Circassian Genocide – the History of Problem, Chronicles of Events, the Scientific Conclusion
West-Caucasus tragic events of the 19th century as a result of which a million and half of Circassian nation appeared in front of existential threat, is actual even today due to its historic-scientific as well as political standpoint. In order to demonstrate whether the genocide took place against the Circassians during the wide scale aggressive military operations by the Russian colonizers I will present only those materials which are based on documentary facts and findings of authoritative expert – historians.
It is obvious that I cannot ignore my colleague’s Professor Bezhan Khorava’s multilateral noteworthy work – the Circassians, which was specially created for the purpose of studying in complex this problem of interest for us. The final section of the work is written:
“During the Russian – Circassian War the Russian Empire purposefully carried out the forced expel of the population residing in Western and Central parts of the North Caucasus – Abaza-Circassian population from the region, with the means of military attacks on civil population. During the war, the Russian authorities were executing the ethnic cleansing of the population. They were deliberately creating such conditions, which aimed at full or partial physical annihilation of the population from this region. As a result, the big part of Abaza-Circassian population perished, the other part was coerced to flee abroad and the very small part remained on the territory of the Russian Empire. As a consequence, multi ethnic groups vanished from the historic arena. In so far as, the Russian Empire actions may be evaluated as genocide and ethnic cleansing”.
Heretofore, in 1929 while traveling in the Caucasus Acad. Simon Janashia met a direct participant of the famous events, and recorded the following testimony from Napsau Iabarakhqu Hansakhqu: (1862 year) after the exile ”for seven years human bones were spread over the seashore. Ravens were making nests from men’s beard and women’s hair, for seven years the Sea was drifting to the shore the human skulls as a watermelon. I do not wish the enemy to see what I have seen”. (Simon Janashia, Works, vol. IV. Tbilisi; 1968, Page 124).
At that time, the witness of Adige’s tragedy I. Drozdov attested:
“Horrifying sight appeared in front of us, on the way all the way through scattered corpses of children, women, old people, devastated and torn to pieces by the dogs, exhausted with hunger and diseases the migrants, barely lifting their feet from weakness, falling from exhaustion but still alive, felt a prey of hungry dogs….. Alive and healthy had no time to think about the moribund: as they confronted unfavorable perspective:
Due to greed, Turkish skippers, piled Circassians as freight, who were hiring their boats to the shores of Asia Minor and were throwing the Circassians overboard as excess freight at the slightest sign of their illness.
The waves cast ashore the corpses of those unfortunates along the coast of Anatolia…. almost half of them, who left for Turkey, reached the place. Such a disaster and to such an extent rarely stroke the mankind. (I. Drozdov; The final fight with the Highlanders in the West Caucasus//Caucasian Collection, Tiflis, 1877. Vol.2; page 457).
Adolf Berzhe, the Russian Empire military historian, terrified with the same reality wrote:
“I will never forget what an overwhelming impression the Highlanders in Novorossiysk Bay made on me, where about 17,000 people were gathered on the shore. Later on, during the rainy and cold seasons of the year, with almost complete lack of means of subsistence, raging epidemic of typhus and smallpox among the Highlanders made their conditions desperate. Indeed, whose heart would not be shaken at the sight, for example, of a young Circassian woman in rags lying on the damp soil, under the open sky, with two babies, one of whom fought in the death throes with the death, while the other looking to satisfy hunger from the breast of stiff corpse of mother” (Ad. P. Berje; Eviction of mountaineers from the Caucasus.// Russian antiquity. 1882. Vol. 33, Book second, page 362-363).
It is noteworthy that in the 50s of the 20-th Century, the British Security services displayed great interest in the Circassian history. It was partially due to activation of West in the direction of Caucasus within the framework of a new doctrine of “cold war”. Circassian problematic is extensively depicted in the following politico-diplomatic publications:
Peter Brock, The Fall of Circassia: A Study in Private Diplomacy. The English Historical Review, Vol. 71, No. 280 (Jul., 1956), pp. 401-427; Charles Webster, Urquhart, Ponsonby, and Palmerston, The English Historical Review, Vol. 62, No. 244 (Jul., 1947), pp. 327-351 (Confirmed by Abraham Shmulevich’s letter: Abraham Shmulevich, How the Russian bear overslept the Circassian question 2011-05-17 HTTP://WWW.APN.RU/AUTHORS/AUTHORS37.HTM )
In the following period, a number of foreign historians and experts used to discuss the issue of Circassian genocide. Among them, first and foremost, I would like to name an American Researcher-Analyst Stephen D. Shenfield, according to whose researches the total number of modern Circassians in the World is determined as 6 248 000. The majority of them – 690,000, live in Circassian Republic: in Kabardo-Balkaria – 500 640, in Karacha-Circassia- 83 525, in Adyge Republic- 109 137. Thus, only 10% of Circassians live in their historic homeland, the rest 90 % of the people are distributed in the rest of the world in the following manner: Turkey – 5 000 000, Germany – 100 000, Jordan – 100 000, Syria – 100 000, France – 15 000, the USA – 5 000, Israel -5 000 and the Netherlands – 3000.
Professor Shenfield’s data reflects the reality, that is why during the genocide, or in the period of May 21, 1864 the situation was the same: in occupied Circassia 10% of the local population survived from death, but the rest 90% were forced to flee from their homeland (note: more then 200 Circassian civic organizations spread throughout the foreign countries are actively fighting for the protection of the rights of Adygei people to obtain the right of their return to their motherland). Asto Shenfield’s answer to the question whether genocide was committed in Circassia, the answer was the following: While familiarizing oneself with the facts presented by different authors, it is very difficult to ignore the positive answer:
„Was it genocide? Reading some authors, it is hard to avoid answering yes” (The Circassians – A Forgotten Genocide? By Stephen D. Shenfield 1999; article from «Studies on War and Genocide», Vol. 1, in the series “War and Genocide”, Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books).
The other also well-known American diplomat and expert Paul B. Henze in his monograph dedicated to the Circassians’ fight against the Russian Empire, concluded: the things that happened were at least equal to and compared to genocide (it can be compared only with genocide): „What happened was at least comparable to genocide” (Paul B. HENZE, THE NORTH CAUCASUS BARRIER. CIRCASSIAN RESISTANCE TO RUSSIA. ‘The North Caucasus Barrier’, edited by Marie Bennigsen Broxup, published by HURST & CO. 2007, page 111).
