May 21, 160 Years Since the Circassian Genocide and Deportation: Patience Brings Success

May 21, 160 Years Since the Circassian Genocide and Deportation:

Patience Brings Success

Adel Bashqawi

May 21, 2024

Painful memories persist from the occupation, haunting the collective consciousness to this day. Despite the passage of numerous decades, the Russian state has persistently tested the patience of Circassians and other peoples of the North Caucasus. Through close collaboration with local authorities and loyal proxies, the Russian state consistently disregards legal demands to restore rightful rights to their original owners.

Colonial goals and ambitions, whether overt or covert, always aim to maintain the status quo of annexation and assimilation until extinction, thus perpetuating processes of sectarian, ethnic and cultural division. However, the tactics used may vary. One such tactic is to encourage young people from the North Caucasus to move to Russian cities such as Moscow to work, thus contributing to their alienation from their families and homeland.

This strategy weakens the sense of national identity instead of fostering opportunities for local employment and improving conditions in their native regions. The more constructive approach lies in motivating them to fulfill their responsibilities, fostering bonds of brotherhood, respect, affection, solidarity, cooperation, and national unity with their compatriots in every possible way. Such efforts are essential for countering selfishness, narcissism, and vanity, which only serve to distract from the critical task of preserving the homeland and reclaiming usurped rights.

It is important to realize that the colonial agenda seeks to divert the Circassian nation from the ideas of protecting the homeland and restoring rights that have been ignored for a long time, a struggle that has persisted, and continues, for more than one hundred and sixty years. But in their tireless quest to regain their legitimate rights, the Circassians will not succumb to the fate of “Sisyphus,” who is doomed to repeatedly push a rock up a hill only for it to inevitably roll back down, according to Greek myth.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

There is no denying the reality of the blind hatred and enduring obsession that has characterized the Russian exclusionary and demographic policy both in the past and present. This policy is centered on displacing and fragmenting the original population while simultaneously introducing new settlers to fulfill the typical colonial agenda. The aim is to replace as much of the indigenous population as possible, often resulting in mass deportation, all in pursuit of the colonial objective of altering the demographic makeup of the region.

The Russian state must acknowledge and confront the Circassian genocide and its enduring consequences. It is imperative that the Russian government recognize the right of Circassians to return to their homeland under international auspices. This would facilitate their exercise of self-determination in their ancestral lands while also ensuring the preservation of their national identity, culture, unified Circassian language, and heritage.

It is crucial that we adopt an approach prioritizing national interests over narrow personal concerns. Cooperation and coordination among stakeholders will enhance efforts to promote the public good. Rather than lamenting past injustices, our national duty calls for focusing on addressing the lasting effects of the brutal occupation that extends from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Attention must also be directed towards addressing existing inequalities and taking proactive steps within the framework of comprehensive cooperation. Meaningful dialogue, characterized by wisdom, responsibility, convergence, harmony, and compatibility whether at homeland or in the diaspora, is necessary, is essential. It is imperative that such dialogue transcends mere lip service and leads to concrete action.

Decisions guided by rational thinking necessitate continued commitment to chosen paths that lead to the realization of desired objectives. This entails collective efforts steering towards noble goals, thereby preventing the dominance of any single entity in decision-making processes. Attention must remain firmly fixed on addressing critical issues, including the restoration of rights to their rightful owners.

The policies of the colonial state were marked by exploiting contradictions. The well-known officials engaged in manipulative tactics and colonial logic that permeated and circumvented laws and regulations intended for superficial and public relations purposes. They brazenly underestimated peoples and nations, disregarding even their fundamental rights, by violating the very laws and regulations they purportedly established and endorsed under their so-called federation.

In conclusion, Aristotle’s adage resonates with those who refrain from action or seek to hinder others from fulfilling their obligations: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” [1]


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