The north-western Caucasus

Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Adygea

Authored by: Galina M. Yemelianova , Svetlana I. Akkieva

Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138483187
eBook ISBN: 9781351055628
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter discusses the modern north-western Caucasus corresponding to Russia’s autonomous republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Adygea. It begins by outlining the region’s historical, ethno-cultural and religious particularities and then proceeds to analyse its ethno-national trajectories. In Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia, it examines the Kabardian-Balkar and Karachai-Cherkess interrelationship, as well as the relations between each of these titular ethnic groups with Russians/Cossacks, Meskhetian Turks, Nogais and Abazas. In Adygea, it is focused on the relations between the titular Adygeis and the numerically dominant Russians/Cossacks. The chapter discusses the effects on these relations of the politics of the regional authorities and the Russian federal centre. It also pays attention to Circassian (Adyghe) and Karachai-Balkar Turkic ethnic and clan-based solidarity and the role of the Circassian diaspora and other external actors. The chapter argues that since the demise of the Soviet system the region has experienced a considerable titular ‘ethnicisation’ which has affected its societal cohesion.

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