Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. The Greater Sochi area, which includes territories and localities subordinated to Sochi proper, has a total area of 3,526 square kilometers and sprawls for 145 kilometers along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains; the area of the city proper is 176.77 square kilometers. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a permanent population of 343,334, up from 328,809 recorded in the 2002 Census, making it Russia's largest resort city. Being part of the Caucasian Riviera, it is one of the few places in Russia with a subtropical climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. With the alpine and Nordic events held at the nearby ski resort of Rosa Khutor in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi hosted the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 until at least 2020, it was one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Before the whole area was conquered by Cimmerian and Sarmatian invaders, the Zygii people lived in Lesser Abkhazia under the Kingdom of Pontus the Roman Empire's influence in antiquity. From the 6th to the 11th centuries, the area successively belonged to the Georgian kingdoms of Lazica and Abkhazia, who built a dozen churches within the city boundaries, the was unified under the single Georgian monarchy in 11th-century, forming one of the Saeristavo, known as Tskhumi extending its possessions up to Nicopsis; the Christian settlements along the coast were destroyed by the invading Alans, Khazars and other nomadic empires whose control of the region was slight. The northern wall of an 11th-century Byzantine basilica still stands in the Loo Microdistrict. From the 14th to the 19th centuries, the region was dominated by the Abkhaz and Adyghe tribes, the current location of the city of Sochi known as Ubykhia was part of historical Circassia, was controlled by the native people of the local mountaineer clans of the north-west Caucasus, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, their principal trading partner in the Muslim world.
The coastline was ceded to Russia in 1829 as a result of the Caucasian War and the Russo-Turkish War, 1828–1829. Provision of weapons and ammunition from abroad to the Circassians caused a diplomatic conflict between the Russian Empire and the British Empire that occurred in 1836 over the mission of the Vixen; the Russians had no detailed knowledge of the area until Baron Feodor Tornau investigated the coastal route from Gelendzhik to Gagra, across the mountains to Kabarda, in the 1830s. In 1838, the fort of Alexandria, renamed Navaginsky a year was founded at the mouth of the Sochi River as part of the Black Sea coastal line, a chain of seventeen fortifications set up to protect the area from recurring Circassian resistance. At the outbreak of the Crimean War, the garrison was evacuated from Navaginsky in order to prevent its capture by the Turks, who effected a landing on Cape Adler soon after; the last battle of the Caucasian War took place at the Godlikh river on March 18, 1864 O. S. where the Ubykhs were defeated by the Dakhovsky regiment of the Russian Army.
On March 25, 1864, the Dakhovsky fort was established on the site of the Navaginsky fort. The end of Caucasian War was proclaimed at Kbaade tract on June 2, 1864, by the manifesto of Emperor Alexander II read aloud by Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia. After the end of Caucasian War all Ubykhs and a major part of the Shapsugs, who lived on the territory of modern Sochi, were either killed in the Circassian Genocide or expelled to the Ottoman Empire. Starting in 1866 the coast was colonized by Russians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Germans and other people from inner Russia. In 1874–1891, the first Russian Orthodox church, St. Michael's Church, was constructed, the Dakhovsky settlement was renamed Dakhovsky Posad on April 13, 1874. In February 1890, the Sochi Lighthouse was constructed. In 1896, the Dakhovsky Posad was renamed Sochi Posad and incorporated into the newly formed Black Sea Governorate. In 1900–1910, Sochi burgeoned into a sea resort; the first resort, "Kavkazskaya Riviera", opened on June 14, 1909.
Sochi was granted town status in 1917. During the Russian Civil War, the littoral area saw sporadic armed clashes involving the Red Army, White movement forces, the Democratic Republic of Georgia; as a result of the war Sochi has become Russian territory. In 1923, Sochi acquired one of its most distinctive features, a railway which runs from Tuapse to Georgia within a kilometer or two of the coastline. Although this branch of the Northern Caucasus Railway may appear somewhat incongruous in the setting of beaches and sanatoriums, it is still operational and vital to the region's transportation infrastructure. Sochi was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favorite dacha built in the city. Stalin's study, complete with a wax statue of the leader, is now open to the public. During Stalin's reign the coast became dotted with imposing Neoclassical buildings, exemplified by the opulent Rodina and Ordzhonikidze sanatoriums; the centerpiece of this early period is Shchusev's Constructivist Institute of Rheumatology.
