Adygea (Adyghe: Адыгэ, IPA: ; Russian: Адыге́я, IPA: [adɨ'ɟeja]; alternatively transliterated as Adygeya or Adyghea), officially the Republic of Adygea, is a country in North Caucasia. It borders Russia to the north and east, Georgia to the south, and the Black and Azov Seas to the west. The city of Maykop is the country's capital.
Adygea is a representative democracy, organised as a constitutional semi-presidential federal republic. Adygea is currently a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, the North Caucasus Association of Social and Economic Collaboration and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and seeks integration with the European Union and NATO.
In antiquity Edit
The North-West Caucasus was first inhabited in paleolithic times (around 750,000 years ago). The first settlements appeared approximately 100,000 years ago. Around the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE, the Maykop Kuban and Dolmen cultures appear. Later, the Dolmens push the Maykopians eastward; the Maykop culture, with influence from the Dolmens, would become the forbearer of Circassian culture. By the second millennium, however, the Dolmens were entirely assimilated by the indigenous Northwest Caucasians. The Maykop culture would ultimately fall to the Sea Peoples by the close of the 12th century.
In the 1st millennium BCE, Colchian culture, associated with the Abkhaz, appeared in the Caucasus. During the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, the Cimmerians, later Alans, and still later the Ossetians, displaced the proto-Circassian tribes in Central Caucasus and founded what is known today as Koban culture. In the 8th century BCE, the Iron Age begins to develop in the Northwest Caucasus, and by the 7th century, proto-Maeotians have set up a rudimentary nation-state, and conduct raids into neighbouring territories. In the 6th century, the first mention of the Maeotians is made. During this time, they establish a more coherent state in the steppes to the north of the Black Sea. The state survives for almost a millennium. Other kindred peoples begin, during this time, to establish states: Kerkets, Achaens, Heniokhs, Toretians, etc.
In 64 BCE, the establishment of a Roman dominion on the eastern Black Sea coast is recorded. In 26 AD, Strabo describes the Zyghoys, which name appears for the first time in annals of history and replaces old appellation Kerket. From 100 to 200 AD, the process of supplantation continues: the Sanighs, Abaski and Apsiles replace Heniokhs, their forbears; Zyghoys and Achaens replaced by Zikhis, their descendants, in Roman annals. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, the Goths are established north of the Caucasus, and continually battle with the Circassians, but in 370, the Gothic kingdom is overthrown by the Huns, who, four years later, invade the Caucasus. The hinterland Maeotians remove to the safety of mountains, while those on the Black Sea shore undisturbed. Byzantine fortresses appear on Black Sea coast and Taman Peninsula during this time. Christianity is introduced to some Circassians living on the coastal areas. In the 550s and 560s, the Avars attempt to subjugate the Circassians, but are repulsed. The Avars make no further attempt to control the western Caucasus.
The oldest known literary piece of the Adyghe is the Nart Epos.
Medieval Adygea Edit
By the 9th century, the Circassians were consolidated into one ethnic and linguistic entity.
Circa 1200, the Circassian kingdoms of Adygaza and Kabardia, and the various scattered tribes outside their rule (most notably the Shapshugs), became united under Khevard Sharatko, who established a pan-Circassian nation-state in the North Caucasus, with its capital at Labinsk. Further conquests would lead to a broad and long-standing sphere of influence across the area between the Black and Caspian Seas, which established an alliance with the kingdom of Georgia to its south. The Adyghe people prospered in the Forecaucasus area in that time, and the period between 1200 and 1250 is sometimes known in Adyghe literature as the Golden Age of the Northern Caucasus or the Renaissance of the Adyghe.
Thereafter, different local rulers fought for their independence from central Adygean rule, until the total disintegration of the Kingdom in the 15th century. Neighbouring kingdoms exploited the situation and from the 16th century onward, the Ottoman Empire subjugated the region of Adygea (the Persian Empire briefly controlled the area from around 1550 and 1570, but were pushed out by Ottoman advances).
