The International Circassian Association has appealed to Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov for assistance in obtaining Russian citizenship for Circassians in Kosovo, and in securing their return to Russia. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 19)
“Circassians” is the collective name of a group of peoples indigenous to the foothills and lowland steppe areas of the North Caucasus. They are also known as “Adygs.” The group includes the Kabardins, Cherkessians, Adygeians and Abazins. Until the Soviet period they considered themselves a single Circassian people speaking a single language. More than one hundred years ago, during Russia’s Caucasus War, many Adygs fled their homeland in the North Caucasus and sought refuge in various parts of the Ottoman Empire, which at that time included Kosovo. There are an estimated four million Circassians in the world today. Forty-two Circassian families live in Kosovo, where they are united in the organization “Adyge Khase.” The International Circassian Association is headquartered in Cherkessk, capital of Russia’s Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia.
The plight of Kosovo’s Circassian community lies behind unconfirmed reports that Chechen fighters plan to enter the fray in Kosovo against the Serbian authorities. (Izvestia, June 19)
LATVIA EASES NATURALIZATION OF NONNATIVE POPULATION.