Russia Probably Won’t Promote the Genocide That Took Place in Sochi
The Sochi Olympics have some problems. There are the merely irritating ones: unfinished hotel rooms, undrinkable tap water, wonky bathrooms, an alarming shortage of pillows. There are competitive concerns, like a slopestyle course that’s allegedly causing injuries to snowboarders. And there are the globally alarming issues, like the destruction of the environment, oppressive government policies, and the very real threat of a terrorist attack.
But often left off the list of problems with Sochi is the oldest one: the role the city played 150 years ago in what many call Europe’s first-ever genocide. In the middle of the 19th century, conquering Russian armies in the North Caucusus systematically massacred and then drove the region’s ethnic Circassians toward the coast, where they were finally defeated—at Sochi. The Russians then forced Circassians to either board ships bound for Turkey or be exiled to Siberia. In the process, countless people died of starvation and disease.
Today, there are about 8 million Circassians in the world, most of whom live in the Middle East. And they’re not very happy about the Sochi Olympics.
“We want people to know who Circassians are, what happened to us, and to tell people that we will not be erased from history,“ said Tamara Barsik, founder and director of No Sochi, a Circassian umbrella group that has staged protests and attempted to raise public awareness of the massacre since the Olympics were awarded to Sochi in 2007.
Не любят нас здесь. А после войны……ещё больше любить не будут. А кто на войне друг друга-то любит? Да что это за война такая? То наступай, то отступай, то мирись, то дерись.
They don’t like us here. And after the war…? They won’t like us any better. And who at war likes one another? So what kind of war is this? One that advances, then retreats, at one moment reconciles, at another fights.