Although, Michael Mann, (an expert from Belfast University) calls the Circassian bloody tragedy, the deadly ethnic cleansing and not the genocide, but the factual materials provided by him equal the genocide indeed. It can not be called differently, when 1 500 000 people were banished from their homeland, among them only 500 000 reached Turkey, and the vast majority died from the remaining 1 million, according to the author: ”This leaves almost a million unaccounted for. Most of them probably amounting to the half from total Circassian population. Most deaths resulted from malnutrition and disease. Murderous cleansing was certainly intended, but not genocide” (The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing, by Michael Mann. CUP, 2005, pages 98–100).
The American professor Walter Richmond has also dedicated to the circassian genocide anddeportation special monograph, which was published in 2008 (see: Walter Richmond “The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, Future”. Routledge Press, 2008).
In conclusion, it was Professor Antero Leitzinger, who classified the national tragedy of Circassians as most unambiguous genocide among all foreign scholars. He, without hesitation concludes that the genocide of Circassian people committed by the Czarist Russia, in the 19th Century was the biggest genocide by that time. Finally, the conclusion of the researcher shapes into following:
The genocide committed against the Circassian nation by the Czarist Russia in the 1800s was the biggest genocide of the nineteenth century. Yet it has been almost entirely forgotten by later history, while everyone knows the later Jewish Holocaust and many have heard about the Armenian genocide. Rather than of separate, selectively researched genocides, we should speak of a general genocidal tendency that affected many – both Muslim and Christian – people on a wide scene between 1856 and 1956, continuing in post-Soviet Russia until today. (Antero Leitzinger, The Circassian Genocide „Turkistan News”. (The Eurasian Politician – Issue 2, October 2000).
And now I will elaborate namely on documentary materials based on Russian and Circassian sources.
The first thing that one can notice without any efforts is that the punishment activities that took place in Circassia were absolutely scheduled, pre-planned military actions led by the Russian autocrat emperors. At the beginning, this kind of approach officially was expressed by Nikolay I, who wrote to General I. P. Paskevich (the Russia’s special representative in the Caucasus, the Special Caucasian Corps Commander):
“Thus, having accomplished the nice work, the new assignment is ahead of you, in my opinion glorious as well, and in terms of its direct benefits much more important – to suppress forever the mountain people and to obliterate disobedient” (See.: General A. P. Sherbatov – Field Marshal-Paskevich –Erivanski. – St. Petersburg, 1891, Vol. II. Page 229).
As we can observe, in this official letter, the Head of the country was ordering to his subordinate military units and army commanders to subdue or physically annihilate the Highlanders (Circassians).
In addition, the subsequent Russian Emperor Alexander II in his special rescript underlined the fact that Russia’s the military expansion launched 150 years ago completed successfully in 1864: “The enviable fate fell to the share of your Imperial Highness to accomplish the case of conquest of the Western Caucasus began the half-century ago and for the first time proclaim to the Russian people that henceforth in the Caucasus there no longer remains a single rebellious tribe” (Order of the Caucasian Army of July 27, 1864 with the announcement rescript of Alexander II about the end of the Caucasian War//Problems of the Caucasian War and expulsion of the Circassians to the Ottoman Empire (in 20s and 70s of XIX cent.): Collection of archive documents/ comp. Professor Kumykov T.H.- Nalchik, 2001- page 311).
In March of 1864 the Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich reported to the Defense Minister: “the entire space of the Northern slope to the West from the river Laba and the Southern slope from the mount of Kuban to Tuapse is free from the hostile population”. On this document there is a manual script made by the Emperor Alexander II: “Thank God” (Problems of the Caucasian War and expulsion of the Circassians to the Ottoman Empire; Collection of archival materials, Nalchik, 2001, page 260).
In November 1863, Alexander II gave special instruction to General Evdokimov, who then commanded the Russian forces in the North-West Caucasus): “it is absolutely necessary to bring the border of the Russian settlements on the bank of the river Bzyb, because otherwise even a small part of Highlanders, remaining on the shore, on any conditions, will be the bait for our enemies in case of the war with foreign countries”. (The attitude of Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army Kartsov to Yevdokimov, the Commander of the Kuban region.// Problems of the Caucasian War and expulsion of the Circassians to the Ottoman Empire; Collection of archival materials, Nalchik, 2001, page 233).
The remarkable fact is that the Russian military leadership had an alternative plan to solve the Circassian problem. In particular, in October 1860, i.e. the next year after the imprisonment of Shamil, when General A.I. Bariatinsky, (Commander-in-chief) the Caucasus Army’s Military Chief in Vladikavkaz together with four other generals assigned in the Caucasus (D.A. Miliutin, G.I. Philipson, N.I. Evdokimov, D.I. Mirski) discussed the ways of solving of Circassian issue, there existed the more human action plan as well lobbied by the General Philipson. According to Philipson’s presented necessary to implement plan of short term activities, with the help of Shamil’s former combatant Mohamed-Emin, the Russian authority would be of easier arrangement, which envisaged the placement of military garnisons in several important populated centers, wood cut, road construction and establishment of governance combined with local populations’ everyday elements, within which the Circassian were allowed to trade with the Turkish state (at one time A. Miliutin recalled about this: D.A. Milutin “ My trip to the Kuban region and the Black Sea coast”// The tragic consequences of the Caucasian war for Adygei (second half of XIX century- early XX centuries): Collection of documents and materials; Nalchik, 2000. page 29).
But Philipson’s proposal was resisted by General N. I. Evdokimov, who supported driving out of Circassian population from their native lands, their oust to Turkey, and settlement of Cossacks on their vacant territories; especially in regard of Shapsughs, the population residing in the north of Sochi, along the Black Sea coast.
Evdokimov supposed to complete the eviction of the Circassians from the Caucasus in duration of two-three years (also see, pages 29-30). The position of General Evdokimov was shared by Bariatinsky and Maliutin. Finally, the plan of majority was accepted, envisaging physical destruction of Circassians and their exile from their homeland and (i.e. today’s terminology, the genocide): The only reliable way for a firm assertion of our dominion in the Western Caucasus is the
occupation of mountainous and foothill spaces by our Cossack population on the both sides of the ridge…..”(Acts collected by the Caucasian Archeological Commission. –Tiflis, 1904.-Vol. XII. Page 665).
