Sunday, February 25, 2024

Moscow Tightening Screws on Circassians who have Returned to Their North Caucasus Homeland, Reducing Prospects for Revival of National Movement There, Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 21 – Since the expanded war in Ukraine began two years ago, Russian officials have tightened the screws on those Circassians who have returned to their North Caucasus homeland, restricting their activities, treating them as Russians rather than Circassians, and insisting they actively support the Kremlin rather than simply avoid criticizing it.

            At a time when fewer Circassians want to return and when Moscow is placing restrictions on those who do, that is the message coming from some of the roughly 3,000 Circassians who have returned to the North Caucasus over the last 15 years (

            Indeed, the situation has become so dire for the returnees, that these activists say that there is little reason to expect a rebirth of the Circassian national movement inside Russia until there is regime change, that is, until Vladimir Putin leaves the scene. Until then, few Circassians abroad will want to go back; and those already there will simply try to avoid trouble.

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