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The ethnosocial organization and political history of Ubykhs in sources and a historiography

 © 2007 of M.G. Hafizov



Ubykhs - one of the most ancient people living in the territory of the Northwest Caucasus. The period since the end of the 18th century to the 30th of the 19th century is an important stage in their stories. The events connected with the Caucasian war and which were followed by rough shocks closely intertwined with the social and economic and social and political processes happening in the Ubykh society.

Disclosure of the historical truth concerning the Ubykh people and its participation in the Caucasian war is an integral part of modern researches of history of the North Caucasus. The analysis of sources, comparison and systematization of materials, aspiration to unbiased interpretation and assessment of the phenomena, facts and historical events which participants were Ubykhs allow to define not only their place in big family of the Caucasian people, but also extent of participation in events of the Caucasian war.

Materials of the Russian State Military and Historical Archive (RSMHA), State archive of Krasnodar (GAKK) and Stavropol regions (GASK), the archive of foreign policy of the Russian Empire (AFPRE) formed documentary base of a research.

When studying archive materials on Ubykhiya's stories of special attention official documents of GAKK funds deserve. These are first of all the various instructions coming from the headquarters of the Black Sea Cossack army and its office and office of the chief of the Black Sea coastline (for example, 254 "Army watch of the Black Sea Cossack army", 260 "Office of the chief of the Black Sea coastline" and 261 "Office of the chief of the cordon line of the Black Sea Cossack army").

From AVPRI funds "The main archive" and "The intercourses with Turkey" are of interest.

In RGVIA funds were lifted: Military and Scientific Archive (MSA) (f. 846, op. 16); "General staff" (f. 400); "The headquarters of army of the Caucasian line and in Chernomoriya located" (f. 13454); "General staff of the Caucasian case and army" (f. 14719), etc. The same archive contains a huge number of military and statistical and topographical descriptions of Western Caucasus. Among them "The sheet to the people living between the seas Black and Caspian on the space subject to Russia with the indication of the population, humility degree to the government" (f. VUA), "Review of a political condition of the Caucasus" (f. 13454), "Current state of the Caucasus" (f. 400).

The big group of the documents characterizing progress of a tsarism on split of liberation movement of the people of Western Caucasus by bribery, granting various privileges, military awards and ranks to representatives of sovereign surnames which arrived on the Russian service is stored in VUA fund. In it the relations activity of the Abkhazian possessor Mikhail Shervashidze who up in arms was at war against Dzhigits and Ubykhs is indicative. The tsarism noted his merits in conquest of edge high military awards. M. Shervashidze took part in negotiations of the Russian military command with Haji Berzek and other leaders of the Ubykhs who took place in May, 1841 in strengthening St. Spirit.

In Headquarters of Army... fund (f. 13454) the various materials disclosing dynamics of military advance of the Russian troops on Western Caucasus in 30 - the 40th across Abkhazia, Uby-hiya and Shapsugiya contain. The main part of this group of documents - official reports and reports of commanders of forwarding groups.

Fund of "General staff of the Caucasian case and army" (f. 14719) contains materials about the course of a military expedition of the Russian troops to Pskhu; about fight against Ubykhs, Shapsugs and Dzhigits; about attraction by royal command of certain representatives of the specified nationalities on the party during conquest of edge.

The separate group is made by documents on exile and violent eviction of the people of Western Caucasus to Turkey. Among them "There is a note about the mountaineers moved from the Caucasus after 1861", "A short note about the mountain people of the Caucasus (Chechnya, Circassia, Ossetia, Kabarda, Dagestan)", "The report on General Staff on military activity of troops of the Caucasian army", etc.

Recognizing the huge scientific value of archival documents and materials, it is worth to remember that in the majority they have tendentious character and not quite objectively cover past events. On the one hand, in them the tendency to veil true intentions of the tsarist government in relation to the territory of the Northwest Caucasus and the people inhabiting it is traced, motivating the policy in this region as desire to introduce to the people of the Caucasus bases of a civilization and exposing the actions as blessing. On the other hand, wishing to please the government, the Caucasian administration often distorted the valid situation.

