REPRESSIONS AGAINST THE PEOPLES OF DAGHESTAN: REHABILITATION PROBLEMS
Magomed Kurbanov, Ph.D. (Philos.), Editor-in-Chief, Narody Dagestana republican journal (Makhachkala, Russian Federation)
Daghestan is a multinational republic and home for over 100 nationalities and ethnic groups; about 30 of them have been living in the Country of Mountains from time immemorial. The republic is a veritable treasure-trove of ethnic cultures and traditions. Throughout its long history Daghestan has seen all sorts of conquerors, it was defeated many times and lived through cruel repressions. For centuries, its territory was a battlefield between Persia and Byzantium and between Arabs and Khazars. The local people suffered from tyrannical cruelty of Tamerlane and Nadir Shah; they were driven from their lands and had to make new wild places habitable. Numerous repressions, deportations and exiles of the 20th century added several tragic pages to the book of history.
Deportations under Soviet Power
During the years of Soviet power the peoples of Daghestan, together with other Caucasian nations, traveled along a road that abounded in hardships and dramatic events, they knew ups and downs, complete despair and glimpses of hope, they saw many paradoxes of history and lived through the most tragic of them—the deportations. During the early years of Soviet power the republic found itself in an economic abyss. To climb out of it the republican leaders decided to move all those living in the mountains down to the plains. A Resettlement Committee of Daghestan was set up to make the process more or less organized. Back in 1917-1924 some 2,100 families were successfully resettled on the plain where they formed 77 settlements. In 1924-1928, 2,795 families were also moved. They formed 26 new settlements in which Avars, Lakhs, Darghins, and Lezghians lived side by side.
The October Revolution of 1917 split society, and new power could not count on all social groups being equally enthusiastic about the new ideas. There were people who immediately embraced the revolutionary ideas and those who resolutely rejected them and refused to agree with the fact that the old way of life was lost forever. In Russia, and in the Northern Caucasus as its part, it was the Cossacks, local bourgeoisie, and the clergy who found it hard to accept the new order of things. They formed a force that stood opposed to the power of the Soviets which was gaining strength. This explains why some of the members of the local business community, landlords and clergy flew away, mainly to Turkey.
On 20 March, 1925 the U.S.S.R. Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars passed a decision On Depriving the Former Landlords of the Right to Their Lands and of the Right to Live in the Houses that Belonged to Them before the October Socialist Revolution. As a result 58 landowners were evicted from Daghestan while their property (up to 50 thou hectares of land and agricultural implements costing up to 1.5m rubles) was confiscated and transferred to communities of the poor. Under a decision of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Daghestanian S.S.R. of 23 February, 1926 peasants who had no or little land received about 7 thou desiatinas of land that used to belong to religious organizations.
In 1936, the U.S.S.R. CPC passed a decision (No. 911-150 cc of 21 May) On Resettlement of 1,000 kulak families from Daghestan and the Checheno-Ingush Region under which several thousand were moved to the Kirghiz S.S.R.1 The clergy suffered the same fate: mosques and prayer houses were closed down in the latter half of the 1930s in great numbers. Very soon the republic was left without official mosques. According to the documents from the Central State Archives of Daghestan, in 1937, 101 prayer houses were closed down; in 1939, 125; in 1940, 33; in 1941, 9. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 the republic had no religious organizations and schools. Thousands of temples were destroyed; 670 libraries at mosques ceased to exist; mountains of religious publications were burned down, about 165 thou prayer rugs of all kinds were confiscated.2 According to the republican Ministry of the Interior, between the 1930s and the 1950s 14 thou people were repressed; 7,500 received court sentences for political reasons. Secretaries of communist party regional committees and chairmen of regional executive committees were not immune to harsh treatment.
