The Prolonged Circassian Suffering
by Adel Bashqawi
November 24, 2017
The 101-year Russian-Circassian War was started by Tsarist Russia to eliminate the presence of the Circassian nation in the homeland and to control the Circassian Black Sea coast. “Half the total of the Circassian population was lost during this war. However, the real tragedy experienced by the Circassians, which they are still suffering from to this day (more than 150 years after the occupation), is the alienation of ninety percent of the total population from their beloved homeland into exile, as they are still living in a large dispersion that consists of dozens of countries. It was the result of a forced mass expulsion in favor of the imperial plans of the invaders.
“The other ten percent, who are still residing in their homeland, were administratively divided and diluted. They are now a population of several minorities who must live in six nonhomogeneous, nor geographically contiguous, enclaves that were dictated and implemented by the successive Russian regimes imposing a fait accompli on the Circassians. After vacating the Circassian land from most of its population, they replaced them by settlers from different origins and nationalities to keep the indigenous Circassians as strangers and minorities in the places where they resided, that is, their homeland.”
The Russian state still refuses to acknowledge any responsibility; “In Russia, where some 700,000 Circassians — known as Adyghe — live, their objections have been met by silence and intimidation. Decades of Tsarist and Soviet population policies have seen myriad communities dispersed and relocated, borders redrawn and ethnic homelands erased from the map. The Circassians’ experience is a particularly brutal one, but they are hardly alone. And Russia’s rulers are in no mood to pander. Bullough cites Russian President Vladimir Putin taking a stand on Russian history during a speech in 2007: ‘It must not be allowed that we are forced to feel a sense of guilt’, he said.”
Factors Affecting Communication Between Scattered Communities
Various conditions affected the Circassians in their new environments, whether in dispersion or in the homeland. These conditions forced the Circassians to adjust to new circumstances; they live as minorities wherever they reside. “The Circassians in the Soviet Union underwent forced resettlement onto kolkhozy and into new villages in the lowlands. Traditional housing styles were replaced with standard Soviet rural brick homes with small plots around them. Some Circassians have moved to the new local cities and have established themselves in modern urban life.”
For example, “The Circassians in Turkey are still largely peasants, with a few that have taken up military careers. The Ubykhs still persist as a distinct type of Adyghe, but their language is now spoken only by one man and one woman.”
While, “In Jordan, the Circassians are concentrated in and around Amman, where they own a great deal of property and have been entrusted with the state electrical and power monopoly. They enjoy Circassian radio and television but are not -allowed to publish in their language.”
A Satellite TV channel, called NART TV, was founded. It was considered the “1st and the only Circassian Worldwide Satellite Channel.” N.A.R.T is an abbreviation of ‘National Adiga Radio & Television.’ It can also be watched on computers and cell phones. It mostly broadcasts previously-recorded music and cultural and historical programs.
However, “In Syria, the Circassians were concentrated in five villages in the Golan Heights. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, these Circassians withdrew into Syria, specifically to slum districts of Damascus. Finding their settlements unacceptable, they petitioned the United States in the mid-seventies to be granted asylum. The United States initiated a program with the aid of the Tolstoy Foundation of New York City to enable many of these Circassians to immigrate into America, where they settled in New Jersey and New York City.”
At the present time, the “Cirassians were caught between the fire of the two sides. The opposition seized the Circassian village of Bir Ajam located in the United Nations-controlled buffer zone, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.” And, in the light of Russian reluctance to allow Circassians to return to their original homeland, “Pressure is mounting on the Russian government to act on the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria,” without a concrete result.
“In Israel, the two villages of Circassians appear to enjoy relative freedom and have a tradition of serving Israel as an elite border patrol.”
