Circassia is a western term derived from the Greek Kerketos and the Turkish Cherkees. Although the term is used more to describe people from the North Caucasus, they really refer to the inhabitants of the ancient Circassia, the Adyghe.
After the creation of the Russian Federation, three Republics with Circassian populations (Adygea, Karachaevo - Cherkessia, and Kabardino-Balkaria), with a combined population of greater than 2 million, received the status of autonomous republics. Each one of them has its own constitution, a president and a parliament.
One of the main controversies at present in this region is related to the winter Olympic Games. Sochi (the event’s headquarters) was the last capital of independent Circassia and the Circassians feel that the development plans for the Olympics don’t respect the life of the Circassians who still live there. Russian politicians have ignored the fact that the date of the Games in 2014 will take place on the 150th anniversary of the expulsion and genocide of the Circassians.
The Circassians in North Caucasus and in exile are seeking to restore a single Circassian Republic, and to eliminate the ethnic and territorial divisions. This will require a dramatic rearrangement in North Caucasus, but the Circassians feel that this is a matter of justice, even though Moscow sees it as a danger to the stability.
Even though most Circassians insist that they see a future within the Russian Federation, their enthusiasm for the independence of Abkhazia suggests that they have other plans. As a result, even if the Russian government were disposed to making concessions to several of the Circassians’ demands, it doesn’t seem that Moscow will yield to the structure of a single Republic, for which a growth in the region’s nationalism is foreseeable and future generations of Circassians will clash with the Russian State’s authoritarianism.
Circassia’s economy is very much linked to Russia’s. They have launched a few initiatives for establishing new companies and joint ventures; however, the instability of the Caucasus, with the war in Chechnya and the problems with the refugees, has discouraged potential investors.
On 20 March 2010, a Circassian Genocide Congress was held in the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi, funded in part by the Circassian members of the Western political analysis center, the Jamestown Federation. The congress passed a resolution, urging Georgia to become the first United Nations recognized State to recognize the Circassian Genocide.