The severe repressions that fell upon the Caucasian peoples during the Great Patriotic War created another tragic page in their history. Many of the local ethnic groups found themselves between two ruthless forces—Nazism and Stalinism. Thirteen ethnic groups of the Soviet Union (3.2m in all) were repressed by Stalin: on 23 February, 1944, 37.8 thou of Chechen-Akkintsy (8,386 families) were deported from Daghestan to Central Asia and Kazakhstan (14.7 thou families from the Aukh District; 23.1 thou from the Khasaviurt, Babaiurt districts and the town of Khasaviurt). On the same day, the same fate befell the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. It seems that Moscow planned the deportation back in 1943: the Aukh District had been created on 5 November, 1943 by a decree of the R.S.F.S.R. Supreme Soviet out of the larger Khasaviurt District. The new administrative unit comprised 8 village Soviets that united 15 Akkintsy villages. It disappeared some five months later: it seems that it had been set up, in the first place, for the deportation purposes.
The Chechen-Akkintsy were moved to northeastern Kazakhstan and to the Osh and other regions of Kirghizia. The resettlement and the deprivations that accompanied it (starvation, cold, diseases, the need to adapt to the new climate, and a high death rate) crippled the social, economic, and cultural development of the Akkintsy and deprived them of their traditional way of life. The bludgeon or repressions that hit the Akkintsy also crushed their neighbors (Avars, Kumyks, Darghins, and Lakhs). For many years to come they had to fight against their dramatic and even tragic fate.
Under the Decree of the Presidium of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet of 7 March, 1944 (No. Ä 1/803) On Liquidation of the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. and Administrative Reorganization of Its Territory the Daghestanian A.S.S.R. received the districts vacated by the Chechens (Vedeno, Nozhai-Iurt, Saiasan, Cheberloi (within its present limits), Kurchaloi and Sharoi (with the exception of their northwestern corner), and part of the Gudermes District. The same decree sealed the fate of the Chechen-Akkintsy of the Aukh District.
Under the decision of the U.S.S.R. Council of People’s Commissars (9 March, 1944, No. 255-74 cc) On Settlement and Development of the Districts of Former Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. and under its instruction of 11 March, 1944 (No. 5473-po) these territories and the Aukh District of Daghestan were settled with Avars, Lakhs, and Darghins moved out of their villages by force.
On 12 April, 1944 the Council of People’s Commissars of Daghestan passed another decision—on moving members of several collective farms (MOPR, 9 January, and 1 May) of the Makhachkala District to the Khasaviurt District. They were ordered to move to the formerly Chechen villages of Bamat-Iurt and Bairamaul. Three Kumyk villages near Makhachkala had to move: Tarki, Kiakhulai, and Alburikent.
Avars, Lakhs, and Darghins were moved, by administrative means, to the Aukh District that was part of Daghestan. Kumyks were ordered to move to other villages of this and the Babaiurt District. In this way many villages and the Tsumada District were removed from the map of Daghestan. Under the threat of repressions people hastily abandoned their homes, graves of ancestors, and personal belongings.
Here are several figures: by 15 May, 1944 all people were evicted by force from 144 villages, and part of the people from 224 villages. They were moved to the former Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R., the Novolakhskoe and Khasaviurt districts of the Daghestanian A.S.S.R. One hundred and nine collective farms out of 11,414 were moved to new places. In all 54,833 people (14,603 households) had to abandon their homes. Seven thousand Lakhs from the Lakhskii and Kuli districts were moved to 8 settlements of the former Aukh District while over 3 thou Avars from the Kazbekovskiy District had to move to two villages (Aktashaukh and Iurtaukh).3
Resettlement of mountain people and Kumyks from the plains to new places destroyed their unique communities, their traditions, economies, way of life and communication. This also destroyed unique monuments of history (of which the mountain village Kala-Koreish was one) together with the unique structure of terraced land tilling described by those who studied it as the eighth wonder of the world. Ecology also suffered.
