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Cherkessians - russian "indians" from Caucasus

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Runwildkangaroo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Jan 2015 at 00:45
So, time oral demand for this subject isn't interesting, and asked to read after all, I should lay out the thoughts in the letter.
In advance I emphasize that the opinion is extremely subjective and can not coincide with opinion of the majority.
Krasnodar Krai, Kuban, Russia. Region of contradictions. Locals are hated and loved it. Hate for an ostentatious nativism. It masked Cossacks to which structure anyone can get and which powers day by day grow by leaps and bounds, feeding national rushes of local government, both amusing fairs, and posters of Cossacks embracing Circassians, both their parades and monuments to Ekaterina the Queen dirtied by pigeons. Love for that after all it rich and warm land. Not locals are despised and loved it. Despise for that is behind Moscow and for rudeness comparable with Moscow, and for bad mentality of the locals. Love for Sochi, the sea, apples.
And there are still visitors who are difficult for dividing here because this region always was multi-national in a certain measure, and began to turn into Babylon from languages and the people, with the amendment that Babylon on ruins more than 150 years yet.
There are, of course, a number of the intense moments connected with citizens of the Russian Federation from nearby regions – but here everything are much quieter, than in other Russian Federation. The speech not about it. The speech about the last category, namely natives, living both in the region, and in the small republic, appendicitis sheltered along coast of the Kuban River and White River.
Their relation to region the most mysterious because I suspect that simply isn't present it in general, any relation – simply emptiness. And it is very strange as this category of people, is more exact than nationalities, suffered more all. Words of Indian Geronimo battling to army of the USA at the end of the 19th century for 25 years are remembered. After defeat, he told that now the spirit of its people is dead in spite of the fact that physically his descendants will live and prosper in the new world. Most likely, the same phenomenon comprehended Adygea Republic, and together with tragic events of the 20th century cleaned from memory of people the past, historically and in mentality. Anything the general. Though yes, there are some people, both in Russia, and in the world who fight for restoration of Circassia, failure of the Olympic Games and other assets – but it is policy, mentality can't be return anymore. In Russia it disappeared by efforts at first of the Empire, and then by the USSR, abroad descendants of Adyghes dissipated at first across the Middle East where the Muslim mentality alien to them completely forced out traditional outlook, there was a full assimilation. However, at the time of resettlement there was still the Ottoman Empire which built the domestic policy as the modern USA – any nations, all Ottomans and a point.
All this lyrics. What for I write it? I just want understand how so it turned out that such drama and large-scale period in the history of our country appeared not simply behind a board, and in full isolation, and thus even not so much in the Russian Federation at all, as in the region. Since the childhood, at school, in university, we were taught same – Catherine the Great here governed, and decided to expand borders, having moved into Kuban part of Cossacks. And then bang! at once villages appeared, the Crimean war, the Turkish war, and then at once revolution and the USSR. Nothing about the Caucasian war. If speak about it, only within Shamil's revolt in Chechnya and no words about the Circassian muhajirun, about heavy service of our soldiers in the region in those days.
And so, I decided to be run briefly (as far as it in general is perhaps short) on the period from resettlement of Cossacks to the Soviet power in this region, is subjective, in own way, having described these events of that managed to study for the last year from different sources.

So, question 1 – resettlement of Cossacks.
You, probably, imagine that in Kuban region of Russia lived to themselves the Zaporozhskie Cossacks, that disturbed the Turkish sultan, ignored the Russian emperor and was they are fine and good, as in animated films about Cossacks. At all not.
So it developed that the Russian Empire in the middle of the 18th century (before the resettlement into Kuban) already owned all northern and western part of Ukraine. In Kuban at that time, in its part, northern from the river, in the field there lived nomadic Nogais  - the splinter of the Golden Horde, the Tatar tribe which was earlier living in the east of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. The Russian Empire quite often pitted them against the Caucasian people in the military purposes, such buffer of a front line. And it must be said, they seldom brought because with Caucasians they  had intense relations even before russian period. But so it happened that in Kuban imperial troops decided to liquidate the biggest movement and very coolly substituted. Personally general Suvorov, still young, directed that "the cabin of Nogais". Then these Nogais took offense, turn around and (I will emphasize – forcibly) went to Kyrgyzstan all crowd, owned there actually this Kyrgyzstan and having become Kyrgyz nation. Their remains, in a small amount, settled in Kalmykia and Dagestan having become the most faithful citizens of the empire. In the same place they also live to this day.
Thus, round Zaporozhskaya Sech (old Ukrainian cossacs semi-state) the trap was formed, and it right there decided to slam, having liquidated free Sech. Ekaterina told Cossacks – give blow to the Kuban, other options aren't present. The two-week embassy in St. Petersburg from Cossacks didn't turn an outcome. As a result Cossacks gathered and were divided, one went to Kuban into the swamps to live, others went to Turkey (to the region of present Romania where to this day there live their descendants).
So in Kuban there were first settlements. And the first 15 lived years they quite peacefully with local Adyghe (Cherkessians own name). And even few times acted with copper guns on protection of the next bzhedug tribes of Cherkessians in internal wars.
And further began...

