Circassia: Born to be Free

By: Adel Bashqawi


Book Summary *

Current circumstances are milestones that lead to adhere to lofty humanitarian principles. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” — Nelson Mandela

March 2024

It is appropriate to mention in this context that the main content and idea of “Circassia: Born to be Free” book, through its various chapters, coincides with what is happening nowadays, right in the twenty-first century. The occurrence of most of the mentioned events since the nineteenth century and its tragic history, converge and correspond to Russia’s current war of aggression against the Ukrainian state, even though it’s a sovereign and independent state, which is a member of the United Nations.

Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the attempts to divide and control its territories contradicts with the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The territories belong to an independent and sovereign state. The invading forces were stunned when their attack appeared to have failed miserably.

“Spilling the beans” of Russian extermination that targeted the Circassian nation, was meant to be kept secret. Revealing the Russian Empire’s crimes information regarding the Circassian genocide, obtained from the results of studies, research, books, Generals’ memoirs and the Russian archives’ documents, which were acquired after the fall of the Soviet Union. Matters revealed were unknown even to the descendants of the victims.

The Russian forces were unable to achieve their main goals of occupying strategic locations and targets in Ukraine, especially the capital, Kyiv, and other main cities. However, this opened the eyes of many Russian-subjugated peoples and nations yearning to demand the restoration of their freedom and the right to self-determination.

This shows indifference, naivety and improvidence in applying a typical expansionist Russian policy against the neighbors in all directions. Such military operations assert that the successive Russian regimes follow this exclusionary colonial approach, regardless of the consequences that are afflicted by the harm that befalls civilians and peaceful people.

The following is a summary of the highlights of the book to explore its objectives:


Circassia: Born to be Free

By: Adel Bashqawi

I am pleased to publish my book “Circassia: Born to be Free.” I am sure that this book is important for many people who are interested to learn about the various issues of the Circassian Question. This book elaborates on many issues which are of concern to Circassians and non-Circassians who are interested from an academic and/or a human-rights perspective.

This book deals with many subjects related to the core issue of a nation that was forced to struggle in defense of its very existence, dignity, freedom, and future generations. The Circassian people have suffered greatly during the Russian Empire’s invasion, the war of extermination, the forced deportation, and when they had to adapt to the conditions imposed by displacement in the lands and territories of diaspora and alienation.


“This work is dedicated to our courageous ancestors, the Circassian heroes who exerted all they could to protect their historic homeland. They have passed on the message of goodness and love to future generations.”


— This introductory section of the book is written by Professor Merabi Chukhua, who has researched and presented a study to the Georgian Parliament on the Circassian Genocide in the title of: “Circassian Genocide – the History of Problem, Chronicles of Events, the Scientific Conclusion.”

— He mentioned the extent of the impact of the atrocities that occurred against their nation in the nineteenth century and the impact of this on the Circassian consciousness, knowing that all these are more appropriately and rightly noted by a Russian historian.

— “It is of utmost importance that modern Circassian ethnicity does not forget the horrors that took place in the nineteenth century. Having perceived these tragic events, actually catastrophe by Circassian consciousness adequately, it involuntarily and subconsciously qualifies it as the genocide. How surprising it would be, all these are more appropriately and rightly noted by Russian historian I. Kutsensko.”


The introduction gives a brief overview of the topic of the book.

— “The idea for writing a book about Circassia has been on my mind since I was a youth. I have always thought about an abandoned homeland, a people in exile, wasted rights, and a forgotten issue. That is because I am a descendant of victims who were forcibly expelled from their homeland across the Black Sea to live in exile due to colonial ambitions.

— “I feel the time is right to publish this book because even though data was available at hand, it needed to be presented in a realistic and non-biased way.”

— “It is noticed how Circassian identity would be the most important element in preserving Circassians. It is an important tool as it achieves the need for coherence and cohesion among the world’s Circassians. If the situation doesn’t improve, Circassians will have their national and indigenous identity at risk. Attaining unity will lead the process of sharing the feeling of belonging to a common nation and origin.”

— “People should not be driven to despair as it leads to loss of hope and confidence. The winds of displacement, dispersion, diaspora, alienation, and exile should be avoided and resisted. Optimism and solidarity should prevail to overcome weakness and discord. This will be a cornerstone to preserve the culture, heritage, language, and the nation.”

1. Circassia

— “Circassia has a confirmed history of more than six thousand years, consistently and positively contributing to humanity. Circassian civilization and culture originated in northwestern Caucasus and has existed for a long time. Circassia is situated within the Caucasus Plateau and is considered a natural obstacle. It contains Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, with an elevation of 18,510 feet above sea level.”