The area was continuously developed until the demise of the Soviet Union. Following Russ
The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets; the February Revolution was a revolution focused around Petrograd, the capital of Russia at that time. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government, dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy; the army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Tsar Nicholas's abdication. The Soviets, which were dominated by soldiers and the urban industrial working class permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias.
The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War, which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny. A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies and many strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin who campaigned for an immediate end to the war, land to the peasants, bread to the workers; when the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions were able to exploit universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers' militias under their control into the Red Guards over which they exerted substantial control.
In the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks led an armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets with the capital being relocated to Moscow shortly thereafter. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the now supreme governing party, established a federal government dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world's first socialist republic, practicing Soviet democracy on a national and international scale; the promise to end Russia's participation in the First World War was honored promptly with the Bolshevik leaders signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Cheka was established which functioned as a revolutionary security service that sought to weed out and punish those considered to be "enemies of the people" in campaigns consciously modeled on similar events during the French Revolution.
Soon after, civil war erupted among the "Reds", the "Whites", the independence movements and the non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists and thereafter reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there was a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land; the Russian Revolution of 1905 was said to be a major factor contributing to the cause of the Revolutions of 1917. The events of Bloody Sunday triggered nationwide protests and soldier mutinies. A council of workers called. While the 1905 Revolution was crushed, the leaders of the St. Petersburg Soviet were arrested, this laid the groundwork for the Petrograd Soviet and other revolutionary movements during the lead up to 1917.
The 1905 Revolution led to the creation of a Duma, that would form the Provisional Government following February 1917. The outbreak of World War I prompted general outcry directed at Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov family. While the nation was engaged in a wave of nationalism, increasing numbers of defeats and poor conditions soon flipped the nation's opinion; the Tsar attempted to remedy the situation by taking personal control of the army in 1915. This proved to be disadvantageous for the Tsar, as he was now held responsible for Russia's continuing defeats and losses. In addition, Tsarina Alexandra, left to rule in while the Tsar commanded at the front, was German born, leading to suspicion of collusion, only to be exacerbated by rumors relating to her relationship with the controversial mystic Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin's influence led to disastrous ministerial appointments and corruption, resulting in a worsening of conditions within Russia; this led to general dissatisfaction with the Romanov family, was a major factor contributing to the retaliation of the Russian Communists against th
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred on 26 December 1991 granting self-governing independence to the Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union; the declaration acknowledged the independence of the former Soviet republics and created the Commonwealth of Independent States, although five of the signatories ratified it much or did not do so at all. On the previous day, 25 December, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the USSR, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers—including control of the Soviet nuclear missile launching codes—to Russian President Boris Yeltsin; that evening at 7:32 p.m. the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag. From August to December all the individual republics, including Russia itself, had either seceded from the union or at the least denounced the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR.
The week before formal dissolution, eleven republics signed the Alma-Ata Protocol formally establishing the CIS and declaring that the USSR had ceased to exist. Both the Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR marked the end of the Cold War. Several of the former Soviet republics have retained close links with the Russian Federation and formed multilateral organizations such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Economic Community, the Union State, the Eurasian Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union to enhance economic and security cooperation. On the other hand, the Baltic states have joined the European Union. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on March 11, 1985, three hours after predecessor Konstantin Chernenko's death at age 73. Gorbachev, aged 54, was the youngest member of the Politburo, his initial goal as general secretary was to revive the Soviet economy, he realized that doing so would require reforming underlying political and social structures.
The reforms began with personnel changes of senior Brezhnev-era officials who would impede political and economic change. On April 23, 1985, Gorbachev brought two protégés, Yegor Ligachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov, into the Politburo as full members, he kept the "power" ministries happy by promoting KGB Head Viktor Chebrikov from candidate to full member and appointing Minister of Defence Marshal Sergei Sokolov as a Politburo candidate. This liberalization, fostered nationalist movements and ethnic disputes within the Soviet Union, it led indirectly to the revolutions of 1989, in which Soviet-imposed socialist regimes of the Warsaw Pact were toppled peacefully, which in turn increased pressure on Gorbachev to introduce greater democracy and autonomy for the Soviet Union's constituent republics. Under Gorbachev's leadership, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1989 introduced limited competitive elections to a new central legislature, the Congress of People's Deputies. In May 1985, Gorbachev delivered a speech in Leningrad advocating reforms and an anti-alcohol campaign to tackle widespread alcoholism.