“In the United States, the Circassian communities are largely urban. Here there is considerable tension and debate between those few who came directly from the Caucasus and the vast majority who have come from the Middle East as to the purity of their traditions and the best way to salvage their heritage, for there is considerable anxiety that they are destined for extinction as a people. Some harbor dreams of a repatriation of all Circassians to the Caucasus, and there is a movement, based in Holland, dedicated to achieving that end by peaceful means. It might be mentioned that the only Ubykhs outside of Turkey reside in southern California.”
The Effect of Colonial Policies on the Relationship Between the Circassian Communities
The Tsarist Russian Empire executed a colonial policy of hegemony and control, causing catastrophic humanitarian consequences, including genocide, ethnic cleansing, and a forced deportation of the vast majority of the stricken nation. Those who remained in their homeland were subjugated to all sorts of internal dispersion, displacement and authoritarian rule by the consecutive ruling regimes. Despite this, the different Circassian communities have cooperated hand-in- hand in national activities. However, those activities have always collided with the Russian state’s policies.
For Circassians, the importance of the homeland and its fate were never topics of bargaining. On the contrary, Circassian communities have cooperated hand-in-hand in the national activities, in which their homeland has always been, and will persist as, the most precious asset that Circassians have. It is revered by the Circassian people and is considered as an identity and an affiliation.
Since their imposed departure from their homeland, Circassians have tried to communicate with each other and to recover cohesion. They shared experiences and exchanged visits with their compatriots in diaspora and in the homeland. Some Circassian students had the opportunity to obtain university scholarships and study in some of the republics of the North Caucasus towards the end of the Soviet era.
Those efforts improved gradually and extended to the dispersed communities of minorities in all their whereabouts. Then, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, it became possible for tourists to visit their homeland. A small number of Circassians even managed to repatriate. However, at the present time, the Russian state restricts that by having quotas for the Circassians, who are treated like other migrants from other countries of the world.
Communication efforts today have collided with the Russian state’s stubborn policies, which claim ownership over all matters pertaining to Circassia and its people. A new phenomenon emerged where some entities and individuals, beneficiaries and/or lobbyists, are trying to prevent the clash with the Russian state’s policies in a negative way, even by compromising on crucial matters that should never be waived or compromised.
Those efforts also caused the development of a national solidarity, which gave Circassians hope and the motive to learn about their legitimate rights and the peaceful and legal means available to regain those lost rights. This idea of ‘national belonging’ allowed Circassians to link the past to the present, and produce future prospects.
Russia has more problems to tackle and worry about than holding on to colonies and other nations’ territories against their will. This requires Russians who are devoted to peace to change the outdated pattern of ruling peoples without their consent.
Many Circassians believe that the same environment that resulted in the fall of the Soviet Union will create conditions for many people to recover their rights, and that no tyrant will ever be able to change the will of the people to freedom, dignity, and self-determination, granted by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, and International Law and Justice. The national feeling started to follow a different path, complaining of an absent justice, in accordance with the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Unstable Russian Relations with the International Circassian Association
The general rule is that when the Russian authorities consider the Circassians, who live in their homeland, as a benefit to Russian interests, they are treated nicely. However, when Russia’s own interests are of higher priority, a crackdown is imposed. Russia also tried courting the diaspora Circassians for certain advantages. Still, when it comes to Russia’s interests, everything is turned upside down without the slightest concern for the relationship between the two sides.
Russia has always set up deals, direct and indirect, with people and organizations dedicated to implementing Russian policies. Some of these individuals and organizations tried to manipulate the Circassian national activities. This whole game seems to have a dimension of intelligence; Paul Goble published an article called “FSB Overplays Its Hand in Circassian Affairs, Freezing Out Diaspora but Weakening Moscow’s Influence Abroad.” In this article, published on Jan 21, 2017, he said, “That is especially the case with the FSB’s involvement with groups involving the Circassian nation, one numbering more than a half a million in the North Caucasus and more than five million in the countries of the Middle East and one that has challenged Moscow over the 1864 genocide and the right of Circassians from Syria to return to their historical homeland.”
