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From the history of development of free (rural) societies in mountain Chechnya and Ingushetia in XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century.

 © 2004 Sh.B. Akhmadov


And INGUSHETIA In XVIII - the BEGINNING of the 19th century

In the territory of modern Chechnya and Ingushetia in

XVIII -the beginning of the 19th century, as we know, did not develop the uniform centralized public entities. The political map of Chechnya and Ingushetia remained quite motley at this time. Here along with political formations as, for example, feudal possession or principalities on the plain, at the same time in mountains continued to coexist so-called free societies or the unions of rural societies of Vainakhs to whom there was an intensive process of social and property differentiation.

Speaking about forms of political system of mountain Chechnya and Ingushetia in the 18th century, authors of the generalizing work on stories of the people of the North Caucasus [1] tell about extreme fragmentation and existence here at this time sets of societies of Chechens and Ingushs independent from each other. The dissociation of Vainakh societies was most of all noticeable in mountains where a form of association of tayp were the unions or associations (tukhuma, jamias) of societies.

In the XVIII-XIX centuries terms of "society", "district", "republic" in pre-revolutionary Russian kavkazovedchesky literature called various political formation of type of the unions of rural communities existing in mountains at the people of Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia. The famous Dagestan scientist M.A. Aglarov notices that the pre-revolutionary researcher I. Gerber at the very beginning of the 18th century "for the first time acquainted the reader and opened for the Russian historical science so-called free societies as operated by elective representatives and having the independent status of political unit" [2].

The problem of economic development and political system of free societies or unions of rural societies of Chechens and Ingushs, per se, in a historiography of history of Chechnya and Ingushetia, unfortunately, was not put until recently at all and was not considered. The exception is made by works of local scientists T.A. Isaeva and Ya.Z. Akhmadov in which authors concern this problem only casually, in the context of the analysis of single questions of social and economic development and political position of Chechens and Ingushs in the XVII-XVIII centuries. So, Isaeva notices that "the political system of the Checheno-Ingush societies" was in many respects similar to the Dagestan free societies [3, page 45]. Akhmadov specifies that "in the territory of Chechen-Ingushetia there was a number of the unions of rural communities or as historians define, free societies which were operated by people's assemblies and foremen" [4].

At the beginning of the 70th of the 20th century the researcher V.P. Dzagu-rova noted that the unions of rural societies are a special type of the political formations which developed in the period of the Middle Ages. Such unions on the eve of accession of Dagestan to Russia was up to 60.

Among them there were small, uniting several societies or even the limited to jamia limits, and large, uniting several such societies as, for example, Akusha-Dargo. The unions of rural societies were located generally in mountains, in this case in the Western, Central and Southern Dagestan, in conditions which both in geographical, and in the strategic plan promoted the correct organization of defense, "what had huge value for counteraction to the aggressive policy of the feudal authorities" [5].

After the certain pre-revolutionary researchers speaking about the unions of rural communities (free societies) as the democratic and federal republics of mountaineers (S. Bronevsky), this thesis without its critical analysis was adopted by some Soviet researchers. So, in the late forties L.A. Bryukhanov specified in the work devoted to state system and administrative management of free societies XVIII of Dagestan century that they were nearly democratic republics [6]. However the famous scientist-caucasiologist R.M. Magomedov resolutely does not agree with similar statements. He, in particular, notices that free society is not the tribe and not the union of tribes, but the special political organization of rural communities jamias [7, page 115].

And further, developing and deepening the thought on this problem, Magomedov reports that association of the population took place on the basis of breeding relationship, and in each free society or the union of such societies borders of their former breeding division, the distinctive language or a dialect remained, and at last each free society consisted of a certain number of jamias (rural communities). Objecting the point of view of Bryukhanov, Magomedov specifies that free society of Dagestan was not any democratic republic [7, page 63].

"The inexact term "free society" (entered by the Russian researchers in the 19th century), - V.G. Gadzhiyev claims, - in historical literature the rural communities, rather independent of the foreign power of early feudal type, united in one union around larger settlement" were called [8].

We will address opinion of very authoritative scientist of pre-revolutionary Russia - the largest researcher of laws and customs of the people of the Caucasus in the past M.M. Kowalewski - about the free societies various on the structure of the population. Judging by his statement, free society in general, as a rule, was created thanks to the fact that the most ancient and most powerful (most influential) settlement "managed to undertake quite often by silently concluded alliances the management of destinies next to them

societies, and in this case the rural foreman of this aul assumed leadership in military campaigns and focused in the hands judicial proceedings and outside community" [9, page 162]. So, for example, analyzing Akushinsko-go's activity of the free society consisting of five Dargwa settlements, the author, in particular, notices that the ancient and powerful village of Akusha was at the head of this society. The qadi of this main settlement accepted during the war the management of a militia of the neighboring four villages, from their name declared war and made the peace, and all this became after decision-making on a descent of villagers. As a rule, Kowalewski specifies further, in Akushinsky free society the violence facts from the main settlement over subordinates did not meet [9, page 163-164].