Question 2 – why began?
And began, at all not because someone to someone salted. The matter is that since Zaporozhkaya Sech - both imperial troops, and Cossacks liked to go to Turks (non-war attacks). And in particular, in Kuban region, such purposes as fortresses Anapa (now there such avenue in the center of city, powerful fortification went on it before, and from the rock where the beacon is - Russian troops threw Turks in break) and Sujuk Calais (slightly to the south of Novorossiysk) painfully were to the taste to them. Imperial troops even few times took Anapa at the time of wars, but for a while because it was difficult to keep it in the hostile region. Cossacks went there for the sake of a robbery and glory, generally disgracefully and even in places catastrophically. And there was at them such type as heroes. Alone they went to desert coast of Kuban and there met with the same Circassian heroes. Such epic fights, wrestling of the 18th century.
Sure Turks strained from all this disgrace in the region. And especially strongly they strained when Cossacks settled on Kuban river.
It was difficult to make direct attack in view of the fact that Kuban submitted to Turkey only nominally. More exact Turks considered it as own, and Adyghes considered that simply allowed to occupy with it outlets that it was convenient to trade and only ashore. There is even a story how the Turkish pasha when the Adygei elders refused to it in acceptance of the power was enraged. He told them that after war their territory under the contract is returned again to the sultan, and elders answered it that never this earth belonged to neither Russians, nor Turks, and that the sultan with the tsar shared a birdie on a tree whom if he wants, can try to catch.
And so, Turks in reply began promotion of Islam. Then it for the first time appeared in Kuban. And then they began to pay money for captives, and considering the wild and simple nature of natives, easy money began to dim minds of mountaineers as dim compulsive gamblers by slot machines in Vegas.

And there is a question 3 – and what mentality and religion of Adyghe, if not Islam?
The biggest delusion to think that all Adyghes are Muslims.
By the way, they were Christians and much earlier then Russia. Yes, in the first centuries of a new era, right after Georgia and Armenia, so-called Zikhiya, the Adygei country, became Christian. In Byzantium there was even a representative of separate Zikh Church, there was at them also the bishop.
Nearly one thousand years there were Adyghe Christians, since Byzantium didn't fall and the religion didn't begin to die away. Even 100 years ago on all region it was possible to meet crosses on eminences and ruins of ancient churches, and in customs of natives Christian ceremonies remained. What to speak, even the most ardent Muslims from Adyghe continued and continue to celebrate Easter.
But strangely enough, own religious beliefs strongly remained always, practically till 30th years of the 20th century when the Soviet power cut down all sacred groves in the region. Yes, oak sacred groves, as at druids where there were houses of worship the nature and fauna. The Supreme deity was Tkha who, as well as Zeus, lived at top of the mountain of Oshkhamakho (Elbrus). Tkha is surprising God. It gave a freedom of choice to all, encouraged to live as heart orders, to respect old men and women. In the company of Adyghe there was no division between man and woman, the man and the woman were equal and even more, the woman was sacral, respected in society. There were still gods of the woods, the rivers, seas to whom made a sacrifice for successful hunting. There were gods of a thunder-storm, and was considered as great happiness to die of a lightning stroke. Cherkessians didn't like to fish. Water was drunk only from cool streams (it if to speak about mountain inhabitants).
In general, the religion and philosophy extensive also reminds mix of Confucianism, Taoism and a druidizm.
People, in view of such simple natural life, were as children - naive and impressionable that harmful affected their communication with representatives of "the highest civilizations" and, especially, at religious influence. The Adyghe could nurse a puppy, and in an hour to cut the heads, but thus, even having cut off them, as if apologizing, buried with honors and respect for the enemy as made it not specially, and owing to the external circumstances which pushed it on this villainy.
It seems to me that so rich and thought-over philosophy was born not in primitive society and was result of activity of their very far ancestors living at the time of early pyramids of Egypt near the White river near Maikop city. For a long time a fact in evidence what exactly in this place there were world's largest foundries of copper and a blackmore's work delivering the copper weapon to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, to the first civilizations.
Generally, here such picture was inside the society, living on the territory from Kuban to the Black Sea and from Taman Peninsula to North Ossetia.
The nationality was split up for tribes with small distinction in language. Approximately I will describe territories of their living – Natukhais (Taman Peninsula, Anapa city), Shapsugs (from Anapa city to the Goryachiy Kluch city and from Slavyansk city to the Black sea, along the coast to Dagomys city), Bzhedugi (along Kuban river in modern Adygea Republic), Temirgoyev tribe (to the South from Kuban river opposite to Ust-Labinsk city) they were a King's tribe, something like the Adygei elite, Abadzekhi (to the East from Ust-Labinsk city to Kabardino-Balkaria Republic and to the South from it to the Lago-Naki mountain plate, to the North form Krasnaya Polyana - Sochi Olympic village), Ubykhs – between Tuapse city and Abkhazia Republic, Kabardians – actually in the same place, where and now - in Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. The last were conquered by Russian before all, and therefore they hid own rebel knightes  in Adygea.
Here still two moments - first tribes lived differently, initially they had leaders (Orks), princely elite, but shortly before resettlement of Cossacks on Kuban, in several tribes there was a democratic revolution and the people took the power, at these tribes national councils were created. Therefore there was a civil strife. Secondly, there is a legend, about the tsar Inale who had sons Temryuk, Besleney, Bzhedug and so forth (the others definitely I don't remember already), which divided tribes among themselves. Here such amusing story of regional topographical names.

