A memorial sign installed in the place of the fort. Sochi. Photo by Svetlana Kravchenko for the "Caucasian Knot"

04 July 2020, 23:48

Historians criticize installation of Caucasian War monument in Sochi

In Sochi, a memorial sign has been installed in the place of the fort built by Russian troops in 1837 during the Caucasian War. This sign will split the society, Zurab Gadjiev believes. Any mentioning of the terrible events of the Caucasian War is painful for the Circassian people, Ruslan Gvashev, an activist, has explained.

The sculpture was installed in the place of the Holy Spirit Fortress, founded in 1837, after the landing of the Russian Army on Cape Adler.

"In June 1837, Russian soldiers and officers fought a fierce battle with the highlanders," the Sochi administration website has informed.

The Caucasian War lasted from 1763 to 1864 and put the Adyg nations on the brink of extinction. After the war and mass deportation of Adygs (Circassians) to the Ottoman Empire, a little more than 50,000 of them remained in the homeland. Circassian organizations demand from Russian authorities to recognize the Circassians' genocide during the Caucasian War.

Any mentioning of terrible events of the Caucasian War is painful for Circassians, Ruslan Gvashev, one of the founders of the international Circassian movement, believes.

"Sochi has no need of so many monuments reminding of the Caucasian War. I believe that this is a demonstration by Russia of its strength in front of small nations," Mr Gvashev has stated.

The installation of memorial signs in Sochi in memory of the Caucasian War is not a very wise political decision, Khadjimurad Donogo, a Dagestani historian, believes. He is sure that Russia and small nations should look for common ground that would bring them together, rather than split, since they historically live in the same territory.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 4, 2020 at 10:28 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Svetlana Kravchenko; Source: CK correspondent

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