And what is most important, this plan of Evdokimov was approved as an action plan by the country’s leader, the Emperor Alexander II, who in all cases demanded from his subordinates driving out of Circassians from their mother land and their exile to Turkey on the marshlands near Kuban area. General N. I. Miliutin recalled about this: “Inscribed in 1860, the idea of the action plan for Kuban was to finally clean up the mountain zone from the native population by forcing them to choose one of two things: either to move to indicated places on the plane and completely submit to Russian rule, or just to abandon the homeland and go to Turkey; the mountain line was supposed to be taken by advanced Cossack’s villages and fortifications all the way from upper Laba to Black Sea coast”( D.A. Milutin. Memories // The Siege of the Caucasus. Memories of the participants of the Caucasian War of the XIX century- Saint-Petersburg, 2000. pages 593-594)
Realization of the genocide was held according to the preliminarily strictly defined rules; reduction of total amount of the local population was planned by the following means:
- Murder of people;
- Burn of the villages of survived to ashes;
- Destruction of food reserves and crops;
- Expulsion of the population.
“The war was implacable, ruthless and austere. We moved forward slowly step by step, but firmly, cleaning every land, where the soldiers passed, from the mountain-dwellers, to the last human being. Hundreds of “Auls” (mountain villages) were burnt to ashes just after the snow melted, however before the trees bloomed in green (in February and March); crops were exterminated and even trampled down by the horses. The residents of Auls, if they were caught aback, were immediately taken under escort to the nearest stanitsas and afterwards departed to the Black Sea shores and then to Turkey” (Venyukov M.I. To the history of colonization of the West Caucasus. 1861-1863//Russian history. 1878, June. Page 249).
General Velyanimov A.A. considered provoking the wide-scale artificial starvation as the effective and necessary measure to override Circassian people in the shortest period: “Velyanimov A.A. considered… starvation is the only method to conquer the mountain-dwellers in the shortest time” (Caucasus and Russian Empire: project – you, ideas, illusions and reality. Beginning of the XIX cent. – beginning of the XX cent. St. Petersburg, 2005. page 74).
Exercising the same method, the General Geiman V. hoped that the local Circassian population either would die of starvation or move to the seaside to settle in Turkey. The General wrote in his report in 1864: “Auls and reserves of bread and fruit are burnt down; it can be authentically presume that the population will have to either die of hunger during winter or move to our seaside points for expulsion to Turkey” (Problems of Caucasian war and expulsion of Circassians within the scope of the Ottoman Empire, Nalchik. 2001. page 336).
At the same time, during the same period, other General held exactly the same actions. Namely, in 1864, Orekhov I. supposed that in order to timely accomplish the planned operation: “It was necessary to onset the expedition in late autumn, when they (Circassians – M. Ch.) have the resources for winter ready and then, destructing these resources, to put the tribe under necessity either to be expelled or die of hunger. Exactly this
method was fulfilled this autumn” (Orekhov I.I. To the South slope of the West Caucasus.//Military collection. 1869, № 9. page 97).
Despite the ruthlessness, committed by the Czarist Russia, the leaders of the Circassian confrontation never lost the sparkle of hope and expressed their commitment to access the Russian Empire under the condition that they would be allowed reside on their own land. In order of peaceful solution of the issue, the Circassian-Ubikhs delegation was composed with Abadzekh Hasan Bitkhev, Ubikh Keren-Tuk-Berzeg and Shapsugh Islam Tkhashev. They, on behalf of the Mejlis of Circassian people, arrived in Tbilisi, and later on, with the same proposal, demanded the audience with the Emperor Alexander II, who was in Kuban. However, unfortunately, this peaceful initiative of Circassians and Ubikhs had the same fate as the project by General Phillipson; Russia was not interested in solution of this issue by political means. Position of Russia is consequently reflected in the appeal of the Military Minister Miliutin D.A. to the Emperor Alexander II, where General insisted not to deviate from the policy of already planned genocide. On August 29, 1861 the Minister wrote:
“Your Emperor Highness, allow me perceive that the recently formed union of three nations of the West Caucasus, remained intractable: Shapsuls, Ubikhs and Abadzekhs, has sent the delegation to Tbilisi for negotiations and that the mentioned deputation is willing to have the audience with Your Highness during Your trip to Kuban region…
Arrival of Circassian deputation and their pacific assurances shall not affect fulfillment of our action plan in the West Caucasus. We shall emphatically continue colonization of that land with Cossacks, since I cannot deviate from my usual credo, that only displacing natives from the mountains, thus occupying their place with Cossacks, we can be substantially established in that region…” (Acts, collected by the Caucasian orthographic commission. Vol. XII. Page 932-933. Overall note of Administrator of the Military Ministry, General-adjutant Milyutina, of August 29, 1861).
The Commander of Kuban Military Troops, General N.I. Evdokimov also underlined inevitability of Circassian genocide and the greatest state significance of it:
“Resettlement of intractable mountain-dwellers to Turkey, without doubt is the important state measure, allowing accomplish the war in the shortest period, without efforts from our side…” (Berzhe Ad.P. Eviction of mountain-dwellers from Caucasus//Russian history. St. Petersburg, 1882. Vol. 33. page 342).
This General, in 1864, himself confessed the committed crime and openly wrote of the scales:
“In 1864 the fact has been committed, the example of which does not exist in history. The largest mountain settlement, once possessing the greatest value, armed and able to military arts, occupying the vast Zakubanski area from upper Kuban to Anapa and south slope of Caucasus gorge from Sudjuksi bay to the river Bzyb, having the most unassailable places, has suddenly disappeared from this land…” (Report of Evdokimov. page 88).
The aim of the Commander of Caucasus Army, the count Mikhail Nikolaevich was extermination of the major part of the local population. On November 10, 1863, he was once again trying to convince the Military Minister, A. Milyutin in necessity of such actions:
“Meanwhile, the nature of the coastal zone and habits of the population, occupying it at such extent, are not similar to what we can offer to the mountain-dwellers, that is, life on the steppe near Kuban, as a result of which the most of the population will have to be exterminated, as they will not agree to fulfill our demands” (Problems of Caucasian war and eviction of Circassians within Ottoman Empire. Collection of archive material. Nalchik, 2001. page 228).
