21 MayResearchTestimonies


Grand Duke Michael: “We wouldn’t leave our duties thinking that Mountaineers are not surrendering. To wipe out the half, the other half needed to be destroyed.”

Caucasus Armies General Staff Head Milyutin: “We should send the Mountaineers by force to the places we want. If we need, we should deport/exile them to Don region. Our main goal is to settle Russians in the regions on the skirts of Caucasian Mountains. But we shouldn’t let the Mountaineers know about this.”

In the letter Earl Yevdokimov sent to the Ministry of War in October 1863 he said: “Now we have to clean the coastal strip as part of our plan for the conquest of West Caucasia” (from the State History Archives).

Russian Historian Sulujiyen: “We wouldn’t abandon our cause just because Mountaineers are not surrendering. Half of them needed to be crashed in order to take their weapons. Many tribes were totally annihilated during the bloody war. In addition, many mothers were killing their kids in order not to give them to us.”

Russian Historian Zaharyan: “Circassians do not like us. We exiled them from their free meadowlands. We destroyed their houses and many tribes were totally destructed.”

Russian Historian Y.D. Felisin: “This was a real and brutal war. Hundreds of Circassian villages were set on fire. We let our horses run over their crops and gardens to destroy them, in the end it turned into a ruin.”

Earl Lev Tolstoy: “To enter the villages in the darkness became our usual thing. Russian soldiers were entering the houses one by one under the darkness of the night. This and following scenes were such horror scenes that none of the reporters were courageous enough to report them.”

From the Oppositional group N. N. Rayevski: “The things we did in Caucasia were very similar to the negative things that Spaniards did during the war in American lands. I wish God almighty would not leave any blood marks in Russian history.”

In the congratulating message Czar II. Alexander sent to Earl Yevdokimov: “You cleaned up and destroyed the rebellious autochthon nations in West Caucasia in the last 3 years. We can recover the cost of this long bloody war from this fertile land in a very short time.”

“A Russian detachment having captured the village of Toobah on the Soobashi river, inhabited by about a hundred Abadzekh (a tribe of Circassians), and after these had surrendered themselves prisoners, they were all massacred by the Russian Troops. Among the victims were two women in an advanced state of pregnancy and five children. The detachment is question belongs to Count Evdokimoff’s (Yevdokimov) Army, and is said to have advanced from the Pshish valley.
As the Russian troops gain ground on the Coast, the natives are not allowed to remain there on any terms, but are compelled either to transfer themselves to the plains of the Kouban or emigrate to Turkey” (F.O. 9-424, no 2, Dickson to Russell, Soukoum Kale,17 March 1864).

Jan Karol: “The Russian conquest of Caucasia is a terrible example of our barbarian times. It took 60 years of military terror and massacre to break the resistance of the Caucasian Mountaineers.”

Hakhurat S.Y.- Lichkov L.S in their book entitled Adygheya: “Czarist administration deported/exiled hundreds of thousands of Circassians from their homeland Caucasia. They expelled Mountaineer nations from their homeland by way of a bloody war.”

Grand Duke Michael: At the end of the war, when Grand Duke Michael came to Caucasia, Circassian Elders visited him and they said that they were defeated, and they demanded to be allowed to live in their lands accepting Russian administration. The answer Grand Duke Michael gave was: “I give you a month. In one month, you either go to the land that will be shown to you beyond Kuban, or you go to the land of the Ottoman Empire. The villagers and mountaineers who are not leaving for the coastal region in one month will be treated as prisoners of war.”

Russian St. Petersburg Newspaper: “They started escaping through the coasts which were immortalized by their resistance and defence. There is no more Circassia. Our soldiers will clean out the remainders in the mountains very soon and the war will be over in a short time.”

Dekabrist Lorer: “Zass, near his encampment, on top of a specially prepared small hill, fixed Circassian heads on top of lances, with their beards flying in the air. It was very disturbing to see this scene. One day Zass, agreed to remove the heads from the lances after the request of a guest lady. We were also his guests at the time. When I entered the study room of the General, I was struck by a strong, disgusting smell. Smiling, Zass told us that there were boxes in which the heads were placed under his bed. Then he pulled a big box in which there were couple big-eyed, horribly looking heads. I asked him why he keeps them there. He replied: “I boil them, clean them, and send them to my professor friends in Berlin for the study of anatomy”.

Tercüman-ı Ahval ve Tasvir-i Efkar Newspapers: “Russians destroyed all of Caucasia. They set the villages on fire. They were exiling the autochthon people from their homelands after the war.”

