The Chechens: A Handbook

by Amjad Jaimoukha

(contributions by the distinguished literary figure JonArno Lawson)



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Book reviews, commendations & citations:

Albert, Craig Douglas, ‘Identity and Violence: Analyzing Ethnic Group Behavior in Conflict’, presented to Northeastern Political Science Association (APSA) 2008, [Panel: Ethnic Violence, Humanitarian Intervention and Human Rights, Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut,] Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, 28 August 2008. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 11 February 2009).

Bakke, K. M., ‘Separatist Struggles and Center-Region Relations in Chechnya, Punjab, and Québec’, paper presented at The Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence, Yale University, 5 March 2008. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Citation]

Banner, Francine, ‘Uncivil Wars: “Suicide Bomber Identity” as a Product of Russo-Chechen Conflict’, in Religion, State & Society, vol. 34, no. 3, September 2006, pp 215-53. [Citation]

Bulur, Latife, Chechnya: Human Rights Issues’, in Human Rights & Human Welfare: An International Review of Books and Other Publications, Review Digest: Human Rights & the War on Terror, 2007 Supplement S-4. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 23 July 2008). [Review]

Comins-Richmond, Walter, 'Review of The Chechens: A Handbook', in Slavic & East European Journal, vol. 50, no. 2, 2006, pp 374-6.

Directie Personenverkeer, Migratie- en Vreemdelingenzaken Afdeling Asiel- en Migratiezaken, Algemeen ambtsbericht noordelijke Kaukasus, April 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Country Report on the North Caucasus]

George, Julie Alynn, Separatism or Federalism? Ethnic Conflict and Resolution in Russia and Georgia, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, August 2005. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 23 July 2008). [Citation]

Gould, Rebecca,The Chechens: Against Resistance’, in Transitions Online, 25 April 2006. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 23 July 2008). [Commendation] 

Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (The), Landinfo Temanotat: Russland: Ingusjetia, 1 November 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Citation]

Landinfo Temanotat: Russland: Ingusjetia, 10 April 2008. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Citation] 

Prague Watchdog, ‘Select Bibliography of Chechnya-Related Works’, in Prague Watchdog (Reporting on the Conflict in the North Caucasus), 26 September 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 23 July 2008). ['A comprehensive survey of the history, culture and religious traditions of the Chechen people, including an account of the short-lived Chechen film industry, the images of Chechens propagated by Russian and Western media, and a section of Chechen proverbs and sayings'] 

Sakwa, Richard, Chechnya: From Past to Future, Anthem Press, 2005. [Citation] 

Slye, Sarah E., Why Does War Rage on in Chechnya?, MA Thesis, Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006. [Citation] 

Suburban Emergency Management Project (SEMP), ‘Chechnya: Chaos of Human Geography in the North Caucasus, 484 BC-1957 AD’, in SEMP Biot Report, no. 479, 18 November 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Citation]

— ‘Crescendo to Beslan School Massacre, 1953-2004 in Chechnya’, in SEMP Biot Report, no. 480, 21 November 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). [Citation] 

 Toledano, Ehud R., As If Silent and Absent: Bonds of Enslavement in the Islamic Middle East, Yale University Press, 2007. [Citation] 

Wood, Tony, Chechnya: The Case for Independence, Verso, 2007. Online. Available HTTP: <> (accessed 24 July 2008). ['The book contains much material that is rarely found in English-language works, and its chapters on Chechen culture are particularly valuable' – note 1, p12]



Table of Contents

  List of illustrations vii




  Introduction 1
1 People and land 12
2 History from the earliest to the end of the eighteenth century A.D. 23
3 History from the Russian-Caucasian war to the Second World War 40
4 History from the deportation to the 'second' Chechen war 58
5 Politics and current affairs 71
6 Society 83
7 Economy 96
8 Religion and beliefs (JonArno Lawson contributed to this chapter) 106
9 Customs and traditions 123
10 Folklore 140
11 Arts, crafts and architecture 159
12 Music and dance 176
13 Language and linguistic policy 194
14 Literature (by JonArno Lawson) 206
15 Media and film 218
16 The diaspora 229
  Afterword 239
  Proverbs and sayings (JonArno Lawson & Amjad Jaimoukha) 241
App. 1 The Chechen tukhums and taips 249
App. 2 The Vainakh Pantheon 252
App. 3 Bibliographies and journals 255
App. 4 Nakh lexicography 258
  Notes 260
  Bibliography 275


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