What specifically were in XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century so-called free societies in the conditions of mountain Chechnya and Ingushetia and in what their distinctive feature from other political formations of Vainakhs of this period?

It is known that at the end of the 18th century among other researchers who were in the military service in Russia, the foreigner lieutenant colonel L.L. Shteder in 1781 made an expedition across the North Caucasus for the purpose of drawing up the military topographic map and geological inspection of edge. He visited the earth of Chechens, Ingushs, karabulak and left some data on social system of mountain residents of the region. In the territory of Chechnya and Ingushetia Shteder calls the largest Vainakh societies - Chetchen, the Ingush, Karabulak and Akki, and Ingushs, according to the author, were divided besides into 7 childbirth (tayp) - Tergimkh, Aga, Hamkhoy, Charty, Tsimkal-bokh, Geulava, Vapi. Describing forms of public management of mountain Vainakhs, Shteder notices that karabulak, in particular, have "the democratic constitution" and public affairs are solved by vote at general meetings, but in private affairs at them dominates the elder (operates) (faust-rekht) [10].

In the 70th of the 18th century on the instructions of the Russian Academy of Sciences at the head of the first scientific expedition in the North Caucasus, and in particular in mountain Chechnya and Ingushetia, the academician I.A. Gyuldenshtedt who by results of historical and geographical inspection of edge lists in the work districts (apparently, societies) visited, calling them the "distriktam" located in the Kistinsky province (area) in mountains namely: Ingush, Akhkingurt, Ardakhli, Vapi, Oset, Makarl, Angush (Big), Shalkh or Small Angush. In the Chechen province (Area) of Gyuldenshtedt also specifies a number of districts (societies), namely: Arouca, Kulga or Dganti, Galgay or Galga, Dzhanti, Chabrilo, Shabet, Chiskhrikaker, Karabulak, Meesti, Meredzhi, Galashki, Duban [11, page 115].

Speaking about social system kistin (Ingushs) in so-called mountain societies, Gyuldenshtedt notices that Ingushs have at themselves no nobility, but have "from olden days well-known" ro-

Dov, somehow: Matseki, Bosa, Chev and Pshanuv, "from which they as the independent people, choose to themselves foremen and the judge who operates a name of the whole society" [11, page 110].

However other famous pre-revolutionary researcher of the beginning of the 19th century S.M. Bronevsky not absolutely agrees with the point of view of Gyuldenshtedt of rather administrative division of Chechnya and Ingushetia to districts, noticing that "this division into districts cannot be considered it (Bro Nevsky) defined", as it does not see noticeable distinction of the district or the volost from a knee because both extensive areas, and small volosts include several villages not known to what belong to a knee [12, page 156-157] (apparently, the author means society with the concrete taypovy or tukhumny name). And further Bronevsky writes that "each knee (society. - Sh.A.) is divided into the small societies or the unions comprising several villages from which one admits the head of the union or the combined place and ordinary all society is called by name the main village" [12, page 158]. So, for example, society Karabulak (Arshta) had the main village of Boko called by name the most notable old family [12, page 168]. By the way, in Ingushetia and today there live the ancestor Boko's descendants from society Karabulak by last name Bokova.

Certainly it must be assumed that called Gül-denshtedtom, Shteder and Bronevsky of the district or a knee (society) of the Chechen and Kistinsky provinces (in this case in mountainous areas) free societies represented nothing but, to be exact - the unions of rural societies of Chechens and Ingushs. In the administrative relation at the head of several dozen small villages there was any given large and influential village (society) with concrete melt-povym (tukhumny) name.

On this problem more than frostily and even authors of work on stories of the people of the North Caucasus vaguely speak. In it, in particular, it is mentioned that in the foothill and mountain regions of Chechnya and Ingushetia there was a number of the unions of the rural communities known in the Russian sources under the name of "societies", mountain zemlitsa or lands [1, page 295].

But researches confirm that in XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century in Chechnya and Ingushetia the free societies or the unions of societies were localized in mountains, mountainous areas, and partly - and in highlands. Among other things, free societies were meant as numerous settlements (auls) of Vainakhs in mountains, not subject unlike villages on the plain to neither the Russian administrative political impact, nor Vainakh feudal princely board. Vainakh free societies as well as at the Dagestan people, had own names. In one case they were called by name any given big and influential tayp, in another - by the name of a tukhuma or a vara. The last met at Vainakhs rather less often.