The military historian of the XIX cent. R.A. Fadeev consumed that Russian Empire needed only the Circassian land, and no need they had of Circassians themselves:
“The land of Zakuban people was necessary for the state; the state did not need the circassian population” (Tragic consequences of Caucasian war for Adygians (the second half of the XIX cent. – the beginning of the XX cent.) Nalchik, 2000, page 162).
The direct participant of the Caucasian war of the XIX cent., M.I. Venyukov confirmed that the author of the “Settlement project of West Caucasus”, the count Evdokimov did his best to make the living conditions for Circassians maximally unbearable. He also considered drastic reduction of the local population as inevitable event by means of their decease and tried his best to achieve it:
“… the count Evdokimov, who was the direct executive of the official “project of settlement of West Caucasus”, did not care about the fate of mountain-dwellers, who ere evicted to the plain near Kuban. He strongly believed that the best consequences of longstanding, expensive war for Russia, was expulsion of all dwellers overseas. Thus, he considered the people, remained in Kuban in capacity of peaceful nationals, just as inevitable evil and did his best to reduce their number and constrain their living conditions” (Venyukov M., Caucasian recollections (1861-1863)// Russian Archive – Moscow, 1880. Book I, pages 435-436).
The military historian of the XIX cent. R.A. Fadeev wrote about this fact: it was necessary to exterminate one half of the total number of the mountain-dwellers (Circassians), in order to make the remained half end all resistance and obey to the colonialists:
“It was necessary to exterminate the half of the mountain-dwellers, to make another half lay down arms” (Tragic consequences of Caucasian war for Adygians (the second half of the XIX cent. – beginning of the XX cent.). Nalchik, 2000. page 160).
And deeds of the General P.D. Babich, committed against the Bzhedug tribe, give us a clear picture about ruthlessness of conquer of Circassian sub-ethnic groups, fighting for independence. He exterminates 44 Bzedughian villages from January 18 till February 7, 1859 (For comparison: 50 thousand people, the whole population of Abazians reside in 29 villages of the modern Karacha-Circassian Republic instead of 44(!)) :
“General Babich made cutting through the forest, covering the dwelling of Bzhedukhs and this invading into the lands of this tribe, conquered and exterminated all 44 auls. The local population remained in the snow, in the middle of own burnt villages, without roof and food, in the country, open with cutting for constant invasion from our side. They understood impossibility to uphold own places from us” (Report of the General-Field-Marshal, the count A.I. Baryatinskiy for 1857-1859. page 1285).
As an example, I consider it necessary to describe one more genocide, committed by the military criminal, General G.Kh. Zass. As the participant of Caucasian war, Fedorov M.F. describes, in 1834-36, General Zass demolished the peaceful auls: Sout, Khoist, Khochelk, Lezerok, Tailis, Tlabghai, Tamov, Fesfir etc.
(Fedorov M.F. Battle notes in Caucasus from 1835 to 1842//Caucasian collection. 1879. Vol. III. Pages 50-52. See also Sherbina F.A. History of Kuban Cossack troops. Vol. II. Reprint reproduction. Krasnodar, 1992. page 406).
General Zass aimed to psychologically terrorize Circassians; he kept the peaceful population under constant fear, so on the places of gathering in the conquered villages, there always were exhibited the cut heads of Circassians, put on the lances. Historically we also know that Zass bargained Circassian skulls as in Russia, so in Germany. Such deeds of General Zass are described in notes of Decembrist N.I. Lorer:
“Zass, in order to maintain propagated idea of fear, kept the Circassian heads put on lances on the purposely made barrow near “Prochny Okop” (the name of the place), and their beard were uncurled in the wind. It was a sad and disgusting sight” (See “Notes of Decembrist N.I. Lorer” – Moscow, 1931. page 248).
These and other facts, reflecting Circassian genocide, were earlier qualified by the experts as attempt of physical extermination – genocide of this people. Such ruthlessness caused the feeling of protest event in the
commanders of Russian occupation standing army. For instance, General N.N. Raevski, indignant at the scales of Circassian tragedy, retired and stated in his report:
“I am the first and the only one currently, rebelled against fatal military actions in Caucasus and so I am forced to leave this land. Our actions in Caucasus remind all disasters of the initial conquer of America by Spanish, but I can neither see here deeds and heroism, nor success of conquer of Pitsar and Cortess. Let’s hope that conquest of Caucasus did not leave the bloody trace in Russian history, similar to which these conquerors did in history of Spain” (Acts, collected by the Caucasian Archaeographic Commission. Tiflis. Vol. IX, document 434, page 504).
In this regards, the fact is of utmost importance, that Circassian ethnos cannot forget the events of XIX cent. and Circassian conscious of these tragic events, perceiving it adequately, unconsciously gives it the classification of genocide. Though, Russian historian I.I. Kutsenko explained these facts in more expedient manner and more skillfully: ”It is impossible to conceal the truth about genocide. Recollections of it are still alive in Adygian Republics, and they acquire new details, thus entail increased interest. Recollections on tragic, bloody past become the most painful on May 21, on every anniversary of accomplishment of Caucasian war. This day became the mourning date for many people. Thus, genocide has been long ago recognized by the main instance – mass conscious of the indigenous population, and the considerable number of Russians as well. It remains unrecognized officially solely by the political authority of Russia and the local administration, obedient thereto” (Kutsenko I.Ya. Truth and fraud. Nalchik, 2007. page 82).
It may seem surprising but the event under the Soviet censorship, Russian historian Pisarev V.I. also objectively wrote about Circassian genocide in 1940:
“During almost 100 years (from the end of 70s of the XVIII cent. till 1864), the mountain auls, bread and hay were systematically devastated and burnt by Tsar Troops and Cossacks, kettle was stolen, women, children and aged were enslaved. Peaceful population was mercilessly exterminated, the blood flew like water” (Pisarev V.I. Methods of conquest of Adygian people by Tsarism in the first half of the XIX cent.//Historical notes. Moscow, 1940. Vol. 9. page 155).
Russian scientists, Mints S.S., Gromov V.P., Shcherbina F.A. and others do not avoid the topic of genocide and dare to speak about it. Tradition of objective research undoubtedly existed in Russian Soviet historiography, the classical example of which were the events, described by Jacob Abramov in 20s of the XX cent, which totally, as in case of Academician Simon Janashia, were based on recollections of witnesses.
