Staunton, July 23 – It is a measure of the remarkable success the Circassians have had over the last five years in raising the status of the issues of greatest concern to them that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the very first time has indicated that he wants to work with one of their organizations, the International Circassian Association.
When Russia is confronted by a group that it views as marginal, Moscow first ignores it and then attacks it if it concludes that the attacks won’t work to the benefit of the group. But only if the Russian center concludes the group can’t be ignored does it express a desire to work with it, often the first stage in an effort by Moscow disorder the group or take control of it.
Since the Circassians attracted international attention in the run-up to the Sochi Olympiad, Russian media outlets have routinely attacked that group which seeks to have its expulsion from Russia in 1864 declared an act of genocide, to allow Circassians from the diaspora to return home, and to form a single Circassian republic in the North Caucasus.
Those attacks are now continuing; indeed, if anything, they are intensifying and trying to present the Circassian cause as a creation of Western and Israeli intelligence rather than as the product of the history of that five-million-strong people, ten percent of whom are still in Russia (kremlinpress.ru/news/analitika/cherkesskaya-karta-kto-razzhigaet-mezhnatsionalnuyu-nenavist/