The Conquest and Deportation of the Circassians

with Walter Comins-Richmond (2008)  “The Conquest and Deportation of the Circassians,” in Stephen D. Shenfield (ed.) Johnson’s Russia List,  Research and Analytical Supplement, Special Issue:   The Circassians , Issue No. 43 - May 2008.

At the end of the Crimean War (1853-6), General Bariatinsky consolidated the administrative units of the North Caucasus into the Left (East) and Right (West) Flanks. As the Ossetians were always cooperative with the Russians and the Kabardians had surrendered after a devastating plague, the Central North Caucasus was subdued. Thus, the two largest groups of North Caucasus peoples still resisting the Russians, the Chechens and the Circassians, were effectively cut off from each other. After Shamil’s defeat in 1859 and the subjugation of the Northeast, the entire Russian army was brought to bear against the Northwest Caucasus. During the period 1859-1864, Circassians and their kin, the Abazas and Ubykhs, were overwhelmed.


In May 1859 the Bzhedukh tribe surrendered, followed by the Abadzakhs in November, and both were initially allowed to remain on their lands. An international force under the Pole Teofik Lapinski left in Nov. 1859, but it had proven incompetent and played no serious role in the end of the Russo-Circassian War.

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