Staunton, May 25 – Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, Moscow has increased pressure on Circassian activists in the North Caucasus, confident that if it can force them to emigrate, that will kill off the movement as it has done with some ethnic Russian activists who have fled abroad, Turkey-based Circassian activist Kase Kik says.
But Moscow’s assumption that what has worked with ethnic Russians will work with the Circassians has backfired; and each new émigré arriving from the homeland in Turkey and other countries where 90 percent of the world’s Circassians now live is energizing the Circassian national movement (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/388959/).
“Russia’s powers that be are in the main incompetent in their analyses” of the Circassians because they follow all-Russian models. When leaders of other nations are forced to emigrate, Kik continues, “they quickly lose attention and relevance in Russian society and fall into political oblivion.”
But this pattern doesn’t work with Circassians, Kik says. Most Circassians live in the diaspora and only gain from the political skills of those Moscow is forcing out. That is having another consequence Moscow appears not to have counted on: the new arrivals are reducing the influence of FSB-penetrated bodies like the International Circassian Association.
It is also leading to the rise of new Circassian groups, including the Circassian Committee, an organization of which Kik is a part and which plans to step up the pressure for the return of Circassians to their homeland and the creation of an independent Circassian state in the borders it had before the Russian conquest.
Kik’s words are yet another indication that Moscow’s continuing efforts to penetrate and disable the Circassian national movement aren’t working and that the Circassians are now on their way to gaining support both within Russian Federation and beyond them (jamestown.org/program/moscow-continues-efforts-to-penetrate-circassian-diaspora/ and jamestown.org/program/moscow-faces-increased-difficulties-in-countering-circassian-national-movement/