Circassian Association of California
Adyghe Khasa



 

Circassian Day of Mourning 21st MAY

 

The Australian Adyghe Khassa the Circassian Association have released a series of commemorative collector stamps through Australia post to mark The 21st May Circassian day of mourning.

 ”The North Caucasus is the homeland of the Circassians the indigenous people of the north Caucasus. The region stretches along the high peaks of the Caucasian mountain range at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, bounded by Russia from the north and the Middle East from the south. From 1763 to 1864 the Circassians fought against the Russians in the Russian-Circassian War only succumbing to a scorched earth campaign initiated in 1862 under General Yevdokimov. On 21 May 1864, the Russian Tsar Aleksandr II declared that the war has ended with the occupation of Circassian land. The Czar approved a decision to deport and exile the entire Circassian people. In 1914, Nicholas II celebrated the 50th anniversary of the defeat of the Circassians as one of the empire’s greatest victories. And except for Boris Yeltsin (when signing a peace treaty with Chechnya in the first Chechen War of Independence) who acknowledged in 1996 that the war in the North Caucasus had lasted 400 years and was a tragedy, most Russians before and since have preferred either to ignore this date or present it in an upbeat manner.

In Soviet times, Stalin subdivided the remaining Circassians in the North Caucasus into a series of ethnic groups – the Adyghe (the self-designation of most Circassians), the Cherkess, the Kabardin, the Shapsugs, and several others – as extension of the classic divide-and-rule policy of nearly all empires.In 1990, the Circassians designated the 21st of May as the national Day of Mourning, on which they commemorate the tragedy of the nation. More than 1.5 million Circassians were expelled — 90% of the total population at the time. Most of them perished en route, victims of disease, hunger, and exhaustion. They were dispersed all over the world. Some travelled 3000 km on foot or on ox carts. Some roamed for 25 years before settling down.”

 

Source: Circassian Association Australia