French reporter A. Fonvill: “Sailors were acquisitive. They were letting 200-300 people in to the ships that have a capacity of 50-60. The people left with a little bread and water. In 5-6 days these were all consumed and then they caught epidemic illnesses from starvation, they were dying in the way to Ottoman Empire, and those who die were dumped into the sea. The ship that started the trip with 600 people ended up with only 370 people alive.”

The Ubykh and Fighett tribes are… fast embarking for Trabzon. In fact, after their land had been laid waste by fire and sword, migration to Turkey is the only alternative allowed to these mountaineers who refuse to transfer themselves to the Kouban steppes and contribute periodically to the militia (F.O. 881-1259, Dickson to Russell, Soukoum Kale, 13 April 1864)

Most of the Abkhaz have been plundered of everything by the Russians before embarking and have barely been allowed to bring with them the strict necessities of life for a short period. In many villages, and especially in the district of Zibeldah, their houses have been wantonly burnt by the Cossak soldiery and their cattle and other property forcibl taken away or sold under compulsion to Russian traders at a nominal price. (F.O. 97-424, # 13, Palgrave to Stanley, Trabzon, 16 May 1867)

Polish Colonel Teophil Lapinsky: “The situation of the exiled people was turning into a catastrophe. Hunger and epidemics were at their peak. The group who came to Trabzon decreased from 100,000 to 70,000 people. 70,000 people arrived at Samsun. The dead toll per day was about 500 people. This number was about 400 in Trabzon. 300 people in Gerede Camp, the daily death toll in Akcakale and Saridere is about 120-150 people. Italian Dr. Barozzi in his report makes the following important note: People are trying to stay alive for long time with herbs, plant roots and bread crumbs.”

Russian researcher A. P. Berge: I will never forget the 17,000 people I saw at the Novorossisk Bay. I am sure those who saw their situation couldn’t bear it and would definitely collapse no matter what religion they belonged to, Christians, Muslims, or atheists. In the cold winter, in the snow, without a house, without food, and without any proper clothing, these people were in the hands of typhoid, typhus and chicken pox diseases. The babies were searching for milk in their mother’s dead body. This terrible black page in the Russian history caused great harm to the Adygean history. The exile caused an interruption in the history of social, economic and cultural developments and in the process of becoming one political union/confederation.”

English Delegate Earl Napiyer: “Slavs and other Christians were being settled in the lands that is emptied from Circassians.”

English Consul Gifford Palgrave: “I traveled through all of Abkhazia on the day of April 17th, 1867. It is very painful to witness the destruction of the land of Abkhazia and to witness the annihilation of Abkhazian people whose only guilt is to be non-Russian.”

English Consul R.H. Lang: “When 2718 people who left from Samsun to come to Cyprus arrived, 853 of them were dead and the others were not very different from being dead. The daily dead toll is about 30-50.”

From the speech of the English Member of Parliament M. Anstey: “I blame Lord Palmerston for betrayal of Circassia, which is made English-adherent and which is to have trading relations with England. You also betrayed England by surrendering Independent North Caucasia to Russia while you knew about our interests in India.”

8 Years later while Lord Palmerston was talking at the same parliament: “Dear Lords, it is true that we left Circassians alone with their terrible misfortune. Yet we wanted help from them and we used them.”

Pinson: “The death percentage of Circassians along the Black Sea coasts is about 50%. 53,000 people died just in Trabzon alone. We don’t know how many ships, which are “Floating graves” had sunk. The number of families exiled from Caucasia to Balkan region is about 70,000. Edirne: 6.000, Silistre-Vidin: 13.000, Niche - Sofia: 12.000, Dobruca-Kosovo-Pristina-Svista: 42.000 families. Total about 350.000 people. Death percentage is less and is about 15-20%.”

Y. Abramov in his book entitled Caucasian Mountaineers: “There are no words to describe the situation of the Mountaineers in those days. Thousands of them died in the roads, thousands of them died due to illness and hunger. The coastal regions were full with people who are dead or on the verge of dying. The babies who are searching for milk in their mother’s cold dead body, mothers who didn’t leave their kids from their laps even they are already dead from cold, and people who are dead while they got closer just to keep warm, are examples of the scenes that were normal in the coasts of the Black Sea.”

Russian I. Dzarov : “Half of those who left to go to Ottoman Empire died before they reached there. Such a state of wretchedness is rare in the history of the humankind.”


The texts were collected by CircassianWorld