Russian actions included intimidation of certain personalities, “Last month, KAFFED, the Federation of Turkish Circassians, decided to withdraw from the ICA after Russian border guards deported Bashar Aslankay, the vice president of the ICA and the president of KAFFED, and prohibited him from entering the Russian Federation until 2020.”1011
Goble concluded that a gap had been established between Circassians and the International Circassian Association that will be difficult to bridge in the short term, “This complex game is described by Inal Kardnov on the Caucasus Times portal yesterday … Because of FSB actions, he says, Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria has ceased to be the heart of the international Circassian movement and the International Circassian Association (ICA) near dissolution.”1012
The Contrast Between Reality and Fiction
The continuous, obtrusive actions and policies were not limited to the above mentioned, but extended to using a propaganda machine to dominate and seize national Circassian decisions. Circassians, regardless of their location, were targeted. One of the methods used was trying to distort and falsify history, and then promote the falsehoods and lies. For example, a so-called 450-year voluntary association of Circassians with Russia was unleashed ten years ago. The authorities and their staff gathered with some delegates from various diaspora institutions to celebrate an occasion that didn’t happen except in some people’s daydreams. They tried to characterize the subjugation of the Circassian people as a willful joining with a colonial empire, despite a 101-year-long war between the two sides!
What really happened was that an alliance of some Kabardian princes and the Tsar took place to repel the attacks of the Tatars, who were a common foe. This alliance was neither a union nor an accession of all Kabardians,( and definitely not all Circassians), and cannot be used to oblige Circassians into any position, especially in light of future developments when a Russian invasion totally occupied Kabarda. In 1819, “Yarmalov directed his attacks against Kabardia and led the armies that were under his personal command. He fought very savagely and did not hesitate to commit all kinds of crimes and atrocities … The wars in that area ended in 1822 when Kabardia fell into the hands of the Russians and its inhabitants could no longer participate directly in the fighting.” How could a voluntary accession coincide with war, invasion, and occupation?!
Apparently, the criticism by activists, intellectuals, and academics has triggered the Russian authorities recently, 10 years after that fabrication, to come up with celebrations under a new description. However, the most recent allegation is “An especially egregious example…At the end of August, officials there announced the start of a 500-kilometr cavalry march through the republic in order to celebrate ‘the 460th anniversary of ‘the voluntary inclusion of the Kabards within Russia,’” says analyst Paul Goble. He explains, “There are three ways Moscow has falsified the history of the non-Russian peoples: It has ignored their stories unless and until they intersect with Russia’s. It has simply lied about those histories, individual or common. And it has selected particular events to which it has given a meaning very different from that any objective observer would. The first approach dominated Soviet historiography from Stalin on; the second became increasingly important at the end of Soviet times and still is the most common way that Moscow tries to fit non-Russian histories into the Procrustean bed of Moscow’s desired image of the past. But it is the third that Vladimir Putin appears to prefer. In many ways, it is the most subversive of all. If no comment or false comments have the effect of generating dissent and demands for the truth to come out, the Putin approach makes those things more difficult for non-Russians because it often puts them in a position where their response is “yes, but,” thus acknowledging Moscow’s position even as they reject it.”
There is a pattern of falsification that works by exposing Circassians to propaganda campaigns coming from all directions, aiming to falsify facts and disseminate fabrications. In one publicity stunt, an article was published in 2015 by Sochi State University, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. This article, while depending on some reliable references, issued fabricated information related to official Russian policies which contradict reality.
“A remarkable example of this is provided this weekend by two members of the International Circassian Council, Iyad Youghar and Adel Bashqawi, who analyze one such example of Russian disinformation and in so doing highlight both the insidious nature of such things and the reasons it has to be done (justicefornorthcaucasus.info/?p=1251676982). They focus on an article by two researchers at Russia’s Southern Federal University entitled “The Circassian Question: Transformation of Content and Perception” that has been published in Bylye gody, vol. 36, no. 2 (2015): 450-460 (academia.edu/15285565/Circassian_Question_Transformation_of_Content_and_Perception).”
