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.
Around 150 people gathered on Tbilisi’s Aghmashenebeli Avenue on 19 July, in solidarity with a woman who was threatened with gang rape after criticising a far-right march in the city. Aghmashenebeli was recently host to the ethno-nationalist, male-dominated ‘March of Georgians’.
Police in Georgia have opened an investigation into organisers of the recent far-right March in Tbilisi, after a number of them threatened a woman who criticised their movement with rape.
Hundreds took to the streets in Tbilisi on 14 July, in a xenophobic, ethno-nationalist rally. The ‘March of Georgians’ railed against ‘illegal immigrants’, meaning anyone not Christian and white. But some on the far-right dissented against pro-Russian sentiments within the movement.
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.