Massacre and Deportation

(The deportation of the Circassians, Abazins, and Ubykhs, officially sanctioned by Alexander II, was a unique crime against humanity)
By the 18th century, the Adyghe occupied the territory from the mouth of the Kuban along the Black Sea coast to the Psou River and from the northern slopes of the Caucasian mountains to Ossetia; and in the first half of the 19th century, they inhabited extensive areas of the Black Sea coast and the Northern Caucasus. As Russia advanced southward, this territory shrank to 180.000 sq. km by the 1830s. And according to data of the Russian officer Novitsky, the Adyghe population in 1830 was 1.082.000, and ethnic subdivisions of the Adyghe were preserved, including the Shapsugh, Abadzekh, Natukhay, Temirgoy, Bzhedugh, Hatukay, Besleney, Egerukay, Makhosh, Adamie, Mamkheg, and Kabardey.

Massacre and Deportation In 1860, after having failed to subdue the Circassians in ninety-seven years of warfare, the Russian Government decided to enforce their mass migration to other regions of the empire or toTurkey. General Yevdokimov was entrusted with the execution of this policy, and advanced into the stil unconquered parts of Circassia with newly formed mobile columns of riflemen and Cossack cavalry. In the northern areas that he first penetrated, the Circassians submitted to his will: that same year, four thousand families set sail for Turkey from the estuary of the Kuban without offering any resistance. However, the tribes living further to the south-east did prepare to resist. At the place where now stands the popular Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Abadzekhs, Shapseghs and Ubykhs formed an assembly and appealed – in vain – to the Ottomans and Britain for help.
In September 1861, the Emperor himself, Tsar Alexander II, visited Yekaterinodar, the Russian town closest to the scene of the action, and there received a delegation of Circassian chiefs. The chiefs expressed readiness to recognize Russian suzerainty provided that Russian troops and Cossacks were removed from Circassian lands beyond the Rivers Kuban and Laba.
Their proposal was rejected. The Abadzekhs, however, agreed to move to new lands offered them further north (many of the titular people of the Adygei Autonomous Province are their
descendants) while the chiefs of the other tribes refused to uproot their people.
Subsequent military operations against them began in the spring of 1862.[8] The Russian soldiers systematically burned the Circassian villages – all the villages of the Shapsegh without exception were burned down – while the crops growing in the fields were trampled under the hooves of the Cossacks’ horses.[9] Those inhabitants who then declared their submission to the Tsar were marched off, under the control of Russian superintendants, for resettlement on the plain to the north while those who refused to submit were sent down to the seashore to await deportation to Turkey. Many others – men, women and children – fled from their burning villages only to perish of hunger and exposure in the forest and mountains.
Having conquered the Shapsegh and Abadzekh, recounts the Circassian historian Shauket, the column of General Babich followed the seashore southwards, destroying villages as it went: They were on the border of the land of the Ubykh. From the side of the Goitkh pass another column came to meet them. Little Ubykhia became the last citadel of Circassian freedom. The Ubykh made a last attempt to prolong the agony, but the Russians compressed the ring ever tighter. From the south, troops were landed in the very heart of the Ubykh land, while from the north three columns advanced through the mountains and along the seashore. The last resistance was broken.[10]
Trakho, another Circassian historian, continues the story:
There remained only the small coastal tribes: the Pskhu, the Akhtsipsou, the Aibgo and the Jigit. In the course of May 1864 these tribes were annihilated almost to the last man, woman and child. Seeing this, Circassians gathered from all corners of the country in a frenzy of despair threw themselves into the valley of the Aibgo. For four days (7-11 May) the Russians were repulsed with great losses. Heavy artillery was then brought up and began to belch fire and smoke into the little valley. Not one of the defenders survived. The capture of this little valley, lost in the mountains, was the last act in the long tragedy of the Circassian people. On 21 May the Great Prince Mikhail Nikolaevich gathered his troops in a clearing for a thanksgiving service.[11] Of this same final battle-pogrom Shauket writes:
The last battle took place in the area of the Black Sea near Maikop, in the Khodz valley [i.e., the valley of the Aibgo] near the town of Akhchip. That rough mountainous area was the last stronghold at which women and children assembled for protection from the Russian advance. The women threw their jewellery into the river, took up arms and joined the men in order to fight the battle of death for the sake of their homeland and honor, lest they should fall captives in Russian hands. The two parties met in a horrible battle which turned out to be a massacre unprecedented in history. The objective of that battle [for the Circassians] was not to achieve success or victory, but to die honourably and to leave a life which had no honourable hope left. In that battle men and women were slaughtered mercilessly and blood flowed in rivers, so that it was said that ‘‘the bodies of the dead swam in a sea of blood’’. Nevertheless, the Russians were not content with what they had done, but sought to satisfy their instincts by making the surviving children targets for their cannon shells.[12]
The subsequent deportations to Turkey began on 28 May. They took place under horrendous conditions. The Russian historian Berzhe bore witness to the state of the Circassians even as they awaited deportation on the Black Sea shore: I shall never forget the overwhelming impression made on me by the mountaineers in Novorossiisk [New-Russian] Bay, where about seventeen thousand of them were gathered on the shore. The late, inclement and cold time of year, the almost complete absence of means of subsistence and the epidemic of typhus and smallpox raging among them made their situation desperate. And indeed, whose heart would not be touched on seeing, for
example, the already stiff corpse of a young Circassian woman lying in rags on the damp ground under the open sky with two infants, one struggling in his death-throes while the other sought to assuage his hunger at his dead mother’s breast? And I saw not a few such scenes.
Those who had survived this ordeal thus far were now herded by the Russian soldiers en masse on to barges and small Turkish and Greek ships, loaded with several times as many passengers as they could carry. Many of these sank and their passengers drowned in the open sea. For those who survived the voyage, conditions on arrival in Turkey were no less horrific. Arrangements that had been made by the Turkish government for receiving and resettling the migrants were grossly insufficient. Moshnin, the Russian consul in Trabzon on the Turkish coast, reported as follows: About six thousand Circassians were landed in Batum, [and] up to four thousand were sent to Çürüksu on the border [with Turkey]. They came with their emaciated and dying livestock. Average mortality seven people per day. About 240,000 deportees have arrived in Trabzon and its environs, of which 19,000 have died… Average mortality two hundred people per day. Most of them are sent to Samsun; 63,290 remain. In Giresun there are about fifteen thousand people, In Samsun and its environs over 110,000 people. Mortality about two hundred people per day. Typhus is raging.
How many Circassians, then, perished from death in battle, by massacre, drowning, hunger, exposure and disease? Prior to the Russian conquest, the Circassians (including the Abkhaz) numbered about two million. By 1864, the north-western Caucasus had been emptied of its Indigenous population almost in entirety. About 120-150,000  Circassians were resettled inplaces elsewhere in the Empire set aside by the Russian government. (By the time of the 1897 census, there were 217,000 Circassians in Russia). According to Brooks, about 500,000 were deported to Turkey; [15] in addition, thirty thousand families - perhaps 200,000 people – had emigrated voluntarily in 1858, prior to the deportations. That still leaves well over one-half of the original population unaccounted for, to which must be added those who-died at sea or on arrival. The number who died in the Circassian catastrophe of the 1860s could hardly,therefore, have been fewer than one million, and may well have been closer to one-and-a-half  million.