Examples of the Hostile Policies
Another important matter is dealing with the negative practices exercised by the Russian authorities against Circassian citizens and activists in the North Caucasus. The Russian authorities allowed police, and Cossack thugs, to utilize brutal force against Circassian citizens, especially activists. Courts and judges were rushed into impulsive judgments and unjustified sentences which appeared as racist, ready-made court orders. They were not based on applicable laws. These practices had a negative impact on the diaspora Circassians’ attitude and their participation in national activities.
Circassians around the world have condemned the injustice, persecution, and the measures taken by the Russian police and other security services in the towns and cities of the Circassian territories in the Northwest Caucasus. Those measures confirm the Russian policy that was adopted and maintained ever since the occupation of 1864. It did not take into account the humanitarian aspect, but on the contrary, it kept the policy of acquisition to an extreme and sadistic manner. That destroyed the existence of the majority of Circassians on their ancestors’ soil.
Incidents of abuse will not change the fate of Circassians, despite all attempts, because they will neither be disparaged nor give up. The following are some of the incidents of abuse perpetrated over the last few years. This list is not exhaustive but only indicative.
—On the 12th of August, 2017, there was an attack in the resort town of Gelendzhik of Krasnodar province. A number of young Circassians were dealt with inappropriately. They were arrested in the Black Sea coast area, when they were dancing national Circassian dances in one of the public sites! Local Russian police, supported by local Cossacks, attacked them before they were detained. Due to the pressure exerted by Circassian citizens, Salim Akhabekov was released from detention.
— During the month of June, 2017, the Circassian veteran activist Ruslan Gvashev and his compatriot Aidamir Basto, from the town of Kichmay in the west of Cherkessia – Shapsugii, were arrested. Administrative and financial penalties were imposed on both of them for their participation in prayers held near the Tulip Tree in the village of Golovinka in the Sochi area of Circassia in memory of the souls of those who, while defending their homeland, perished or got displaced in 1864. They used to do this prayer periodically. The Russian security services blocked Circassian observers from the Kabarda Congress who travelled from Nalchik to Circassia – Shapsugia in order to assess the situation up close.
The “District Court of Sochi has found the crippled 67-year-old Gvashev, honoured teacher of Kuban and former chairman of the Board of Elders of Shapsugh Circassians, guilty of organizing an unsanctioned event, and fined him 10,000 Roubles. Other participants in the event were also prosecuted. According to human rights defenders, activist Adam Basto was also brought to administrative responsibility for participation in the prayer ceremony. He was detained for distributing Circassian national dishes made for the occasion near the Tulip Tree.”
The sentence was appealed. “The Regional Court decided to return Gvashev’s case to the Lazarevsky District Court for a fresh examination due to violations committed.” According to attorney Marina Dubrovina, the judge’s decision was influenced by a reference to the Religious Organisations Act, which states that the service of prayer and pilgrimage can take place without any coordination. Ruslan Gvashev personally took part in the court session despite his illness; he was recuperating from a stroke and heart surgery since late July of last year. On August 30, 2017, a Sochi court again imposed a fine on Ruslan Gvashev for participation in the prayer service.
According to ‘Кавказ.Реалии’ (Kavkaz.Realii), he announced a decision to go on hunger strike which caused a wide resonance among Circassians. Attention was drawn to the hunger strike and the authorities expressed their intention to resolve the conflict. Then, “the health condition of the Circassian activist Ruslan Gvashev has deteriorated sharply; he cannot get out of his bed and is no longer able to speak. Besides, he refuses to take any injections.”
