Ethnic, Tribal and Other Divisions among North Caucasians have Defeated All Attempts to Draw Universally Accepted Borders There
June 30 – The Russian 7 portal which specializes in reports on 20th century
Russian history points out that the ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious
divisions among North Caucasians are so great that they have defeated all
efforts by Moscow to draw borders there that everyone can accept and will not
be prepared to challenge, often with violence.
the Bolsheviks came to power, it notes, “the process of forming ethnoses” in
that region “was far from complete everywhere” and tribal divisions “within
ethnoses” and historical loyalties and even tsarist-era maps “played a much
greater role than did ethnicity” (russian7.ru/post/kak-v-sssr-perekraivali-granicy-respu/).
the right of national self-determination the Bolsheviks proclaimed rapidly ran
into many additional problems besides those that inevitably arose as a result
of Moscow’s divide-and-rule strategy there.According to the tsarist census, there were “more than 50” ethnoses
there, with some existing only in a single valley. How could they all be
first, “the russified elites of the mountain peoples” took things into their
own hands and showed that they were “already accustomed to think beyond narrow
ethnic horizons.” In November 1917, they thus proclaimed a federative
Mountaineer Republic that nominally included almost the entire North Caucasus.
it was only one of the competitors for power in the region. There were various
attempts to establish Soviet power in parts of this region. In the summer of
2018, Turkish forces entered Daghestan. And then “in May 1919, in connection
with the arrival of White Guard forces, the Mountaineer Republic ceased its
Bolsheviks forced alliances with some of the peoples of the region, especially
the Chechens and Ingush and encouraged them to rise against the Whites. And
once the White forces were defeated and driven out, Moscow engaged in its first
act of “mass ethnic deportation” – the expulsion of 35,000 Terek Cossacks – and
the transfer of their lands to Chechens and Ingush.
1921, the portal continues, “the Bolsheviks created two Soviet republics in the
North Caucasus – the Mountaineer and the Daghestani,” with the former divided into
eight national districts (including one Cossack) and two urban ones.
Importantly, they did not follow the ethnographic principle but used the former
tsarist era borders.
a result, a significant part of the territory populated by Ossetins was put
within Georgia here the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast was established, and lands
populated by Avars and Lezgins were left within Azerbaijan, where no autonomy
was ever created.
“Daghestan received the status of an ASSR within the RSFSR. It remains to this
day, “but the lands of the Mountaineer Republic have been subjected to frequent
reorganization,” Russian 7 points out.
1924, an enormous North Caucasus Kray was created in which were formed several autonomous
oblasts – Chechen, Ingush … North Ossetian, Kabardino-Balkarian,
Karachayevo-Cherkessia … and Adygeya.”And there were in addition several autonomous national regions – the Shapsug,
the Armenian, the Greek and the German – set up as well.
1936, “all the autonomous oblasts of the North Caucasus received the status of
ASSRs, and the national districts were eliminated.
next big change came in 1944-1945 when the Chechens, Ingush, Karachays, and
Balkars were deported and their autonomous republics suppressed, a situation
that lasted until they were rehabilitated in 1957. But these republics were not
simply restored: their borders were changed as well.
the new Chechen-Ingush ASSR were included districts north of the Terek River …
which ere populated by Russians,” until their expulsion by the Dudayev government
in the early 1990s.And the Daghestan
ASSR also received certain Russian regions then as well.
complex history, Russian 7 says, played out during “the parade of sovereignties”
in 1989-1990 and has continued to agitate the peoples of the region, both those
who feel they have lost some territories that used to belong to them and those
who have lost territorial status altogether.
the portal’s basic conclusions hold: These conflicts show little sign of
easing; and they are going to constitute a major barrier to any plans to form a
common non-ethnic Russian supra-national identity of the kind the Kremlin
currently is pursuing.