The political system of Vainakh mountain societies was in many respects similar to the Dagestan. The Russian sources of the XVI-XVII centuries give various names of mountain "zemlitsa": Okotsky, Shibutsky, Merezinsky, Kalkansky, etc. Respectively local groups of the population are called: "bestial people", "kalkansky people". In sources of the 19th century these zemlitsa, specifies Isaev, are called societies or free societies. The term "society" in pre-revolutionary literature was used as a synonym of "community", society was meant also as group of villages [3, page 45]. Besides, apparently, each of these so-called political associations of Vainakhs in mountains - the unions of rural societies (tukhum) - was called also by name any given big and influential village around which smaller villages with representatives of closely related tayp were grouped, or representatives of the known and numerous tayp subordinated to themselves the neighboring Vainakh settlements. Therefore any given large society, as a rule, was meant as not one Vainakh settlement, and it is possible, several dozen. On the other hand, in parallel within the large unions of rural societies, to be exact in these societies there was a merge of certain small settlements in larger. The last circumstance, though led to reduction of number of small settlements, but from it the total area of the union of free societies was not reduced.

As in earlier published works on this problem we called and listed the most known free societies of Vainakhs in mountains and also some large unions of rural societies with their names and total number of the small societies and settlements entering them, in this work we intentionally do not stop on them.

In the considered time, for example, according to the name widely known Vainakh melt-pov or tukhum, such as Nashkhoy, Harachoy, Tsontary, Cher-moy, Egashbaty, Elistanzhoy, Ersany, Aliry, in parallel in mountainous areas of Chechnya and Ingushetia large societies or settlements with identical names existed Bena, Belgata, Bilta, Varanda, Maysta: Bena (society), Bena-taypa, Bena yurtas; Nashkh (society), Nashkha-tayp, Nashkhoy-yurt; Cherma (society), Chermoy-taypa, Chermoy-yurt; Ersana (society), Ersanoy-taypa, Ersanoy-yurt; Alira (society), Aliroy-taypa, Aliroy-yurt, etc. Above we already noted that Bronevsky is inclined to call free societies in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia the Caucasian republics [12, page 157].

At the end of the 19th century the local researcher, the good expert on public life of Vainakhs U. Laudayev, calling one of the reasons which induced a half of surnames (representatives of different tayp) of the Chechen tribe to move on free lands because of a lack of the earth from the increased population, in particular, specified that earth of Vainakhs, divided into sites, become populated, as a rule, by the same surnames (taypa) with which they were busy for the first time, and carry the same names, for example Chermoy-Mokhk,

Chermoy-lam, meaning the earth of the Chermoyevsky surname (tayp), Mount Chermoyevtsev; Dishny-Mokhk - the dish-ninsky earth; Harachoy-lam - the harachoyevsky mountain, etc. Calling Ichkeria (Nokhch-Mokhk, De-Mokhc) the fatherly earth, mountaineers proved thereby that they left this mountain country in which had the family (taypovy) land sites. "Ichke-rintsa built auls, as well as shatoyevets, on the sites, and gave to auls the name of surnames, for example: Chermi, Harachi, Tsontari and other, from surnames of Cher-moyevskaya, Harachoyevsky, Tsontaroyevsky, etc." [13].

In XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century free societies in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia had own territories which were preserved and protected by all available means of protection. Each free society, apparently, consisted of representatives of one or several closely related tayp making associations of a certain number of rural communities (societies). At the Dagestan people the rural communities are meant as jamias.

It is known also that rural communities of Vainakhs depending on the number of representatives of any given tayp which were their part were either large, or small. Therefore to claim about large number of any given free society and about the position held by it depending on the number of rural communities (tayp) making it, not absolutely truly. Often it happened that some free societies of Vainakhs with a small number of rural communities from large tayp actually exceeded those free societies which made a large number of rural societies (communities) of rather small tayp by the number of the population. And such free societies solved both internal, and foreign policy questions more successfully.

At the same time in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia other part of free societies which united among themselves and formed the unions (tuk-khoums) of representatives of several closely related tayp existed. "These formations (unions of free societies. - Sh.A.) in some cases united several rural communities, and in others - were the name of the separate taypovy organizations including one - two settlements" [1, page 295].

The unions of free societies or, it is more correct to tell, the unions of rural societies, as a rule, consisted of representatives of various tayp, but one tukhu-m. Each union (tukhum) as the political center had the largest village or the aul. Such unions of societies or territorial associations in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia were Cheberla, Shota (Shubuta), Chanty, Nashkh, Akkhi, Malkhi, Dzherakh, Tsori, Galgay, Fyappy, etc. [1, page 295].

"Main objective of creation of the union of rural societies, - writes M.-C.K. Umakhanov, - protection of interests of all of the villages which were its part against encroachment from other unions or feudal possession was" [14, page 7].