Deportation from the mountains to Chechen villages and repressions against the Chechens were carried out in difficult conditions: the areas from which people were deported were far removed from railways and from the places where they had to live; in spring, mountain passes were hard to negotiate while the collective farmers had no food and not enough clothes to survive in the harsh conditions—there was not enough lorries to move them to their new homes. According to information gathered in 1945, during the first year over 5 thousand died of starvation. Forty-six abandoned villages were burned down to prevent the mountain people from going back to their old homes.
The new places proved unsuitable for human habitation. They were infected with malaria; people from the mountains did not know how to till land in the plains, they had not enough machines. The grain yield was too low to feed all—hunger and diseases cut down the number of new settlers by a third in two years (1944-1946).
What caused this cruel treatment of certain North Caucasian peoples? False and irresponsible information the people’s commissars for the interior of the Checheno-Ingush and other republics sent to the center and personally to Lavrenti Beria. These documents said: “As the front-line is moving closer to the Checheno-Ingush Republic, anti-Soviet activities are becoming more and more pronounced.” Party functionaries spread rumors and reported to the center that a rebel Special Party of Caucasian Brothers was being set up in the Caucasus to speed up the destruction of Bolshevism through disorganization of the army and by encouraging defection from it; through plundering the collective farms, driving the Russians and Jews from the region so that to create a free federative republic in the Caucasus in full accordance with the German plans.
The facts were never checked and never confirmed but invited adequate conclusions. The same decree of the Presidium of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet On Liquidation of the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. and Administrative Reorganization of Its Territory of 7 March, 1944 mentioned that during the Great Patriotic War many Chechens and Ingushes had betrayed the Motherland, defected to the fascist occupation forces to serve as saboteurs and scouts, and even created their own rebel groups to fight Soviet power.
One should say that this could be said about many other Soviet peoples. Between 1941 and 1943, 7,163 rebel groups with 54,130 members were destroyed: altogether 963 of them (17,563 members) were found in the Northern Caucasus, including 185 groups with 4,368 members in the Grozny Region. In fact, there were fewer defectors from the Red Army and those who tried to avoid conscription among the North Caucasians than among other nationalities. Late in 1941 the total number of deserters in the U.S.S.R. was 710,755; 71,541 tried to avoid conscription—the figures for the Northern Caucasus were 12,365 and 1,093, respectively.4 In fact, defection is a crime of one person, not the nation as a whole; condemnation of cowards and criminals is an important educational factor. During the war the crime level increased everywhere. On the other hand, we have not got enough information about war prisoners—all that we know is that people from the Northern Caucasus, Akkintsy in particular, never surrendered (unlike soldiers conscripted from other places). The share of people from the North Caucasian republics awarded with orders and medals and of Heroes of the Soviet Union is higher than in other regions and republics of the Soviet Union in relation to the total population.
So far nobody can explain what triggered these monstrous repressions, resettlements and segregation. Some people associate them with the name of Stalin, others, with practices of Stalinism, still others, with the communist utopia or with the Soviet system. It seems that all factors were responsible: the phenomenon of Stalinism is rooted in the teaching about the dictatorship of the proletariat when anybody could assume the role of a tyrant. Stalinism cannot be reduced to repressions alone, though they played a negative role. Different researchers operate with different figures: from 40 million of those who were executed or perished in the GULAG (Roy Medvedev) to “only 5 million” (B. Kurashvili) and to a figure between these two (Edward Radzinskiy). The exact figures are buried in the KGB archives.5
Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples
The Decree of the Presidium of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, On Lifting the Ban to Leave the Special Settlements for the Chechens, Ingushes, Karachais and Members of Their Families Deported During the Great Patriotic War, of 16 July, 1956 was good news for all the repressed peoples. The document, however, said that the lifted ban did not create a chance to return the lost property or to go back to their homes from which they had been evicted. On 9 January, 1957 the Presidium of the R.S.F.S.R. Supreme Soviet adopted two decrees: On Restoration of the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. and Liquidation of the Grozny Region (No. 721/4) and On Restoration of the ChIA.S.S.R. within the R.S.F.S.R. (No. 149/14). A month later, on 11 February, the sixth session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet adopted a Law on Restoration of the National Autonomy of the ChIA.S.S.R.
