HRW: Georgia: More Cluster Bomb Damage Than Reported

Georgia: More Cluster Bomb Damage Than Reported

The decisions by Russia and Georgia to use cluster munitions so soon after most of the world’s countries agreed to ban them is appalling.

Steve Goose, Arms director at Human Rights Watch

Georgian Clusters Landed in Villages; Russian and Georgian Duds Still a Threat

November 4, 2008

(Geneva, November 4, 2008) – Georgian cluster munitions fired in the conflict with Russia in August 2008 caused more damage and hit more locations than previously commonly reported, Human Rights Watch said today in a presentation to the Convention on Conventional Weapons in Geneva. Explosive remnants from the weapons, fired by both Russia and Georgia, continue to threaten people and their livelihoods.

At least 17 civilians were killed and dozens wounded by cluster munitions used by both sides. During a 10-day investigative mission in late October, Human Rights Watch documented the use of Russian cluster munitions in six towns and villages and Georgian cluster munitions in nine, though most of the casualties investigated appeared to be caused by the Russian weapons. Cluster munitions failed on both sides, leaving duds that operate like landmines and cause casualties even after the fighting stops. 

“The decisions by Russia and Georgia to use cluster munitions so soon after most of the world’s countries agreed to ban them is appalling,” said Steve Goose, Arms director at Human Rights Watch. “Cluster munitions spray lethal bomblets over large areas, and keep killing by leaving behind thousands of duds ready to explode when someone comes near.”

Russia has continued to deny using cluster munitions in Georgia, but Human Rights Watch finds the evidence to be overwhelming. Human Rights Watch believes that Russia’s use of cluster munitions in populated areas was indiscriminate, and therefore in violation of international humanitarian law. Human Rights Watch found Georgian clusters in populated areas, but it is not clear whether Georgia targeted such areas or whether they fell short. Human Rights Watch called on Georgia to investigate the situation.

In May 2008, 107 nations negotiated and formally adopted a new Convention on Cluster Munitions that comprehensively prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and trade of cluster munitions. Neither Russia nor Georgia participated in the negotiation process. The treaty opens for signature in Oslo on December 3, 2008.

“The use of cluster munitions by both sides shows once again why most of the world’s nations are banning them,” said Goose. “Russia and Georgia should recognize the unacceptable consequences to civilians and join the new cluster munitions treaty.”

Human Rights Watch found that many of the cluster munitions landed in populated areas of Georgia. The town of Variani, in the Gori district, was apparently hit the hardest with Russian AO-2.5 RTM submunitions from RBK air-dropped cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch interviewed a number of those wounded during the attacks, including a 13-year-old boy and a 70-year-old man. On the day of the attack, the boy, Beka Giorgishvili, went to a friend’s house to say goodbye before his family fled Variani. He was hit as he was helping pump up his friend’s new bike tire. Beka lost part of his skull, and shrapnel remains inside.

Human Rights Watch also found that many of the submunitions failed to explode on impact as designed, but remained on or slightly buried in the ground – so called “duds” that still pose danger to civilians. People engaged in the clearance effort told Human Rights Watch that there may be thousands of duds. In Ruisi, which was hit very hard by Russian submunitions on August 12, 2008, the clearance organization Norwegian People’s Aid estimated a 35 percent submunition failure rate for an area it was clearing.  

The duds have not only killed and maimed civilians, but they have also caused people to lose harvests, and therefore their ability to feed their families. Many duds remain hidden in fields of cabbages, tomatoes and other crops, and farmers fear going into their fields.

Georgian cluster munitions with M85 submunitions killed at least one person and wounded at least two when they landed on the towns of Tirdznisi and Shindisi. Witnesses did not report any Russian troops in the areas at the time. In these and two other towns combined, at least two people have been killed and at least three wounded by Georgian submunition duds since the attacks.

It is not clear whether the M85s landed in villages as the result of an intentional strike in the area or a massive technical failure in Georgia’s use of Israeli-supplied Mk-4 GRAD LAR-160 ground rockets with M85 submunitions. Georgia has stated that these are the only cluster munitions in its arsenal and that it fired these rockets only at Russian forces between Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, and the Roki Tunnel on the border with Russia. However, Human Rights Watch found many M85s that landed on Georgian towns south of that region.

Indeed, they seem to have landed short of the Mk-4’s minimum range, which means they would not have functioned properly. In villages other than Tirdznisi and Shindisi, Human Rights Watch found only Georgian M85s that had failed to function, that is, did not explode on impact.

The Georgian Ministry of Defense could not explain why its M85s were found in so many locations and why the failure rates were so high. Officials indicated they would ask the Israeli company that sold the weapons to assist in an investigation of the matter.

Human Rights Watch called on Israel not to sell cluster munitions and urged it to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In addition to calling on Georgia and Russia to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Human Rights Watch urged them to provide precise strike data (including locations, types and numbers) to clearance organizations in order to facilitate their work.

“If Russia and Georgia are not prepared to join the ban treaty in the near future, they should at least take interim steps to protect civilian lives,” said Goose. “Such steps could include enforcing international humanitarian law and prohibiting use of cluster munitions in populated areas, placing a ban or moratorium on production and trade of cluster munitions, and starting to destroy stockpiles.”

Human Rights Watch presented its major findings on November 4 to delegates attending meetings of the Convention on Conventional Weapons  in Geneva, where diplomats are discussing the cluster munition issue. Several countries that have not participated in the Oslo Process to ban cluster munitions – most notably the United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel – are half-heartedly pursuing a weak agreement through the convention that would legitimize continued use of the weapon.  