— “The coast of historical Circassia on the Black Sea before 1864 [extended] from Anapa in the North to Adler in the south, and [included] cities like Tuapse and Sochi.” Thus, after total subjugation in May 1864, Circassia was deleted from the map of the region. The military occupation wanted Circassia without the Circassians. They exterminated or displaced them, either to beyond the Kuban River (10% of the population) or (90% of them) to the Ottoman Empire.

— “The coastline was ceded to Russia in 1829 as a result of the Caucasian War and the Russo-Turkish War. However, in 1828 the Circassians did not admit the Russian control over Circassia because Circassia was not considered a part of the Ottoman Empire, claiming the Circassians were the real owners of Circassia, hence kept resisting the newly established Russian outposts along the Circassian Coast and the inner lands in the Circassians Russian War.

— “Provision of weapons and ammunition from abroad to the Circassians caused a diplomatic conflict between the Russian Empire and Great Britain in 1836 referred to as the Mission of the Vixen.”

— “In November 1836, the Russian military brig Ajax detained the British schooner Vixen in (Adyghe: Цӏэмэз Ts’emez) in the sea port Sudzhuk-Kale )nowadays Novorossiysk).”

— Culture, language, heritage, customs and traditions have been exposed to the danger of loss and decay.

2. The Circassian Independence

— “Circassia in the middle of the eighteenth century, prior to tsarist Imperial conquest, occupied an area of 55,663 square kilometres —rather greater than the area of Denmark— and possessed an indigenous population in excess of two million. During much of their history, Circassians existed independently.

— “Circassia was a small independent nation on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea. For no reason other than ethnic hatred, over the course of hundreds of raids, the Russians drove the Circassians from their homeland and deported them to the Ottoman Empire. At least 600,000 people lost their lives to massacre, starvation, and the elements while hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their homeland. By 1864, three-fourths of the population was annihilated, and the Circassians had become one of the first stateless peoples in modern history.”

— “After the centuries of military alliance, Russia broke the agreement and attacked Circassia. The Circassians fought against Russian conquest for over a century, from 1763 to 1864 —longer than any other people of the Caucasus. Their final defeat in the 1860s led to massacre and forced deportation, mainly across the Black Sea to Turkey.”

— “The origin of all Circassians is Circassia. Accordingly, the tsarist Russian Empire had intended to destroy the whole country together with eliminating its people.”

3. The Russian-Circassian War (1763–1864)

— “Since historical records were found, the ancient native inhabitants of the northwest Caucasus were known in most historical records as the Circassians that existed in their homeland. The Circassian nation had suffered a war of disastrous consequences that included but were not limited to destruction, annihilation, displacement, and deportation.”

— “Ivan the Terrible had achieved a well-deserved description, being an adventurer ruler who doesn’t respect mercy or compassion.”

— “The tsars’ wars and invasions had started more than 450 years ago, right after getting rid of the Mongols’ tight control for several hundred years against all the surrounding neighbors in all directions, starting with Novgorod in the year 1478, which got a territory from the Baltic Sea, to the Urals and from the White Sea to Lake Seliger in the present Novgorod Oblast, which resulted in either eliminating those people and nations or subjecting them to subjugation under oppression and tyranny.”

— “The continuous ongoing Russian military campaigns and wars against Circassia and the interests of its people, waged by the Russian State, since its establishment as an entity were crowned and concluded by the last and most subversive one, the Russian-Circassian War.”

— “The Russian-Circassian War takes its starting date as 1763, when the Russians began establishing forts . . . to be used as springboards for conquest.”

— “The weakness of the Ottoman Empire as one of the main players on the Caucasus stage has affected the output of the unfair game played by Russia being one of the great powers at the time with the small indigenous peoples and nations.”

— “The divide and rule policy256 had not been excluded from Russian conduct. Included in their military forces were what they described as a “Kabardian regiment”; it tried to show that part of the Circassians were fighting against their countrymen.”

— “Where the aggressors sowed the seeds of discord between Circassians and other groups living in the North Caucasus, they didn’t work as one team to defend their very survival, which proved to be a failure for all. Also, it regrettably prevented them in the long run from deciding their fate and future.”

— ‘The Cossacks’ Role‘ and ‘The Russian Expansion.’

— “A Quote: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” (Desmond Tutu).”