Official rehabilitation, however, did not affect the Aukh District—the problem of the Akkintsy remained unsettled for many decades, caused a lot of difficulties and created numerous contradictions. The only document related to them was adopted on 12 April, 1957. It was decision No. 203 of the R.S.F.S.R. Soviet of Ministers, On Privileges and Aid to Collective Farmers, Workers and Employees that Come Back to the ChIA.S.S.R. … as well as to the Daghestanian A.S.S.R., that envisaged loans for building new houses or restoring old ones. Later, on 28 February, 1958 the R.S.F.S.R. Soviet of Ministers passed a decision (No. 197) On Measures to Organize Economic, Cultural and Everyday Life of the People Moved from the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. to the Daghestanian A.S.S.R. It envisaged, in particular, that between 1958 and 1960 70 thousand hectares of land would be developed, new water wells bored, a brick factory built, breeding stock sold to collective farms, etc.
On 18 April, 1958 the Council of Ministers of Daghestan addressed the Central Committee of the Communist Party, or rather its Bureau for the R.S.F.S.R., and the Council of Ministers of the R.S.F.S.R. with a request to pass a decision on bringing Chechens back from the Kirghiz and Kazakh republics and on their adjustment. The letter pointed out that by 1 March, 1958 2,274 families (8,911 people) out of the total 5, 212 Chechen families (21 thou people) returned to Daghestan. In expectation of the Aukh District being restored many of them settled, without permission, on the adjacent territories. The letter also asked to alter the time limits of resettlement of those Akkintsy families that stayed behind in Central Asia and extend it to 1959. The Council of Ministers of the R.S.F.S.R. rejected the project and limited itself to allocating 25m rubles under Instruction No. 2037 of 21 April, 1958 and a note from Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the R.S.F.S.R. N.N. Organov.6
On 16 July, 1958 the Council of Ministers of Daghestan passed a decision On Bringing Back the Chechen Population from the Kirghiz and Kazakh S.S.R. and Its Economic Adjustment in the Republic. It was decided at the same time to let the Lakhs and Avars who had been moved to the former Aukh District remain there while letting the returning Akkintsy work on vacant lands in the Khasaviurt District adjacent to their former homeland—Aukh. By the same document the Akkintsy were allocated money for resettlement. At that time, this was the best possible and just decision that prevented territorial disputes among the Avars, Lakhs, and Chechens. By 20 May, 1960, 3,514 Chechen families (15,248 people) had returned to Daghestan; 6,025 of them were employed by collective and state farms, at enterprises of the Khasaviurt, Babaiurt, Kiziliurt, Kazbekovskiy, and Novolakhskoe districts. They got 270 “communal” flats from the state, bought or built 1,908 houses, 2,235 Chechen families got landed plots. This was done on the loan from the state bank (5,677 thou rubles); 1,612 poorest families got money and other humanitarian aid. It should be noted that the city of Khasaviurt and the Khasaviurt District that received back the Daghestanians deported in 1944 had to bear the heaviest burden.
As of 30 May, 1960 there were 2,388 Chechen families (12,560 people) living in the city and district and 4,783 families (15,895 people) of other nationalities. They all lived in 17 newly built settlements (3,216 standard blocks, 1,206 of them occupied by Chechen families), worked in 14 newly created collective farms, their children studied in 12 newly opened schools for 1,220 pupils, there were 19 training workshops and 4 training combines for 80 students, 5 shops, 7 libraries and 7 medical stations. The state allocated money to buy 845 houses for Chechens, 750 more were under construction. In the city of Khasaviurt alone 291 houses were built and 51 more were being built. Ninety-seven families got rooms in “communal” flats from the state and received other services. In Khasaviurt the Chechens received three settlements just outside the city for 756 households. By late May 1960 the city’s organizations, offices, and enterprises employed 1,250 Chechens.