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© Copyright 2008, Human Rights Watch


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C. Times: People Of Adygea Want Sovmen And Are Dissatisfied With Federal Center

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 11/4/2006 3:23 PM
People of Adygea want Sovmen and are dissatisfied with federal center
PRAGUE. On 19-24 October 2006 Caucasus Times conducted public opinion poll among 400 residents of the capital of the Republic of Adygea Maikop in the age category 16 – 65 years old (in total, 209 females and 191 males have been polled). Representatives of local intelligentsia, students, employees, workers, pensioneers as well as as representatives of different ethnic groups living in Adygea (including Adygeans, Russians, Greeks, Tatars, Armenians, Ossetians etc.) were among those who participated in the public opinion poll.

Results of the opinion poll in Maikop demonstrated the dominance of cautious optimism in the local society about social and economic situation of the republic as well as rather positive attitudes of the majority of respondents of Maikop towards present republican leadership headed by the President Khazret Sovmen. Attitudes of the population towards the policy of the federal center in the North Caucasus region proved to be a bit more critical.

Thus, 38% of those polled rated Khazret Sovmen’s presidency in the “positive” range; 21% – in “rather positive” range and only 13% estimated his presidency “negatively” and 16% – “rather negatively”. 12% of respondents found it hard to provide clear answer to this question. In total, number of all those who estimated Sovmen’s activities positively or rather positively equals to 59% while number of respondents who gave critical assessment of his presidency is 29%. It seems that such favorable attitudes of the majority of respondents towards current Adygean President mostly stems from certain positive changes in social and economic sphere which have been reached in Adygea during his term in office. Thus, many respondents explaining their positive attitudes towards Sovmen, noticed “stability”, “order” and “certain improvements in real life” as well as “support to veterans and old people”, which they tended to connect with the policy of current Adygean President.

High appreciation of Khazret Sovmen’s presidency manifested itself in respondents’ answers to a question on whom they would vote for if they have a chance to elect President of Adygea in the regular elections. 40% of respondents declared their readiness to vote for the present Adygean President Sovmen, which became an indisputable leader in the ratings of presidential candidates thus leaving far behind all other potential presidential candidates. Providing explanation of their decision to vote for Sovmen, some respondents indicated that “they trust Sovmen much more than any other person” and that Sovmen “should complete those positive changes in the economic sphere he initiated”. 16% of respondents would like to see Rector of Maikop Technological University Aslan Tkhakushinov in the capacity of the future Adygean President. 11% of respondents would prefer former Head of Krasnogvardeiski district of Adygea Murat Kudaev as President of Adygea. (Hazret Sovmen wanted to see Head of Kranogvardeiski district of Adygea Murat Kudaev as his successor in presidential office, but Kudaev was shot dead just few days before Kozak’s visit to Adygea).

8% of respondents were in favor of Nina Konovalova, Head of Slavs of Adygea; 5% preferred lieutenant-general of Air Forces Aiteg Bizhev; 4% – former Speaker of Adygean State Council Mukharbii Tkharkakhov and 1% – current speaker of Adygean Parliament Ruslan Khadzhibiekov. 15% of all respondents reported their unwillingness to participate in the elections or expressed their intention to vote against all.

24% of those polled gave positive evaluation of the policy conducted by the federal center in the North Caucasus region. 15% of respondents evaluated this policy “rather positively”. In the meantime, 19% expressed their negative attitudes towards the policy of Moscow in the region and 14% evaluated this policy “rather negatively”. In total, 39% had positive or rather positive attitudes towards federal center’s policy while 33% expressed negative or rather negative attitudes. It is worth of noting that considerable number of respondents (28%) reported difficulties in answering this question. Some of those positively minded respondents explained their positive evaluation of federal center by the fact that current federal policy “maintains stability in the region”. On the other hand, critically minded respondents explained their negative evaluation of Kremlin by what they perceived as “lack of necessary attention to the regions” from Moscow.

Media preferences of respondents in Adygea

Overwhelming majority of respondents in Maikop (80%) indicated television as their main source of information about current events. 5% indicated international TV as their major source of information. At the same time, only 61% consider television a trustworthy source of information. 9% of respondents expressed their confidence in international TV.

Russian ORT proved to be the most popular TV channel among respondents in Maikop. 37% reported using ORT as their main source of information about current events. RTR (32%) and NTV (31%) were also among the most popular TV channels. Local TV channels including Maikop TV (25%) and Vesti Adygei (15%) were also quite popular among Maikop residents as sources of information. Euronews (2%) and NTV+ were mentioned by respondents as main international TV channels they use as sources of information.

Contacts with relatives and friends proved to be the second most popular source of information after television. 33% of those polled indicated communication with relatives and friends as their most important information source. However, only 25% said they trust this source of information.

12% of respondents use newspapers and 11% use Internet as their main sources of information about current events. 14% tend to trust newspapers and 10% trust Internet as information sources. It should be noted that Internet left radio behind as a source of information. Such local newspapers as “Sovetskaya Adygea” (7%), “Maikopskie novosti” (4%) and “Zakubanje” (2%) proved to be the most popular among the local print media. “Komsomolskaya pravda” (3%) and “Izvestiya” (2%) were the most popular among federal press.

Among the most popular web sites respondents indicated Yandex (3%), (3%), Rambler (3%), Regnum (2%), Caucasus Times (1%), (1%), (1%) and Kavkazskii Uzel (1%).