4. A View on the Circassian Genocide

— “Figures describe the events: In this long war of attrition, the Circassians suffered heavy losses in terms of human life, as much as 800,000 dead, and their country fell into ruin. Many tribes were completely wiped out and others came close to the edge of extinction. The Shapsugh, who numbered about 300,000 before the war, were almost completely extirpated. The 3,000 survivors, great grandfathers of the present-day inhabitants of the Shapsugh region, either crossed the Kuban in flight or else found refuge in the mountains and forests. The residents of the last Shapsugh village, Tkha-ghapsh about 140 in number, were exiled to Siberia.”

— “On September 14, 1829, Russia and Turkey signed the Treaty of Adrianople. Article 4 contained the following stipulation: “All the coast of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Kuban to the wharf of Saint Nikolai inclusive shall enter into the permanent possession of the Russian Empire.

— “They probably seemed to have paid attention to certain issues by sending agreed-upon signals. Sometimes they might be included or concluded as undeclared items, which were implied or agreed upon in secret. Paying attention to the dissemination of information at a later stage will be too late to know about the hidden conspiracies. In all cases, Russia was occupied with maintaining the war against the Circassians in the absence of the world and the Europeans in particular.

— “Circassia was never mentioned by name in the treaty, although in the preface Emperor Nicholas I is described, among many other titles, as “the hereditary ruler and possessor of the Circassian and mountain princes”. This, of course, was nonsense: the Russian tsars had never been any sort of ruler of Circassian or “mountain” princes, and certainly had no hereditary claim to anything.”

— Like any other war or armed conflict and hostilities, rule of thumb applies. “This tragedy saved three parties. The Russians conquered the unruly Caucasus and expelled the intractable Circassians. For the next 140 years, they were to face no serious challenge to their domination in the NW Caucasus. Turkey gained martial subjects whom she used to augment her waning military power. The third group that lobbied vigorously to bring the Circassians to Ottoman dominion was some of the exiled Adiga princes who were in dire need of the subjects to rule.”

— “Russian State Duma Recognizes the Armenian Genocide.

Not surprisingly, the “Russian State Duma” issued a statement on the fourteenth of April 1995, acknowledging the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide.”

5. The Circassian Flag, the Homeland, the Circassian Identity

— “The Homeland Remains in Circassian Memory.”

— “The Close but Far Away Motherland.”

— “The Need for a Circassian Institutional Work.”

— “The Circassian Identity.

Tunne Kelam, a member of the European Parliament, distributed a statement in the title of Circassians Standing Up for Their Rights and Cultural Identity Deserve EU Support, which reviews the tragedies faced by the Circassians from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.”

— “According to Edirne (ancient Adrianople), Turkey, Russia benefited out of this treaty as it respectively indicated the weak position of the Ottoman Empire in many locations. The treaty had strengthened the Russian position in Eastern Europe and contributed to the weakening of the Ottoman Empire, which paved the way for eventual prospects that presaged the future for dismantling the Ottoman Empire and the loss of its controlled regions and countries, especially in Europe.”

— “The comical effect with such an accord between two opportunist symbols does not lie in the exchange of benefits that characterized the eventual moments of harmony between such wicked partners. This fact shows that the Ottoman Empire had so wavered and given up things, which were neither owned nor occupied by Turkey as to concede influence in the Caucasus according to the convention, which was ultimately acquired by a brutal and merciless war and military force.”

— In 1835, the Circassian flag (Baraq) was presented in a Khasa meeting held at Psefabe Valley. The stars represent the tribes without specifying which star represents which tribe.

— The diaspora has suffered difficult circumstances due to being away from their homeland. The people of the Caucasus, particularly the Circassians, have shown considerable interest in issuing printed leaflets and journals and to publish news and matters that concern the various members of the communities.

— “According to Hewitt (1999), Circassians have the feeling that their identity is under threat. Circassian organisations have been waging successful campaigns against proposals to merge the autonomous republic of Adygeya with the neighbouring Krasnodar region.”

— “The effects of the Soviet period on the ethnic identity of the Circassians, as on that of other indigenous peoples, were complex and shifting. Certain aspects of the indigenization policy did serve to weaken and fragment Circassian identity. In 1927, what had previously been a single Circassian literary language was split into two separate literary languages: Kabard-Cherkess and Adygei. Also Circassian groups were, both in the 1920s and later, arbitrarily put together with the Karachai and Balkar, who speak a Turkic language, to form mixed ethnic territories. The later Soviet period witnessed a return to the policy of Russification.”