Great interest at study social

submit to economic and military-political history of Ubykhiya descriptions of travelers, various compositions of historical and geographical character and so forth

As sources on Ubykhiya's stories the historical and memoirs literature published on pages of the Russian periodical press of that time - in the Kuban and Caucasian collections is of value; in the magazines "Russky Arkhiv", "Russkaya starina"; in the newspapers "Terskiye Vedomosti", "Kubanskiye oblastnye vedomosti", "Kavkaz", etc. In them not only articles of historians, notes and memoirs of participants of wars in the Caucasus were printed, but also in the form of applications documents and materials from archives were published. It is possible to distinguish N.I. Ve-nyukov [1], N. Karlgof [2], F.F. Tornau [3], E.D. Felitsyn [4], N.L. Kamenev [5] works from these editions issued on pages, etc. However it is necessary to study these materials taking into account that, being supporters of colonial policy of the tsarist government in the Caucasian region, the above-mentioned authors often represented mountaineers "savages" and the "predators" incapable to estimate what is done for them by Russia.

Among the Russian publications of modern times the materials which are contained in the Acts of the Caucasian Arkheografichesky Commission (ACAC) [6] are the most popular. The collection represents the set of official documents from archive of head department of the tsar in the Caucasus. It contains the orders, official reports, letters and notes of participants of military operations, statistical data and data delivered by intelligence agents and also reports on the done work. The first ten volumes left under the chairmanship of A.I. Berger from 1866 to 1885, and the subsequent two volumes - after his death (1885, 1904)

Despite some tendentiousness shown at selection of materials they light the reasons, the course and consequences of the Caucasian war. In them various aspects of diplomatic and military fight of the European countries and Turkey around the Circassian question, reaction Ubykh and other people on colonial policy of Russia and participation of Ubykhs in liberating fight of the people of the Caucasus reveal. Russia needed to include the Northwest Caucasus in the sphere of the influence, and the people of the Caucasus in every way sought to defend the Homeland and independence. In our opinion, the value of the materials collected in Acts is that in them the red line traces search of constructive ways of an exit from this hardest situation both from the Russian government, and from mountaineers.

Acts are the most valuable published source for studying political, social, economic and military history of Ubykhs today. Volumes IX, X and XII contain the documents concerning attempts from outside the Ubykh -

sky leaders to organize liberation movement on Western Caucasus, actions taken by them for consolidation of the mountain people, the participation of Ubykhs in the Caucasian war opening degree and the tragic consequences which led to genocide of the Ubykh people.

On the history of national liberation fight of mountaineers of the Caucasus Archival management of the Georgian SSR in 1953 published the collection of the documents "Shamil — the Protege of Sultan Turkey and the English Colonialists" containing instructions, the relations and responses, reports, official reports and notes proceeding from the high military command and local bodies of throne. It also contains Shamil's correspondence with deputies subject to it - appeals, the letter and its appeal and naib to mountain societies of Western Caucasus, Chechnya, Dagestan and Kabarda [7]. The only lack of this collection - its extreme political and ideological involvement.

The official documents proceeding from the highest military and military administrative agencies and the diplomatic organizations and also local bodies of throne are published in the collection under R.H. Gugov, H.A. Ka-sumov and D.V. Shabayev [8] edition. They fully reflect policy of royal genocide against Adyghe, and, in particular, Ubykhs, in the final stage of the Caucasian war.

Collections of archival documents under T.H. Kumykov [9] edition contain the most valuable data concerning problems of the Caucasian war and mass eviction of Adyghe, taken from TsGVIA funds of the Republic Georgia, RGVIA of Russia, CGA of Krasnodar Krai and partially from CGA KBR. Generally it relations and responses, instructions, reports, official reports, statistical sheets, diplomatic documents, correspondence, etc. They contain data on participation of Ubykhs in liberating fight and the statistical data confirming genocide against the Ubykh people.

The archive materials published by A.K. Sheriyev are an important additional source when studying various questions of history of the Caucasian war and its tragic consequences [10]. Projects, statistical sheets, the review of military operations, official reports and reports not only characterize orientation of the Russian policy in the Caucasus, but also light liberating fight Ubykh and other people in the years of the Caucasian war, describe the tragic events connected with final conquest and their eviction in borders of the Ottoman Empire.

The first written mention of Ubykhs, according to A.N. Genko, belongs to antiquity. The Byzantine historian and the geographer of the 6th century Prokopy writes in the compositions: "Behind the Abazgov area in the Caucasus Brukhi live (Ubykhs. - M.H.) which territory is between Abazgami and Alanami..."

