Thursday, May 26, 2022

Changes in Compatriots Law Part of Putin Effort to Isolate All Peoples of Russia from Their Co-Nationals Abroad, Circassians Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 11 – Circassian groups inside of Russia and abroad have reacted with outrage to a proposed change in Russian citizenship law that would strip any Circassian living abroad who does not speak Russian of the right to claim the status of Russian compatriot and thus have an easier time of returning to his or her homeland.

            The measure, now before the Duma and almost certain to pass, however, does not affect Circassians alone, although they are one of the largest diasporas from the territory now occupied by the Russian Federation with more than seven million living abroad, ten times as many as live in the historical homeland in the North Caucasus.

            Not surprisingly, the Circassians both inside Russia and abroad have focused on what this law means for them (, and

            But they have now pointed out that the proposed measure will harm all the indigenous nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation (

              The Circassians point out that the proposed changes in the citizenship law will inevitably isolate the members of nations inside the Russian Federation and those beyond its borders from one another and thus represent part of Vladimir Putin’s broader effort to cut off Russia from the outside world.

            Their argument is likely to be picked up by others again both within Russia and abroad and to be reinforced in both places by the power of the Internet, a medium that has already played such a powerful role in the development of the Circassian national movement (

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