The FSB had no trouble achieving that, but in doing so, it underscored the way in which the leadership of the ICA was out of touch with the Circassians it claimed to lead, nearly all of whom favored the return of Syrian Circassians to the North Caucasus. And that in turn led to what Kardnov describes as “the final collapse of the ICA’s authority.”
The FSB tried to shore up that part of the leadership that was loyal to Moscow not only by purging those in it who weren’t sufficiently supportive of the Russian line but also by organizing an international conference on the Circassian question last month. But many Circassians refused to take part in what they viewed as a pro-Russian sham show.
The Russian special service may have achieved its goal of ensuring that the ICA leadership will follow any twist and turn in Kremlin policy but it has done so only at the cost of leaving that organization a hollow shell with little influence at home or abroad. And that in turn means that Moscow’s influence on and through the Circassians will only continue to fall.