Charges of genocide a century and a half ago could haunt Russia as it holds its first post-Soviet Olympics in Sochi, former capital of forcibly exiled Circassians.
Not enough sports-related international tension in the air for you, with the World Cup in full swing? Look no further than Open Democracy, where Sufian Zhemukhov writesof controversy quietly building over Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympics in the former Circassian capital, Sochi (pinpointed, right).
Circassians abroad are hoping that Georgia, in the wake of its 2008 war with Russia, will officially recognize what they call the Circassian genocide: the Russian deportation of Circassians in the 1860s at the end of the long Caucasus wars — a forced exile to the former Ottoman Empire said to have killed hundreds of thousands. Mr. Zhemukhov writes:
It would put Russia in a difficult position: holding its Olympics in a land of a genocide newly recognized by a U.N. member state. It could become a thorn in Russia’s side in the same way that the recognition of the Armenian genocide has been a source of great irritation to Turkey.
The New York Times, June 14, 2010