6. The So-Called 450-Year Association with Russia (in 2007)

— Russia made a new leap forward to the Caucasus. By falsifying history, The authorities signed three distinct decrees under the topic ‘the 450 years Anniversary of Voluntary Unification with Russia’ of three republics where Circassians live in; has led the administrations to organize celebration schedules by granting astronomical financing. Dzemikh Kasbolet— the Chairman of (pro-Russian entity) the International Circassian Association ICA—has approved this falsification by making written representations, where the ICA has become one of the supporters of the Project with ‘Forever with Russia . . .!’ slogans.

— “Circassians are neither robots nor yo-yos. They don’t accept being regarded as tools or remote-controlled instruments that can be controlled by proxies. They have human feelings and senses. Accordingly, the Circassian activists have appreciated the support obtained from all peace-loving people, human rights activists, organizations, and all people of goodwill who strive for asserting human dignity.”

— “Murat Berzegov, chairman of the Congress, said, “It’s wrong to celebrate an event that never happened historically. Had we joined Russia voluntarily, the Russian-Caucasian war of the 19th century would not have been a popular liberation war but an insurrection by the people against their own tsar.”

— “Apparently, Russia still evades accepting responsibility for the invasion, occupation, and crimes committed against Circassians by the Russian Empire’s armed forces, in accordance with irrefutable evidence. The Russians’ stubborn refusal to recognize the genocide inflicted on the Circassians falls within the scope of not only denying their own wrongdoings, but also lying, which overlooked the realities of war, occupation, and their associated consequences and the desire to enjoin Circassians in commemorating a voluntary accession that has never happened!”

— Ten years later (2017), the same trick is repeated with a different slogan, “the 460 years of Kabardian voluntary association with Russia”!

— “Nothing could be worse, otherwise they would have done it.”

7. Language, Culture, and IT

— “The Circassian language is one of the languages that are in danger of extinction. It is important to do what is required to stop this from occurring. A necessary reform must be accomplished in accordance with the available resources.”

— “The Soviet regime’s divide and rule approach to the Circassian nation not only left them divided among four subjects of the Russian Federation but also gave them different alphabets, an effort to keep the 500,000 Circassians of the North Caucasus from coming together and joining hands with the more than five million co-ethnics in the Middle East.”

— “Any nation is naturally interested in taking care of the important elements of its long-term survival: “Language is the principal means by which 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.”

— “Nugzari Antelava mentions in his book Adygean (Circassian) Culture the facts about the status of the language and culture of the Circassians. Deportation took place to Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, and Circassians continue to live at their destined location to this present day. Being minorities, and due to the continuous change of political systems in the same country or multiple countries, it was not possible to obtain the right to use their own language. As a result, that led to the possibility of language extinction.”

— “Cultural dynamics of ethnic groups living in Russia, including Circassians, is a particular subject of study of various scientific disciplines, mostly of experts of culturology. A goal of culturology is to reveal that inner cultural power of the Circassian ethnic group, which led and still has been leading a Circassian cultural dynamic in the past and present, and which suffers its socio-cultural transformation dramatically.”

Programs for Preserving Circassian Culture

— “Circassia is one of the oldest indigenous nations of southeastern Europe and being such must enjoy the preference in the right to demand humane and natural rights to protect its ethnic identity, language, and culture. Resolutions and treaties of the European Union concerning the rights of the peoples to be preserved call for the protection of people and their rights, taking into consideration that Circassia is a nation under occupation and its citizens are denied their basic rights.”

Valuable Historic Heritage

— “Over 200 dolmens are located in the Deguakski glade, 300 in Khagiokh, 350 on the “Bolerski road” and so on. Some of the beads found here are supposed to have come here, to the Kuban, through Transcaucasia and by means of intertribal intercourse, from the distant countries of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Iran, and China.”

Circassian Myths and Legends.

— “The Circassian author Shora Begmurzin Nogma collected valuable historical, legendary, innovative, and creative tales called Nart Sagas in the Russian language. He recorded them between 1835–1843, published after he passed away in the year 1861; it was translated into the German language in the year 1866.”

The Circassians and IT

— “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.”

— “Circassians could unite over the internet. Use of media, especially its knowledge and means, including modern and advanced communications, the internet, and social media have assisted in paving the way in establishing foundations for addressing the following: teaching the Adigha language, preserving culture, getting eBooks, addressing children concerns, establishing communications, connecting activists, disseminating information on the Circassian Question, sharing petitions, finding research centers, reaching libraries, archives, and bookstores, the merits of knowing the documented Circassian history, and other important matters.”

— “Lars Funch Hansen 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.”

8. Commemoration of the Twenty-First of May

— “Commemoration of the twenty-first of May, or other important events, is always attributed to the memory of the victims of Circassia and the Caucasus and supplicate for the sacred souls to rest eternally in peace, all those souls who fought the fight in defending their homeland with personal weapons against a well-equipped military consisting of criminals and mercenaries.”