— In Nalchik, on February 7, 2014, more than 50 Circassian peaceful picketers, protesting the Sochi Winter Olympics, were arrested by the Russian police. The activists were detained in Nalchik, KBR after “they formed a convoy of dozens of automobiles and headed to the center of town. They hung Circassian flags out of the windows, and also waved a banner with the words, “Sochi – Land of Genocide” in English0”. As usual, the picketers who were released were subjected to beating and torture. In particular, “Eye-witnesses report that police were forced to carry Anzor Akhokhov into the courtroom for the reading of his sentence, since he was not in condition to move independently as a result of beatings at the police station … His entire body is covered with bruises in his face, hands, legs, everywhere there are the marks of hard blows”, said his brother Aslanbek Akhokhov.”
While speaking at a meeting with representatives of the Public Council for the Preparation of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, President Vladimir Putin talked about the so-called “attempts to deter Russia here and there. Unfortunately, this had to do with the Olympic project and the Circassian factor was used as an instrument.”
He added: “I did not have any doubt that this was a futile attempt. I know what the mood is among the Circassians, I know the leaders of the Circassian organizations personally, and I know what their attitude is to both their native land and to their home country – Russia. It was obvious for me that this had no prospect.” He definitely knows those who are under the influence of “Stockholm syndrome.”
— On December 6, 2010, Circassian Aslan Cherkesov of Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino – Balkaria, was arrested after a riot which was sparked by Spartak fans, following a football game in Moscow. He was charged of killing one of the fans who collided with Aslan while he was in a position of self-defense. He was investigated in a prejudiced manner and was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment, according to a statement given by Aslan’s mother, Sonya Cherkesova, during a meeting with reporters in Nalchik.
“The fact of the investigating bodies’ prejudged attitude towards my son is quite evident. It was manifested by giving him a ‘yellow mark’ which means that he is disposed to an escape. This worsened his position which had been critical even without that in connection with a broad resonance to the tragic incident”, Sonya Cherkesova remarked … Sonya Cherkesova says that she was fearing for her son’s life.”
In January 2012, the Supreme Court of Russia issued a decision to decrease the sentence against Aslan, who was detained in Siberia -away from his homeland-, by two months, angering Cherkesov’s relatives and fellow citizens in his homeland, who did not rule out future protests for supporting him.
— One returnee to the homeland, who resides and owns a shop in Maykop, “Adnan Khuade, his daughter, and an employee were arrested on December 17, 2015 for 15 days after a problem that took place with FSB in the Republic of Adygea. Earlier, the Circassian activist had been under pressure from law enforcement agencies and it was reported that search operations were implemented at his place of work and at his home.” Then, the “Caucasus Knot” reported that, on May 5, 2016, the law enforcers in Maykop arrested Adnan Khuade, a Circassian activist who returned to his homeland from Turkey. On May 11, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in the Republic of Adygeya reported that Adnan Khuade was detained for 15 days for driving his car without a driver’s license. Later on, the Russian Federal Investigation Commission (ICRF) reported that Adnan Khuade was suspected of having bribed an official. ().
The Patriots of Circassia Organisation submitted “complaints to the major international human rights organizations concerning the unlawful repression of Adnan Khuade against Russia.” The statement to human rights organizations stated, “As it is known by public, Russian security forces, including FSB, permanently maintain a campaign of harassment against Adnan Khuade who is a repatriated inhabitant of Maykop city, Circassian public figure, and activist defending human rights and minority rights of Circassians. Adnan Khuade is continually prosecuted, investigated, and detained by Russian authorities to intimidate aiming to divest him of struggle for Circassian rights before the public opinion of Russia. Said tools veiled by so-called legal forms are completely based on fictitious incriminations such as breaching of consumer law.”
There are hundreds of other attacks across the Circassian homeland, not to mention the negative consequences on the Circassian returnees from Turkey due to Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian Sukhoi–24 on November 24, 2015 on the Turkish-Syrian border. “The crisis in Russian-Turkish relations that followed the downing by the Turkish Air Force of a Russian warplane two months ago has created an unforeseen and potentially disastrous situation for hundreds of Circassians from Turkey who over the past decade have settled in the North Caucasus and opened small businesses there. Those who have not yet obtained Russian citizenship now face expulsion from Russia, just as it happened with their ancestors following the conquest of their homeland by tsarist Russia 150 years ago.”