And at last in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia there was the third category of free societies which continued to develop as separate territorial political unit, did not enter in any other rural societies and did not form with them any general union (tukhum) as, for example, Maysta, Sady, Peshkhoy. All this was, certainly, a clear proof of extreme divisibility of the population.

Unlike the Dagestan free societies the Vainakh societies in XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century had common language (the difference was only in the unions of free societies (tukhuma) where there was the dialect or an adverb) and accurately designated independent territorial and administrative borders with the next rural societies. The political and administrative centers were available, apparently, as well as in Dagestan, only in the unions of free societies of Vainakhs.

It is known also that free societies or the unions of free societies were located compactly close from each other and coped independently or under the leadership of foremen of the main settlement. However "liberty" of some societies should be understood very conditionally because they often got under influence of feudal possessors or larger and influential rural societies which oppressed weak "allies" up to collecting taxes from them [7, page 63].

The main difference of free societies or unions of societies in mountain Chechnya and Ingushetia from princely or feudal possession on the plain was that the chosen the people of the elder (foreman) and national descents (meetings) were at the head of free societies. We observe an identical picture at this time and in mountain Svaneti (Georgia) [15]. Besides, the social and political and economic relations in them were governed by norms of common law, obligatory for all inhabitants, (adats) which in the considered time as well as in Dagestan, "underwent significant changes, reflected social differentiation in rural societies" [14, page 7].

As a rule, all unions of free societies were equal among themselves, and nobody in the unions could impose directly and openly the will to other members of society. However there were strong unions of societies (tukhuma) which could influence acceptance by rural societies of decisions on various questions pleasing to them and also occupy the best arable lands, pastures and to achieve election of the representatives in administrative authorities of management [16]. In rural societies long before the considered time there was a process of property inequality as a result of which poor, unfortunate peasants community members became dependent from a rural top.

In XVIII - the beginning of the 19th century in all Vainakh free societies, probably, there were political bodies. From history it is known that in each society were available consultative, legislative,

judicial and executive bodies. The Councils of Elders (kjany khetasho) and people's assembly (halkjan a rumble), convoked in the agreed place were them. Each free society as required convoked people's assembly for the solution of especially important issues in which operating time the power of elders and qadis and also priests, apparently, was a little limited. Entered into the Council of Elders, except elders, the famous leaders of military campaigns (bachcha), qadis, mullahs, priests, hosts melt-pov (taypanan a tkhyamda), etc.

The meeting of representatives from all rural communities of free society, as a rule, was convened in the main settlement of society. For example, Tsontaroyevsky free society was located in mountains. The center of this society was the village of Tsontaroy. When there was a need for the solution of the vital questions concerning all society, for Tsontaroy representatives of all rural communities, i.e. all tayp and var entering into rural communities and making this free society gathered. The last decisive word at removal of a final verdict on internal and foreign policy questions remained for representatives of the rich nobility and clergy, large landowners and skotovladelets.

However parallel to the Councils of Elders and people's assemblies of separate free societies other Councils of Elders - mekhk-khela functioned (court of the country - literally with chech.) - higher rank, convoked in the largest and independent unions of free societies of Chechnya and Ingushetia. Very important fatal questions of the country were solved on them not ordinary, and, on the contrary. Such known Vainakh centers of collecting a mekhk-khel were Maysta's societies, the Cue, Nashakh, Tsontara, the mountain of Mizir-court, Khetash-court, Zhemi-barz [17].

In some Vainakh free societies, apparently, there were military leaders or leaders (bachch). Inhabitants of society elected them before a campaign. According to the Dagestan scientist Magomedov, at Dargins in all of them affairs in a role of military leaders qadis acted. They were allocated in wartime with an absolute power which was limited "in peace time to activity of people's assemblies" [7, page 117].

In all Vainakh societies beginning from rural communities of one mountain aul and finishing the big unions of rural societies internal obshchestvennopolitichesky and spiritual life was regulated on the basis of norms of common law - adats. Relationship between free societies and their unions was based on the basis of the contracts and agreements which were completely leaning on local adats of Vainakhs and resolving numerous issues of economic and public nature.

However in the first half of the 19th century neither the free societies, nor the unions of free societies of Vainakhs taken separately in respect of their territorial unity represented special political force any more. Was

the principle of formation of free (rural) society on taypovy and tukhumny signs of relationship is broken. Association of rural communities in free society happened purely on territorial sign. Representatives of various tayp, tukhum and rural communities entered into the structure of free society or union of free societies. There was an ethnic mixture of the population of one free society of Vainakhs to another, and to representatives of different tayp, tukhum, dialects or adverbs. Besides, a part of Vainakh free societies was supervised foremen of the main settlement of the union of rural communities, and another - under political impact feodaliziruyushcheysya the nobility.


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Chechen state university On October 14, 2003

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