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Russian Pressure On Circassians Intensifies As Turkish Crisis Deepens – OpEd


The conflict between Russia and Turkey after the shooting down of a Russian aircraft that violated Turkish airspace has led to intensified pressure on Circassians who have succeeded in returning to their ancestral homeland in the North Caucasus and reduced still further Moscow’s willingness to take in Circassians from war-torn Syria.


FSB persecution of Circassians from Turkey has intensified since the shooting down of the Russian plane, ranging from demands that Circassians give up Turkish citizenship and take part in anti-Turkish demonstrations to arrests and bureaucratic restricts prompted Circassians to hold a protest meeting at the Russian consulate general in Istanbul last Friday (

The meeting adopted a resolution which declared that “the Circassian people must not suffer as a result of the conflict between Russia and Turkey.”  In fact, one of the organizers said, Circassians are divided about who is to blame in that conflict and are trying as much as possible to stay out of the debate.

Unfortunately, Moscow and the FSB are trying to draw them in and that is generating a backlash.  But the current problems have deep roots, the organizers say.  “If Russia has helped the Circassians of Syria and take them in [when the Syrian conflict started], then the relation of the Circassian diaspora toward Russia would be completely different.”

Indeed, some of them say, had Moscow helped Syria’s Circassians out, “there would not have been any No Sochi campaign in the run up to the Olympiad. The lack of a desire by Russia to see the Circassaians and return even some historical justice toward them has given birth to a reaction in the diaspora.”

“The most comic aspect” of the Russian-Turkish crisis, one of the Circassian demonstrators said, is that “the commander in chief of the Turkish air force is an Abaza who speaks Kabardinian and his brother in the past was the leader of KAFFED,” an indication of how integrated Circassians are in Turkish security agencies.


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “Russian Pressure On Circassians Intensifies As Turkish Crisis Deepens – OpEd

  • December 23, 2015 at 6:46 am

    The author certainly has all the criteria for a US propaganda mouth piece – State Department, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Carnegie Endowment – all US propaganda organs – couldn’t be worse. He appears to be either from, or studied in the Baltics, the worst Russia haters. The credentials for false US propaganda could hardly be more complete. No country has as many different ethnicities as Russia – and they all live in peace. And it is of course more than obvious that the US is trying its very ugliest to interfere in other countries, subvert and hound various tribes and ethnicities against each other – see the civil war in Iraq and Syria, both instigated and planned for and rebels trained to produce the mayhem, by the US. That Russia will push against such attempts is also clear – and, quite rightfully so. The author should be ashamed to sell himself for such subversion with essentially unfounded information. No sources or corroborating materials are given in his article as to where his information comes from. Except that some of these people live in the Caucasus in which the CIA and countless US NGO’s have a rather dense presence. Why would they want to lie in Russia if they want to be Turkish citizens? Russia has no obligation to accept dual passports. Some countries accept dual passports, others, including the US for many countries, do not. The US appears to believe that if it foulmouthed Russia long enough, people will believe it. But at this point it is of course obvious that the US maligns Russia to hide that the US isn’t fighting ISIS but using it to partition Iraq and destabilize Russia. The author plays right into this American atrocity.


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