Sochi in 2014: Can an Olympics Take Place at the Site of the Expulsion of the Circassians 150 Years Earlier?

Friday, June 18, 2010

10:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.

The Jamestown Foundation

Seventh Floor

1111 Sixteenth Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C.

*A light luncheon will be served after the event.*

To RSVP, please email
with your name and affiliation

About the Event:

In 2014 the Sochi Olympics will take place at the site of the mass expulsions of over a million Circassians in the 19th century.  Opposition to the Olympic Games is mounting as Circassian nationalism is on the upswing, both in the North Caucasus and among the 7 million strong Circassian Diaspora.  Circassians are now calling for the unification of all three Circassian republics in the Northwest Caucasus into a single republic.  These factors, combined with a possible security threat to the 2014 Olympic Games by militant groups operating in the North Caucasus — as announced last week by the Director of the Russian Federal Security Services, Aleksandr Bortnikov — promise to deepen an already tense and volatile regional security environment for the 2014 Olympic Games.

Event Agenda:

Glen Howard


President, The Jamestown Foundation

Paul Goble

“The Road to Sochi in 2014: Can Russia Ignore the Circassians?”

Publisher, Windows on Eurasia Blog

Fatima Tlisova

“The Legitimacy of the 2014 Olympic Games?”

Reagan-Fascell Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy

Murat Berzeg

“The Circassian Awakening”

Founder and Chairman, Circassian Congress, Maikop, Adyghea, RF


Valery Dzutsev

“Gearing Up for Sochi 2014: Weak Spots in Russia’s Olympic Preparations”

Jamestown Analyst


Nugzar Tsiklauri

“The Sochi Olympics and the Circassians: The View from Georgia”

Member of Parliament, Republic of Georgia


Q & A

Light Luncheon

12:30 P.M.-1:00 P.M.


Participant Biographies

Valery Dzutsev

Valery Dzutsev is a freelance analyst writer, who covers developments in the North Caucasus for the Washington based Jamestown Foundation and several other online publications. Valery received an Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship in 2007, supported by the U.S. Department of State and received his master’s degree in Public Policy at the University of Maryland in 2009, with specialization in International Security and Economic Policy. From 2002-2007 Mr. Dzutsev worked for the distinguished British journalism development organization: The Institute for War and Peace Reporting as country director for the North Caucasus. Mr. Dzutsev extensively reported and edited journalistic materials from across the North Caucasus on events like the Beslan school hostage taking in North Ossetia in 2004, the violent assault on Nalchik in Kabardino-Balkaria by armed militants in 2005 and overall socio-political developments in the region. Before working for IWPR, Valery served as a local coordinator for another British-based NGO Centre for Peacemaking and Community Development (CPCD) in North Ossetia, managing numerous conflict transformation projects.


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is the publisher of the blog, Windows on Eurasia. He is the former director of research and publications programs at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku. Prior to joining that institution but after retiring from the U.S. government in 2004, he was 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. Earlier, he served in a variety of capacities in the U.S. government, including at the Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency; at U.S. international broadcasting institutions like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, and at various think tanks, including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Potomac Foundation, and the Jamestown Foundation. The editor of five volumes on ethnicity and religion in the former Soviet space, he continues to prepare daily commentaries on these issues, posting his articles at or on request by e-list ( Trained at Miami University in Ohio and the University of Chicago, he has been decorated by the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for his work in promoting Baltic independence and the withdrawal of Russian forces from those formerly occupied lands.

Nugzar Tsiklauri

Nugzar Tsiklauri is a Member of the Parliament of Georgia and the Chairman of the Relations with Compatriots Residing Abroad Committee.  Born in Tbilisi, Mr. Tsiklauri was educated at Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University (TSU), with a focus in Georgian Language and Literature.  He was an official observer from Georgia during Presidential elections in Chechnya in 1991 and 1997.  In 1996, during the Chechen War, he served as a correspondent for the newspaper "Tavisupali Sakartvelo" in Chechnya.  In 2001, he founded the "Litera" publishing company, which was editing educational books for children.  In 2006, he served as Director of TSU Publishing House until 2008, when he assumed his position in the Parliament of Georgia.

Fatima Tlisova

Fatima Tlisova is an award-winning investigative reporter with extensive experience in the conflict-ridden North Caucasus. Over the past decade, she has covered the most sensitive topics affecting the region, including human rights violations, torture and detention, women’s rights, nationalist sentiments, the role of Islam in regional affairs, and abuses of power by authorities. She served as editor-in-chief of the Regnum News Agency from 2004–2007 and has reported for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, the Associated Press, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), the Jamestown Foundation, and Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. Most recently, Ms. Tlisova was a Carr Center Fellow and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. She is a recipient of the Gerd Bucerius Freedom of Expression Award for her commitment to reporting on the conflict in Chechnya, the Amnesty International UK Media Award, the Rory Pack Trust Award, the Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Award, The Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.


Murad Berzegov

Murat Berzegov is the founder and Chairman of the non-profit organization Circassian Congress in Maikop, Adyghea. During the last two decades Murat has been a prominent advocate for the rights of Circassians and participated in a variety of initiatives both in his native homeland and in the Circassian Diaspora. In the early 1990s Berzegov supported and participated in the developments of the first Circassian NGO after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. In 2004 Murat created and became a chairman of an NGO Circassian Congress (CC) in Maikop with the main goal to represent the rights and freedoms of the Circassians particularly the recognition of the genocide committed by the Russian State against Circassians and the right of repatriation to the homeland of the exiled 7 million citizens of Circassia.

From 2004-2005 the Circassian Congress gathered more than 500 documents from the Russian archives confirming the Circassian massacre and deportation in the 19th cenutry. All the documents have been posted on a specially created website:

In July 2005, CC initiated an appeal to the Russian State Duma demanding the recognition of the Circassian genocide which was rejected by the members of the Russian Duma. In January 2006 Mr. Berzegov initiated an appeal to the European Council requesting a special peacekeeping commission to be sent to the Republic of Adyghea to settle the conflict revoked by the attempt of the Russian Government to forcibly join Adygeya to Krasnodarski Krai. In October of 2006 the Circassian Congress under the leadership of Berzegov collected the signatures of the leaders of 20 Circassian NGOs from 9 different countries under the appeal to the European Council demanding recognition of the Circassian genocide. The EC accepted an appeal and sent letter of consideration to the CC.

In 2006 the Circassian Congress, in cooperation with the Circassian NGOs from Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria, initiated and organized several mass demonstrations and people’s Congress to protest the liquidation of the Republic of Adygeya, planned by the Russian government. Mr Berzegov and the members of his family have been constantly harassed by the state security services. He has personally experienced physical attacks as well as numbers of death threats. In 2010 Murat Berzegov was granted political asylum by the United States.