Only 9% of those polled indicated that they use radio as their main source of information. At the same time, 11% tend to trust those news and information they receive from the radio. Only 3% of respondents mentioned international radio as their main information source but nobody said they feel confident about information they get from international radio. Among the most popular radio stations in Maikop were Russkoe Radio (8%), Radio Adygea (6%) and Maikopskoe Radio (3%).
Islam Tekushev, Caucasus Times, Prague

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From: Eagle_wng  (Original Message) Sent: 10/9/2005 2:47 AM





Whether will be among us the people who are not dreamed in the childhood about romanticism of travel, long navigations and dangerous adventures much? But the majority, becoming adults, for some reason devote itself to ordinary trades far from youthful hobbies, and the hero of our sketch – usual in general the fellow from

shapsugskogoaul Kalezh- has remained is true to itself and quite osoznannohas embodied youthful dreams in a reality, for many-many years having connected the life with the sea.
Today, looking at Igor Madinovicha Hutova, here many years living in Tuapse, it is difficult even to present, how many to it one thousand sea miles and tens overseas countries where to it has had the luck to visit was necessary to transfer all and
vydjuzhit, and in fact behind shoulders of this surprising person who more recently has stepped a seventy-year boundary of a life, not. It is still full of unforgettable impressions and memoirs on how all was, ready to tell hours about surprising and cognitive things that does it really by the most valuable interlocutor.

In due time the hobby for the sea for Igor Madinovicha has begun with love to geography. It read much, hours did not depart from cards, could name blindly a site of the states, oceans, the rivers and mountains. Even more senior comrades on the school, known about its talent, quite often found an occasion to check up this knowledge in practice. Also were surprised to that, how much freely Igor felt in this elements.
Shortly before receipt in school Igor and its sister Lyudmila have remained without parents. To it on that time only “has knocked” five years, the little sister for two years was more younger. To rescue kids from children’s home relatives, have taken them on education in the families. So Igor has appeared at grandmother Kurak and cousin sisters of father Goshaj and
Goshehuraj. Left eight-year school in a native aul, among the big group of contempoparies it has gone to Tuapse. Unique of all friends, Igor has absolutely unexpectedly decided to act in a Vocational school prepared experts for a marine sea fleet. Has received a speciality of a fitter. Its labour life has begun in the summer of 1954 when Hutovhas got on the Novorossisk ship-repair factory where has worked two years. Then has returned to Tuapse, has served in army. Having got demobilize, it was arranged in morportwith a mechanic. And in 1967 in Igor’s life the most interesting period, for many years closely connected with the sea has begun.
On courts of foreign navigation it has lead more than twenty years. Possessing a greater set of “sea” specialities – the sailor, the electric welder, a mechanic,
mashinistaand others – Igor Madinovich has appeared here in the elements. Frequent sea campaigns, visiting of foreign countries have allowed it to check up the knowledge of geography received in the childhood in practice.
First foreign voyage
Hutovhas remembered well. In July, 1966 the ship on which it worked, has headed for Vietnam where at that time there was a bloody war. Memory of the beginner has kept this campaign rich on excitements and sensations of danger, in all details.
- During Soviet time where we happened in what a complex situation were, and it turned out even so, that we often unexpectedly got in most baked the armed military conflicts developed between the foreign states, always felt in safety because we were protected with the Soviet flag and the high status of Soviet Union as mighty world power which during that time were afraid and respected with everything, – tells Igor Madinovich. – I remember even the indicative episode, occured in the summer of 1967 when we floated Suez canal during the a?aai-Israeli opposition. Opponents settled down on different coast of the channel and is merciless from instruments fired at positions each other. Anybody from them, having caught sight of a red flag and recognition symbols of our ship, did not dare even to open fire on the enemy, God forbid, to not get in the Soviet vessel. And in 85-th Americans have started to bomb port Libyan city Tripoli only after from here send away six Soviet cargo ships, including on what I worked. Now all, unfortunately, differently: for a long time nobody is afraid of us, so, and respect a little…
Igor Madinovich, bitterly sighing, tells about recent misadventures familiar
tuapsinskihthe seamen delivered by the ship, gone under the Russian flag, a peace cargo to Vietnam. One of them, having returned to native city, has shown on the back mutilated by impacts of a bamboo stick, evident traces of true respect of foreigners to citizens of modern Russia. And the scandalous case with false arrest of group of our seamen in Nigeria in general is outstanding, – it is convinced. By the way, one of seamen, captain Pahomov, two years lead to nigerian prison as it was found out, come from Tuapse, is shapsugskimthe son-in-law – its spouse from sort Husht.
- It is difficult to me to get used to an idea, that our children, performing especially peace work, having appeared abroad, in the majority for some reason are deprived of civil rights and defenceless, – Igor Madinovich reflects. – Unless it is possible to look at all event without indignation and insults?
In biography
Hutovarich and sated, was two round-the-world travel, long sea voyages to the most exotic countries of the world, even a campaign to ice Arctic regions where long 23 days the Soviet seamen have lead in outer darkness, not seeing a beam of the sun.
- Yes, in a life there was everyone, – recollects Igor Madinovich. – But how it was heavy, impressions from seen nevertheless remains much more – I have never regretted that has cast in the lot with the sea.
Coming back in become to native Tuapse, it from time to time devoted itself(himself) to pedagogical activity, transferred the richest experience of youth, as well as it dreamed about sea romanticism. Igor Madinovich, in different years
nagrazhdennyjfor the excellent job by medals ” For labour difference ” and ” 300 years to the Russian fleet “, a lot of certificates of honour, blagodarnostejand encouragements, has worked some years the teacher in city Technical training college which once finished itself, has made five releases of young experts.
On pension
Hutovhas left in 1990. Gradually got used to a quiet and measured life on coast, supported working and friendly contacts to colleagues. Were during lives of the hero of our sketch and the tragical pages connected with destruction of both sons. Overcoming mental anguish of loss, the father has found in itself forces not only to return by a high-grade life, but also again to smile in the answer to the people who have supported it in the most difficult days. Always with impatience it waits the grand daughter, the daughter of younger son Evgenie, Inna – it lives in the city of Nevinnomyssk, studies in 9-th class, sincerely loves the grandfather, is proud of it.
19 years ago Igor Madinovich has connected the life with
HanifojJAkubovnojSimonovoj(Kuadzhe) – it here many years works as the teacher in tuapsinskomthe TECHNICAL TRAINING COLLEGE ? 9, is one of the most skilled and successful teachers of city, the winner of many prestigious professional competitions.
In the beginning 90 in the most difficult for
shapsugskogonational social movement years Igor Hutov was among active workers AdygeHase, took part in all congresses shapsugovBlack Sea Coast. There is no it away from public affairs and today, is a member city HaseTuapse, the old friend and the reader of our newspaper.
The most important, in my opinion, nevertheless not it. Igor Hutov – from among those, unfortunately, few people who contrary to all difficulties, troubles and problems, always remained the present person living on conscience, and it which have been brought up in
adygskojto environment, never deceived it. The working career of the hero of our sketch, polzujushchegogreater respect in people, can safely be an example for many representatives of modern youth whom, it is assured, is from whom “to do” the life.