This kind of treatment cannot be but a disregard of and contempt for human rights. It is contrary to what human beings desire: “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” Also, “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
The Circassian Identity
Globalization may have started with the Circassians earlier than others! The identity elements are not necessarily similar to those of other nations and peoples because of the conditions imposed by the fact that Circassians are not residing in their homeland. With the passage of time, the language and culture factors became ineffective to some extent. There is no obligation to learn the language and literature. The question of the elements of identity has emerged, and it seemed to be inappropriate to have language associated with identity due to the many obstacles that prevented this from happening. “To learn, you have to listen. To improve, you have to try.”
The language is an integral element of the culture. It expresses and verifies the Circassians’ independent identity and national personality. Attempts to eliminate the language have contributed in making it close to extinction. The Circassian language and culture would be important pillars in the survival of the Circassian nation. In that concern, Paul Goble published an article titled “Can the Circassian Language and the People Who Speak It Be Saved?” He started the article by mentioning, “Two new reports suggest the Circassian language is now at risk of extinction in the coming decades and the North Caucasian nation of those who speak it has entered into a period of demographic decline and could also disappear in the future, prompting their supporters to consider new defenses.”
In the North Caucasus, “Circassians have pressed for uniting their territories into a single republic and for allowing their co-nationals to return to their homeland. Moscow opposes both as it does expanded education in Circassian in Adygeya and other Circassian republics. But that has not stopped Circassian activists from searching for means of salvation.” A new development has emerged in order to stop linguistic extinction, where “the Adygey language has now become a participant in the international language-learning program Book (natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=8349).” Fortunately, “That program allows Circassians and others as well to study Circassian in any of the 49 other languages in this program, including English, Turkish, Arabic and Russian.”
Any nation is naturally interested in taking care of the important elements of its long-term survival. “Language is the principal means whereby we conduct our social lives. When it is used in contexts of communication, it is bound up with culture in multiple and complex ways” while “language expresses cultural reality.” However, difficulties and obstacles to properly save the language made it mandatory to depend on other elements of the national survival of the Circassian civilization. That highlights the uniqueness of the Circassian identity, which is still alive, even after the elapse of more than 153 years of the Tsarist Russian occupation of Circassia, due to the deep roots of the Circassian culture and its distinctive link to homeland and the lofty principles that the great ancestors defended.
“According to Hewitt (1999), Circassians have the feeling that their identity is under threat. Circassian organizations have been waging successful campaigns against proposals to merge the autonomous republic of Adygeya with the neighboring Krasnodar region.”
Tunne Kelam, a member of the European Parliament, distributed a statement titled “Circassians Standing Up for Their Rights and Cultural Identity Deserve EU Support,” which reviews the tragedies faced by the Circassians from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. “Circassians have been subjected to one of the most severe persecutions among the ethnic Caucasian nations. Since the 18th century, when the authorities of the Russian empire started massive ethnic cleansings and deportations of the native population, more than 1.5 million Circassians are estimated to have been killed. The continuation of Russian colonial policies has had a dramatic impact on today’s Circassians. Sadly, their situation has not eased in the 21st century.
“The abnormal and tragic situation of the Circassians and other Caucasian native peoples also demands a prompt response from the EU member states based on common European values. The Russian Federation is a strategic partner to the EU; Russia has joined several international conventions and should therefore live up to the commitments and standards stemming from those agreements. If numerous violations of the rights of citizens, native nations and environment are confirmed, the EU should react robustly to the situation.”
Associations and individuals can protect and strengthen the Circassian identity and unity. “A wise man had classified men as five types: The first type serves his homeland by money, the second type by work, the third by his pen, the fourth with his life, and the fifth by silence. All of them would betray their homeland if they fail to do what they must do towards their homeland at the proper time.”
