Understanding The Circassian And The Armenian Genocides

Understanding The Circassian And The Armenian Genocides

Garegin Nalbandian
Geopolitical Club (USA)

May, 2017.


On Mayis (May) 21, the Circassians mourn the deaths of the victims of the Circassian Genocide, the same way that Armenians mourn the deaths of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th. Two separate Genocides of two ethnic groups took place almost at the same time, which may seem to be unrelated, but when we connect the historical facts, we can find the relevance and understand what really happened.

The Circassians and the Armenians were the first victims of the Russia-Turkey alliance. Turkey needed to populate Western Armenia and other Christian lands with Muslims and Russia needed to populate Circassian lands with Christians; therefore, Turkey and Russia started “deporting” (in reality) ethnic cleansing, which in modern terms is called Genocide. First, the Circassians were subjected to Genocide because Russia needed access to the Black Sea. Circassian lands were emptied and settled with Armenian subjects of the Russian Empire that Russia gained due to the Russo-Persian War in 1800s. Armenians were “evacuated” from Russia-Persia war zone – the territory that is presently called Azerbaijan Republic to Circassian lands. There are numerous historical facts that Armenians, Lezgins, Avars, Talish, Udin, Armeno-Tats, and Iranians lived as neighbors in those lands. Then, Russians filled that territory with Tatars and Turks. New terms; such as, Kavkazskiye Tatari (Caucasus Tatars) and Kavkazskiye Turki (Caucasus Turks) were introduced by the Russians. Starting 1905, clashes between the invading Turk and Tatar Armies and the Armenians of Baku, Gandzak (presently Ganja), and other places. The book Chaos, written by Aleksandr Shirvanzade, which was written in 1898, describes what was happened and how the Armenians were forced out of Baku. In 1918, the Republic of Azerbaijan was formed.

The Circassians, who were “deported” through the execution of Genocide were settled in Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian populated lands during the 1800s. Starting the 1800s, the “deportation” (in reality) the Genocide of the Armenians was executed by the Turkish government. The Armenians, who survived and escaped the ethnic cleanings, were not allowed to stay in Eastern Armenian lands that were controlled by the Russian forces because Russia planned to settle those lands with Kozaks; therefore, those Armenians were taken to Circassian lands.

During the Armenian Genocide years, the Russians moved the Armenians out of Western Armenian lands to Circassian lands instead of letting them stay in Eastern Armenian lands. My grandmother’s father, Armenak Shahinyan, was from Mush. He and his son were taken to Circassia (Krasnodar Krai). It’s called Krasnodar from the Russian word krasnii, which means red and red is the color of blood – the Circassian blood in this case. He had lost the rest of his family to the Genocide. He met my grandmother’s mother, Nazeli, who had three daughters and she had lost her husband, who was a soldier and was killed in battle. They got married and my grandmother, Astghik (starlet or little star), was born. My grandmother’s mother was from Gyumri, so they moved to Gyumri, but imagine how many Armenians were taken to Krasnodar and they did not speak Russian, did not know their way to Armenia, and they had to stay there and adopt to the new environment…

I think that these are facts that we need to explain so people can understand why and how Armenians appeared in Circassian lands and Circassians appeared in Western Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian lands. Both the Circassians and the Armenians became victims of the establishing of imperial boundaries between Russia and Turkey, and the results were devastating. Both “deportations” of the Circassians and the Armenians were planned and executed acts of Genocide. Armenians and Circassians stand together and ask the world to prevent current and future Genocides through recognizing and condemning the past Genocides as war crimes and the denials of the Genocides as intentional misrepresentation of material (historical) facts, which is a crime (fraud) punishable by law.









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