Thursday, April 08, 2010

Russia / Georgia / Circassian Genocide

Circassians in North Caucasus Hail Georgia's Move on Recognizing Genocide
By Valery Dzutsev
Politicom (Moldova), April 5, 2010
"[...] The conference 'Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The Circassians & the Peoples of the North Caucasus Between Past and Future' took place in Tbilisi, Georgia on March 20-21. The Jamestown Foundation and Ilia State University of Georgia co-sponsored the event. Conference participants prepared two separate statements addressing the Georgian parliament with pleas to recognize the genocide of the Circassians and the Chechens in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ( The issue of the Circassian genocide in the nineteenth century is an especially sensitive topic for Russia, as the Circassians insist that the Sochi Olympics in 2014 should not be held in what they consider to be 'the land of genocide,' where their ancestors were partly slaughtered and partly expelled en masse by the Russian army.
Today an estimated 90 percent or 6-7 million of the Circassians live outside their homeland in the North Caucasus, mainly in Turkey and the Middle East. The remaining 700,000 are split between three republics of the North Caucasus -- Adygea, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria. Only in Kabardino-Balkaria do the Circassians comprise a majority of the population. The overwhelmingly positive response was even more remarkable because the Russian government appeared to have pressured the Circassian activists prior to the conference in Tbilisi, so that most of them living in the North Caucasus could not make it to the conference. Another important factor is that some Circassians feel very strongly about the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-1993, as the Abkhaz and Circassians are ethnic cousins. Russian-Georgian relations have reached a nadir since the August 2008 war between the two countries. [...]"

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