The Circassians and IT
The national feelings against imperialism have long been there. Nations will always struggle for their dignity. However, Circassians who are living in diaspora, in more than thirty countries around the world, did not and will not forget their motherland and they are certain that the truth will one day prevail.
Due to their dispersed status, Circassians have benefited from the virtual space on the internet. They have occupied a unique and positive national reality in the virtual space. They managed to enhance national belonging and linked on past, present, and future prospects.
It is appropriate in this regard to quote Elie Wiesel, an American writer who was born in Romania and survived the Nazi concentration camps. He said: “Nobody is stronger, nobody is weaker than someone who came back. There is nothing you can do to such a person because whatever you could do is less than what has already been done to him. We have already paid the price.”
A room for hope has appeared on the horizon thanks to Information Technology (IT). The internet offered tools of communication and the ability to speed up the completion of any academic and scientific consultations. Conferences, seminars, and meetings were held with the participation of specialists dedicated to discussing the various issues of the Circassian Question. Circassians were able to share and distribute information that was not available in the past.
The Circassian national existence as a deep-rooted and dignified nation was considered at stake. However, since the internet became accessible to all, Circassians were able to take advantage of this precious opportunity and exploit ways and means to restore and rebuild national communication. Circassians were able to build a national fabric and solidarity.
This coherence was missing because of the breadth of the population distribution between the homeland and the diaspora. That was influenced both by the status of the Circassians as well as the international demographic, economic, and political circumstances that had existed. Circassians have benefited from the virtual space of the Internet. They created a new, positive national reality. They enhanced the idea of national belonging and were able to link the past to the present and produce future prospects.
“Many websites were established since the first Russian-Chechen war in the 1990s, right after the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1991. At the time, Circassians reviewed their national status, where more of their people around the world participated through the internet to know what was going on. Besides Chechnya, people could follow conflicts in Abkhazia and other parts of the Caucasus.”
World radio, TV, and direct communications in the twentieth century were owned and controlled by governmental establishments. Typical media outlets were not available for all the public audiences at the international level. That changed at the beginning of the twenty-first century, when satellite TV channels developed international media, together with radio, local television, and telecommunications.
Internet websites, digital media outlets, and social media have become within the reach of more people. People are able to obtain an internet connection and produce programs. Transmitting and receiving data by different means has become available and permissible. This led to easy access to information for all people.
Progress and development in the communications and internet fields have positively impacted Circassian cross talk. The objective is to restore and strengthen coordination between Circassian individuals and communities. Circassian activists in the North Caucasus and the wider Circassian diaspora around the world have utilized technology wisely. They have reinstated contact among one another.
“A new generation aged between 18 and 28 communicates via the internet and is networked with Circassian communities across the world. They provide an example of the phenomenon for which the American political scientist Benedict Anderson coined the term ‘long-distance nationalism’, which has already been identified in the Armenian and other diaspora communities. Although the Circassian case has not produced a coherent, militant or overtly returnee driven national movement liable to burden the problem laden North Caucasus with yet more potentially violent conflict, the revival of interest in their ethnic roots among young people of Circassian origin does represent a challenge for Russia. Moscow finds itself confronted with an unresolved chapter of its colonial history during a phase where President Putin is cultivating a patriotism that leaves little space for self-critical historical reflection.”
The use of modern communications has paved the way to addressing the following: teaching the Adigha language, preserving culture, getting eBooks, addressing children’s concerns, establishing communications, connecting activists, disseminating information on the Circassian Question, sharing petitions, finding research centers, reaching libraries, archives, and bookstores, learning the documented Circassian history, and other important matters.