Much was done in the Kazbekovskiy and Novolakhskoe districts. On 3 January, 1961 the bureau of the Kazbekovskiy C.P.S.U. District Committee discussed how the construction projects for the returning Chechens were progressing. By early 1961, the Leninaul and Kalininaul villages admitted over 160 households into their collective farms, built 60 and bought 23 houses.
According to available information, between 1957 and 1962 19,460 families (77 thou people) came back to Daghestan from the ChIA.S.S.R. and Central Asian republics (5,120 families, or 21,600 people came from Central Asia). All those who returned from the ChIA.S.S.R. were distributed among 32 districts and cities, they were settled in 56 newly built settlements, employed by 57 newly created collective and 3 state farms. Part of the deported went to the already existing 166 collective farms. The Chechens (6,389 families) who came back from Central Asia and Kazakhstan in 1957-1963 were sent to the city of Khasaviurt, and the Khasaviurt, Kiziliurt, Novolakhskoe and Kazbekovskiy districts. The city of Khasaviurt and its region received new settlements: Zarechny, Neftekachka, Druzhba, Baragangechuv, Nuradilovo, Novoselskoe, and Solnechnoe. The already existing villages of Pokrovskoe, Mogilevskoe, Petrovskoe, Bammatbekiurt, and others were considerably enlarged.
These efforts involved nearly all Daghestanians, which explains the speed with which people got housing and adjusted themselves, and the warm reception they experienced in the republic. The process that started in July was nearly complete by the end of 1957. In 1957-1960 the state built 16,418 houses for the new arrivals and loaned them 26.6m rubles; in the next two years the loan was doubled.
Some of the Chechen families managed to come back to their own homes rescued by Avars, Kumyks, and Darghins. The earlier moved Kumyks returned to their villages (Tarki, Kiakhulai, and Alburikent), yet the larger part of their former lands (that covered 8,166 hectares) had been occupied by the city. The problem of material and moral compensation was never raised.
Problems of the Deported Peoples
The problems of the deported peoples created by the inhuman policies of the previous regime became even deeper because of an inadequate nature of the nationalities policy of today. Having survived the hardships together with other repressed nations, the deported peoples remain unprotected. Some of them have found themselves in the conditions much inferior to those offered to the nations covered by the privileges under the laws on rehabilitation of the repressed peoples and victims of political repressions. While not trying to oppose the repressed to the deported nations, I would like to say that the repressions against the Chechens and the deportation of the Avars, Darghins, Kumyks and Lakhs are two sides of the same coin. This called for an identical approach designed to ensure the rights and protect the interests of the citizens in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on 10 December, 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (of 16 December, 1966) and the Declaration of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet of 14 November, 1989 On Recognition as Illegal and Criminal of the Acts of Repression Against the Peoples Subjected to Forced Resettlement and on Ensuring Their Rights. These documents unequivocally condemn resettlement of nations under the threat of force and classify them as one of the gravest crimes violating international legal norms.
One cannot but be puzzled by the fact that the leaders of the Russian Federation while demonstrating its just concern for the repressed nations and spending huge sums to restore justice in respect to them is deliberately ignoring the fates of hundreds of destroyed villages and the burning problems of over 60 thou Daghestanians and their descendants deported in the 1940s and 1950s.
While analyzing the resettlement processes, we have discovered that during more than seven decades over 270 thou mountain dwellers were moved down to the plain. The result was at least ten new and fairly large ethnic areas. This refers mainly to the Lezghians, Darghins, Lakhs, Avars, and Tabasarans. Taken together they account for over half of the population of the Daghestanian plain. In the past these ethnic groups lived up in the mountains—today they are in a majority in the formerly ethnically homogeneous Khasaviurt, Babaiurt, Kiziliurt, Kaiakent, Derbent, and Nogai districts. Their presence on the plain makes these districts ethnically mixed. During the decades of Soviet power settlements with the predominantly Avar, Lakh and Lezghian population appeared in these and other districts.
