Kabardian activists clashed with the residents of the Balkar village of Kyondelen on 18 September while trying to pass through to commemorate an 18th century battle. As of Friday, 120 people had been detained and 45 hospitalised in clashes between Kabardian and Balkar groups and police. Many experts believe that an old land dispute lies at the heart of the conflict.
Today marks Adygea’s 20th annual celebration of the Day of the Repatriate, honouring the Circassians who returned to their ancestral land after more than 150 years in exile. Many in Adygea say there is little reason to celebrate, however, as few are able to settle in the republic.
While official statistics may say otherwise, many see unemployment in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia as among the worst in Russia. Deindustrialisation, social alienation, and local corruption have all played a part in the region’s stagnation.
The Circassian national movement in the North Caucasus has for years been under pressure from the authorities. Facing detention, prosecution, or outright violence, Circassian activists, scholars, and young people all feel the pressure, but there is much disagreement as to why they are being targeted.
Krasnodar’s regional appellate court has upheld a fine against Ruslan Gvashev, a former Circassian leader, for performing a traditional Circassian prayer. [Read more…]
Ruslan Gvashev, a 67-year-old Circassian activist who was fined for performing a traditional Circassian prayer in public, has ended his hunger strike after 25 days. The appeal against his fine has been postponed.
A 67-year-old Circassian activist on hunger strike in Krasnodar Krai has suffered a stroke. Ruslan Gvashev has been protesting for 24 days after being fined for performing a public prayer at a sacred tulip tree in the village of Golovinka, near Sochi. [Read more…]
A rally in solidarity with a 67-year-old Circassian activist was held in Sukhumi (Sukhum) on 27 September. The former Shapsug leader has been on hunger strike in Krasnodar Krai for more than two weeks.
The media in Kabardino-Balkaria parrots an extremely rosy picture of the republic. However, journalists and activists almost all admit privately — that with an eye towards the Kremlin (and Kadyrov’s growing army next door in Chechnya) — freedom of speech has been utterly decimated, and controversial topics go completely unreported.
Officially sanctioned organisations in what was once historical Circassia work almost exclusively to promote Circassian language and culture. Beneath the surface, however, young people espouse more radical ambitions — recognition of the Circassian Genocide, and creation of a united Circassia.