Saturday, May 01, 2010

Georgia / Russia / Circassian Genocide

Georgia Ready to Debate Circassian Killings
Hurriyet Daily News, April 30, 2010
"A group of Georgian deputies says it is ready for parliamentary discussions on the 19th-century massacres of Circassians during the Czarist Russian era in the North Caucasus, the Caucasian Knot website reported. Circassians at a conference in Tbilisi in March formally appealed to Georgia to condemn the killings as genocide. They further asked Georgian officials to designate the Russian city of Sochi -- the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games -- as 'the location and symbol of the Circassian genocide and ethnic cleansing,' according to the website, Civil Georgia. Zaur Zaukozhev, deputy chairman of the Circassian Congress of Adygea, told the Caucasian Knot that he had addressed Russian leaders many times regarding the issue but to no avail. 'If Georgia at present is ready to recognize our genocide, we should agree to it,' Zaukozhev said.
Asker Panesh, a history professor at the Adygea Institute of Humanitarian Studies, said the request that the Georgian parliament recognize the Circassian genocide would not harm Russian-Georgian political or economic relations. 'It'll be just the first step toward the restoration of historical justice,' he said. Asfar Kuyek, a leading scientist at the institute who also chairs the public movement 'Samgur,' said activists in public organizations should not have asked Georgian deputies to address the issue. 'We shouldn't rely on Georgia, if we say that we have common roots with Abkhazians,' Kuyek said. Estimates of the number of Circassian civilians killed by Russian forces in the 1800s vary widely. Official Russian statistics cite some 300,000 deaths while Circassian organizations say at least 1.5 million died between 1817 and 1864. An estimated 90 percent of ethnic Circassians live in other counties -- primarily in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries -- with only 300,000-400,000 still living in Russia."
[n.b. This is the complete text of the dispatch.]

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