It should be noted that nearly all the cities, towns and urban settlements in Daghestan are found on the plain, the ethnic composition of which is patchy, the majority, however, consists of those who came from the mountains. The districts and villages found in the mountains are still ethnically homogeneous. There are few of them, which makes them weak in the ethnopolitical and cultural respects; they cannot support their populations. In the last eighty years the state invested thousands of times more money in the economy of the plain than in economic development of the mountain areas.
This was a destructive and anti-popular policy as a result of which arable land, orchards and meadows up in the mountains were abandoned.7 It should be added that organized as well as spontaneous resettlement of the people out of small villages of the Gunib, Tsumada, Tsunta, Khiv, Tabasaran, Kaitag, Dakhadaev, Kuli, Lakhskii, Agul and other districts of Daghestan destroyed over 230 unique settlements. The plain was crowded, the mountains were losing their population: dwelling houses up in the mountains were replaced with cattle-breeding collective and state farms and other constructions.
In 1985, people finally got a chance to describe their needs and demand attention to their interests. Starting with 1986 tension began to mount in the Khasaviurt region: the relations between the local Chechens, on the one hand, and Avars and Lakhs, on the other, worsened because of territorial disputes and social and everyday problems. Emotions often prevailed over reason. The villages of Novokuli, Chapaevka, Novolakhskoe (Novolakhskoe District), Leninaul and Kalininaul (Kazbekovskiy District) became scenes of large-scale disorders. Late in the 1980s, ethnic tension reached the level of a conflict.
During the years of perestroika, in 1987-1989 the Akkintsy clearly demonstrated that they were dissatisfied with losing what they believed had been their lands. To show their displeasure they picketed official buildings in Makhachkala, demanded return of their “historic homeland.” Political situation in the republic was becoming more and more complicated.
In the 1990s, being aware of the need to resolve all problems related to the legal rights and interests of the Chechen-Akkintsy, Lakhs, Avars and Darghins who had been moved out of their villages by force, the leaders and the public of the Republic of Daghestan took several concrete measures. In 1989, even before the Law of the R.S.F.S.R. on Rehabilitation of the Repressed Peoples was adopted on 26 February, 1991, Daghestan had set up a commission under Premier A. Mirzabekov to provide recommendations for the following issues: exchange of the settlements of the Novolakhskoe District and the villages of Leninaul and Kalininaul of the Kazbekovskiy District for the Chechen settlements in the Khasaviurt District; resettlement of the Lakhs to their “own” land up in the mountains; resettlement of the Lakhs from the Novolakhskoe District to the vacant lands between Makhachkala and Kaspiisk. It was planned to build a small agricultural settlement there for 6 or 7 thousand people; resettlement of the Lakhs living in the same district to the north of Makhachkala to the lands that belonged to collective farms of the Gunib, Lakh, and Sovetskii districts, whose lands were on the territory of Kiziliurt and Buinaksk districts, and to other lands. It was planned to call these lands the Novolakhskoe District and build some 7 or 8 settlements for the Lakhs.
The people affected by these decisions rejected them: the Chechens did not like the idea of an exchange of the settlements of the Novolakhskoe District and the villages of Leninaul and Kalininaul of the Kazbekovskiy District for the Chechen settlements in the Khasaviurt District. They wanted to keep the new places where they lived and to get back their old houses on “their” lands and wanted to move the Lakhs back to the mountains to what they described as “Lakhs’ lands.” The Lakhs resolutely rejected the idea, the Avars refused to move from the Novolakhskoe District and from Leninaul and Kalininaul; the Kumyks did not like the idea of giving the Lakhs what they regarded as the Kumyk lands at Makhachkala.