PROMT Translation Software and Dictionaries

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Adygeanatpress: Adygeya Executive Authority Opposed Kozak’s Methods

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 10/18/2006 7:32 AM
Adygeya executive authority opposed Kozak’s methods

Natpress publishes the information widespread today, on October 17th, by the Adygeya president press-service.

On October 17th, 2006 a conference lead by the vice-president of Adygeya Republic Boris Gokzhaev and the head of the Adygeya Republic president administration Taly Beretar took place in Maykop. During the press-conference the questions connected with the consultations taken place on October 2nd of the plenipotentiary of the president of Russian Federation in the Southern federal district Dmitry Kozak with the heads of the public organizations, regional branches of the federal political parties, bodies of the republican executive bodies and legislature, institutions of the local government, intellectuals and employers were mentioned.

It was noted that according to “The Order of consideration nominees on post of the Supreme official (the head of the Supreme agency of the government) of subject of Russian Federation”, the approved by the decree of the president of Russian Federation from December, 27th, 2004 # 1603, representatives of the most significant and authoritative public associations should be invited to such consultations. At the same time, representatives, for example, of the most mass public organization – the Council of the veterans of the war, labour and the Armed Forces, the law-enforcement bodies of Adygeya Republic, as well as the large employers’ association – the Union of farmers – had not been invited to the meeting. Representatives of culture and public health services practically did not participate in the consultations, too. The national-cultural organizations operating in the territory of Adygeya, including, the societies of Tatars, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Kurds, and Germans had not been attended. In the consultations such active and significant organizations, as the organization of the veterans of the Afghanistan war and the union the liquidators of the Chernobyl atomic power station catastrophe did not participate. Thus they invited as representatives of the Adygeya public organizations and the social categories persons who earlier practically had not participate in the public life of the republic (whereas the real authoritative associations were left “off the board”). Participants of the press-conference emphasized that the such approach at formation of the list invited suggests about primary “special-aimed” consultations in favour of one of the candidates. In the view of that the declared purpose of the consultations was revealing of the opinion of all the spectrum of the public and political groups in the republic – Taly Beretar characterized the methods of organization and carrying out of the consultations as “political show with clowning elements”.

Besides Boris Gokzhaev and Taly Beretar focused the journalists’ attention on that the consultations had been lead before the anniversary of the republic (its 15th anniversary) though to the address of the plenipotentiary of the President of Russian Federation in the SFD their offer – to lead the public action after the celebrations in order to not politize and to not put in the celebratory atmosphere excessive intensities was expressed. However the offer had not been considered which, in the orators’ opinion, was connected with the personal attitude of the plenipotentiary to the president of Adygeya Republic that, in its turn, was developed in connection with Khazret Sovmen’s position towards the question Adygeya’s integration with Krasnodar territory. As it is known, the Adygeya president appeared to be the firm opponent of the idea which realization, on Khazret Sovmen’s belief, is capable to complicate in many ways the political situation in the Northwest Caucasus. Nevertheless, all the planned celebratory actions were organized at the highest level.

As Boris Gokzhaev and Taly Beretar noted, the stated facts allow to approve that the consultations taken place on October 2nd did not pointed out the objective political picture in the republic and the common opinion of the civil society in relation to the nominee on the post of the president of Adygeya Republic. Moreover, the consultations seemed to be an occasion for scale gamble, including information published in a number of the mass-media on the predetermined resignation of the Adygeya operating president.

It was noted that the leader of the republic working now in his usual mode, enjoys a great political authority and has the right to raise the question about his second term of execution of the presidential powers. Consultations on that question proceed now, as only the president of Russian Federation can make the final decision.

In that connection Boris Gokzhaev and Taly Beretar underlined that the bodies of the government in Adygeya Republic work in the usual mode, too – in the quiet and civilized conditions. Participants of the press-conference called the mass media to not get tensed artificially the situation in society – in order to save in the republic peace, stability and consent.

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Kommersant: History Of Circassians

From: Eagle_wng Sent: 4/2/2006 10:44 AM

History of Circassians
The Circassians – self-designation Adyge- are the oldest indigenous people of North Caucasus. Their language belongs to the North-West of the Caucasian family of languages. It’s unusual phonological system-an overabundance of consonants and scarcity of vowels has stimulated much interest among linguists .In the 6th century, under Georgian and Byzantine influence many were Christianised, but under the growing influence of the Ottomans, Islam replaced Christianity. However, the process was gradual .Blending with Christian survivals and even pre-Christian folk beliefs, Islam became fully established only in the 18th-19th centuries. ‘ Neither Christianity nor Islam,’ as Henze points out, ‘resulted in the creation of a distinctive priestly class who could preserve written literature or encourage literacy’ (Henze, 1986:247).