The Journal of Caucasian Studies has published a study titled “iCircassia: Digital Capitalism and New Transnational Identities” by Lars Funch Hansen. Accordingly, the published study touched on the opportunity that opened to Circassians through the use of the internet. In the introduction, the author mentioned the fact of the presence of the ‘Circassian world’ scattered between the Circassian homeland located in the North Caucasus and alienation. It would be appropriate if the peoples of the world would realize the way utilized by Circassians to communicate on the international level in various areas of national interests. Eventually, that would lead to achieve unifying efforts to carry out a comprehensive national renaissance, where efforts will be mobilized to reinstate the rights in accordance with international laws and norms.
“The (almost) wholesale exile of the Circassians from their homeland in 1864 after the final victory of the Russian army resulted in Circassia literally being taken off the map. Nonetheless, countless cartographic representations of Circassia from the preceding centuries exist and have today been digitalized, presented and circulated on the Internet. Circassia has, in this way, little by little begun to come back ‘on the map’—at least virtually. And to be “on the map” is a strong metaphor, which indicates the importance of recognition in the ongoing Circassian revival.”
In October 2014, Lars Funch Hansen defended his PhD thesis titled, “The Circassian Revival: A Quest for Recognition.” He sets out to explore the conditions of this revival and the ways in which Circassians, both in the North Caucasus and in the diaspora, are being mobilized to participate in it. In the author’s own words, the main aim of the thesis is “to unveil, present, and discuss the rising transnational revival of the Circassians” (p.9) which emerged in the mid-1990s and continues today.”
The Circassian Question is highlighted on multiple issues that if gathered will illustrate the image of the real tragedy that took place, as well as the Circassians’ desire to look forward to acting as a nation where its legal and national rights are violated.
“The thesis focuses on the Circassians, a North Caucasian people that fiercely resisted the conquering of their lands by the Russian Empire in the 19th century. Following their final defeat in 1864, most Circassians were forced into exile and today their descendants live in large diaspora groups in Turkey and neighboring countries in the Middle East.”
In the context of the thread, it is mentioned that switching to digital concepts is practical and does not need to create complications. However, the older technology needed different procedures, equipment, materials and great efforts that require many people to follow a sequence of process. This is performed by coordinated professions of different sides operating for production, printing, and other specialties, not to mention the time and effort it takes to do all that.
“One of the questions, raised by the emergence of “InternetCircassia” and the Circassian digital diaspora, is whether this phenomenon will reduce the desire to repatriate among the diaspora. Repatriation is one of the most difficult issues facing the Circassian diaspora organizations, many of which have formally prioritized repatriation since the 1990s.”
An electronic world contributed in bringing a forgotten nation, at least, emotionally closer together. The positive effect of the internet, being a modern technology, has emerged as a positive development of digital potentials. It became a prominent element of a nation that was virtually in a deep sleep after the shock of 1864 and its negative consequences. Accordingly, the thesis has elaborated on features that attributed to web contact in order to achieve national objectives put forward to be accomplished by the Circassians.
“Two main characteristics of the Internet can primarily be emphasized: firstly, the element of convergence of media forms and technologies that is illustrated by, for instance, the integrated use of “older” media forms such as photos and films on social media sites and other parts of the Internet. This is sometimes referred to as “new media” (Manovich 2001). Secondly, the Internet functions as an enormous digital storehouse, as a media form that is technologically based upon a database model (Manovich 2001, 55). These two twin characteristics of the contemporary Internet—or digital capitalism—to a large extent encapsulate the digital aspects of the ongoing Circassian revival.”
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 5
 Ubykh is one of the twelve main Circassian tribes. They used to reside in the Sochi area.
 Heroes and Emperors in Circadian History (Shauket Mufti), pages 155-156
 http://www.natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=11291), while they demanded that the abusive police who used excessive force must be punished (http://www.natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=11290
 Language and Culture (Claire Kramsch)
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 324
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 324-325
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 325
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 325
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 326
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 327
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 327
 Circassia: Born to be Free (Adel Bashqawi), page 327