These problems were discussed at the First Congress of People’s Deputies of Daghestan held in April 1990. It created another commission under M. Magomedov, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Daghestanian A.S.S.R. Tension continued to mount. In summer 1990, the Chechens and Avars in the Kazbekovskiy District and the Chechens and Lakhs in the Novolakhskoe District developed into a crisis over Kalininaul in the former case and the problem of transferring houses and lands, in the latter. The problem of the repressed and deported peoples in Daghestan triggered mounting ethnic tension.
Practical Steps Toward Rehabilitation
On 12 May, 1991 the Third Congress of People’s Deputies of Daghestan was opened; it was suspended for some time because of the complicated situation in the republic to be renewed on 23 July. One of the central questions related to practical measures designed to fulfill the Law of the R.S.F.S.R. on the Rehabilitation of the Repressed Peoples. The congress decided to restore the Aukh District (minus the lands transferred to the Kazbekovskiy District back in 1944) and to move the Lakhs out of the Novolakhskoe District to the north of Makhachkala.
The problem of resettlement proved to be connected with the recently organized Kumyk District. In 1993, the Kumtorkala District had been set up; the local people from the villages of Tarki, Kiakhulai and Alburikent got more land to build houses; eleven villages received additional land plots. Earlier, on 19 June, 1992 there had been passed a law (No. 3093-1) On Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Repressions. The State Council, the Popular Assembly and the government of the republic revised cases of over 20 thou Daghestanians repressed for political reasons. It should be noted that children and grandchildren of the repressed also suffered from inhuman acts. In all about 60 thou were rehabilitated in Daghestan under law No. 3093-1. Three to four thousand cases have not yet been revised: they relate to those who failed to apply to the commission, those who died or stayed abroad.
In 1995, payment of compensation to the Chechen-Akkintsy (5,760 families) for the lost property had been completed. They got 1.2m rubles. Payments of compensations for the lost 4,500 households were suspended until the question of returning the Akkintsy to the vacant lands in the Novolakhskoe District is resolved. Later these questions were partly resolved: the republic allocated 37.4m rubles out of the budget, of which 17.6m remained unpaid. Between 1992 and 2000, 33 private houses in Khasaviurt were returned to the old owners while those who lived there got other houses.
This shows that not all rehabilitation plans were completed: the Aukh District was not restored, many settlements that had been its part did not get their old names; not all Lakhs from the Novolakhskoe District were moved to new places; the Akkintsy could not return to their former lands where they lived in 1991-1996 while there is still no law on the deported peoples.
It should be said that there are certain factors interfering with complete rehabilitation of the Akkintsy and other deported peoples. First, in August and September 1991 Akkintsy resorted to illegal actions; later, in 1992 through to 1994 and in 1998 they seized land. This created a negative moral, psychological, and political climate in the region and made it harder to bring closer different positions on a number of questions. Second, opposition of some of the members of the Kumyk national movement Tenglik who blocked off the land that had been allocated for the Lakhs outside Makhachkala interfered with a positive solution of the Aukh problem. Third, the relations between the Chechens and the Almaktsy in Kalininaul and Leninaul had become strained. The same can be said about the Darghins and the Kumyks in the villages of Kostek and Noviy Kostek. This negatively affected the entire process of rehabilitation. Fourth, the war in Chechnia (1994-1996 and 1999-2000), the events in Kizliar and Pervomaiskoe, the huge wave of refugees, the worsened situation along the southern border, and the attack of Chechen bandits in August-September 1999 pushed back the rehabilitation problems. Fifth, the complex situation around Daghestan interfered with the efforts to address the problems of the repressed and deported peoples. Here I have in mind the war in Chechnia in which Daghestan has already lost 6 trillions of redenominated rubles, as well as collapse of the Soviet Union and the deep-cutting economic crisis.
