Monday, August 26, 2019

Word ‘Adygey’ Not Just a Name but a Mark of Moral Qualities, Shazzo Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 24 – As Circassians resist both Russianization and Islamization and seek national unity and revival, ever more of them argue their future depends on Adygey Khabze, the traditional moral code which has long governed the lives of their people (cf. and

            Now a Circassian scholar, Aslan Shazzo has strengthened that argument by providing evidence that the etymology of the word “Adygey,” the self-designator for Circassians, is rooted in that code rather than simply being the name of the people (Vestnik Nauki ARIGI, 19 (43): 29-43 at

            Many nations present themselves not only as ethnically distinct but morally as well; and Shazzo’s detailed scholarly article is well within that tradition. But it is even more important in the Circassian case because it represents a serious challenge to the divisions of the Circassian nation that Moscow has imposed.

            That is because even though the Soviets and following them the Russian authorities insist that the Adygey, the Cherkessk, the Kabardins, the Shapsugs and several other smaller nationalities are distinct, all these peoples acknowledge their allegiance to the Adygey Khabze moral code.

            By providing yet another intellectual argument for their commonality, Shazzo is helping to promote that unity and the current campaign to have members of all of these groups declare themselves Circassians (Adygeys) in the upcoming 2020 Russian census, something many national activists hope will be another step toward the restoration of a Circassian Republic.

            Consequently, what may look to outsiders as an abstruse intellectual discussion is in fact high politics – and an important part of the national rebirth of the Circassian nation.

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