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Adygeya (Russia)

Адыгея - Adygeâ

Last modified: 2013-12-07 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: adygeya | urquhart (david) | star: 5 points (yellow) | stars: 12 (yellow) | stars: 7 | arrows: 3 | tribe | peace | islam | life | freedom | sausryko | aquamarine | nart | circassian | stars: arch |
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Flag of Adygea
image by Nikolay Khimenkov, 05 Jul 1999


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Presentation of Adygeya

(Note: You need an Unicode-aware software and font to correctely view the cyrillic text on this page. See here transliteration details).

  • Name (english): Adygeya • (russian, short form): Адыгея | Adygeâ • (russian, long form): Республика Адыгея | Respublika Adygeâ
  • Local official language: Cherkess (a.k.a. Circassian)
  • Capital (russian): Майкоп | Maĭkop • (english): Maykop
  • Area: 7 600 km2 (≅2 900 sq.mi.) • Population: 446 500 inhabitants in 2000
  • Status: Republic (Республика | Respublika) within the Russian Federation
  • Federal District: Northern Caucasus • Economic region: Northern Caucasus
  • License plate code: 01 • Ham radio code: AD • ISO 3166-2 code: AD
  • Flag adopted on 1992.03.23 • Coat of arms adopted on 1992.03.24

Adyge is the name this people call itself. They are usually called Cirkassian. In fact Adygea is only a part of the land where Cirkassians live [the others being [Karachay-]Cherkessia and Kabard-Balkaria]. From 1922 to 1991 Adygea was only a autonomus district, now it is a Republic.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 1995

Adygeyi are a Cherkess people, established in the northern Caucasus along the river Kuban, near Krasnodar. The Crimean Tatars Islamized the Adygeyi in the XVIth century by converting their feudal lords. The Adigeyi kept good relations with Russia: Ivan IV the Terrible’s second wife was a Cherkess princess. In 1829, the Ottoman Turks had to withdraw from northern Caucasus following the treaty of Andrinople. Russia progressively invaded the area. The Adygeyi (among others) organized the resistance by way of religious independentist movements. The area was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1864.
Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 2003, quoting from [lux01]

Adygeya is a curious case of geography, even in the diversifed patchwork of the Russian Federation: It is a coastless enclave inside Krasnodar territory, with a multipedunculated shape — it is however made of only one contiguous area, whitout any enclave in or exclave of Krasnodar — although including some bits isolated by the river Kuban (at least according to the 1:200000 atlas Krasnodarskiĭ kraĭ / Respublika Adygeâ — Topografiĉeskaâ Karta, 1994, jointly published by both local governments).
António Martins, 16 Sep 1999


Description of the flag

The flag is not new, because it was firstly drawn by David Urquhart, a Scottish scholar sent by British Government to substain Cirkassyan people against Russia. He created a flag, that is very similar to the current flag adopted on 23 March 1992. The 12 golden stars stand for the nine “aristocratic” tribes and the three “democratic” tribes, while the three arrows represents peace. The background is green and represents both Islam and life (or freedom).
Giuseppe Bottasini

12 gold stars correspond to 12 main tribes of the Adyghe nation. Three crossed arrows symbolize union of 12 Adyghe tribes.
Nikolay Khimenkov, 20 Mar 1999

The colour of the flag is in fact Aquamarine Green, a dark blueish green, so says the flag law. The colour given in art. 2 of the law is green. But not only the illustration to the law, but also the description of the details of the flag give deep aquamarine. The supplement to the law prescribes the size of each flag element and the colourshade. (Published in Sovetskaja Adigeja 63 of March 31st, 1992)
Ralf Stelter, 04 Mar 1999 and 27 Jun 1999


History of the flag

Circassia (1830’ies)

Adyghe flag 1834
image by Nikolay Khimenkov and Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 2003

In the 1830s, a Briton called Urquhart designed green flag with 7 stars above three crossed arrows on a green background. This flag was used by the Circassians in the fight against Russian occupation.
Stuart Notholt, 17 Sep 1995

The first Adygeyi flag was created in 1834. It was green with three yellow arrows and seven stars. Green symbolized Islam, the arrows the union of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the stars the seven allied peoples from Caucasus.
Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 2003, quoting from [lux01]

Lux-Wurm’s image in [lux01] differs from the current Adygeya flag by its proportions of 2:3 and the number and arrangement of the stars, an arch of five and two more stars placed among the arrows.
Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 2003

North Caucasian League (1940’ies)

N.C.L. flag
image by Nikolay Khimenkov, 05 Jul 1999

Both the flags of Cherkess and Adygei are clearly evolved from this flag, a version of which (with 12 stars) being also used by the pro-German North Caucasian League set up during World War II.
Stuart Notholt, 17 Sep 1995


Flag laws

Constitution of the Republic of Adygei

Clause 59. The National flag of the Republic of Adygei is a rectangular green panel, with the pictures of twelve gold stars and three gold crossedarrows with the tips directed upwards. The ratio of the flag length and its width is 2:1.

Law of the Republic of Adygei
On the National flag of the Republic of Adygei
March 24, 1992

Clause 2. The National flag of the Republic of Adygei is a rectangular green panel, with the pictures of twelve gold stars and three gold crossed arrows with the tips directed upwards. The length of the flag is 180 cm, the width is 90 cm.
quoted by Nikolay Khimenkov, 20 Mar 1999

The problem is to choose: either we respect word for word the text (only it matters), and the flag is green, or we respect the picture in the law and the flag is dark aquamarine (source: [cdd], 17th June 1992).
Pascal Vagnat, 31 Mar 1999

The colour given in art. 2 of the law is green. But not only the illustration to the law, but also the description of the details of the flag (published in Sovetskaja Adigeja No. 63, of March 31st, 1992) give deep aquamarine. For Adygeja the supplement to the law prescribes the size of each flag element and the colourshade!
Ralf Stelter, 27 Jun 1999


Medium green variant

Medium green variant
image by Nikolay Khimenkov, 20 Mar 1999

A friend of mine, just returning from a foot trip across Adygeya (from Krasnodar thru Maykop up to the southern border), reported to me that all adygeyan flags in sight were medium green, not (dark) aquamarine.
António Martins, 10 Sep 1999

In fact some flags are manufactured in a normal shade of green, and I know an institution in Germany who received an original flag in green, with a letter added: «note that the gren shade is wrong, it should be darker».
Ralf Stelter, 04 Mar 1999

This flag is listed under number 103 at the chart Flags of Aspirant Peoples [eba94] as: «Adyge Republic (Adygei) - North Caucasus, Russia, based on written description».
Ivan Sache, 15 Sep 1999


Different star arrangement variation

Different star arrangement variation
image by Nikolay Khimenkov, 20 Mar 1999

I know a variant with 3 stars are located on an arch.
Nikolay Khimenkov, 20 Mar 1999

The arrangement of the flag’s elements is prescribed in the same supplementary to the law as the colourshade. There is only one correct arrangement possible!
Ralf Stelter, 27 Jun 1999


Coat of Arms

Valentin Poposki, 25 Nov 2005

In the coat of arms of the Russian republic of Adygei (adopted 24 March 1992) is shown Sausryko with a torch in his right hand and riding a firehorse. His story is told in the national epic Nart of Adygei.
Jos Poels, 29 Nov 1995

Official description is in the official website, but it is in Russian. The coat of arms is adopted March 24th 1992. Author is D. M. Meretukov. There is not a word about the colours of the arms in the document, so probably that is a reason why there are different interpretations.
Valentin Poposki, 25 Nov 2005