This historian describes the scenes of displacement to Circassian Black Sea coast in details:
“All this time, Circassians remained at the sea side, under the open sky without any living means. Sufferings, through which the mountain-dwellers had to pass, cannot be described. Thousands of them, word for word, were dying of hunger. In winter, hunger was added with cold. The whole North-East coast of the Black Sea was full of corpses and dying people, amongst which the other alive half was lying, but they too were extremely weakened, waiting when they would be sent to Turkey. The witnesses tell the terrible stories of that time. One tells about the corpse of mother, holding the frozen infant, another tells about the heap of human bodies, nestling up to another, hoping to keep the warmth of their bodies, and frozen in this position etc.” (Abramov Ya. Caucasian mountain-dwellers. Krasnodar, 1927. Page 7).
Similar evaluations are characteristic of the article of the Russian researcher, which was recently published, and is distinguished with plentitude of factual material and emotions of the author (See Tamara Polovinkina: Circassia – my pain and hope. 2011).
I would also like to touch upon one important issue, which is significant for research of Circassian genocide. For some reason it was established that only 1763-1864 are considered as the most active period of Circassian genocide, which we categorically cannot agree with. True, this period of time was very active in regards of
military operations, but Circassian genocide continued up to the beginning of the XX century, until 1907, when the most important document in the history of mankind was adopted – the Hague Convention of October 18, 1907 “On Rules and Habits of Land Battles”.
The following historical facts speak about necessity of such conclusions:
In 1871-1881 428 households of Adygians were resettled from Kuban region, and 1381 households in 1882-1883.
In 1887, the Russian Government decided to conscript the Adygian-Circassians, residing in Kuban region, which entailed the protest from the local population. In the end, the parties agreed that Adygian auls would be resettled to Ottoman area; in October of 1888, 3 333 residents of Khajimukov aul were resettled to Ottoman land.
On November 7, 1889, the population of 6 Adygian auls was resettled to Ottoman land on the basis of the “permit” by the Emperor.
In 1890, 7 auls were resettled from Labi and Ekaterinodar units, as the Government needed their lands.
In 80-90s of the XIX cent. Approximately 20 000 people were resettled from Kuban region to Ottoman Empire.
In the end of 1890, 260 Kabardians, resettled from Tergi region, arrived to Damascus.
In 1900-1907, approximately 8 000 Kabardians were resettled to Ottoman Empire. This was one of the last acts of Circassian genocide by the Russian Empire.
Activation of Adygian scientific opinion is particularly noticeable in regards of recognition of Circassian genocide since the end of 80s of the XX cent. up-today, when almost every year (on the regular basis), the scientific and social forums and meetings are held in all three Circassian autonomies. It is also noteworthy that on April 24-25, 1990, the participants of Koshehable Forum (“History – common property”) adopted the joint recommendation, providing the competent conclusion on the fact that colonial acts of Tsarist Russia of the XIX cent. in West Caucasus shall be estimated as the policy of genocide, and struggle of Adygians was anti-colonial and was of progressive character, their effort was directed to maintain freedom and independence:
“To consider that Tsarism held the policy of genocide in regards with Adygian people in the XIX cent., to recognize struggle of Adygians for freedom and independence as mass, national, anti-colonial and progressive” (Circassia in the XIX cent. (material of the I Kashelbakh Forum “History – common property”). Maikop, 1991, page 263)//note: Koshehabl is the Circassian settlement, which in 1918 was practically demolished by the Red Army, 214 Circassian patriot died in this struggle against the aggressors//.
On October 24-26, 1990, the All-Union Scientific- Practical Conference “National-Liberating Struggle of North Caucasus people and Mohadjir problems” was held in Nalchik, where the recommendation of Nalchik Conference was adopted, providing the objective conclusion that policy of Russian Tsarism in Caucasus region was aggressive, with colonial character, which was related to enslavement, genocide and Adygian (and other nations) forceful expulsion and eviction from their homelands:
“As it is clear from material of this Conference, policy of Russian Tsarism in this region was aggressive, colonial, connected with conquest, genocide and expulsion of the major part of Adygian people and the part of
other nations from their homeland” (National-Liberating Struggle of North Caucasus people and Mohadjir problems: Material of the All-Union Scientific-Practical Conference of October 24-26, 1990. Nalchik, 1994. Page 260).
The topic of Circassian-Adygian genocide was openly and exhaustively considered various times in the following scientific conference working programs:
Caucasian war: lessons of history and the present days (Krasnodar, May, 1994); “Adygian ethnos: history and prospects” (Maikop, October 24-25, 1996); “Caucasian war in the history of North Caucasus people” Maikop, May 5-8, 1999);
“Besleney in historical and ethno-cultural context of Adygian ethnos” (Maikop, June 1, 2001); “Caucasian war: lessons and the present days” (Maikop, May 20-21, 2004);
International Round Table “Adygians (Circassians) in the XIX cent.: Problems of war and peace” (Maikop, May 21, 2009).
Upon considering the Circassian genocide, the scientists and experts of Circassian ethnicity, in their conclusions, are unanimous. Almost all historians as in Adyghe, Karacha-Circassia, so in Kabardo -Balkaria, consider that the Russian Empire held the genocide of Circassian people in the XIX cent., which implied extermination of 90% of this nation, or their expulsion from their homelands and forceful settlement to the Near East countries (See Asker Sokht, Circassian history and the present days. Parts 1 and 2. Political News Agency, 2010.04.22).
Even the scientists, who consider Adygian future only under Russian Empire, think so. For instance, the experienced historian from Maikop, Askhad Chirg, considering Circassian genocide (on the basis of the rich empiric material), wrote: “We need only truth about Circassian genocide, we cannot build friendship between the nations with lies. Adygian Republic remains the integral part of Russia, Circassians have the future only along with Russian people, in the Russian Empire”. (Empire officials try to justify the genocide of Circassian people – kavkasia.net/Russia/article/1272517654).
At the same time, the active member of the Circassian national-liberating movement and one of the authors of the Circassian national project, Ruslan Kesh (Keshev), expresses similar attitude towards the genocide in his article “Genocide of Circassian People” (Tbilisi, 2010).
