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2005 | 5 | 165-180

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Empty Space Metaphor: Caucasians at Kosovo


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Kosovo Cherkess are of Caucasian origin, their language belong to the Caucasian language group. According to different current estimations there are five million Caucasians in diaspora today. Caucasians consider 21May 1864 as a date of their exodus. Historical data show that the majority of Cherkess people were transferred into the Ottoman empire after the Crimean war. Estimations about the number of families that settled in Kosovo differ, but anthropographers consider the figure of 1500 families as a most probable one. Cherkess exodus from Kosovo had at least five waves: the first one in 1878 after the Berlin Congress and the last one in July 1998. Today, according to OSCE data, Cherkess live at Kosovo only in the village of Milosevo in the county district of Obilic, where there are all together 85 persons. There are only indirect linguistic anthropology data about the Kosovo Cherkess. During the authoress' June 2003 field research of the enclave of Priluzje and surrounding Serbian settlements (Plemetina, Grace and Babin Most) it appeared that all Cherkess people that lived until the summer 1998 in the neighboring village of Donje Stanovce repatriated to the Russian Republic of Adigya. The anthropogeography data from the middle of 20th C. confirms that few Cherkess families have lived also at Milosevo, Velika Reka, Malo Ribare and Pozaranje, also at the Kosovo towns of Pristina, Urosevac, Vucitrn and Kosovska Mitrovica. The above-mentioned data present a series of ethnic stereotypes, from them today still remains only the story about the exceptional beauty of Cherkess women. The presentation of Cherkess as 'ruffians, cruel, not adapted, dirty' completely disappeared from the collective memory of Kosovo Serbs. This picture, on the other side, is still vivid in the memory of other Serbs, that did not had direct, private contact with Cherkess, based probably on the oral history about Cherkess cruelty during the WW II. Completely opposite, Cherkess are today described as 'diligent, clean, very fine people, skilful artisans'. In their statements, Serbs regularly compare Cherkess Muslims with Albanian Muslims, always putting Cherkess in the positive context.








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  • B. Sikimic, Balkanoloski Institut SANU, Beograd, Serbia


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