Attempts at reducing the language to writing in the 19th and early 20th century had also failed .Circassian become a literary language only after the Russian revolution .The Circassians are Sunni of the Hanafi school who tend to be non-fanatical and among whom the Adat or custom low – The Adyge-Habze – has reminded extremely strong .It is the language and the custom law that have formed the chief component parts in Circassian tribal groups speaking numerous, bu t mutually intelligible dialects, were the main ethnic element in NW Caucasus .This changed drastically when under the pressure of the Russian conquest, especially after the defeat of the Great Revolt (1825-1864) a Circassian mass exodus – ‘One of the gre atest mass movements of population in modern history ‘ (Henze , 1986) – took place to Turkey and other areas of the Ottoman Empire, including the Middle East .One and a half million Circassians abandoned their ancient homeland, leaving behind scattered remnant communities .The Russian census of 1897 recorded only 150,000 Circassians, less the one tenth of the original population .

Before the Revolution, the Circassians were one undifferentiated people with only a vague sense of national identity .After the revolution, as part of Soviet nationality policy, they were divided into separate autonomous units under different names:

The Adyghe Autonomous Province, which since the collapse of the Soviet Union has declared i tself an Autonomous Republic . The 125,000 or so Circassians-Adyge from about 22% of total population. This is the community covered by Bridges in this issue (these and the following figures are based on the 1989 census; for a 1993 population estimate see Gammer, 1995) .

The Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Province, which also declared itself an autonomous Republic. The 52,000 or so Circassians-Cherkess are less than 10% of the population and officially share the republic with the Karachais.

TheKabardino-Balkaria Autonomous Republic, the only unit where the 391,000 Circassians-Kabardins, from almost 50% of the population, but they too share the republic with an unrelated people, the Balkars.

In addition, a Shapsug autonomous area had been established in the 1920s, but was eliminated in 1941. Recently, the 10,000 Circassians-Shapsugs have begun an active campaign to resurrect this autonomy. (many of Israeli Circassians are of Shapsug origin.)
It was also under the Soviet regime that Circassian become a literary language, or rather two literary languages .Following the Soviet populist approach to language planning, the literary language was supposed to reflect as closely as possible the dialect spoken by the people .Therefore different alphabets were devised for the western Circassians-the Adyge, and for the central and western Circassians – the Cherkess and Kabardins (Isaev, 1979) . In the first two decades of the Soviet regime, tremendous language construction work was accomplished and the mother tongue began to play an important role in almost all domains, including education . however, in the late 1930s Soviet language policy began to shift away from the emphasis on the mother tongue.
In 1938 Russian was officially decreed a compulsory subject in all Soviet schools .In the last decades of the Soviet Union, outright promotion of Russian as the language of a new community – the new Soviet People, became the chief goal of Soviet language policy and many non-Russian languages, including Circassian in both it’s varieties, were phased out of the school system as languages of instruction (Kreindler, 1982, 1989, 1995) .

The collapse of the Soviet Union has heightened Circassian national feeling both in Russia and in the Diaspora .Since the collapse, the Circassians have forged links with their brethren all over the world . The International Association of Circassian Peoples has organized world congresses in which Israeli delegations have taken a very active part .Among the issues raised are the need to revive the language in Russia and diaspora, the desirability of constructing a common literary language and a return to the Latin alphabet .


Estimated population of Circassians from all over the world



Russia900,000Caucas area
Turkey2,000,000a lot of villages all over the country
Israel3000In Rihania and Kfar kama villages
U.S.A5000New Jersey and California


Yugoslavia1500few Circassian Villages

Edris Abzakh
Rihania , Israel 1996


History of Adygeans

The Adygeans (the people’s own name for themselves is Adyge) are an ancient native people of the Northwest Caucasus, better known in historical annals as Circassians (also Cherkess). An agricultural and cattle-breeding culture arose in the Northwest Caucasus in the early Bronze age. By 3000 B.C., the Dolmen culture, whose name comes from the distinctive megaliths used as grave markers, had arisen here and reached its peak; it lasted until the last quarter of the second millennium B.C. The area where the Caucasian dolmens are found is the ancestral home of the Adyge-Abkhaz tribes. Today, there are five dolmen fields in the republic with about 200 whole and partly ruined dolmens.

The Maikop culture of the Kuban valley coexisted with the Dolmen culture. The first classical monuments of the Maikop culture in the form of large burial mounds (kurgans) containing splendid articles made of precious metals were discovered in the Kuban before the Revolution. They include the well-known kurgan excavated in Maikop in 1897 by Professor N.I. Veselovsky, which gave its name to the culture as whole. The settlements of Meshoko, Skala, Khadzhokh, and Yasenovaya Polyana are other well-known monuments of this period.

The first iron appeared here in the second millennium B.C. and led to major economic and social advances at the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 8th centuries B.C. The economic structure was represented by cattle-breeding, agriculture, metallurgy and metalworking, weaving, and spinning. This period is known in history as the Protomeatic.

The names of North Caucasian tribes, such as the Meats, Sinds, Akhei, Zikhs, and others that played a major role in the ethnogenesis of the Adyge, first became known in about 1000 B.C. In Greek and Roman sources, they are referred to collectively as Meats, and in 1000 B.C., they occupied the eastern coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and the Kuban valley.

The 5th century B.C. began with the rise of cities that became craft and trading centers in the lands of one of the Meatic tribes of Sinds. Intercourse with the Greek world, accelerated the process of formation of classes and states 7among the Sinds. By the end of the 5th century B.C., Sindika had been transformed into a real kingdom. Close political and economic ties were formed with the Bosporus state. Many scientists believe that the Spartacid dynasty that ruled the Bosporus for more than 150 years was Meatic (M.I. Artamonov, E.I. Krupnov) rather than Greek.