— It attracts attention to one of the most horrible massacres in modern history, which was done at the expense of the entire Circassian nation. Circassians use regional and international media outlets and social networking to remind the international conscience and human rights organizations of the forgotten crimes, tragedies, and the confiscated rights.

— “The gathering that takes place on the twenty-first of May in a meaningful memorial is to pay admiration and respect to all of those who perished as victims of a predetermined aggression that had colonial and imperial intentions and deeds by performing their directives, which led to creating disastrous impacts on Circassia as a prominent North Caucasus nation, with all what the expression would mean and indicate.”

— “This remembrance links Circassians, whether in the North Caucasus or in diaspora, to ascertain that they will never forget their homeland, as long as they have arteries that pulse and eyelids that blink. They also confirm that their native land is loved as much as they respect and admire their courageous forefathers who sacrificed dearly and preciously with blood, sweat, and tears. Dignity has led them not to give in easily, while they refused to surrender for dozens of years, but sadly resulted in an obnoxious Russian occupation.”

The Circassian Genocide Memorial

 — On the twenty-first of May 2012, exactly one year after Georgia had recognized the Circassian Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and deportation from their homeland, Georgia inaugurated a memorial in Anaklia on the Black Sea, in the memory of the Circassian victims perished during the implementation of a hyper brutal method in the nineteenth century, intended to sterilize the Circassian homeland from its own people by evacuating all those who stayed alive: “‘Memorial for the Victims of the Circassian Genocide’ was opened in Anaklia, close to the Abkhaz administrative border, in presence of Georgian minister in charge of diaspora issues Papuna Davitaia.”

9. The Circassian Legal Status and the Right to Self-Determination

— “Logic imposes to investigate the rules and statutes pertaining to the various areas of human perception in various fields of existence to solve problems: “There are several stages to solving a problem: Evaluating the problem, managing the problem, decision-making, resolving the problem and examining the results.” At this point, accordingly, it is inferred through knowledge and reasoning that correcting thinking processes and matching logic with reality will necessarily lead to reaching the truth ahead.”

— There are several types of political systems, however, there are three main ones from which a particular imperial power may take what is in line with its policies and objectives.

– A combination of:

* Fascist regime

* Nazi regime

* The Apartheid regime

— “It is no secret that most wars occur to satisfy the expansionist ambitions of the lands of others and to control the destinies, fortunes, and fate of nations and peoples. History bears witness to injustice, murder, destruction, occupation, and deportation through violations practiced by tyrants to attack the freedoms of others, deprive them of their natural rights, and the occupation of their homelands through the cruelty that does not pay any attention to limits or restrictions to satisfy colonial desires.”

Attempts of Falsification

— “Russians have permanently and consistently pursued a marginalization and even a “deletion from existence” policy against the Circassians. Apparently, Russia is a crow playing a pigeon’s role while at the same time, the consecutive Russian regimes have ignored the different crimes committed against a nation that had its homeland occupied, its rights violated, and its people murdered, displaced, or deported.”

— Circassians hang on hope despite the pain, while obvious indications reveal aggressive attitudes and suspicious behaviors. It is mentioned that “the ‘Special Presidential Commission against falsifications of the history of the Russian Federation causing harm to Russian national interests’ is to identify and fight against conscious, imprudent falsifications, aimed at the political results.”

— It is reported that Sergei Markov mentioned “the Golodomor” committed against the Ukrainian people in 1932–1933, as one of the “falsifications that damage Russia’s national interests.” That is “according to Ukrainian claims, the famine did not have a natural cause, but was organized by the Russian state in order to reduce the number of Ukrainians.”

— The article added, “A second example of such historical falsification, said Markov, is related to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and aimed at falsifying the history of the Russian-Caucasian war from 1817–1864. ‘Yes, the war was bloody’, said Markov, adding, ‘However, it was only thanks to Russia that the Adygs-Circassians received their own state.”

— “Legally, Circassians have the ways and means to prove the crimes committed against their ancestors, where the Circassian Congress NGO claims that the genocide committed by Russia against the Circassians can be easily proven based solely on the official documents from the Russian Imperial archives. According to the Circassian Congress, approximately 1,500,000 people were massacred and partly deported from the Caucasus, and the Circassians lost 99 percent of their population during the war and deportation (”

Legal Status Contradicts Repeated Denials

— The International Circassian Association failed to address the real interests and concerns of the Circassian communities in the Circassian homeland and in diaspora: “ICA sees its main task as coordinating cultural relations between Circassian communities across the world. It has, however, not pursued that goal with great vigour.”