The rulers of regions which remained partly autonomous organised rebellions on various occasions. Subsequent Persian and Turkish invasions further weakened local kingdoms and regions.
War with Russia Edit
- Main article: Russian-Circassian War
During the years between the 1830s and the mid-1800s, the Adyghe, along with other Western Karbadian tribes, fought Russian expansion into their area (having been precipitated by Tsarist raids and forays some years before). The Circassians were able to resist Tsarist campaigns against them until Feburary of 1861, when the allied kings of Adygea surrendered to Russia at meeting-places beyond the Kuban.
After the surrender, a large number of the conquered were deported to the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, after a series of uprisings against Imperial rule, an event that rings sorely with the Circassians as a whole, even in modern times. Adygea was officially incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1866.
Brief independence and Soviet Adygea Edit
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Adygeans declared themselves independent and established the Democratic Republic of Adygea, led by a Menshevik, Yevgeniy Kanisev. However, in December of 1920, Adygea was attacked by the Red Army, and despite the efforts of Mensheviks and Adyghe sympathisers to stave off the conquest, the opposition was overwhelmed—most fled to Italy (the descendants of whom would later serve in the Second World War on the Axis side), while a small number surrendered and were later executed.
The Adyghe SSR was established on July 27, 1921, as part of the Soviet Union. At that time, Krasnodar was the administrative centre. It was renamed Adyghe (Cherkess) SSR on August 24, 1921, soon after its creation. The Soviet Socialist Republic was a part of the short-lived Transcaucasian SFSR from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936. Following the dissolution of the former SFSR, the name was changed back to Adyghe SSR in July of 1928, and the capital moved to Maykop.
Independence and modern times Edit
Shortly after the August Coup, on 22 September, 1991, the Adyghe National Front was formed, which advocated secession from the Soviet government, following the independence movements of other Soviet republics. The Front declared itself to be the successor to the Soviet government and announced the independence of the Adyghe SSR, renamed the Republic of Adygea, from the USSR on 14 October, 1990. The state's independence went unrecognised by the Soviet Union until September of 1991. In May of 1995, a national constitution was signed in to law. Elections for the presidency resulted in the previous Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Adyghe SSR, Aslan Dzharimov, becoming the President. He appointed Nikolay Pedan as his Prime Minister, who was confirmed a day later by the State Council.
Politics and government Edit
The head of government in Adygea is the President, who is elected for a five-year term. The current President is Lyov Bacherikov (since January 13, 2007), succeeding Hazret Sovmen. There is also a directly elected State Council (Khase), which comprises the Council of Representatives and the Council of the Republic. Both Councils are elected every five years and have 68 deputies each.
Ethnic tension is a considerable problem in the republic; the Union of Slavs of Adygea was formed after the Republic's independence to combat discrimination against Slavic inhabitants, while the Adyge Khase was formed to promote Adyghe involvement in the government.
Foreign relations Edit
While Adygea has been willing to work with NATO in recent years, such as cooperating in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, it also retains significant ties to Russia, which have been strained of late. Of primary concern is Russian economic pressure, which some analysts claim is indicative of Russia trying to get Adygea back in to its sphere of influence. Disagreements about nuclear weapons, gas and oil prices and contracts, and in general a policy of cooperation with Atlantic states have contributed to a rocky and tense association with the Russian Federation.
Administrative divisions Edit
Adygea is divided into 31 federal regions:
- 28 federal districts (federalnje rayonha)
- 3 republics (respublikha) (Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and North-West Ossetia-Alania)
The federal rayons are: Giaginsky, Koshekhablsky, Krasnogvardeysky, Maykopsky, Shovgenovsky, Takhtamukaysky, Teuchezhsky, Abinsky, Anapsky, Apsheronsky, Beloglinsky, Gulkevichsky, Primorsko-Akhtarsky, Bryukhovetsky, Korenovsky, Ust-Labinsky, Tbilissky, Kurganinsky, Mostovsky, Tuapsinsky, Temryuksky, Dinskoy, Timashyovsky, Seversky, Krymsky, Novokubansky, Kavkazsky and Uspensky.