The 7th-6th centuries B.C. saw the beginning of widespread use of iron in the Northwest Caucasus, which led to the rapid development of productive forces that transformed the entire material culture and social life. By this time, the Meatic culture was thriving on the right bank of the Kuban, on the left banks of its tributaries to the northern slopes of the Caucasian range, and along the eastern shore of Lake Meota (the Sea of Azov). The Meats lived in farming settlements, and along with farming, stock-breeding, fishing, metallurgy and metalworking, and crafts (pottery, weaving, jewelry-making, tanning, woodworking, etc.) were also well developed.

The Meats’ high level of material and spiritual culture and the influence of neighboring peoples on it are confirmed by the unique discoveries made during the excavation of kurgans near the village of Ulyap in Krasnogvardeysky District, which were first known as the Ulsk kurgans, but after a brilliant analysis by Professor A.M. Peskov in 1981-1982, were renamed the Ulyap kurgans. At the beginning of the Common Era, one of the coastal tribes, the Zikhs, appeared on the historical scene. Being in a more advantageous position than the steppe-dwelling Meats for a number of reasons, the Zikhs began to play an important role in the unification process. By the 6th century A.D., the neighboring tribes had united around the Zikhs to form the Zikh Union. Eighth-century authors refer to Zikhia as a sizable country on the eastern shore of the Black Sea resulting from consolidation of the tribes into a single Adyge people. Two other unions, namely, the Kasog in the Transkuban region and the Abazg in the southeast, formed along with the Zikh Union.

In the 6th century A.D., Byzantine influence was increasing in the Northwest Caucasus. By this time the coastal Adyge had converted to Christianity and a Zikh diocese directly under the Byzantine patriarch had been formed. Contemporary references to the Adyge as the Zikhs and Kasogs give reason to believe that the single Adyge union had split into the western and eastern Adyge (Kabardians).

In 944, after the defeat of the Khazar Khanate by the Kievan prince Svyatoslav, the city of Tamatarkha became part of Rus under the name of Tmutarakan. The territory of the Tmutarakan principality included the Eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula, and among the inhabitants were Slavs, Adyge, Greeks, and Alans.

The Russian Lavrentev Chronicle first mentions the Adyge under the name of Kasogs in the 10th century. Kasogs were included in the retinue of the Tmutarakan prince Mstislav, and took part in the 11th -century campaigns against Yaroslav the Wise. With the weakening of the Kievan state, the Russian princes lost Tmutarakan at the end of the 11th century. The Kipchaks (Polovtsy) took Tmutarakan from Rus, and the Slavic population of the Northwest Caucasus merged with the Adyge.

From the second half of the 13th century to almost the end of the 15th century, the Genoese, who had their own colonies of Matrega, Kopa, and Mapa in Adyge lands, had a decisive influence on the cultural and historical development of the Adyge. The population consisted of Italians, Greeks, and Adyge.

The celebrated Silk Route passed through the territory of historical Cherkessia (Circassia), as shown by archaeological finds from the Moshchevaya Balka burial ground (7th-9th centuries) on the Bolshaya Laba River, Psebai District, and the Belorechensk kurgans (13th-15th centuries). In the 10th century, the Adyge had already become a single nation. Anthropologically, the Adyge belonged to the northwestern group of Pontic Europeans, and linguistically, to the Northwest Caucasian (Abkhazo-Adygean) group of Caucasian languages. The formation of the Adyge people over the millennia took place in close contact with the tribes of Western Asia, Greeks, Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians. The main Adyge settlements were located in the northwestern foothills and plains of the lower reaches of the Kuban and on the east coast of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Don to Abkhazia. Adyge society of that time can be described as early feudal, and farming was the leading economic sector. Cattle- and horse-breeding, fishing, and crafts were well developed. The finds at the Kolosovka (8th century) and Psekups (8th-9th centuries) burial grounds and the Belorechensk kurgans, among others, are outstanding examples of premedieval and medieval Adyge culture.

The Mongol invasion changed the map of tribal settlements in the eastern and central areas of the Northern Caucasus. In 1238-1239, the Mongols captured all of the pre-Caucasian plains, and in the early 1240s, the state known as the Golden Horde had formed, whose southern borders extended to the Crimea and the foothills of the Caucasus range. Under these conditions and political circumstances, some of the Adyge (Kabardians) migrated east to the edge of the Central pre-Caucasian plain, which in turn led to the division of the common language into western (Adygean) and eastern (Kabardian) dialects and later formed the basis of the modern Adygean and Kabardian languages. From about the 1240s onward, the word “Cherkess” appears in sources. The name Cherkess, which comes from the Turkic designation for the Adyge, was adopted by other nations and became fixed in European and Eastern literature.

In the 17th century, the Adyge who had separated from the Kabardians moved back west and settled in the area of the Upper Kuban. These were the so-called Besleneevtsy. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, a second group joined them from Kabarda. As a result, the Adyge were divided into three nations, the Adygeans, the Kabardians, and Circassians, although besides language, material and spiritual culture, and a common consciousness, the Adyge shared a common territory.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, there was a thriving trade in Adyge slaves on the slave markets of Middle Eastern countries, especially Egypt, where sultans acquired them as additions to their Mameluke guard. The influx of slaves allowed one of the Adyge, Al-Malik-az-Zakhir Barkuk al Cherkesi, to seize power in Egypt and found the Circassian dynasty of Mamelukes, which ruled Egypt and Syria from 1382 to 1517. The Mamelukes finally disappeared from the Middle Eastern political arena in 1811. The Circassian Mamelukes left a significant imprint on the history and culture of Egypt, Syria, and the entire Middle East. They repelled invasions of Crusaders, halted the onslaught of the conqueror Tamerlane, and greatly extended the boundaries of the Mameluke state. During the period of Circassian rule, architecture progressed significantly; irrigation systems were built; and poets, musicians, philosophers, and historians enjoyed special patronage.