In 1641 already Italian traveler of Eve-liya Tchelebi mentions in this territory tribes of Waipigha (in Hummer transcription - English) which, according to some researchers, are Ubykh. However, according to Böll, Waia is a psezuapinsky tribe to a goaya (goa) - division of the Black Sea Shapsugs, and pigha, probably, derivative from pekh - self-names of Ubykhs. Then it is possible to assume that Waipigha is the mixed shapsugo-Ubykh population of Entre Rios of Psezuapse - Shakhe.

Ubykhs finally entered scientific literature at the end of the 18th century thanks to Gyuldenshtedt and Pallas's researches which rank Ubykhs as abazes and have them in the historical territory of resettlement standard in the 19th century. Thus, the early serious studies on Ubykhiya's stories belong to the end of the 18th century

In the conditions of the begun Russian-Caucasian opposition there was an urgent need in drawing up summary descriptions of the Caucasus. In the first half of the 19th century the major materials about the people of the North Caucasus concentrate in the bowels of military and scientific departments. Tsarist Russia started colonial war, it demanded collecting materials about zakubansky and Black Sea Adyghe. In Russian Defense Ministry on this period a huge number of documentary sources is concentrated. Here it would be desirable to allocate works of those authors where the valuable information about the Ubykh people contains.

Military F.K. Brun, Ya. Pototsky, S.T. Zvanba, G.I. Filipson, F.F. Tornau, S. Esadze and others, visited east coast of the Black Sea in the XVIII-XIX centuries, in the works and notes did not ignore Ubykhs.


In 1852 in the Caucasus newspaper publishes article of the Abkhazian ethnographer, officer of the Russian army S.T. Zvanba "Winter campaigns of Ubykhs to Abkhazia" which laid in essence the foundation for studying the Ubykh history [12]. Though the essay has ethnographic character, it contains the most interesting material about representatives of the well-known Ubykh sort Berzek and the military organization of Ubykhs that gives an idea of participation them in military operations during the Caucasian war and that role which they played in liberating fight of mountaineers of the Caucasus.

One of the first scientific works devoted to Ubykhs - P.K. Uslar's article "About Language of Ubykhs" [13] gives an idea of one of the most mysterious and poorly studied languages. The author wrote down texts according to the 14-year-old son of the leader of Ubykhs Haji Geranduk Berzek - one of leaders of liberation movement on Western Caucasus.

In "The review of a political condition of the Caucasus" for in 1840 it is said that Ubykhs - "rebellious angry enemies (Russia. - M.H.), the people aggressive, princes and noblemen the Ubykh zealous Mohammedans, the people

till this moment kept some ceremonies of Christian belief by means of paganism" [14]. In the similar review for the same year, probably, made by other authors, it is said: "The Ubykhs who are famous for the molodechestvo and fearlessness occupy a southeast slope of the ridge of the Caucasus Mountains between river. Sachet and Shakhe River. On the seashore between these rivers the Ubykhs live is mixed with Shapsugs, making several separate societies: Hize, Uor-dane, Shmitkuadzh and the settlement of Zyuesh famous at neighbors under the name Ardona. Noble surnames two - Deshen and Berzeki, all of them are zealous Mohammedans, meanwhile as a part of the people continues to worship a cross" [15].

The contemporary of events, the Russian publicist of official and monarchic and great-power orientation R.A. Fadeyev tried to define the place and a role of the Caucasus in plans of Russia and in the system of the international relations of the first half of the 19th century. He considered accession of this region absolutely natural need for the Russian Empire forced to care for defense of the southern boundaries against aggressive-minded Turkey and Iran. If for England aspiration on the East - "business of convenience and benefit", then for Russia is not "luxury, not a whim coming from surplus of forces, not satisfaction of any given exclusive purpose as trade, political impact and other" is "business of life", - Fadeyev claims [16]. Thus, it justifies colonial policy of Russia in the Caucasus with vital need. Subsequently this "vital need" of the Russian Empire turned back for mountaineers of the Caucasus and in particular for Ubykhs not only loss of the home ground and eviction to the Ottoman Empire, but also genocide of the people.