The federal rayons are further subdivided into ?? okrugs.
Districts under jurisdiction of republics are: Adyge-Khablsky, Karachayevsky, Khabezsky, Malokarachayevsky, Prikubansky, Urupsky, Ust-Dzhegutinsky, Zelenchuksky, Baksansky, Chegemsky, Chereksky, Elbrussky, Leskensky, Maysky, Prokhladnensky, Tersky, Urvansky, Zolsky, Alagirsky, Ardonsky, Digorsky, Irafsky, Kirovsky, Mozdoksky, Pravoberezhny and Prigorodny.
Cities under federal or republic jurisdiction are: Maykop (f), Krasnodar (f), Labinsk (f), Anapa (f), Gelendzhik (f), Tuapse (f), Goryachy Klyuch (f), Slavyansk-on-Kuban (f), Belorechensk (f), Sochi (f), Novorossiyk (f), Cherkessk (r), Karachayevsk (r), Nalchik (r), Baksan (r) and Vladikavkaz (r).
Adygea encompasses the western part of the Forecaucasus and a part of the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus. Geographically, the area is split by the Kuban River into two distinct parts, with the Don crossing through the country's northern territory. The southern, seaward third (historically known as Circassia) is the western extremity of the Caucasus range, lying within the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex ecoregion; the climate is Mediterranean or, in the south-east, subtropical. The northern two-thirds lies on the Pontic Steppe and shares continental climate patterns. The largest lake is Abrau in the wine-making region of Abrau-Dyurso.
Several zones of nature conservation have been established in Adygea: the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve; a number of unique natural monuments; and "Mountainous Adygea" National Park, which is under construction.
Adygea's economy is mostly centred around the fishing, agricultural, chemical, manufacturing and petroleum industries. Logging, mining (gold, silver, tungsten, iron, bauxite, coal, magnesium and others), power generation, construction and metal-working are important second- and third-tier sectors. There is, as well, a growing interest in the electronics and information technology sectors. Local agriculture focuses primarily on livestock, especially sheep and goats (hogs are somewhat less popular), and the cultivation of grains, fruit, and cotton.
Since the late 1990s, Adygea has made it a priority to slash inflation and boost the economy, which has resulted in a comparatively strong currency and a fairly high per-capita income, although the income balance is skewed in favour of urban populations. Even so, the standard of living in many Adygean communities has noticeably improved since the August coup.
The federal government's Ministry of Transport handles much of the republic's rail lines and major highways (six lanes or more), while regional-level subministries handle local roads and highways up to four lanes, and control harbour access. A network of highways, largely centred on Maykop and Krasnodar, spans number kilometres, while the country's rail network runs a total of number kilometres. There is an international airport in Maykop (ICAO airport code UGKM), as well as another in Krasnodar and Sochi, and a regional airport in Anapa.
Adygea possesses only a partially-developed system of transport, being adequate in some areas and inadequate in others (most equipment is in need of repair, update or both). To address this, the MoT has begun a large-scale project, known as 'Project: Connection', scheduled through 2012.
After the collapse of Soviet Union, Adygea inherited a military force of approximately ? soldiers on its territory. That number has decreased over seven years to approximately ? soldiers. In 1991, there was effectively no Adygean Navy, but in recent times the Adygean government has worked to acquire two corvette-sized ships and several patrol boats to bolster its ability to defend against a ship-borne invasion.
Following its independence, Adygea declared itself a neutral state. The country had limited military partnership with Russia and other CIS countries and has had a partnership with NATO since 1995. In the 2000s, Adygea was leaning toward NATO, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by NATO-Adygea Integration Plan signed in 2002. As of 2006, this issue is a subject of extensive debate within Adygea as to whether the country should join NATO.
