The ‘‘Voluntary’’ Adherence of Kabarda (Eastern Circassia) to Russia, by Aytek Namitok

Caucasian Review, Munich (CRM), No. 2, 1956, P. 17 ff


On May 25, 1955, Tass reported from Nalchik, the capital of Kabarda, that the Bureau of the Kabardinian Regional Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party had passed a resolution to celebrate in July 1957 the ‘‘400th anniversary of the voluntary adherence of Kabarda to Russia.’’

The resolution said:

The adherence of Kabarda to Russia was of great importance for the historical destiny of the Kabardinian people. It provided them with the possibility of further national development, saved them from enslavement by the Turkey of the Sultans, and created favorable conditions for economic and cultural intercourse with the Russian and other peoples of the country. While the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the voluntary adherence of Kabarda to Russia is being prepared, a number of research works, articles, reviews, and documents will be compiled and published on the history of the Kabardinian people and their success in building socialism. At factories kolkhozes, MTS, sovkhozes and educational establishments of the republic, lectures and talks dedicated to this significant date will take place. The Kabardinian Dramatic Theater, the song and dance company, and the republican philharmonic will prepare special repertoires. A competition for the best songs, film scenarios, cantatas, and librettos devoted to the 400th anniversary of the voluntary adherence of Kabarda to Russia will begin shortly. A session of the Kabardinian Research Institute, with the participation of scholars from Moscow, Leningrad, and the fraternal republics, a republic exhibition of imitative art, amateur performances, and other events will be dedicated to the great national holiday of the Kabardinian people.

The ‘‘voluntary’’ nature of the adherence of Kabarda to Russia is a new notion for those to whom the history of Kabarda has always appeared one of a long fight for independence. Apparently this is a new attempt at interpreting the history of the non-Russian peoples on lines with which Soviet historiographers are gradually making us familiar. This type of approach to the history of Kabarda is not an isolated phenomenon, but part of the Kremlin’s ‘‘general historical line.’’

Taking first the sources of Kabardinian history at the time of Ivan IV, during whose reign the ‘‘voluntary’’ joining of Kabarda to Russia allegedly occurred, it may be said that there are no such facts to prove this. The archives which could have confirmed the true situation perished in the famous Moscow fire of 1626. The Muscovite chronicles of the XVI century are merely official in tone and tendentious.

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