— In characterizing recent developments of Circassian youth across the world, 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.

Slavery in Modern Time

— The Globalist published a report titled, The New Russian Empire: Modern Slavery in Russia. This current study comes “154 years after the abolition of serfdom, Russia is Europe’s most slave-holding nation, in modern terms.” The brief report elaborates on the entire situation in modern Russia and lists five points that sum up the human rights issue, so it is considered a slaveholding nation

Ensuring Russians’ Immunity from Syrian Law

— In light of the Russian military intervention in Syria, and in a sign of Syrian loss of sovereignty in the civil war that has taken place there and continues since 2011, a change was imposed on Syrian laws to grant Russia and the Russians immunity from Syrian law to exempt them from any legal or civil liability that resulted of any damage due to Russian military operations in Syria.

— The Russia-Syrian military agreement reminds of the 1939 Soviet-Baltic deals: “The Baltic experience is a good example of how open-ended, broad access rights for Russian military forces in times of crisis can be used to first erode, and then erase, national sovereignty’, says Eerik-Niiles Kross, an Estonian historian who is now a member of parliament. ‘Russia is obsessed with these types of treaties and agreements. They are paper shields—vague reassurances to national hosts and the international order while they plan the next move in a revanchist game.”

The Right to Self-Determination

— “The principle of self-determination refers to the right of a people to determine its own political destiny. Beyond this broad definition, however, no legal criteria determine which groups may legitimately claim this right in particular cases. The right to self-determination has become one of the most complex issues facing policymakers in the United States and the international community at large. At the close of the twentieth century, it could mean the right of people to choose their form of government within existing borders or by achieving independence from a colonial power.”

— Three types of decolonization: international, domestic and ideological. The latter is the most relevant with regard to the Circassian context as it addresses the context of a totalitarian past where “liberated peoples” had ‘long-term memories confiscated, destroyed or manipulated.”

Self-Determination Followed the Fall of the Russian Empire (1917)

— The disintegration of the Russian Empire began after the February Revolution of 1917. Although the taking of power by the Bolsheviks accelerated this process, it was not the root cause. By 1917 the Russian Empire, which as a member of the Entente was technically undefeated in the world war, had in fact, suffered defeat. In the course of military hostilities it had lost Poland and a significant part of the Baltic territory.  Having overthrown the autocracy, the February Revolution of 1917 greatly weakened the imperial center, and the October coup dealt it a fresh blow.

— It is the first time in contemporary History that Circassians called for Freedom in their collective statements, using the slogan “Free Circassia Now.” An article signed by Eagle, in the title of “Circassians More Determined and More Resolute,” addressed a prospect about the Circassian determination for restoring Circassian legitimate rights.

— Nations will not rebirth and homelands will not be built by submission, weakness, subordination, selfishness, degradation and humiliation, that lead ultimately to slavery, but by dignity, pride, magnanimity and altruism, as if the great ancestors wanted to live humiliated under the Tsarist Russian occupation forces, they could have done so, but authentic Circassian will not allow injustice and humiliation on himself.

Self-Determination (International Law) and Independence of Colonized Nations

— Self-determination denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order. Self- determination is a core principle of international law, arising from customary international law, but also recognized as a general principle of law and enshrined in a number of international treaties. For instance, self-determination is protected in the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as a right of “all peoples.”

— The stricken Circassian nation does not consider, after most of the nation was compulsorily expelled away from their homeland, their issue resolved. Quite the contrary, deportation was the initial step toward returning to Circassia, no matter how long it takes.

— The homeland is deemed, in Circassian heritage and culture, as basically the mother that is embraced. The mother symbolizes kindness, generosity, sacrifice, and is an inexhaustible source of cordiality, kindness, loyalty, and liberality. Without getting tired, love is unconditional, watching over all worries and troubles. The human being does not dispense his own country easily, which is like his own beloved mother.


— 1) All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. 2) All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence. 3) …

Restoring Indigenous Self-Determination: Theoretical and Practical Approaches 

— Indigenous peoples all over the world find themselves locked in power struggles with dominant states and transnational actors who resist their claims to land, culture, political recognition and other key factors associated with the idea of national self-determination.

— In the vast majority of cases, states and transnational corporations see such claims as barriers to the state-building projects that depend heavily on accessing and extracting resources from traditional Indigenous lands. In 2007, the importance of Indigenous self-determination alongside that of nation-states was significantly enhanced when, on September 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples.