By the 1860s, as a result of the Caucasian War and forced deportation to the Ottoman Empire, According to Fadeev, 60,000 Circassians remained in Circassia after the deportation, representing 6% of the original population. Ethnographers define the modern-day Adyghe people as a dispersed nation. More than 3 million Adyghe live in more than 50 countries, including Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the United States, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. After the end of the Caucasian War, the Northwest Caucasus was under military occupation until 1867, and the Adyghe population came under the jurisdiction of military authorities. On January 1, 1867, the military occupation finally ended and the Adyghe population became part of the general population of the newly formed Maykop, Ekaterinodar, and Batalpashinsk districts. On March 21, 1888, Alexander III approved a new statute setting up the administrations of Kuban and Tersk regions and Chernomorskaya Province, which abolished civil institutions and established a narrow Cossack military governing caste without the participation of the mountain peoples. In 1914-1917, the Adyghe took part in World War I in the Circassian regiment known as the "Wild Division." The Civil War resulted in another sizable migration of Adyghe to Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. The revival of the ancient Adyghe people as a nation did not begin until after the October Revolution, with the formation of the Circassian (Adyghean) Autonomous Region on July 21, 1922. In 1936, by order of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the capital of Adyghea was moved from Krasnodar to Maykop.

Thus, the Russian action resulted in roughly a 94% reduction in the original population of the Circassians and their kin. Does this amount to genocide?
·         The population of Circassians right now is 3-4 million. Can you imagine the population of the Circassians nowadays if that genocide didn't occur??