Prices of vodka and beer were raised, intended to discourage drinking by increasing the cost of liquor. A rationing program was introduced, where citizens were assigned punch cards detailing how much liquor they could buy in a certain time frame. Unlike most forms of rationing, adopted as a strategy to conserve scarce goods, this was done to restrict sales with the overt goal of curtailing drunkenness. Gorbachev's plan included billboards promoting sobriety, increased penalties for public drunkenness, censorship of drinking scenes from old movies; this mirrored Tsar Nicholas II's program during the First World War, intended to eradicate drunkenness in order to bolster the war effort. However, that earlier effort was intended to preserve grain for only the most essential purposes, which did not appear to be a goal in Gorbachev's program. Gorbachev soon faced the same adverse economic reaction to his prohibition; the disincentivization of alcohol consumption was a serious blow to the state budget according to Alexander Yakovlev, who noted annual collections of alcohol taxes decreased by 100 billion rubles.
Alcohol sales migrated to the black market and moonshining became more prevalent as some made "bathtub vodka" with homegrown potatoes. Poorer, less educated Soviets resorted to drinking unhealthy substitutes such as nail-polish remover, rubbing alcohol, or men's cologne, resulting in an additional burden on Russia's healthcare sector due to the increased poisoning cases; the underlying purpose of these reforms was to prop up the existing command economy, in contrast to reforms, which tended toward market socialism. On July 1, 1985, Gorbachev promoted Eduard Shevardnadze, First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party, to full member of the Politburo, the following day appointed him minister of foreign affairs, replacing longtime Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko; the latter, disparaged as "Mr Nyet" in the West, had served for 28 years as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Gromyko was relegated to the ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, as he was considered an "old thinker".
On July 1, Gorbachev sidelined his main rival by removing Grigory Romanov from the Politburo and he brought Boris Yeltsin and Lev Zaikov into the CPSU Central Committee Secretariat. In the fall of 1985, Gorbachev continued to bring more energetic men into government. On September 27, 55-year-ol
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II or Nikolai II, known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer in the Russian Orthodox Church, was the last Emperor of Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw the fall of the Russian Empire from one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse, he was given the nickname Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas by his political adversaries due to the Khodynka Tragedy, anti-Semitic pogroms, Bloody Sunday, the violent suppression of the 1905 Russian Revolution, the execution of political opponents, his perceived responsibility for the Russo-Japanese War. Soviet historians portrayed Nicholas as a weak and incompetent leader whose decisions led to military defeats and the deaths of millions of his subjects. Russia was defeated in the 1904–1905 Russo-Japanese War, which saw the annihilation of the reinforcing Russian Baltic Fleet after being sent on its round-the-world cruise at the naval Battle of Tsushima, off the coasts of Korea and Japan, the loss of Russian influence over Manchuria and Korea, the Japanese annexation to the north of South Sakhalin Island.
The Anglo-Russian Entente was designed to counter the German Empire's attempts to gain influence in the Middle East, but it ended the Great Game of confrontation between Russia and the United Kingdom. When all Russian diplomatic efforts to prevent the First World War failed, Nicholas approved the Imperial Russian Army mobilization on 30 July 1914, which gave Imperial Germany formal grounds to declare war on Russia on 1 August 1914. An estimated 3.3 million Russians were killed in the First World War. The Imperial Russian Army's severe losses, the High Command's incompetent management of the war efforts, lack of food and supplies on the home front were all leading causes of the fall of the House of Romanov. Following the February Revolution of 1917, Nicholas abdicated on behalf of himself and his son and heir, the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich, he and his family were imprisoned and transferred to Tobolsk in late summer 1917. On 30 April 1918, Nicholas and their daughter Maria were handed over to the local Ural Soviet council in Ekaterinburg.
Nicholas and his family were executed by their Bolshevik guards on the night of 16/17 July 1918. The remains of the imperial family were found, identified and re-interred with elaborate State and Church ceremony in St. Petersburg on 17 July 1998. In 1981, his wife, their children were recognized as martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia in New York City. On 15 August 2000, they were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as passion bearers, commemorating believers who face death in a Christ-like manner. Nicholas was born in the Alexander Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the eldest child of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, he had five younger siblings: Alexander, Xenia and Olga. Nicholas referred to his father nostalgically in letters after Alexander's death in 1894, he was very close to his mother, as revealed in their published letters to each other. His paternal grandparents were Empress Maria Alexandrovna, his maternal grandparents were King Christian Queen Louise of Denmark.
