Staunton, April 24 – In addition to the Circassian language and the Circassian code of etiquette, the genocide that was committed against the Circassian people by tsarist forces in 1864 has become “part of the Circassian mentality,” Merab Chukhua, the director of Tbilisi’s Circassian Center says.
It unites Circassians around the world regardless of their linguistic and cultural differences and will keep them in opposite to Russia as long as Russia refuses to recognize that a genocide occurred. If Moscow were to admit that, it would be easier for all sides to cooperate, he says (caucasustimes.com/ru/merab-chuhu-genocid-cherkesov-ostaetsja-na-povestke-dnja/).
Russia’s image in the world and among Circassians would only go up if it were to recognize that a genocide occurred, Chukhua says. That is what happened after 1995 when Russia recognized the genocide of the Armenians in 1915. More than that, he says, such a recognition could “unite Circassians and Muscovites.”
Circassian concern about the genocide isn’t going to disappear, and as long as Russia refuses to recognize it, that will be a source of division between the Circassians and the Russian state, the Georgian specialist on Circassian life says. But if Moscow were to recognize it, then a new “harmonization in these relations” would occur.
Russians would lose nothing and gain a lot, Chukhua argues, because in that event, “the Circssians would certainly respond positively toward Russia … Every Circassian in the depth of his soul knows that there w as a genocide. If you were to make a picture of the Circassian soul, you would beyond question see genocide there.”
“So let Russia negotiate with the Circassians and once and for all close this issue” not only for the Russians but for the Circassians as well,” he concludes.