With the London Summer Olympics gone, the politics of 2014’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are naturally ramping up. Did you think the Olympics were over? The Olympics are never over. There are several problems popping up surrounding Sochi, like the impacts of Olympic construction and the fact that Sochi is only 300 miles or so away from Chechnya (talk about security concerns).
Another political upset comes from the Circassian diaspora community, some of whom are seen in the photo above in London during the Olympics protesting Sochi’s winter games. Circassians are the indigenous people of the northwest Caucasus, where Sochi is located, but were expelled from their homeland in the 19th century by Russia and subjected to an ethnic cleansing campaign. 2014 is particularly relevant to the Circassian diaspora community because it marks the 150th anniversary of the start of Russia’s campaign against them in 1864, a campaign which Arno Tanner wrote marked the invention of “the strategy of modern ethnic cleansing and genocide.”
Zack Barsik, a Circassian-American and member of the Circassian Cultural Institute says “We don’t want the Sochi Olympics to happen on our ancestors graves.”