Nicholas was of German and Danish descent, his last ethnically Russian ancestor being Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, daughter of Peter the Great. Nicholas was related to several monarchs in Europe, his mother's siblings included Kings Frederick VIII of Denmark and George I of Greece, as well as the United Kingdom's Queen Alexandra. Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, German Emperor Wilhelm II were all first cousins of King George V of the United Kingdom. Nicholas was a first cousin of both King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway, as well as King Christian X of Denmark and King Constantine I of Greece. Nicholas and Wilhelm II were in turn second cousins-once-removed, as each descended from King Frederick William III of Prussia, as well as third cousins, as they were both great-great-grandsons of Tsar Paul I of Russia. In addition to being second cousins through descent from Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse and his wife Princess Wilhelmine of Baden and Alexandra were third cousins-once-removed, as they were both descendants of King Frederick William II of Prussia.
Tsar Nicholas II was the first cousin-once-removed of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich. To distinguish between them the Grand Duke was known within the imperial family as "Nikolasha" and "Nicholas the Tall", while the Tsar was "Nicholas the Short". In his childhood, his parents and siblings made annual visits to the Danish royal palaces of Fredensborg and Bernstorff to visit his grandparents, the king and queen; the visits served as family reunions, as his mother's siblings would come from the United Kingdom and Greece with their respective families. It was there in 1883, that he had a flirtation with one of his English first cousins, Princess Victoria. In 1873, Nicholas accompanied his parents and younger brother, two-year-old George, on a two-month, semi-official visit to England. In London and his family stayed at Marlborough House, as guests of his "Uncle Bertie" and "Aunt Alix", the Prince and Princess of Wales, where he was spoiled by his uncle. On 1 March 1881, following the assassination of his grandfather, Tsar Alexander II, Nicho
Microdistrict, or microraion is a residential complex—a primary structural element of the residential area construction in the Soviet Union and in some post-Soviet and former Communist states. Residential districts in most of the cities and towns in Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union were built in accordance with this concept. According to the Construction Rules and Regulations of the Soviet Union, a typical microdistrict covered the area of 10–60 hectares, up to but not exceeding 80 hectares in some cases, comprised residential dwellings and public service buildings; as a general rule, major motor roads and natural obstacles served as boundaries between microdistricts, allowing an overall reduction in city road construction and maintenance costs and emphasizing public transportation. Major motor roads or through streets were not to cross microdistricts' territories; the entrances to a microdistrict's territory were to be located no further than 300 meters apart. Standards regulated the accessibility of the public service buildings by imposing a 500-meter limit as the farthest distance from any residential dwelling.
One of the city-planners' tasks was to ensure that the fewest public buildings were built to cover the microdistrict's territory in accordance with the norms. Typical public service structures include secondary schools, pre-school establishments, grocery stores, personal service shops, clubs and building maintenance offices, as well as a number of specialized shops; the exact number of buildings of each type depended on the distance requirement and the microdistrict's population density and was determined by means of certain per capita standards. The history of microdistricts as an urban planning concept dates back to the 1920s, when the Soviet Union underwent rapid urbanization. Under the Soviet urban planning ideologies of the 1920s, residential complexes—compact territories with residential dwellings, shops, entertainment facilities, green spaces—started to prevail in urban planning practice, as they allowed for more careful and efficient planning of the rapid urban expansion; these complexes were seen as an opportunity to build a collective society, an environment suitable and necessary for the new way of life.
In the 1930s, residential complexes grew in size, covering territories of up to five to six hectares. A system of building residential complexes was replaced with a concept of a city block; such blocks comprised residential buildings along the perimeter, residential buildings intermingled with public service buildings on the interior. However, it proved unfeasible to provide all public services within every city block, due to the latter's compact size; the system of the city block required a developed network of roads, thus increasing the maintenance and construction costs and complicating the organization of public transportation. The 1940s and 1950s saw further grouping of the city blocks. However, new construction was based on the same principles as in the previous decades, could not keep up with the increasing housing demand. Labor-intensive industrialization of the country demanded more workers, hard to achieve with housing accommodation lacking. Soviet authorities revisited issues of urban planning in the mid-1950s.
The new urban planning concept built on the concept of residential districts, consisting of several microdistricts, which in their turn comprised several residential complexes. In larger cities, residential districts were grouped into urban zones, the population of which could reach one million; each microdistrict provided the population with facilities needed on a daily basis, whereas services in lesser demand were available on the residential-district level. This concept was backed up with reorganization of the Soviet construction industry—panel-block apartment buildings became widespread as they allowed for fast, although low-quality, reduced costs, economies of scale; the whole construction process became simplified and standardized, leading to the erection of the rows and rows of faceless grey rectangular apartment-buildings which now prevail in every city and town of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Such drastic reduction of building costs was necessary because flats in the new blocks were given to the citizens free of charge at the time.