So, we smoothly approach a question 4 – and what further, what happened to these people?
And there was a bad story. The Russian-Turkish war as a result of which russian troops took the Turkish fortresses on the bank of Anapa and Novorossiysk was started anew. Already then the Turkish promotion worked with all the might and the Circassians who went mad from money very strongly strained russian troops, and especially Cossack line in Kuban where there was an infinite guerrilla war with joint cutting at nights of circassian auls and villages by the parties. And, this guerrilla warfare lasted also in a peace time, that is summary about 100 years. Near Temryuk city and Azov Seaside even floating groups of bandits worked (psikhadze) because of what the service there reminded modern to us Afghanistan or Iraq there, it was considered as a full ass.
After war Russians left fortresses, and everything repeated, besides, that in Adygea the first imams and minarets began to appear. But they got strike from local shamans.
Then there was the Crimean war in which Adyghes didn't take advantage and remained neutral. As they explained – we don't need war and the nobody's parties - just don't tresspass our lands.
But nobody mark their interest.
It is necessary to notice that in those days Krasnodar Krai was represented as dark and terrible impassable bogs with rocks. On all world maps it was mainly white spot, nobody didn't know internal geography.
At this time were built first fortresses – from Anapa to Gagra, small, sheltered on rocky plumbs, constant in a siege and reported only by sea. The service in them was deadly. From 50 to 100% of staff of fortresses perished from malaria for a year of service. It was especially terrible in Abkhazia representing one continuous bog in impassable rocks – there was a continuous hunger and malaria, everywhere dirt, and still the groups passing along the sea at rocks (yes, then roads and tunnels weren't) often were ambushed and then corpses of people and horses layed for months of decay at the sea coast because nobody decided to drag them from there, being afraid of an ambush. Generally, the coast of the Black Sea was a real hell.
All these fortresses were destroyed after the Crimean war. And in Arkhipo-Osipovka village was more great hell - there fortress was taken by mountaineers by sudden attack, took because for them were blocked ways for purchase of food, and they, having despaired, and having been refused from russian troops in the admission of dealers, in the winter crowd threw in fortress. There was a soldier Arkhip Osipov who blew up a cellar together with the fortress when understood that they defeated by circassians. It ruins over the settlement of the same name  can be found on the hill to this day.
And here the Caucasian war began, and there was it long and as a result ended with Shamil's capture and a capture of the aul of Gunib and Adygea appeared in a ring. Then the decision to capture her once and for all was made.
The emperor Alexander the Second suggested Circassians to construct simply roads to the coast of the Black Sea, and to leave the country in nominal dependence. But they disagreed.
Troops went on all directionat at once. It should be noted that the region was densely populated, about 15 million people (in the region only 6-7 today). All territory of the region, especially mountain, was filled with houses, orchards, arable lands, difficult irrigations (as in China and Peru, with use of a landscape). The Russian government solved a problem as follows – to destroy everything and to burn, to cut down gardens, to tread arable lands that nobody escaped then to return, to move all to Kuban river in bogs. For persons that are not interested - shoot and drive to the seashore where, by agreement with Turks, the last of them will take away to the Turkey. Prisoners weren't taken. On the ashes of auls (cherkessian villages) violently moved Cossacks.
Clear business, in what turned this action. Coast of the Black Sea were overflowed by refugees. Along fortresses there were glades named presently quite often as Witchers glades - where in mass graves dumped all – and russian soldiers both who were lost, and died of epidemics, and Adyghes. And, the last by the end of the company increased - laid down and died as in Turkey was even worse. Also many didn't want to float, and couldn't return anymore. Many of people were drowned in the overloaded courts, or it is simple in view of insidiousness of the Turkish carriers which were filling the pockets. The most cruel fights happened in areas from Tuapse city to Sochi and from Ust-Labinsk city to Sochi. Here resistance reached peak. Here, on Krasnaya Polyana war, also ended with big military parade.
As eyewitnesses described  – the gorge from Krasnaya Polyana to Sochi and the coast of the sea was represented by the continuous smoldering ruins in silent silence.
Approximately at the same time, the devastated coast was visited by the writer Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko, the elder brother of the famous director. "I passed a cemetery of the dead nation… - he wrote in one of sketches, - neither in any legends, nor in any song there will be no memory of the disappeared people, and soon, passing by its graves, by these silent and deserted auls, nobody will know, what life boiled under these flat roofs".
This war was reflected and in the Russian troops, many soldiers suffered from that now call the Vietnamese syndrome because they were from peasants, and didn't understand need of destruction of peace gardens and arable lands. Many ran even at the beginning of war to Adyghe, were accepted in their society and lived freely, having got a family. These facts tried to cover. In particular, if business concerned officer ranks, them exposed as prisoners. Others were sent far away to Siberia.