I should say that inroads of Chechen bandits in Daghestan in August-September 1999 cost the republic 212 lives; 619 were wounded (108 civilians lost their lives, 179 were wounded). Thirty-three settlements in the Botlikh, Novolakhskoe and Buinaksk districts were partly ruined, 17 schools, 20 kindergartens, 20 cultural institutions, 11 mosques, 28 hospitals and out-patient clinics, 45 administrative buildings, 156 km of highways, 333 km of power lines, and 5,980 privately owned dwelling houses were partially or completely destroyed; 3,477 families (13,989 people) were deprived of homes and property. The total damage is estimated at 1,632m rubles.8 This pushed back the final solution of the resettlement problem and created new ones.
The Remaining Demands
Today, the situation in the Khasaviurt zone, which includes the Aukh District, remains tense.
Chechens want to support the decisions of the Third Congress of People’s Deputies of the Daghestanian A.S.S.R. of 23 July, 1991: they demand immediate restoration of the Aukh District within its former limits (including Leninaul and Kalininaul) and a return of old names to the district and villages. They are convinced that this involved resettlement of the Lakhs and restoration of the Aukh District as two absolute priorities: as new houses for the Lakhs are built Chechens should be moved back to the Aukh District.
Lakhs want to recognize the congress’ decisions and be moved to the Makhachkala environs as a priority. The program should be regularly funded according to a plan; a decision or a law on the deported peoples of Daghestan should be immediately adopted; the committee for the restoration of the Aukh District should not be moved to Novolakhskoe before Lakhs were removed from the area; there should be no talk about all of them going to a new place; the authorities should ensure stability and security in the district, all houses damaged in the course of the Chechen attack in 1999 should be restored.
Some of the Avars from the Novolakhskoe District want to move out; others want to stay where they were within completely Avar villages, administrations, new agricultural cooperatives or old collective and state farms. Both groups do not want the return of the old geographic names and do not want the area to become a mono-ethnic one. The people living in Noviy Mekhelt do not want Chechens in their village and want to become part of the Khasaviurt District.
The Avars from Leninaul and Kalininaul want the State Council and the Popular Assembly to persuade the State Duma of the Russian Federation to authorize the law on the forcibly deported peoples of Daghestan; they also want to amend the decision of the Third Congress so that their villages would remain in the Kazbekovskiy District.
In 2001, on an instruction of Premier of Russia Mikhail Kasianov it was decided that the “South of Russia” federal program of social-economic development for 2002-2006 should pay special attention to resettlement of the Lakhs of the Novolakhskoe District of Daghestan. It is planned to spend 1 billion rubles for the purpose.
Will this money repay for the burned down and plundered villages of the Akkintsy, Avars, Darghins, Kumyks, Lezghians, Lakhs, Aguls, and Tsakhurs, the sufferings of those thousands of people deported to Central Asia and Siberia, moved down from the mountains to the plain, and other misfortunes? The answer depends not only on us but also on the political, humanitarian, and moral responsibility of the authorities and on our common humanitarian attitude. Today, society is living through reforms, the fact that gives a unique chance to revive the dignity and ethnic character of the repressed and deported peoples of Daghestan.
1 State Archives of the RF, rec.gr. 5446, f. 214, sheet. 2.
2 See: M. Kurbanov, G. Kurbanov, Religia v kulture narodov Dagestana, Makhachkala, 1996, pp. 19-21.
3 State Archives of the RF, rec. gr. 327, inv. 1, f. 4, sheets 1-31.
4 See: M. Kurbanov, G. Kurbanov, Dagestan: deportatsia i repressii, Makhachkala, 2001, pp. 77-78.
5 See: Nezavisimaia gazeta, 22 May, 1997.
6 State Archives of the RF, rec.gr. 518, f. 77, sheet 191.
7 See: M.-S.A. Ibragimov, “Rasy i narody,” Narody Dagestana, Makhachkala, No. 21, 1991.
8 See: Narody Dagestana, No.1, 2000, p. 5.