Memory Day in the village of Bolshoi Kichmaj, May 21, 2018. Photo: Asker Sokht

23 May 2018, 05:29

Memory of victims of Caucasian War helps Circassians preserve their national identity

The Memorial Day for victims of the Caucasian War is an integral part of modern Circassian identity, believes Zaurbek Kozhev, a researcher at the Kabardino-Balkarian Institute of Humanitarian Studies.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on May 21, prayer services, rallies and marches in memory of the victims of the Caucasian War were held in several regions of Russia, as well as in Turkey and Abkhazia.

The Caucasian War, which lasted from 1763 to 1864, put Adygs (Circassians) on the brink of complete extinction. After the war and mass deportation to the Ottoman Empire, just a little more that 50,000 of them were left in their homeland. Circassian organizations insist that Russian authorities should declare Circassian genocide during the Caucasian War.

"Unfortunately, 90 percent of the people now live in other countries. Modern Circassians associate such situation with the Caucasian War and its consequences, with the genocide and ethnic cleansing that occurred in the last years of the war," Zaurbek Kozhev told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

According to the researcher, it is extremely important to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Caucasian War.

"This is our historical past, our historical consciousness. And to have some historical prospects in the future as a nation, we should not forget ... why 90 percent of Circassians are forced to live outside their historical homeland," noted Zaurbek Kozhev.

Apart from being the day of remembrance and sorrow, the day of May 21 is also a warning that no such things should happen to any other people, believes Madina Khakushaeva, PhD in Philology, Professor at the Kabardino-Balkarian State University (KBSU).

According to her, it is important that all the nations in Russia should be aware of the tragedy of Circassian people and understand what can happen with wrong policies.

"Unfortunately, those lessons were taken into account at no level. And that is of the highest concern for us. Russia ignored those lessons. I believe it is an alarming sign indicating absence of real democracy," the Professor said.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Gor Aleksanyan; Source: CK correspondent

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