The decline of Christianity among the Adyge began at the end of the 15th century after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the disappearance of the Byzantine Empire from the world political map. Starting at the end of the 16th century, the Sunni branch of Islam was introduced among the Adyge through the efforts of the Crimean Tatar khans and Turkish missionaries. This was accompanied by military expansion by the Crimean khans. (The Caucasian War of the 19th century and the way the Russian Empire conducted it had a decisive impact on the strengthening and final establishment of Islam in the Northwest Caucasus.) Recognizing this danger, the Adyge (Karbardian) princes who remained oriented toward Russia, headed by Temryuk Idarov, Grand Prince of Kabarda, sent a request to Moscow asking to be allowed to join the Russian state. This political act was strengthened by the marriage of Ivan IV and Temryuk’s daughter Goshevnai (baptized Mariya). The marriage in turn contributed to the appearance of a powerful noble class of Circassian princes in Tsar Ivan IV’s entourage. From their midst came military leaders and high dignitaries of the Muscovite state, and later, during the Russian Empire, the prince, boyar, and army commander, Yakov Kudenetovich, who commanded the Russian army on the southern border. There was also Mikhail Alegukovich, generalissimo of Russia from December 14, 1695, and champion of Peter the Great, and Aleksei Mikhailovich, prince and field marshal, who became High Chancellor and President of the college of Russian foreign affairs in 1740.

By the 18th century, the Adyge occupied the territory from the mouth of the Kuban along the Black Sea coast to the Psou River and from the northern slopes of the Caucasian mountains to Ossetia; and in the first half of the 19th century, they inhabited extensive areas of the Black Sea coast and the Northern Caucasus. As Russia advanced southward, this territory shrank to 180 000 sq. km by the 1830s.

According to data of the Russian officer Novitsky, the Adyge population in 1830 was 1 820 000, and ethnic subdivisions of the Adyge were preserved, including the Shapsugi, Abadzekhi, Natukhaevtsy, Temirgoevtsy, Bzhedugi, Khatukaitsy, Besleneevtsy, Egerukhaevtsy, Makhoshevtsy, Adamievtsy, Mamkhegovtsy, and Karbardintsy.

By the 1860s, as a result of the Caucasian War and forced deportation to the Ottoman Empire, only 5% of the Adyge remained in their historical homeland. Ethnographers define the modern-day Adyge people as a dispersed nation. More than 3 million Adyge live in more than 50 countries, including Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the United States, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. After the end of the Caucasian War, the Northwest Caucasus was under military occupation until 1867, and the Adyge population came under the jurisdiction of military authorities. On January 1, 1867, the military occupation finally ended and the Adyge population became part of the general population of the newly formed Maikop, Ekaterinodar, and Batalpashinsk districts. On March 21, 1888, Alexander III approved a new statute setting up the administrations of Kuban and Tersk regions and Chernomorskaya Province, which abolished civil institutions and established a narrow Cossack military governing caste without the participation of the mountain peoples. In 1914-1917, the Adyge took part in World War I in the Circassian regiment known as the “Wild Division.” The Civil War resulted in another sizable migration of Adyge to Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. The revival of the ancient Adyge people as a nation did not begin until after the October Revolution, with the formation of the Circassian (Adygean) Autonomous Region on July 21, 1922. In 1936, by order of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the capital of Adygea was moved from Krasnodar to Maikop.

On October 5, 1991, the Adygean people achieved real statehood when the Republic of Adygea was proclaimed. The legal document On State Sovereignty of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Adygea defined the place and role of Adygea in a renewed Russia. Adygea’s new status as an independent subject of the Russian Federation was legalized by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet’s approval of RSFSR Law N 1535-1 of July 3, 1991, On the Transformation of the Adygean Autonomous Region into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Adygea. In December 1991, elections were held to elect deputies to the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Adygea, and the first parliament in Adygea’s history was formed. Aslan Alievich Dzharimov, the Republic’s first president, was elected in January 1992. In March 1992, Adam Khuseinovich Tleuzh was elected the first chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Adygea. In five years, Adygea acquired all the attributes of statehood, beginning with state symbols and ending with the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Adygea and the formation of state governing bodies. The Constitution of the Republic of Adygea was approved by the Legislative Assembly (Khase) on March 10, 1995.

Source: Kommersant, Russia’s Daily Online

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From: MSN Nicknamepsychoteddybear24  (Original Message)    Sent: 9/21/2006 9:24 AM

Officials in Adygeia accused of cashing in on a fraudulent version of history.

By Oleg Tsvetkov in Maikop

An official initiative to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Adygeia’s
“unification” with Russia has angered Adygs, also known as Circassians, who
accuse the Russian federal and local authorities of distorting history for
political gain.

Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree on September 8 naming 2007 as a
year of festivities in Adygeia to mark the North Caucasian republic “voluntarily
joining of the Russian state”. Similar events are also planned in
Kabardino-Balkaria, where the majority Kabardinians are also part of the wider
Circassian ethnic group.

The events will commemorate the sending of a Kabardinian prince as an envoy to
Moscow in 1557, which resulted in a military alliance being agreed with Tsar
Ivan the Terrible.

The initiative came from the local government in Adygeia, supported by the
republic’s parliament.

“We are very serious about the planned festivities,” said Yuri Udychak, chairman
of the local parliamentary committee dealing with interethnic relations. “As a
result of joining Russia, we Adygs came into close contact with the culture of
the great Russian people and became able to develop our own culture.”