The scarcity of the istochnikovy base concerning a research subject determines the value of any materials though remotely, but mentioning history of the Ubykh people. A specific place is held by the data collected by the Russian officers serving in the Caucasus and the intelligence agents incognito traveling in search of strategic information. Long time, being among mountaineers, studying their life and life, they had an opportunity to buy rich actual material [2, 17-22].

The "Ethnographic, topographical, statistical and military description of the Caucasus" made by the lieutenant general of the General Staff I.F. Blaramber-g in 1833 contains some data concerning the territory of resettlement and number of Ubykhs that is a necessary prerequisite for unbiased interpretation of historical reality. It is especially important when we speak about Ubykhs who as a result of the Caucasian war were expelled from the homeland. If territorial identification of Ubykhiya of the middle of the 19th century does not raise doubts, then in determination of number of its population in the existing scientific literature very wide range of opinions still is observed.

According to Blaramberg's data, the number of the Ubykh people in the 30th did not exceed 7 thousand people. This question in official kavkazovedchesky literature was not brought up, and data of contemporaries are very sketchy and contradictory. So, N.I. of Carle-gof [2] and "The encyclopedic dictionary" of F.A. Brockhaus and I.A. Efron give figure of 40 thousand people [23]. N.G. Novitsky determines the number of the Ubykh people in 1830 in 25 thousand people [20]. Some aspects of the put problem are covered in works of contemporaries of the described events. Fractional information on the territory of resettlement and number of Ubykhs can be found in S.N. Bronevsky, K.F. Stal, M. Rukevich, E.D. Felitsyn's works, the general of royal army H. H. of Rajevski, etc.

The Russian government received valuable data on a condition of the region from the Adyghe serving the Russian tsar. "Notes about Circassia" of the outstanding Adyghe educator Sultan Khan-Gireya can be an example [24]. Data on the cultural level of the Adyghe tribes, a way of life and mentality could give, in our opinion, to the Russian government understanding of that, the Homeland, Svoboda, Independence and how harmful can be a policy and tactics of Russia on accession of the territory of the Northwest Caucasus are how important for the mountain people. Being covered with the slogans of familiarizing of mountaineers of the Caucasus with an advanced Russian civilization, the Russian government used barbaric methods for achievement of a goal - inclusion of the Northwest Caucasus in the sphere of the influence.

Data of direct combatants in the Caucasus A. Fonville [25], and the famous Polish officer T. Lapinsky are of great interest [26]. The last not only the witness and the eyewitness of the described events, but also one of the main characters of the drama played in the territory of Western Caucasus in the second half 50 - the beginning of the 60th of the 19th century. Within three years, being among Adyghe, dividing all heart of hope and expectation of mountaineers for success of liberating fight, T. Lapinsky not only studied their customs and traditions, civil and political system, but also an image of warfare. Having visited Ubykhiya in 1857, in the work it characterizes them as the courageous and brave soldiers ready to offer the life for the sake of freedom.

Some data on the considered problem contain in certificates of agents of the European policy of J. Bella [27], J. Longvorta [28] and the ordinary travelers who at the time visited the Caucasus such as E. Spencer [29], etc.

In Soviet period the famous researchers-caucasiologists A.N. Genko, L.I. Lavrov, N.G. Volkova, E.P. Alekseeva, Z.V. Anchabadze of G.Z. Anchabadze, Yu.D. Anchabadze [11, 30-35], etc. were engaged in problems of history and ethnography of the Ubykh people

Questions of the Caucasian war and participation of Ubykhs in it are to a degree studied in ra-

N.A. Smirnov, A.H Kasumov, V.V. Degoyev, N. Berzedzh, A.Yu. Chirg, A. Siver, M.M. Bliyev [36-42] boats, etc.

In 1935 A.V. Fadeyev published article with the symbolical name "Ubykhs in Liberation Movement on Western Caucasus" [43]. At that time it was the only work in domestic literature where questions of participation of Ubykhs in the Caucasian war are taken quite objectively up. The author tried to define a role of Ubykhs in fight against colonial expansion of Russia in the Caucasus and to characterize scales of the tragedy which comprehended the Ubykh people as a result of violent eviction in borders of the Ottoman Empire.

The important place in the history of the Caucasus to Ubykhs is given by the famous scientist-caucasiologist of Sh.D. Inal-Yip. In the scientific works it lights pages of military history of Ubykhs and political activity of the Ubykh leaders from the sort Berzek in the years of the Caucasian war [44, 45].