The results of the scientific research by Circassian Diaspora echo the conclusions of the local people. In this regards, the monograph, issued in 2010 by the older writer and historian, Kadir I. Natho, living in the USA, is noteworthy: CIRCASSIAN HISTORY, USA, Library of Congress. Xlibris Corporation. The chapter 6 of the book is totally dedicated to the issues of Circassian genocide. With the fail observation of the author, Russian Empire settled the Russians and Cossacks on the lands, “cleared” from Circassians as a result of the genocide, thus conducting colonization of these territories:
“Evidently, to accomplish the genocide against the Circassian nation, Russia had to follow the policy of total physical destruction of the indigenous Circassian population and the colonization of the “cleared” Circassian territory by the Russo-Cossack, People”, Kadir I. Natho. Page 366.
The historical fact shall be considered as the victory of public opinion and Circassian movement, that on February 7, 1992, the Parliament of Kabardo-Balkaria Autonomous Republic, adopted the special resolution ( N 977-XII-В), which recognized the fact of Circassian genocide by Russian aggressors during Russian-Caucasian war:
THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF KABARDO-BALKARIAN SSR RESOLUTION
of February 7, 1992, N 977-XII-В
ON CONDEMNATION OF GENOCIDE OF ADYGIANS (CIRCASSIANS) DURING THE YEARS OF RUSSIAN-CAUCASIAN WAR
The centennial colonial Russian-Caucasian war (1763-1864), bringing to Adygians (Circassians) innumerable disasters and sufferings, does not have the similarities in the history of new era. The major part of the Adygian ethnos, including over 90% of population of Kabarda, was exterminated, more than 500 thousand Adygian population was expelled by Tsar autocracy to the Ottoman Empire.
Giving the historical and politico-legal evaluation of Russian-Caucasian war, the Supreme Council of Kabardino-Balkarian Soviet Socialist Republic resolved:
1) To consider the mass extermination of Adygians (Circassians) during the Russian-Caucasian war and forceful expulsion thereof from their historical homeland to the Ottoman Empire as the act of genocide, the grave crime against the mankind.
2) To submit the proposal to the Supreme Council of Russian Federation to consider the issue on recognition of the genocide of Adygians (Circassians) during Russian-Caucasian war and granting the foreign compatriots thereof the dual citizenship.
3) To assign the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Kabardino-Balkarian SSR and the Council of Ministers of Kabardino-Balkarian SSR to elaborate the program of measures on rehabilitation and repatriation of foreign Adygians (Circassians).
4) To obtain the status of the exile nation for the foreign Adygians (Circassians) through the Supreme Council of Russian Federation and the relevant international organizations.
5) To declare May 31 as the Day of Memory of Adygians (Circassians) – the victims of the Russian-Caucasian war, as the day-off.
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Kabardino-Balkarian ASSR KHACHIM KARMOKOV
Later on, on April 29, 1996, the “State Council “Khase” of the Republic of Adyge adopted the special resolution (№ 64-1), appealing to the State Duma of Russian Federation for official recognition of Circassian genocide, committed by the Tsarist Russia in the XIX cent.:
The State Council – Khase of the Republic of Adyge RESOLUTION
of April 29, 1996, N 64-1
ON APPEAL TO THE STATE DUMA OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION
The State Council – Khase of the Republic of Adyge resolves:
- To adopt the Appeal of the President of the Republic of Adyge and the State Council – Khase of the Republic of Adyge to the State Federal Duma of Russian Federation on official recognition of the fact of genocide of the Adygian (Circassian) people during the Caucasian war.
- To submit the said Appeal to the State Duma of Russian Federation.
The Chairman of the State Council – Khase of the Republic of Adyge E. SALOV
The dynamics of events during the subsequent period of recognition of the genocide of Circassian people by Russian conquerors during the Russian-Caucasian war by the Parliament of Kabardo-Balkarian Autonomous Republic developed with the following consequence around the problem of Circassian genocide:
On May 18, 1994, the President of Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin published the address to the North Caucasian people (“Address to the Caucasian people”), where he recognized justice of struggle of Circassian people for freedom and independence in the XIX cent. The document condemned the policy of genocide, held by Russian Empire, but this recognition did not entail the efficient steps from the Russian authorities to suppress the results of this crime; the question of repatriation of the displaced persons (Muhadjirs) to the homeland has not been raised on the state level.
On July 15-17 of 1997 the Netherlands based high ranking organization THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNREPRESENTED NATIONSAND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION adopted special resolution “On Situation of Circassian Nation”. The organization, based on this document, appealed to the Russian Federation and to the International Community to recognize the genocide of Circassian nation that took place in the 19th century and was asking to entitle Circassian people with a status of an exile nation:
RESOLUTION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNREPRESENTED NATIONS AND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Otepää, 15-19 July 1997
General Assembly Resolution 1
RESOLUTION ON THE SITUATION OF THE CIRCASSIAN NATION
The General Assembly,
HAVING HEARD the report of the International Circassian Association representative on the state of the Circassian nation that
The Circassians have been partly exterminated during the Russian-
Caucasian war and 90 percent of those remaining have been forcefully deported abroad to Turkey, Jordan and Syria;
The nation faced genocide for a long period;
The Circassian people living abroad have difficulty preserving their language, culture and identity;
CALLS UPON the Russian Federation and the international community to acknowledge the genocide of the Circassian nation that took place in the 19th century and to grant the Circassian people status of an exile nation.
CALLS UPON the Russian Federation to grant the Circassian people dual citizenship, both that of Russia and of their respective countries.
CALLS UPON the Russian Federation to ensure the Circassian people of the possibility to return to their historical land.
On May 28 of 1998, Teuvezh Kazanoko, Chairman of the International Circassian Association, at the Session IV of the commission of the UN raised the issue of recognition of genocide of Circassian People and the problem of repatriation of Circassian Diaspora:
TEUVEZH KAZANOKO, of Society for Threatened People, said that the history of the Adygh (Circassian) diaspora outside the Russian Caucuses originated from the ninteenth century. According to unsubstantiated sources, there were between 3 to 4 million Circassians living today in Turkey; they were subjected to prosecution and repression simply for being Circassian. To date, this problem had not been considered by the international community. Interested organizations should begin to consider this issue. The tend to return to the Caucasus was predominant among the Diaspora, but there was the difficult economic situation, and problems with the Russian legislative procedure did not facilitate obtaining Russian citizenship. Russian officials did not apply articles of the “Admission to the Citizenship of Russian Federation” to the Circassians – thus dooming them to existence without the right to a historical homeland. It was hoped that the UN would involve itself in the sufferings of the Circassian people.
