Circassian Independence:

Thoughts on the Current Political Situation of the Circassians


Amjad Jaimoukha


The August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia is having and is slated to have profound and long-lasting effects on the political situation and attitudes in the whole of the Caucasus. One outcome that is of fundamental importance – and a source of great joy – to the overwhelming majority of Northwest Caucasians (Circassians=Adiga, Abkhaz-Abaza=Apswa, and Ubykh=Pakhy) in the Caucasus and diaspora is the recognition of Abkhazia’s independence by Russia (and a few days later also by Nicaragua and a number of internationally unrecognized entities). The ancient Abkhaz nation, which is steeped in tradition and classical history, seems to have taken yet another big step in the arduous path towards full independence.[1] The primordial will of a vigorous and lively nation has won yet another battle in the long war against the dark forces of hegemony and negation of the other. 


This exciting development has opened the door wide for the Circassians to openly express and co-ordinate their efforts to substantiate their demand for independence. Surely, if Russia could extend sovereign recognition to the 200,000 Abkhazians, then it would also be receptive to the justified demand of the more than one million Circassians in the Northwest Caucasus (and the multi-million strong Circassian diaspora) to consolidate and reunite their country ‘Circassia’, which had existed for millennia prior to Russian occupation in the 19th century, and to declare independence.


The first palpable ‘nationalistic’ response by the Circassians to the cataclysmic events in the Caucasus took place in November 2008, when a group of Circassian youth in the Northwest Caucasus demanded the unification of the Circassians into a single republic. During a meeting of the International Circassian Congress (ICC) on 23 November in Cherkessk, the capital of the Karachai-Cherkess Republic, convened to discuss the failure of the new (Karachai) president of the Republic, Boris Ebzeyev, to appoint a Circassian to the position of prime minister (as is required by political convention in the multi-ethnic Republic), hundreds of Circassian youth forcibly voiced their demand for the creation of a united Circassian republic (within the Russian Federation). The demand was adopted as a proposal by the Congress.[2]  ... Read more in the attached Microsoft Word and pdf files.

[1] Those interested in gaining a perspective on Abkhaz history, and other issues, unadulterated by Georgian nationalist drivel can do worse than read Prof. George Hewitt’s seminal book The Abkhazians: A Handbook, London: RoutledgeCurzon, 1999.


[2] For full details and implications of the meeting of the International Circassian Congress, see Fatima Tlisova (26 November 2008); Paul Goble (26 November 2008); and Liz Fuller (10 December 2008).


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