According to the 2006 Adygean census, about 72.6% of Adygeans are ethnic Adyghe, out of Adygea's population of 5,321,472. Other ethnic groups include Russians, Armenians, Ukrainians, Kabardins, Balkars, Ossetians, Karachays, Chechens, Jews, Ubykh, Cherkess, Abazins, Nogais and Ingush, as well as a small percentage that identified as 'other'.
Adygea also represents considerable linguistic diversity. Within the Adyghe branch of Circassian (itself a branch of the Northwest Caucasian languages), there are several dialects, including Abzekh, Adamey, Bzhedugh, Hatukuay, Kemirgoy, Makhosh, Natekuay, Shapsugh, Zhane and Yegerikuay. Kabardian has its own dialects, as well; the other branch, Abkhaz-Abazan, including Abaza, Abkhaz and Ubykh language, is widely spoken in the south-east. Other languages, such as Ossetian, Chechen and Yiddish are also widespread.
In the early 1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, separatist movements in Kabardino-Balkaria broke out, resulting in ethnic cleansing of Adyghe and Kabardin, whereas the former had constituted 38% of the population. Many Ossetians who had left Georgia came to North-West Ossetia, some to campaign for independence there. Of the many Ingush and Chechens who had been forcibly relocated, only a few returned to Adygea, but a significant portion of Balkars and Karachays did make the trip.
Today most of the population practices Orthodox Christianity of the Adygean Orthodox Church (73%). The religious minorities include Armenian Apostolic Church (13.6%), Muslim (9.3%), Russian Orthodox Church (1.8%) and Roman Catholic (1.1%). 0.9% of the population declared themselves adherents of other religions, and 0.3% declared themselves atheist or agnostic.
Adygebze (Adyghe language) is a member of the North-West Caucasian group of Caucasian languages. Along with the Russian language, the Adyghe language is the state language of Adygea.
There are about a hundred of social, political and religious associations, movements and parties of Adygea, and veteran, youth and women organizations in Adygea.
Adygea attaches considerable importance to its culture and education. The Adyghe Pedagogical Institute was reorganized into Adyghe State University, and a new higher educational establishment, Maykop State Technological Institute, was opened in 1997. Post-graduate doctoral programs were opened in the higher educational establishments, where academic councils work.
There are eight state-supported and twenty-three local museums in Adygea. The National Museum of the Republic of Adygea, in Maykop, owns unique archaeological, ethnographic and nature collections. A special section dedicated to the life of Adyghe diaspora was opened.
The most ancient monument of the Adyghe culture is the Nart Epic. It reflects the people's idea of the world on the early stage of human community development, their occupations, ethic standards, philosophical ideas, legends, customs and peculiarities of their way of life.
Sixty-six sportsmen of Adygea are members of Adygean united teams in eighteen kinds of sport.
The female handball team of Adyghe State University were awarded bronze medals in the Super League Championship of Russia in 1999.
The annual cycle race "Friendship of North Caucasus Peoples" has been held since 1992. Its route runs through the following cities: Maykop - Krasnodar - Stavropol - Cherkessk - Pyatigorsk - Nalchik - Vladikavkaz.
The rafting contest "InterRally-Belaya", also promoting the ideas of peace and friendship among peoples of Russia and the Caucasus, takes place in Adygea every spring.
The territory of the Republic is considered to be the zone of combined tourism. It has considerable hunting resources.
Science and technology Edit
The republic is the home of what was the largest telescope of the world when it was built: a very large radiotelescope (600 meters in diameter), located on the bank of the Zelenchuk river, between the villages of Zelenchukskaya and Arkhyz. Rostov-on-Don is the home of the Astrophysical Observatory of the Adygean Academy of Science, dedicated to the study of astronomy.
Miscellaneous topics Edit
- Adygean citizens drive on the right-hand side of the road, although cheap Japanese LHD cars are more popular than RHD cars of the same class. This does not seem to extend to trucks or town cars, but only to sedans and some vans.
References and notes Edit
- ↑ Adygean Ministry of Transport, Law of Transport in the Republic of Adygea, p. 342-343, 1998