Humorous insights into the potential consequences of living in such a bland and repetitive atmosphere appear in the hugely popular Mosfilm production The Irony of Fate. The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to a sharp decline in the volume of residential construction. During the 1990s, urban planning was ignored as there was no new construction. 2000s brought slow growth to the volume of housing construction, as well as heightened criticisms of the microdistrict model. Urban planning, no longer the direct responsibility of central governments, was delegated to the regions. Since the mid-2000s, many apartment blocks have either been modernised or replaced with modern skyscrapers. I
The Circassians known by their endonym Adyghe, are a Northwest Caucasian nation native to Circassia, many of whom were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century after the Russo-Circassian War in 1864. In its narrowest sense, the term "Circassian" includes the twelve Adyghe princedoms. However, due to Soviet administrative divisions, Circassians were designated as the following: Adygeans, Cherkessians and Shapsugians, although all the four are the same people residing in different political units. Most Circassians are Sunni Muslim; the Circassians speak the Circassian languages, a Northwest Caucasian dialect continuum with three main dialects and numerous sub-dialects. Many Circassians speak Turkish, English and Hebrew, having been exiled by Russia to lands of the Ottoman Empire, where the majority of them today live. About 800,000 Circassians remain in historical Circassia, others live in the Russian Federation outside these republics and krais; the 2010 Russian Census recorded 718,727 Circassians, of whom 516,826 are Kabardian, 124,835 are other Adyghe in Adygea, 73,184 are Cherkess and 3,882 Shapsug.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization estimated in the early 1990s that there are as many as 3.7 million "ethnic Circassian" diaspora outside the titular Circassian republics, that, of these 3.7 million, more than 2 million live in Turkey, 300,000 in the Levant and Mesopotamia and 50,000 in Western Europe and the United States. The Circassians refer to themselves as Adyghe; the name is believed to derive from atté "height" to signify a mountaineer or a highlander, ghéi "sea", signifying "a people dwelling and inhabiting a mountainous country near the sea coast", or "between two seas". The word "Circassians" is an exonym; the Russians referred to all Circassian tribes as Cherkesy, which may be derived from Kerkety, the name of one of the Adyghe tribes native to the northwestern Caucasus. In early Russian sources, the Circassians are referred to as Kasogi, whereas in medieval Arabic sources, Kasogi is written as Jarkas and Jahārkas; the spelling Charkas may be an abbreviation of Persian Chahār-kas.
Though "Jahārkas" was used by Ibn Khaldun and Ali ibn al-Athir, the Persian hypothesis remains uncertain. In the 10th century, Persians and Arabs referred to the Circassians as Kashak, which appears to be a Georgian word derived from Ossetian Kasogi; the Turkic peoples referred to the Circassians as Cherkas, a name which had come into common use by the 13th century. This designation "did not designate the Adygei but rather the people living in southern Ukraine". In contemporary times, Ukraine has a province named Cherkessk, with its provincial capital bearing the same name. With the advent of the Golden Horde in the 13th century, the designation Cherkess "came to refer to the Adygei who remained in the Caucasus, became a generic term for all who lived there"; this in turn created terminology "anomalies", as a result, Cherkes became used alongside other names such as Adygei, Kabardian and Abkhaz. In Medieval Oriental and European texts, "the Adygei people were known by the name Cherkess/Circassians".
The Encylopaedia Islamica adds: "This is because the Cherkess, the Kabardians and the Adygei people share a common language, spoken by the north-western Caucasian people, belongs to the family known as Abkhazian-Adygei". In Persian sources, Charkas/Cherkes is used to refer to the "actual" Circassians of the northwest Caucasus, in some occasions as a general designation for Caucasians who live beyond Derbent. In Russian historiography the term had been used as an exonym for Russian and Cossack people at least until the end of the 18th century, Caucasian Tatar peoples. In Turkey the term nowadays used as a name for all Caucasian nations such as, such as Karachays, different Dagestanian diasporas and others. Despite a common self-designation and a common Russian name, Soviet authorities applied four designations to Circassians: Kabardian, Circassians of Kabardino-Balkaria (Circassians speaking the Kabardian language, one of two indigenous peoples of the republic. Cherkess, Circassians of Karachay-Cherkessia (Circassians speaking the Cherkess, i.e. Circassian, language one of two indigenous peoples of the republic who are Besleney Kabardians.
