Circassians once called the area around Sochi their homeland. They were displaced during the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century.

Circassians, who are predominantly Sunni Muslims, say punitive raids and ethnic cleansing carried out by the Russian during and after the conflict amounted to genocide.

Historians estimate that more than 600,000 Circassians were killed and at least as many deported to the Ottoman Empire.

"For us it's like if someone wants to organise the Olympic Games at Auschwitz, can you imagine that?" Sencer Shumaf, a member of the NoSochi2014 protest movement said.

IBTimesUK presents portraits of the Circassian people. Read more about the Circassian genocide in this article by Umberto Bacchi.

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Circassian villager Ais Tlyf poses for a photograph in his kitchen in Tkhagapsh. He said: "The clan of my ancestors settled on this plain in the mountains in 1872 along with other Circassian families. It was long after the end of the Russian Caucasian war when hostilities had ceased and the Russians dismantled their military fort that used to be here."Reuters
Circassian villager Ashirkhan Chachukh, 82, and her great-grand daughter Saira, 4, sit in the living room of their house in the village of Tkhagapsh in the Lazerevskoye district of Sochi. She said: "The Olympic Games are far away, they don't concern me. The only thing I wish is that they pass peacefully. God forbid, only no war! Then everything is good"Reuters
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Circassian villager and former Soviet army correspondent and writer Madin Chachukh stands on his front porch in the village of Tkhagapsh. He said: "As every small nation, the biggest threat we face today, is the loss of our language and subsequently our culture. There are only very few of us left, too few. We wish the government gave us money to help us preserve our language. Its loss would be a tragedy. I fear it will eventually happen, but we have to slow down this process."Reuters
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Circassian men wearing traditional costume pose in a tea field in Golovinka, near SochiReuters
Animal herders Indris Chachukh and Zoya Chachukh tend a goat in Tkhagapsh in the Lazerevskoye district of SochiReuters
A woman in traditional dress welcomes a delegation of diaspora Circassians with a traditional bread and salt dish as they visit a school in Bolshoy Kichmay, Greater SochiReuters
Local Circassian men wearing traditional costume watch a welcome ceremony for diaspora Circassians at a tourist lodge in GolovinkaReuters
Dancers from the Ahli Club for Circassian Dance perform at the Southern theatre during the Jerash Festival in the ancient city of Jerash, JordanReuters
A memorial plaque shows the names of members of the Teshu (Teshev) family who died during the Stalin era of Soviet rule in the village of TkhagapshReuters
Ethnic Circassians shout slogans during an anti-Olympic demonstration near the Russian Consulate in IstanbulReuters