Sunday, August 12, 2018

Circassians Fear Agglomeration with Krasnodar Marks ‘Beginning of the End of Adygeya’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 11 – Three days ago, the leaders of Krasnodar kray and the Adygey Republic announced the formation of a common economic zone, the Krasnodar agglomeration, in which Krasnodar will become “the single center for the adoption of decisions” (

            The new agglomeration will be marked by the construction of a new bridge across the Kuban River, a link that will tie Adygeya, a matroshka republic surrounded by Krasnodar kray, not only into the kray but into the common economic space for the development of Russia, Anzor Tamov reports (

            Some Circassian activists, the Kavkazr journalist says, view this step as a revival of Moscow’s efforts in 2006 to combine the two federal subjects into one, plans that Circassians viewed as a threat to their existence as a nation and blocked via the convention of an extraordinary congress of the Adygey (Circassian) nation.

            The predominantly ethnic Russian Krasnodar kray has 12 times as many people as Adygeya does and even with the Adygey Republic, Circassians form only about a quarter of the population. Consequently, if the two are combined, the Circassians will be overwhelmed by ethnic Russians and likely loose the ability to preserve existing Circassian institutions.

            According to Adam Bogus, a Circassian activist from Maikop, Moscow and Krasnodar have made no secret in recent months that they want to fold Adygeya into Krasnodar kray and have organized their effort this time around far more carefully than they did when they first launched their agglomeration campaign 12 years ago.

            As a result, many Circassians are pessimistic that they will be able to resist this time around. Shamsudin Neguch says that Adygeya exists “within the empire” and also “within the kray” and thus “we [already today] do not have our own state in any case.”

            And Circassian lawyer Khabakhu Abrek who lives in Krasnodar says that Moscow plans to overwhelm Adygeya demographically by moving even more ethnic Russians into the republic. Then, he suggests, this “demographic swallowing up” will be followed by economic and political union either via a referendum or a poll.

            But another Circassian, Boris Tash, says that Circassians must not lose hope and must organize in order to send a message to the Russians “once and for all that we are against uniting, be it economic or political.”

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