paintings, traditional fabric painting was held.

The participant of the round table, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Repatriation Bastakua Agrba, noted that the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity that prevailed in the atmosphere of the festival is a merit not only of the fraternal people, but also directly of the leader of ANO "Alashara", Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov, who puts great efforts into the association.

"During the national liberation movement in Abkhazia there was our leader, Vladislav Ardzinba, thanks to whom our people survived. Just as God endowed our people with such a person as Ardzinba, today the leader of our Abaza brothers, the entire Abkhaz-Abaza congress is Mussa Ekzekov. I personally see our Vladislav in him," said Agrba.

A friendship between the participating teams grows stronger every year, thanks to maintaining contacts outside the festival. The difficult year of the pandemic, which was reflected in the break in its holding, could not interrupt the connection between the teams created in previous years. The Head of the Local Branch of the WAC in Gudauta, the captain of the volleyball team, Amra Lakoya, emphasized that the members of the volleyball team will always find their way to the Abaza brothers, who, during the Patriotic War of the people of Abkhazia in 1992-1993, "reached us along mountain paths through passes to stand next to".

"I can’t say that we are going on a visit, we are going to our brothers and sisters who are waiting for us there. Our volleyball team has been taking part in the games for the third year already. The game is based on the friendship wins principle. It is because we not only play, but also share experience, impressions and energy. The atmosphere that prevails at this holiday, of course, will live in our hearts for a long time," said Lakoya

The participants of the round table, together with representatives of the Committee for Youth and Sports, discussed which areas of the festival can be borrowed, developed and carried out in Abkhazia.

The Festival of the Games of the Abaza people became the seventh in a row this year. Every year it is gaining more and more momentum, increasing the chances of uniting the entire Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group.