This day is the Circassian Day of Remembrance and Mourning, when Circassians in many countries around the world gather to commemorate May 21, 1864, that marks the end of the Russo-Caucasian war and the Circassians’ fierce struggle since the end of the 18th century to defend their lands in North Caucasus and on the Black Sea coast.
The European press followed the long struggle of the Caucasian peoples closely, and wrote about their heroic resistance against the Russians.
Over 150 years have passed since the culmination of the tragic events and forced exile , However, reading these old newspapers now, reminds you of the ongoing war and Russia’s current and continuous attempts to achieve full domination over the Black Sea lands.
Here are a few brief quotes from some Swedish newspapers around May 21, 1864.
Hvad Nytt? 1864-05-20
“ – The Russian war on the Caucasus is described as successful. The Abazians have been informed that if they have not emigrated within 5 years, they will be considered Russian citizens. The other tribes without exception have been ordered to emigrate within 10 days. Twenty ships have been sent for from Odessa and Constantinopel to transport the population to Turkish ports. […].”
Another paper reports on the terrible conditions – Jönköpingsbladet 1864-05-21
“[…] for instance, one ship that departed with 600 passengers onboard, had only 370 persons alive when it arrived. It has been etimated that approximaely 300,000 Circassians more will emigrate to Turkey in the coming 2-3 months.”
The central Swedish paper Post och Inrikes Tidningar wrote in 1864-05-23: “[…] It is believed that the Russians deliberately force the Circassians out of the mountain lands in order to settle Cossacks there.”
The paper Rätta Fäderneslandet wrote in 1864-05-21:
“Had England insisted on this issue, the Circassians would not have been deported from their lands. The poor Western tribes, that for 40 years have kept the entire Russian army in check, are now standing alone and abandoned, in the most beautiful mountain valleys in the world, but in utmost need and suffering from terrible diseases; but they prefer to die as the lived, free and proud.”