On June 1st of 2005 public movement “Circassian Congress of Adyge Republic” applied to the State Duma of the Russian Federation to recognize the genocide of Circassians by the Russian state in 1763-1864. The appeal of Circassians was supplemented by more than 500 documentary files, collected by Murat Berzeg, chairman of “Circassian Congress”, evidences of cruelties, committed by the political and military leaders of the Russian empire, the facts of mass demolition of Circassian settlements and extermination of peaceful people were described in detail. The reply from the Russian Duma was cynical, stating that “Circassians (Adyge people), were not victims of genocide during the II World War.”
On July 15, 2005, the known western expert on Circassian problems (genocide), Paul Goble, prepared the special coverage on radio “Liberty”, dedicated to Circassian problems that were later also published as an article: “Circassians Demand Russian Apology For 19th Century Genocide.”
|Embracing Circassia, Building Our Future.|
On October 11, 2006, 20 Circassian organizations of the 9 countries of the world appealed to the European Parliament with a request to recognize the genocide of Circassians.
On November 17, 2006, Circassian organizations of the Russian Federation applied with a request to Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia to facilitate the positive solution of the Circassian issue. These organizations received in response the following answer: ”In the legislation of Russia there are norespective legislative provisions that determine the procedure for solution of the problem”.
On May 21st of 2007 in Washington, in Jamestown Foundation (President Glen E. Howard) and Circassian Cultural Foundation (President Iyad Youghar) was organized a conference, named “Circassians: Past, Present and Future”;
On October 4, 2007 the representatives of Circassian Diaspora in the USA applied with a demand to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin to recognize the Circassian genocide on the official level and in compliance with International Law, to study with attention and to revise the Circassian issue from overall perspective.
On April 13, 2008, in USA, New Jersey. William Paterson University was held the international conference
On March 20, 2010, in Tbilisi was held the international conference where the main attention was drawn to the issue of recognition Circassian genocide. The representatives of Circassian people applied to the President and the Parliament of Georgia with a request to recognize Circassian genocide.
On May 25, 2010 The Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences published official conclusion that modern Adyges, Kabardinians, Circassians and Shapsuls are one Circassian nation.
In June of 2010 in Washington under the initiative of “Jamestown Foundation”, was held one more conference on Circassian issue.
In November of 2010 the second Tbilisi conference discussed the new aspects of Circassian problem, including the organization of Olympic games in Sochi in 2014 in order to commemorate 150 years anniversary of victory over the Circassians “On Krasnaya Polyana”on May 21st of 1864.
In November of 2010 representatives of “the Circassian Congress” applied to the President and the Parliament of Georgia to speed up the procedures on recognition of the issue of Circassian genocide. Subsequently, there was established information cooperation with Diaspora and Caucasus issues committee of the Parliament of Georgia.
On May 2, 2011 organization “The Circassian Patiorts” applied to the Parliament of Georgia to recognize the Circassian genocide.
On May 3, 2011 the Parliament received the address with similar content from the Circassian Diaspora of Israel as well: “The Circassian Diaspora of Israel applies to you with the request to recognize the genocide of Circassians, committed by the Russian state in the 19th century”, – it was written in the letter of Adnan Orkizh, chairman of the Circassian Congress of Israel.
On May 3, 2011, the Circassian Congress of Germany (chairman Zaur Ghedwaje) also applied to the Parliament. The authors of the letter were assuring of: “The recognition of Circassian genocide by the Caucasian state, Georgia, will advance the relations between Georgian and Circassian nations to the new level and will further reaffirm historic ties between the two nations”.
On May 5, 2011, the Circassian Congress of Belgium applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia. The letter was signed by the Chairman of the organization Kuban Khatukai.
On May 6, 2011, Kabardo-Balkarian public movement “Adigha Khekuzj – Circassia” applied to the Parliament of Georgia with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide. The letter was signed by the member of the coordinating council Abubekir Murzakanov.
On May 8, 2011, the Chechen Human Rights International Organization “The World and Human Rights” („МИР И ПРАВА ЧЕЛОВЕКА„) applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia. The letter was signed by the President of the organization, well-known defender of Human Rights Said-Emin Ibragimov.
On May 9, 2011, the Georgian nongovernmental organization “Independent Caucasus” applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia. The letter, on behalf of the members of the organization, was signed by the chairman Giorgi Sabedashvili.
On May 10, 2011 “The Young Chechens International Organization” applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia. The members of the organization also expressed hope that the Parliament of Georgia would pay attention to the previous incoming letters of the Chechen and the Ingush organizations, with a request of recognition of genocide of these peoples.
On May 11, 2011, the Jordanian Circassian Organization “Minute of Loyalty and Duty” („МИНУТА ВЕРНОСТИ И ДОЛГА“) (city of Amman) applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia.
On May 12, 2011, the famous Ingush dissident, writer and humanist Issa Kadzoev applied with a request of recognition of the Circassian genocide to the Parliament of Georgia. The author in his
letter was emphasizing the fact that recognition of the Circassian genocide by Georgia would be continuation of famous Georgian-Caucasian love of fellow-men tradition and restoration of justice.
On May 12, 2011, Abraham Shmulevich published a vary interesting article about the Circassian genocide: Howthe Russian bear overslept the Circassian question HTTP://WWW.APN.RU/AUTHORS/AUTHORS37.HTM
On May 13, 2011, in the Parliament of Georgia, at the joint sitting of various committees, we submitted the following scientific conclusion about the genocide of Circassians. In the introductory part to it I said: The things, committed by the Russian Empire against Adyges, were the obvious genocide. The Parliament of Georgia has a chance to restore justice and to pay tribute to the memory of millions of suffered and hundreds of thousands of depressed Circassians.”
THE Scientific conclusion
In 19th century, during the Russian-Caucasus War, Russian military-political leadership deported thousands of Circassian tribal groups from their lands to the Ottoman Empire, as Russia could not imagine coexisting with Circassians within the space of the Russian Empire. The Empire wanted Circassian territories without Adyghe people. Constrained deportation to Middle East countries was preceded with long, obstinate armed resistance of Circassian tribal groups. Their stubborn resistance turned to be Russia’s justification for their bloody mass killing of Circassian tribes. Tsarist Russian strategists used their brutal tactic methods right against peaceful Circassian tribal groups. During ‘’ the demographic attacks’’ Russia used different brutal methods: mass killing, armed attacks on peaceful population, ethnic cleansing and deportation, burning forests and crops, starvation and deliberate spread of disease.
