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Friday, 21 October 2016


Circassian Issue: History against Politics

2011-03-29 23:07

15217.jpegOn March 24 Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University) held a conference entitled "Circassian Issue: Historical Memory, Historiographic Discourse, Political Strategies" that mass media took as a "response" to Georgia that has organized a number of similar events already. However, the organizers assert that it is an attempt of a serious, scientific dialogue on the Circassian problem. MGIMO scholars want to leave politics behind, though it's quite impossible - the topic is much too scandalous.


The event was organized by Naima Neflyasheva, senior research worker at the Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Nikolay Silayev, senior scientific worker at the Center of Problems of Caucasus and Regional security, head of non-profit partnership Caucasian Cooperation.

Both of them are young scholars. Nonetheless, they have a lot to share with specialists on the Circassian issue. They are perfectly aware that their conference looks like another episode of the Russian-Georgian media warfare, but they keep insisting that the event is an academic, apolitical dispute of experts.

"I don't view our conference as a response to Georgia, though according to the timeline, it does look like a response. When Nikolay and I had the first idea I said we were late. We were supposed to hold it in 2008 or in 2009. Already then questions that were unfolding around Circassians naturally required reasonable academic comment and expert evaluations", - Neflyasheva told Russian journalists.

At the conference in the Institute of International Relations politicians would have been bored. Scholars delivered their serious reports and this scientific character was a key difference between Moscow conference and Tbilisi forums. Besides, the goals of MGIMO meeting organizers had nothing to do with Tbilisi's tasks.

"Without forecasting results of this activity we must remark that its final result will be part of large-scale activities aimed at reinforcement of Russian civil nation and resolution of contradictions in the spirit of solidarity, responsibility, constructive partnership and dialogue", - is written in the communiqué prepared by project participants.

Though the organizers persistently tried to avoid politics, there was no scientific consensus at the conference. The Circassian issue has so many sides. It provokes lots of disputes in the Russian expert community. We will try to decipher some aspects of the topic.

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