Staunton, May 15 – For most of their history, Ingush married other Ingush or members of other nationalities with little or no preference to their own nationality and language; but Stalin’s deportation forced them to adopt endogamy as the only way to ensure the survival of their nation and its language, Ingush ethnographer Tanzila Dzaurova says.
According to the Magas scholar, Stalin’s deportation of her nation was “directed not so much at the physical destruction of the people as at its assimilation” to other, larger nations like the Russians or the Kazakhs, a fact seldom reported but clear from the historical record (etokavkaz.ru/obshchestvo/desyat-voprosov-pro-ingushei).
After the Ingush were deported to Central Asia, she continues, the Soviet authorities issued a special order that “anyone of them who married a Kazakh or a Russian would be freed from the status of a special settler and would receive all the privileges of the local population.” That threatened the survival of the Ingush nation, and so community elders took steps.
The teips declared that “until we become larger, let us form families only with other Ingush, Dzaurova says. And in the years since, even after the return from deportation, “Ingush do not so much condemn inter-ethnic marriages as prefer to form families with members of their own nationality.”
The Ingush ethnographer’s report challenges the general view that Stalin’s deportations were intended to destroy the nations involved physically. It suggests that in fact the Kremlin dictator was pursuing a far more sophisticated policy of destruction by assimilation, a policy that his successors have continued.
And consequently, there is every reason to believe that endogamy is likely to become stronger as the Ingush nation becomes smaller and that other smaller peoples may shift to that pattern not because it was part of their historical tradition but in response to the assimilationist challenges from the Russian authorities.