If Circassians Do Not Seek the Restoration of Their Confiscated Rights, Then Who Would?

— An interview conducted with me was published and titled, If Circassians Do Not Seek the Restoration of Their Confiscated Rights, Then Who would?

— Unity between associations would contribute in strengthening the Circassian communities and would enhance the awareness of contacting all branches of the European Union especially the European Court of Human Rights, the European Parliament and the European High Court, in addition to Non-Government Organizations.

10. Circassian Political Activism

— The Circassian socio-political awareness has grown up significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both in the homeland and in diaspora. Circassians all over the world were involved in forming entities to deal with the urgent issues that needed to be addressed or dealt with. Associations were founded, locally and internationally.

— One of the most important issues was seeking to achieve their rights and save their homeland. They discussed the methods to be followed to restore the natural and respectable status of the nation in order to look as a dignified nation among other nations of the world.

The International Circassian Association / Founding and Functions

— The International Circassian Association was founded when the Soviet Union started to collapse. It was the first Circassian entity which managed to connect the Circassian people across international borders. At the same time, its national principles united the Circassians of the diaspora with their compatriots who still live in the homeland, that is, the North Caucasus. The national goals prescribed were unprecedented.

— Amongst the founded organizations, the ICA, the Circassian Congress, some human rights organizations, and others.

— Very well-known parties have launched a feverish campaign using individuals who were not the real Circassian founders of the International Circassian Association and other national establishments, for the purpose of changing the fundamentals of operations and activities.

— Those who do not like to hear the voice of reason try also to believe in possessing the absolute truth in order to crack down on the national ranks both in the Circassian homeland and diaspora. Circassians have always proven to maintain a continuous and developing contact between parts of the widely extended and dispersed geopolitical and social Circassian communities, whether in their homeland or in diaspora.

Other Subtitles of this Chapter:

— The Fact of Indifference in the Circassian Situation
— Recent Vacuum of Administrative Structure
— Unstable Relations with the International Circassian Association
— Judicial Proceedings to Forbid Dealing with Political Issues
— Activities and Positive Efforts
— The Writer and Historian from St. Petersburg
— Acts of Protest
— Positive Freedom Development for Nations and Individuals
— A Statement Issued by the ICC
— Condemnation of the Boris Nemtsov Assassination
— Nations of Similar Destiny
— An Event in Polonezköy to Articulate the Circassian Question
— Background of Polonezköy / Press Release / Delivering a Speech
— Armenian-Circassian Synergy / Sochi and Yerevan Analysis
— Russia’s Falsification Dares to Attack Circassian Activism
— Writing to Human Rights Organizations
— Circassian Activism and Related Conferences
— The Circassians Encounter Russian Propaganda Campaign
— Systematic Promotion of Misinformation
— Circassia Is a Nation Denied by Genocide
— The Blessed Circassian Youth Efforts

11. Recognizing the Circassian Genocide

“Genocide is considered the main issue out of many others of the Circassian Question.” Therefore, emphasizing on this issue is considered substantial to solving others, based on the “Elements of the Crime of Genocide” agreed upon by the “Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court in New York on June 30, 2000,” and the “Explanatory note: The elements of the crime of genocide follows the corresponding provisions of Articles 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998 and Article II of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide of 1948.”

— “An article by Eurasia Daily Monitor listed several events and facts that occurred with Circassian activists in the North Caucasus, which showed the insistence of the Russian authorities using police tactics to downplay the activities carried out by the Circassians.”

— “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

“(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;”

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”

— The Georgian Recognition of the Genocide

On the 19th of May 2011, the Parliament of Georgia’s concerned committees adopted a draft. The Georgian Parliament passed on May 20 with 90 votes to 0 a resolution saying that “pre-planned” mass killings of the Circassians by the Tsarist Russia in second half of 19th century, accompanied by “deliberate famine and epidemics,” should be recognized as “genocide” and those deported during those events from their homeland, should be recognized as “refugees.”

— The Importance of Recognition

— Under constant Circassian demands, to this day, and on each occasion, they look to the subject of their exposure of their people to genocide, which lead to heavy casualties, as the foundation to be taken to remove the sorrow as well as for the restoration of the Circassians’ rights in accordance with international laws and norms. “On May 21 (2014), Circassian communities worldwide commemorated the 150th anniversary of the end of the Russian- Circassian war.”

— Circassian Activists for Genocide Recognition

— The Circassian Representatives Meet with Members of the Riigikogu

— The Dimensions of Designing and Building a Genocide Monument

— The Circassian Question and the Ukrainian Factor

— According to facts, proceedings, and documents it is mandatory for the Russian State to recognize the Circassian Genocide. In that regard, Paul Goble published an article titled, Russians Won’t Admit Expulsion of Circassians was Genocide—But Ukrainians Should.

