“Ethnonym ‘Circassian’ and toponym ‘Circassia’ as the designations of the people and its country in North-Caucasus appeared in Armenian, Georgian, Arabian, Persian, Turkic, etc. historical sources since ХШ century, having superseded the previous ethnonymic nomenclature – ‘Kerkets’, ‘Zihs’, “Djiks’, ‘Kashags’, ‘Kases, ‘Kasogs’, ‘Djarkases’ and so on. Ethnonym ‘Circassian’ became common in the European and the Russian sources in ХV-ХIХ centuries. At the same time the local population invariably named themselves ‘Adyghae’ though probably local names (with which separate ethno-political formations - Natuhay, Abadzeh, Zhanae, Kabardey and others identified themselves) played some role. Nevertheless, despite of certain distinctions of social, cultural and language character, from the historical-ethnographic point of view it is one Circassian (Adygeyan) people.
Historical collisions of the XIX-XX centuries connected with disasters of the Caucasian war, violent eviction of significant part of Circassians to Ottoman empire, administrative transformations carried out by the imperial government, and then – the state bodies of the Soviet authority of RSFSR and the USSR - led to formation in Russian Federation of the four territorially divided arrays of Circassian people with different ethnographic designations - Adygs, Circassians, Kabardians, Shapsugs being fixed.
Rather recent (to the historical measures) territorial dissociation did not lead to a loss by the people its historical memory of the genetic and cultural generality among those groups. Modern researches show that the ethnic identity and the basic layer of the traditional culture among Shapsugs, Adygs, Circassians and Kabardians are common. That let us consider the named groups as sub-ethnoses of the one - Circassian (Adygeyan) people.
As to Ubyhs, that people which had lived till the middle of the XIX century in the upper flows of the rivers. Sochi and Shakhe, was almost completely moved to the Ottoman empire. According to kept written historical sources Ubyhs named themselves ‘b’aeh’ though even in that case the sources fixed only the local name of this ethnic group
The present not numerous descendants of Ubyhs, or those who considers themselves as Ubyhs (registered by the census-2002 in Russian Federation), are carriers of all-Circassian identity, share Circassian (Adygeyan) cultural traditions, identify themselves together with the basic array of the modern Circassian (Adygeya) people”.
Caucasus department chief of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Science, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Science, doctor of historical degree
Professor S.A. Arutyunov