G.A. Dzidzariya provides valuable data on the territory of resettlement and number of the Ubykh people, ethnocultural ties with neighbors, in particular, with Shapsugs and Abkhazia [46].

Idea of the place taken by Ubykhs in big family of the Caucasian people and their participation in national liberation fight of mountaineers of the Caucasus during the Caucasian war gives T.V. Polovinkina's work [47].

The historian-ethnologist A.S. Marzey opens the reasons and motives of military campaigns, the system of preparation for military life and sources of the Ubykh nayezdnichestvo [48].

The monographic edition of M.H. - B. Kishmakhova has ethnographic character. The author describes the territory of resettlement and number, economic classes, crafts, life and culture, customs and traditions of the people. Here data on the social, economic, public and political organization of Ubykhs contain [49].

V.I. Voroshilov set as the purpose creation of a detailed historical and ethnographic essay about the Ubykhs who were living in the territory of modern Greater Sochi, since the early Middle Ages to the second half of the 19th century, scarred in the history of the people of the Caucasus. The reliability of the facts which are contained in work is provided with use of a wide range of archive materials and also documentary evidences of that time - photos and drawings [50].

Summing up the result, there is a wish to note that at all variety of researches on the history of the Caucasian wars in which general context we find only sketchy mentions of Ubykhs the question of their participation in liberating fight and a role of the Ubykh military-political leaders in the organization of this fight is of great interest and remains insufficiently studied. It is possible to explain it only with scarcity of the istochnikovy base which did not allow historians to recreate objective

picture of history of the Ubykh ethnos. To meet this lack, leaning on already available and having worked the documentary sources which are stored in the central archive depositories, - the purpose of the modern researcher applying for an honorary title of the expert on history of the North Caucasus.


1. N.I. Venyukov. A space essay between Kuban and White//Notes of the Russian Geographical Society. 1843. Prince 2.
2. N. Karlgof. About political system of the Circassian tribes inhabiting the northeast coast of the Black Sea//Russian vestn. 1860. T. 28.
3. F.F. Tornau. Memoirs of the Caucasian officer//Russian vestn. 1864. No. 9-12.
4. Felitsyn E.D. Knyaz Sefer-bey Zahn//Kuban sb. 1904. T. 1.
5. Kamenev N.L. Basseyn Psekupsa//Kuban army sheets. 1867. No. 14.
6. The acts collected by the Caucasian arkheografichesky commission//Archive of Head department of the deputy of Caucasian (AKAK). T. I-XII. Tiflis, 18661904.
7. Shamil is a protege of sultan Turkey and the English colonialists: Sb. documentary materials. Tbilisi, 1953.
8. Tragic consequences of the Caucasian war for Adyghe: Sb. documents and materials / Under the editorship of R.H. Gugov, H.A. Kasumov, D.V. Shabayev. Nalchik, 2000.
9. Problems of the Caucasian war and eviction of Circassians in borders of the Ottoman Empire / Under the editorship of T.H. Kuma-kova. Nalchik, 2001; Archive materials about the Caucasian war and eviction of Circassians (Adyghe) to Turkey (1848 - 1874) / Under the editorship of T.H. Kumykov. Nalchik, 2003.
10. A.K. Sheriyev. Conquest and settling of the Caucasus. RIAs are Caucasus Mineralnye Vody region. 2004.
11. A.N. Genko. About language of Ubykhs//Izv. Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The VII series. Otd. humanities. 1928. No. 3. Page 229.
12. S.T. Zvanba. Winter campaigns of Ubykhs to Abkhazia//the Caucasus. 1852. No. 33.
13. P.K. Uslar. About language of Ubykhs. Ethnography of the Caucasus. Tiflis, 1887.
14. Russian State Military and Historical Archive (RSMHA), VUA, 6164, Part 93, l. 12.
15. RGVIA, VUA, 1851, l. 16 about., l. 17.
16. R.A. Fadeyev. Letters from the Caucasus//SOBR. soch. T. 1. Part I. SPb., 1889. Page 249-252.
17. I. Blaramberg. Caucasian manuscript. Stavropol, 1992; It. Historical, topographical, statistical, ethnographic and military description of the Caucasus. M, 1994.
18. S. Bronevsky. The latest geographical and historical news of the Caucasus. M, 1823.
19. K.F. steel. Ethnographic essay Circassian

people//Caucasian sb. Tiflis, 1900. T. 21.