The name "Cherkess" is the Russian form of "Circassian" and was used for all Circassians before Soviet times. Adyghe or Adygeans, the indigenous population of the Kuban including Adygea and Krasnodar Krai. Shapsug, the indigenous historical inhabitants of Shapsugia, they live in the Tuapse District and the Lazarevsky City District of Sochi, both in Krasnodar Krai and in Adygea. Genetically, the
Circassia is a region in the North Caucasus and along the northeast shore of the Black Sea. It is the ancestral homeland of the Circassian people; the name Circassia is a Latinisation of Cherkess, the Turkic name for the Adyghe people and according to R. G. Latham originated in the 15th century with medieval Genoese merchants and travellers to Circassia. Another opinion is that "Circassia" and "Cherkess" are distorted variants of Kerketh or Toreatae, one of the names of the tribes of the Adyghe people; the name Cherkess is traditionally applied to the Adyghe by neighbouring Turkic peoples. Another historical name for the country was Zyx or the Zygii, who were described by the ancient Greek intellectual Strabo as a nation to the north of Colchis. At the end of the 15th century, a detailed description of Circassia and of its inhabitants was made by Genoese traveller and ethnographer Giorgio Interiano. Circassia was located near the northeastern Black Sea coast. Before the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, it covered the entire fertile plateau and the steppe of the northwestern region of the Caucasus, with an estimated population of between 3 and 4 million.
Circassia's historical great range extended from the Taman Peninsula in the west, to the town of Mozdok in today's North Ossetia–Alania in the east. Circassia covered the southern half of today's Krasnodar Krai, the Republic of Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, parts of North Ossetia–Alania and Stavropol Krai, bounded by the Kuban River on the north which separated it from the Russian Empire. Sochi is considered by many Circassians as their traditional capital city. According to Circassians, the 2014 Winter Olympic village is built in an area of mass graves of Circassians after their defeat by the Russians in 1864. 1237 – Historian Rashid-ad-Din in the Persian Chronicles, wrote that the Circassian king Tukar was killed in battle against the Mongols. 1333 – In his letter, Pope John XXII, the Rome Pontiff thanks the Governor of Circassians for his assistance in implementing the Christian faith among the Adygs. Verzacht's power and status was so high that his example was followed by the rest of the Circassian princes: They took the Roman Catholic faith.
1471 – A contract was signed between the ruler of Circassia and the ruler of Caffa, naming another ruler Zichia - "Petrezok, the paramount lord of Zichia". Under the contract, Zichia would supply large quantities of grain in the Cаffа; the region was famed for its beautiful women, many of whom were married to the Ottoman sultan and Persian Shahs and had influential positions in the Imperial Harem. Most of the population was expelled from their country to the neighboring Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century after the Russian–Circassian War in the Circassian genocide. Today, about 700,000 Circassians remain in historical Circassia in today's Russia; the 2010 Russian Census recorded 718,727 Circassians, of which 516,826 are Kabardians, 124,835 are Adyghe proper, 73,184 are Cherkess and 3,882 Shapsugs. The largest Circassian population resides in Turkey. In other countries like Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Serbia and Israel Circassian population exists, but is smaller Circassian nationalism has only developed and calls for a restoration of the native homelands.
Under Russian and Soviet rule and tribal divisions between Circassians were promoted, resulting in several different statistical names being used for various parts of the Circassian people. There is an effort among Circassians to unite under the name Circassian in Russian Censuses to reflect and revive the concept of the Circassian nation; the majority of the diaspora tends to call itself "Circassian". Bullough, Oliver. Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus. Allen Lane, 2010. ISBN 978-1846141416 Jaimoukha, Amjad; the Circassians: A Handbook, London: Routledge, New York: Routledge & Palgrave, 2001. ISBN 978-0700706440 Jaimoukha, Amjad. Circassian Culture and Folklore: Hospitality, Cuisine and Music. Bennett & Bloom, 2010. ISBN 978-1898948407 Richmond, Walter; the Circassian Genocide, Rutgers University Press, 2013. ISBN 9780813560694 Caucasian highlanders. Everyday life of the Caucasian highlanders; the 19th century. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardiy, 2003. ISBN 5-235-02585-7 Journal of a residence in Circassia during the years 1837, 1838, 1839 - Bell, James Stanislaus