03 June 2003, 03:08
They call themselves adige, Abkhazs call them azikhu, Svans call them kashag, Ossetins call them kasag, Karachaevs call them cherkesli, Georgians call them cherkezi, Nogais call them sherkesh, Chechens call them cherkazo. It?s an ethnic group that includes Adygs, Kabardins, Cherkes. Their population in Russia is 559,7 thousand people. Main part of Adygs live in Adygeya (95,4 thousand people), main part of Kabardins live in Kabardino-Balkaria (363,5 thousand people), main part of Cherkess live in Karachaevo-Cherkesia (40,2 thousand people). They also live in many countries of the world, mainly in the Near and the Middle East. There they are usually called Cherkes, settled compactly and include the Abazins, Abkhazs, Ossetins and the other newcomers from the North Caucasus. There are 150 thousand of them in Turkey, 25 thousand in Jordan, 15 thousand in Iran, 5 thousand in Iraq, 2 thousand in Lebanon, in Syria - 32 thousand together with the Chechens, altogether about 250 thousand people. Their total number is over 1 million people. They speak the Adyg and Kabardino-Cherkessk languages. Believers are Moslems-sunnits.
According to the Gulistan treaty of 1813 between Iran and Russia the territory of Dagestan joined Russia. Adygs participated in the liberation struggle of the mountaineers of Dagestan and Chechnya leaded by Shamil (1834-59). According to the administrative reforms of the 60-ies Adygs entered the Avar, And and Gunib districts. Commodity-money relations started to penetrate Adygs, their trade and economic connections grew, there appeared industrial workers, intelligentsia, merchants. In 1921 they joined the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (since 1991 - Dagestan Republic). In 1928 the literacy of Adygs was transferred to Latin alphabet, in 1938 - to Russian alphabet.