And there was only the 5th question – and what became with those who moved?
Here it is necessary to understand that decisions on resistance or resettlement at many was accepted by leaders or common vote. And many of those who made the decision to move, were sorry then as the decision made for them was made by the people anyway bribed by one of the parties. Noblemen enticed the people to move, accepting from the emperor or the sultan the high official statuses and rich gifts. To put it briefly, the top provided life to itself, and didn't care about own people. Thus, the part moved into Kuban, became a citizen of Russia, however accepted Moslem not to look absolutely foully. We know a result - having lost the mentality, they didn't become thus Muslims, the Soviet power made all equal, without sparing any religious symbolics. But they at least realize themselves Adyghes and speak the language.
As for those who moved to Turkey – there everything more sad. In the first year Turks understood that underestimated resettlement scales, and didn't manage to organize it correctly. Epidemics, hunger, cannibalism began. People sold in slavery for food. As a result, the scared Turkish government divided Circassians into parts and settled in the most distant corners of the empire. Many were taken away violently in army, on a front line, to battle on the Balkans to Russia. As a result, they for many years became derelicts, many, such as Ubykhs – completely lost language and religion and disappeared as the independent people. (In Russia a small amount about the village of Golovinka, but language is lost). Fortunately, after disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the Circassian communities managed to become quite important part of elite of the new countries, they at the higher authority in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Israel today (in army).
Arrival of the Soviet power on a short interval lifted a national wave having formed the Sochi republic for example, but it held on pathetic months. In the 30th years, as a result of fight against religious remnants the last traces of the Adyghe religion in the region – oak groves were destroyed, and people began to reforge in the Soviet citizens and atheists. Today the external ceremonial part of mentality is kept, but deep communications, causes and effects aren't remembered almost by nobody, except scientists, also actually as well as at Slavs.
Here such summary of people and events in "nothing remarkable" Krasnodar Krai.

It is possible to examine a subject in books in more detail:
1. Vasily Potto "The Caucasian war" in volumes (huge multivolume, there is a lot of information)
2. Bagrat Shinkuba "The last from left" (the art Oscar-winning story about Ubykhs).
3. Art books of the author Mikhail Lokhvitsky "Thunderous rumble" and "In search of Gods". (Here the art has something in common with real and a lot of philosophy as at Castaneda).
4. Teofil Lapinsky "Circassians" (it descriptions of the Polish officer who lived 3 years in Circassia and battling against Russia, very much Russophobic, but places interesting, though with mistakes and silly conjectures).
5. http://kbsu.info/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=2403:2012-01-28-08-13-29&catid=195:41-1466-29-2011-&Itemid=124 (verses beautiful)

Edited by Runwildkangaroo - 08 Jan 2015 at 02:00
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