— Goble has started by mentioning the commemoration of the Circassian Memorial Day. “One hundred fifty-two years ago today, tsarist forces defeated the Circassians in the North Caucasus after the latter had successfully resisted the Russian advance for 101 years and then the Russian government expelled most of them to the Ottoman Empire, completing the genocidal policy that St. Petersburg had decided upon early on.”

— Recognizing the Circassians’ Rights

— Circassians and Crimean Tatars and the Risk of Repression

— Commemorating Genocide

12. Institutionalization of Ideological Invasion

— “Unfortunately, Circassians, whether they reside in their homeland or in Diaspora, are dealt with in a way as if they must accept what they are offered but nothing earnest or tangible. The ICA has proven weakness in presenting any legitimate Circassian project to those who have imposed their influence on the fate of an entire nation, and went further in uncalculated steps to disregard legitimate rights, dignity, and human suffering regardless of any consequences to show egoism and to please others.”

— “The Circassians Refuse Hostile Attitude”

— “Analyzing Misleading Disinformation”

— Propaganda and contradictions

— History Falsification

— The Institutional Trend

— The Circassian Action Common Mechanism

— Foreign and Intruders’ Interventions

— Future Expectations

— Propaganda as a Way of Existence

— Dimensions of Russian Duma’s Reply to Circassians’ Return to Their Motherland

— The Russian Contradictions

— Symbolic Letter

— Arbitrary Titles

— Russian-Turkish Cooperation to Produce Joint TV Series

13. Developments that Imposed Themselves on the International Scene

 — “The Focus on the Chechen and Ukrainian Factor”

— The Significance of “Blowing Up Russia” Book

— “The Developing Events in the North Caucasus”

— “Annexation of Crimea”

— “Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria”

— “Is It Going To Be a Conditional Recognition of Different Dimensions?”

— Why the Double Standards?

“East Timor and Kosovo; they are examples of who were granted by the United Nations the right to decide their own self-determination and future.”

14. Humanitarian Issues

— “The Human Dimension of the Circassian Question”

— “What Are Human Rights?”

— “Democracy, Imperialism, and Human Rights”

— A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

— “Prince Ali’s Trip to the North Caucasus”

— “Chauvinism Mixed with Religious Exclusivity”

— Cossacks’ Influence

— “Distribution of Tyranny Roles with Parallel Groups and Organizations”

— “Cemetery Vandalism”

— “Chasing the Activists”

— “Security Services Encroachment”

— Targeting Circassians and Others in Moscow

— “Faith in Humankind”

— Notes of Importance

— “Cremation as a Tool of Punishment and Revenge”

15. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

— “We cannot help in this scope but recall the International Olympic Committee’s decision to convene the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the city of Sochi, which has a special place in human and Circassian memory alike due to the particularity of the site’s being the last capital city of Circassia when the Tsarist Russian occupation took place because of the scattered graves of those who perished in that location and adjacent places while they were defending their homeland. Also, the significance of the event connected with the memories of the provocative military occupation of Sochi, the last Circassian capital city.”

— Sochi and the Focus on Inspirational Leaders

— Astronomical Costs and Crisis

— The Olympic Games on the Land of Genocide

— “The Memory of Mass Murder and Deportation”

— The Steps Taken to Seek Sochi Olympics Nomination and Execution   “Russian president Vladimir Putin made the proposal. The controversial content of the speech was seemingly intended to change and distort historical facts and realities when he mentioned, “The ancient Greeks lived around Sochi lots of centuries ago. I also saw the rock near Sochi, to which, as legend has it, Prometheus was chained. It was Prometheus who gave people fire, fire which ultimately is the Olympic flame.”

— Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

— The Sochi Aftermath

— The Quality of Structures

— The Environmental Effects of the Sochi Olympics

16. Appendices

a. The Declaration of Circassian Independence

b. Circassia: Adygs Ask European Parliament to Recognize Genocide

c. Circassian Genocide: The History of Problem, Chronicles of Events, the Scientific Conclusion

d. 10 Stages of Genocide

e. A Letter to the Estonian Leadership

f. Circassians Handed a Letter to the Estonian Parliament

g. Members of the Riigikogu Met with the Representatives of the Circassian Community 

h. The Circassians Refuse the Hostile Attitude Statement 

i. Address to the Queen of England by Circassians

* This Summary Introduction is revised in March 2024

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