World history knows various genocide cases: Bosnia, Chechnya, Ruanda, but Circassians’ genocide is unique, as Circassians lost ¾ of their population, sovereignty and the main – their homeland. So, Circassians are scattered in more than 50 countries in the world. They deserve refugees status, but unfortunately cannot benefit from it.
Based on the above-mentioned and relying on factual materials, historic documents and also sharing assessments of famous and independent expert-researchers, I conclude that in the 19th century, during the Russian-Caucasian war (1763-1864) the Russian political and military
leadership has initially planned and then conducted the ethnic cleansing of Circassian territories. In the deserted settlements of Circassians were especially settled Kazaks and Russians, meanwhile as a result of numerous punitive military expeditions were killed or expelled from their homeland more than 90% of approximately million and half of Circassian population. It has been determined that during the conquering wars, conducted by Russia, the entire loss of genetic fund of Circassian people, amounted to more than 20% murdered out of the total population of this nation. Consequently, these actions are clearly qualified as genocide, as the purposeful extermination of representatives of any nation, when the casualty equals to more than 20%, automatically mean act of genocide, by any definition of this term.
The Genocide is proved out alternatively according to the data from Adolf Berzhe (1828 -1886), who represented an official source of the Russian Empire. Berzhe claimed that amongst over million Circassians, above 400 thousand died in the war, 497 thousand people were banished, about 80 thousand people stayed in their historical homeland; that is, according to the official data of the Empire by itself, the number of victims of the civilian population amounted more than 40 percent.
The genocide of Circassians in Russia continued till the beginning of the twentieth century and stopped only in 1907. At that time the revolution drew the focus of attention of the Russian political elite in the other direction.
At that point, I attached to my report the draft resolution on the above-mentioned genocide. that was proposed as a working version in case, if the Parliament of Georgia would express commitment to recognize the issue of vital importance to Adyge peoples – the Act of Genocide of Circassians.
Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia
Recalling the colonial policy of the Russian Empire towards Circassians during the Russo-Caucasuswar (1763-1864), when the Russian political and military leadership planned and executed ethnic cleansing of Circassian territories, subsequently especially settling the territories with Kazaks and Russians, when as a result of multiple punitive military expeditions, more than 90% of the million and a half Circassian population was annihilated;
Recalling the 7 February 1992 Decree of the Supreme Council of Kabardino Balkaria Republic(№977–XII-B) on the Condemnation of the Act of Genocide of Adyge (Circassians) During the Russian-Caucasian War;
Taking into consideration numerous official documents of the Russian Empire confirming itsaggressive actions, such as artificially engineered famines and epidemics amongst the civilian population, aimed at the physical annihilation of representatives of the Circassian people
and giving historic and legal-political assessment to the results of the Russian-Caucasian (1763-1864) war that was fatal for the Circassian people;
The Parliament of Georgia resolves:
1. Recognizes the mass murder of Circassians (Adyge) during the Russo-Caucasus War and their forceful eviction from their homeland to Ottoman Empire ( as well as to other countries of the Middle East), as an act of genocide, in accordance with the IV Hague Convention of October 18, 1907 and the UN Convention of 9 December 1948;
- Recognizes the Circassians, forcefully deported during and after the period of the Russo-Caucasus War, as refugees//Internally Displaced persons, in line with the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and to entitle Circassian people with a status of an exile nation;
- Applies to the international organizations (the UN, The European Parliament, The Councilof Europe, the OSCE), with a request to elaborate the respective mechanisms for political, material and humanitarian support of the descendants of the forcefully deported Circassians in the 19th century, in order to achieve their free repatriation on the homeland in the Northern-Western Caucasus, including Circassian republics.
- Addresses the Government of Georgia with a request to elaborate the working plan, withinthe frame of which will be commemoration of victims of genocide that means creation of special educational, museum, memorial and other types of programs.
P.S. On May 20, 2011 the Parliament of Georgia at the plenary session voted for the adoption of Resolution On the Recognition of Genocide of Circassians by the Russian Empire. The legislative body was unanimous in its decision. 95 votes were in favor and none against. The resolution was submitted to the Parliament by Chairman of Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee Nugzar Tsiklauri.
The draft resolution, which we submitted, as a result of the committee hearings was formed as the following text:
Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia On the Recognition of Genocide of Circassians by the Russian Empire
Recalling the colonial policy of the Russian Empire towards Circassians during the Russo-Caucasus war (1763 -1864), when the Russian political and military leadership planned and executed ethnic cleansing of Circassian territories, subsequently settling the territories with other ethnic groups;
Recalling the fact that as a result of multiple punitive military expeditions, more than 90% of theCircassian population was annihilated;
Recalling numerous official documents of the Russian Empire confirming its aggressive actions,such as artificially engineered famines and epidemics amongst the civilian population, aimed at the physical annihilation of representatives of the Circassian people;
Recalling the 7 February 1992 Decree of the Supreme Council of Kabardino Balkaria Republic(№977–XII-B) on the Condemnation of the Act of Genocide of Adyge (Circassians) During the Russian-Caucasian War, and legally and politically assessing the results of the Russo-Caucasus War (1763-1864);
Recalling extensive legal and historic research which established presence of both fact and intent ofgenocide in the case concerned;
The Parliament of Georgia:
- Recognizes the mass murder of Circassians (Adyge) during the Russo-Caucasus War andtheir forceful eviction from their homeland, as an act of genocide, in accordance with the IV Hague Convention on Laws and Customs of War on Land of October 18, 1907 and the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948;
- Recognizes the Circassians, forcefully deported during and after the period of the Russo-Caucasus War, as refugees, in line with the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951.
Tbilisi, May 20, 2011
On July 12, 2011 The Georgian Parliament`s recognition of Circassians genocide was followed by the logical extension of corresponding Decree of Georgian Government (N1446) on the Memorial for Respecting Immortal Memory of Victims of the Circassians’ Genocide. The memorial, which will be dedicated to the Caucasian political victims, annihilated by the Russian Empire, will be mounted in Anaklia resort. It is the place where refugee Circassian tribes, forced to flee from their homeland, passed through the territory in the 19 century during their deportation to the Ottoman Empire.
Author: Prof. Merab Chukhua