22 March 2010, 20:00

Parliament of Georgia asked to recognize Circassians' genocide in Russian Empire

On March 21 in Tbilisi, a conference named "Concealed Nations, Crimes-in-Progress: Circassians and Peoples of Northern Caucasus between Past and Future" passed a resolution and addressed the parliament of Georgia with a request to recognize the genocide committed in the 19th century by Russian Empire against Circassians.

The international scientific conference was organized by the American "Jamestown Foundation" an International School of Caucasian Studies at the Tbilisi State University.

Georgian experts believe adoption of resolution on recognition of Circassians' genocide possible

The conference passed a resolution on recognition of Circassians' genocide. In the opinion of a Georgian political scientist Giya Nodiya, the request will be considered, and the parliament will have some debates. "But I'm not sure that a positive decision will eventually be made. This rather complex decision would put Georgia in a somewhat uneasy attitude towards Armenia," he said.

At the same time, an MP Giya Tortladze has already promised that the issue of regarding Russia's actions against Circassians' to be genocide will be considered by the Georgian parliamentary group of friendship with North-Caucasian parliaments. He made this statement yesterday, on March 21, and added that "the request of the Circassian nation is quite legitimate," the "Caucasus Online" reports.

Another MP - Nugzar Tsiklauri - also believes that the parliament of Georgia will consider, in the near future, the issue of recognizing as genocide Russia's actions against Circassians. "Despite the very destructive role of the Russian Federation, we should not interrupt our centuries-old ties with the peoples of Northern Caucasus," the "Rosbalt" quotes Mr Tsiklauri as saying.

The conference has immediately received its political resonance. Russian and Georgian media made publications warning that even the fact of raising this topic in Tbilisi may sharply aggravate the Russian-Georgian relations, strained without it, as the "Echo of the Caucasus" reports.

Russian political scientist: Empire had no plans to liquidate Adygs as an ethnic group

The "New Policy" writes that the resolution of the conference will be presented to Georgian MPs on May 20. "However today it is impossible to tell for sure whether the Georgian parliament will take the way of recognizing the 19th century events as genocide; however, we can state already now: Tbilisi has an additional political argument against Russia," said political scientist Sergey Markedonov.

Answering the question why the "Circassian issue" has become politically topical this March, Mr Markedonov has noted that in 2014 the city-resort Sochi will host the next Winter Olympiad. "Meanwhile, the value of this territory is not limited to the Olympic topic only. Today Sochi is also a platform of uneasy "fights for history," he said.

He reminded that in 1864 the place of today's settlement Krasnaya Polyana (Red Meadow), Adler District of the so-called Big Sochi (then, it was Kbaade village) was the venue of the last event of the long Caucasian War. After defeat of the Adyg (Circassian) tribes, a parade of Russian troops was held there attended by Great Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich. After the Russian Empire had established its control over the mountain part of the territory behind the Kuban River and the northeast Black Sea Coast, a small part of Adyg nobility got incorporated into the imperial class of state servants. But at the same time over 90 percent of the Adyg (Circassian) population moved into the Ottoman Empire.

"The concept of 'genocide' assumes liquidation not resettlement as a result of the war, and not even violent deportation. It is understood as "actions committed with intention to liquidate, in full or in part, some national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such," the political scientist has marked. In his opinion, forced expatriation became a heavy psychological trauma for many Adygs; however, the Empire had no plans to eradicate Adygs as an ethnic group.

Keshev: Circassians have full moral right to address world community with their problems

Ruslan Keshev, head of the Circassian Congress of Kabardino-Balkaria was invited and planned to take part in the conference. "If we have a chance that at least one country will recognize the Circassians' genocide, it should be used," he said in his interview to the "Natpress" Agency.

"In fact, a hidden genocide continues. Examples are in permanent attempts to liquidate the statehood of Adygea, transfer of Circassian lands to Balkars in Kabardino-Balkaria, creation of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), which has again divided us, and ignoring Circassians in the context of Sochi Olympiad," Mr Keshev has explained.

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