20. N.G. Novitsky. A geographical and statistical review of the earth inhabited by Adekhe//Tiflisskiye's people of the sheet. 1829. No. 22-24.
21. L.Ya. Lyulye Circassia: Historical and ethnographic articles. Krasnodar, 1927.
22. F.F. Tornau. A secret mission to Circassia. Nalchik, 1999. Page 508.
23. F.A. Brockhaus and I.A. Efron's encyclopedic dictionary. T. 34, 67. SPb., 1902. Page 413.
24. S. Khan Weight. Notes about Circassia. Nalchik, 1992. Page 334.
25. FunVille And. The last year of war of Circassia for independence. 1863-1864. Kiev, 1991.
26. T. Lapinsky. Mountaineers of the Caucasus and their liberating fight against V.K. Gardanov Russians / Lane. Nalchik, 1995.
27. J. Bell. The diary of stay in Circassia during 1837, 1838, 1839//Adyghe, Balkars and Karachays in news of the European authors of the XIII-XIX centuries (ABKIEA). Nalchik, 1974. Page 458-530.
28. J.A. Longwort year among Circassians//ABKIEA. Nalchik, 1974. Page 531-584.
29. Spencer. Travel to Circassia. Maykop, 1993.
30. L.I. laurels. Ethnographic essay of Ubykhs//Uch. zap. Adygei scientific research institute of language, literature and history. Maykop, 1968. T. 7.
31. N.G. Volkova. The ethnic structure of the population of the North Caucasus in HUS - the beginning of HK of century of M., 1984.
32. E.P. Alekseeva. Ancient and medieval history of Karachay-Cherkessia. M, 1971.
33. Z.V. Anchabadze. From the history of medieval Abkhazia (VI - HUS of centuries). Sukhumi, 1959; It. History and culture of ancient Abkhazia. M, 1964.
34. G.Z. Anchabadze. "The book of a travel" Evliya Chele-bi as a source on stories of the mountain people of the Caucasus: Avtoref. yew.... edging. east. sciences. Tbilisi, 1975.
35. Yu.D. Anchabadze Abaza (To ethnocultural history of the people of the Northwest Caucasus)//Caucasian ethnographic sb. / Under the editorship of V.K. Gardanov. No. 8. M, 1984. Page 141-164.
36. N.A. Smirnov. Politician of Russia in the Caucasus in the XVI-XIX centuries M., 1958.
37. A.H. Kasumov, KasumovH.A. Genocide of Adyghe. Nalchik, 1992; A.H. Kasumov. Tragic fate of Ubykhs//Soviet youth. 1994. No. 69.
38. V.V. Degoyev the Caucasus in the system of the international relations. 30 - the 60th of the 19th century. (Problem historiography). Ordzhonikidze, 1988.
39. Berzedzh N. Exiles of Circassians. Maykop, 1996.
40. Chirg A.Yu. Development of a social and political system of Adyghe of Northwest Caucasus. Maykop, 2002.
41. North And. Shapsugs. Ethnic history and identification. Nalchik, 2002.
42. M.M. Bliyev Russia and mountaineers of Greater Caucasus. M, 2004.
43. A.V. Fadeyev. Ubykhs in liberation movement on Western Caucasus / Historical sb. M.; L., 1935. No. 4.
44. Sh.D. Inal-Yip. Ubykhs and their ethnocultural ties with Abkhazians//Pages of historical ethnography of Abkhazians. Sukhumi, 1971. Page 257-310.
45. Sh.D. Inal-Yip. Sadz. M, 1995. Page 286.
46. Dzidzariya G.A. Makhadzhirstvo and problems of history XIX of Abkhazia of century. Sukhumi, 1982.
47. T.V. Polovinkina Circassia - my pain. Maykop, 2001.
48. A.S. Marzey. The Circassian nayezdnichestvo - "zek1ue". M, 2004.
49. M.H. Kishmakhov. - B. Rod from the sacred valley of Ubykhs. Cherkessk, 1999.
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Kabardino-Balkarian state university On March 14, 2007

Andrew Richard Howard
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