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Decolonial practices of the No Sochi Circassian movement: confronting colonial double backing through the Sochi Winter Olympics

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When humanist global aspirations through mega events like the Olympics meet with nation building, the affects and effects for Indigenous peoples are paradoxically painful. This paper brings forth the life history and experience of the Circassian people, the Indigenous peoples of Sochi, who through the No Sochi activist movement mounted a valiant campaign against the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia. The Sochi Olympics were graphed on to the very hill where the Circassian genocide had taken place a 150 years earlier by Russian powers. Their movement sought to bring into global consciousness not only this history but also the exile of millions of Circassians from their land, with their struggle for right to return. As Russia fabricated a ‘Sochi’ for the world without Circassians, normalized their dispossession and literally recolonized over the death of their ancestors, the International Olympic Committee ignored their calls to stop the ‘blood Olympics.’ Circassian No Sochi activists therefore shifted the optics and realities of the Olympics as a project of violent re-inscriptions in concert with nation building as a scape of abjection. Their activism storied diasporic Indigenous peoples of Sochi into the global arena showing the stakes of colonial double backing when forces of empire converge to reconstruct roving practices of exile and antagonism.
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Keywords: Circassian activism; Russia; Sochi Olympics; coloniality; indigenous people

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: July 3, 2016

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