“There are two universities and other educational institutions in Adygeia
nowadays,” said Udychak. “The fact the Adygs speak Russian so well proves that
we are very close to the Russian people. Asked whether Adygeia had actually
joined Russian “voluntarily”, Udychak replied, “No one forced anyone. Why revise

However, many Circassian politicians and activists are outraged, saying the
commemoration is a “falsification of history” which overlooks the decades-long
resistance by Circassians to incorporation into the Russian empire in the 19th

Zaur Dzeukozhev, deputy chairman of the Circassian Congress, told IWPR, “Adygea
was colonised by the Russian Empire in the course of an almost century-long
bloody Russian-Caucasian war. All honest historians acknowledge this, and we
want the Russian authorities to tell the truth.”

Murat Berzegov, chairman of the Congress, said, “It’s wrong to celebrate an
event that never happened historically. Had we joined Russia voluntarily, the
Russian-Caucasian war of the 19th century would not have been a popular
liberation war but an insurrection by the people against their own tsar…. This
is how a single date – a holiday which should not be celebrated – can change the
history of a people, converting them from heroes and champions of liberty into

Another Circassian nationalist organisation, Adyge Khase, appears to be divided
on the planned festivities.

“[Moscow] just wants to tick a box to say that they’ve carried out work to
improve interethnic relations, and local officials just want to make some
money,” said Aly Tliap, head of Adyge Khase in the town of Adygeisk.

Amin Zekhov, another of the leaders of Adyge Khase, said that Circassians had
indeed served the Russian state in the past and had been outstanding military

“However, the truth should also be spoken about the Russian-Caucasian war,
during which Adygeia was turned into a colony. How can we talk about voluntarily
accession after so much blood was spilt?” he asked.

Despite these reservations, Adyge Khase is officially supporting the idea of
next year’s celebrations, on the grounds that Circassians and Russians had
friendly relations long before the Caucasian war.

Dzeukozhev believes the group’s official support for the plans is financially
motivated. He said Adyge Khase representatives admitted in private that the
celebrations were historically inaccurate, but wanted to earn money from them.

“Members of Adyge Khase are ‘great writers’ and ‘great composers,’ who want to
earn some money,” he said. “They don’t want to spoil their relations with the
republic’s bureaucrats.”

The end of the Caucasian war in the 1860s resulted in the expulsion of tens of
thousands of Circassians from the Russian empire to the Middle East and Turkey.
As a result, there are now far more Circassians outside the North Caucasus than
in it. Those in the region are mainly divided between three small autonomous
republics, Adygeia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Cherkessia.

Rushdi Tuguz, a Syrian-born Circassian who has recently moved to the North
Caucasus, remarked that if Adygeia’s integration into Russia had been voluntary,
his ancestors would not have fled to the Middle East in the 19th century. “If
you add sweet water to bitter water, it won’t be good water,” said Tuguz.

In Adygeia, Russians form the majority while the ethnic Adygei account for only
around 25 per cent of the population. However, the Adygei form the bulk of the
republic’s political elite, a state of affairs that is a constant cause of
discontent among local organisations of ethnic Russians. However, as far as the
celebrations are concerned, the latter are also critical.

“National elites have betrayed the history of their people,” said Vladimir
Karatayev, one of the leaders of the Slavs’ Union of Adygeia, a Russian
associations that is often at loggerheads with Circassian groups.

Others in Maikop see the presidential decree as a public relations exercise by
Moscow to make up for the dearth of serious policies on ethnic minority issues
in Russia’s North Caucasus.

They also say that the festivities are designed to smooth over a quarrel between
Moscow and the local elite.

Khazret Sovmen, president of Adygeia, and Dmitry Kozak, Russian presidential
envoy in the Southern Federal Circuit, were engaged in a public row earlier this
year. Sovmen threatened to resign over reports that Kozak was backing a plan to
abolish Adygeia’s autonomous status and incorporate it into Krasnodar region.
(See “Adygeia’s President Confronts Kremlin”, CRS 335, April 13, 2006)

President Putin refused to accept Sovmen’s resignation, but relations between
Maikop and Moscow were seriously strained.

Meanwhile, opposition deputies in parliament are planning a no-confidence vote
against Sovmen, and the republican prime minister, Yevgeny Kovalyov, was
dismissed on September 13.

Sovmen’s term in office expires in January 2007 and his successor will be
appointed rather than elected. Kozak will propose candidates for the post for
approval by the Russian president. One way to get on the list might be to
support the anniversary idea.

Oleg Tsvetkov in an independent political analyst in Maikop, Adygeia.

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Caucasian Knot: Court Leaves OMON Fighters Accused Of Beating Teenagers In Sochi

From: Eagle_wng  (Original Message) Sent: 3/23/2008 12:01 PM



Court leaves OMON fighters accused of beating teenagers in Sochi under arrest

On March 19, the Krasnodar Territorial Court ruled to leave four ex-fighters of Sochi OMON (Special Militia) behind bars. The fighters are accused of mass beating of tourists in children’s camp “Druzhba” (Friendship). The “Caucasian Knot” correspondent was informed about it by Ilya Melkonyan, father of the victim Gevorg Melkonyan, who took part in consideration of complaints against the ruling to keep the defendants under guards.

Thus, another set of cassation complaints lodged by Alexei Korolyov, Igor Pimenov, Maxim Ozhgikhin and Vladimir Zubenko against the decision of the Lazarevskoye District Court of Sochi, which had rejected their petitions to change arrest for recognizance not to leave, has been rejected.

Igor Kalyapin, Chairman of the Inter-Regional Committee against Torture, who is engaged in public support of the victims, has explained the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent that the charges of excess of official powers with application of violence (part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), presented to the defendants, are heavy crimes and assume from 3 to 10 years of imprisonment. According to the usual judiciary practice, those accused of such crimes are kept in custody.

See earlier reports: “Vice-commander of Sochi’s Lazarevskoe ROVD: OMON raid to children’s camp in July 2006 was illegitimate,” “Krasnodar Territory: militiaman convicted for excess of powers.”

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