Friday, September 10, 2021

Two New Circassian Organizations Take Up Cudgels for that Nation’s History, Language and Toponymy

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 10 – Two new Circassian organizations set up last week in Kabardino-Balkaria plan to take up the cudgels for the defense of Circassian history, the survival and growth of the Circassian language, and the maintenance or even more the defense of Circassian place names across the North Caucasus.

            The first of these is the Circassian (Adyg) Historical-Geographic Society, and the second is the Unified Circassian Media Space. They already show signs that they will invigorate Circassian activism generally and challenge Moscow ( and

            The founder of the first, Asker Khashirov says that “the main goal of the society is the popularization of Circassian culture” and that to that end, its first major project will be to study archives about the deportation of the Circassians from their homeland in the 1860s that are located in the Republic of Georgia.

            He said his group is especially committed to preserving the historical toponymy of the Circassians, “since through it an individual can feel his ties to the motherland.” In addition, Kharshirov said, the Society hopes to promote the development of a new generation of historians and other researchers to help support the Circassian people and their language.

            All these goals put the two groups on a collision course with Russian policy not only in terms of their specific content and involvement with neighboring countries like Georgia but also because these two groups, although created in the KBR, explicitly position themselves as Circassian organizations representing all the Circassians of the North Caucasus.

            As such, they will give aid and comfort to those who want to promote that common identity in place of the national subdivisions the Soviets divided that nation into, something that it is going to be a source of conflict in near future given the campaign among Circassians to have Adygs, Kabards and Cherkess among others declare themselves that in the census.

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