Ethnic System Of Сhechens In Context Of Modern Synergetics


The problem was stated because the study of the behavior and development of ethnic groups in extreme situations had a scientific and practical importance and was poorly known until the present. The article aims to analyze the formation, development and behavior of the ethnic system of Chechens from the point of view of synergetics. The main approaches to the study of this problem were the principles of the modern synergetic concept and theory of ethnogenesis of L.N. Gumilev, which revealed that the elasticity and stability of the ethnic system of the Chechens against external influences were based on the dispersion and youthful stage. The main results of the article include the conclusions that under the influence of external forces during the deportation of the Chechens, the ethnic system was self-organized and united around religious and ethno-cultural values of sub-ethnos in the form of religious communities appeared within it. During the period of military campaigns (1994-2000), the processes of unification caused by external aggression were replaced by the development of the ethnic system of the Chechens in the direction of the socio-cultural crisis. The materials of the article can be useful to philosophers, culturologists, ethnologists, politicians who study the philosophical, historical, psychological and social problems of the development of ethnic systems.

Keywords: Chechensynergeticsdevelopmentethnosbehavior stereotype


The socio-political events that took place in the Chechen Republic at the turn of the millennium sparked the interest of researchers in the culture, history, and ethnic psychology of the Chechens. In recent years, many scientific articles, collections and monographs on the historiographic and psychological analysis of the development of the Chechen ethnos have been published. Such interest, in our opinion, is connected with the fact that up to the present time, the issues concerning the behavior of the ethnos in extreme situations have not been sufficiently studied. Therefore, the study of the ethnoses’ behavior and development patterns in extreme situations is of scientific and practical importance.

Problem Statement

In the context of the above-mentioned, this paper considers some aspects of the formation, development and behavior of the ethnic system of Chechens from the point of view of modern synergetics.

The ethnic system, according to L.N. Gumilev’s definition, consists of a large number of members (particles), related to each other in a certain way. Therefore, it can be compared to a thermodynamic system, and both the law of conservation of energy and the law of increasing entropy are applicable to it. Let us note that a thermodynamic system is a system consisting of a large number of particles (atoms or molecules) interacting with each other in one way or another.

Research Questions

The point of bifurcation is a critical state of the system, in which it becomes unstable, which leads to an uncertain direction of its further development. That is, it is impossible to determine whether the state of the system will become chaotic or it will shift to a new, more differentiated and higher level of orderliness. When the external impact reaches a critical value, the system loses stability, and the stage of its predictable change is completed. The future of such (thermodynamic or ethnic) system is set by two equally probable directions: towards a chaos (sociocultural crisis) or towards an orderly, i.e. structured, state with elements of self-organization. It is impossible to predict in which of these states the system will develop, since it is a purely random process. At the same time, such transition is always accompanied by a radical restructuring of the existing structure.

In Synergetics, the ethnos is seen as a system that necessarily meets all the requirements of a synergetic system. It consists of many parts, one way or another interacting with each other, has the ability to selectively respond to external impacts, is self-governed, hierarchically organized, etc. (Alekseeva, 2000). When applying the laws of thermodynamics to ethnic processes, one should take into account that the ethnic system is open, i.e. it exchanges energy, information, and substance with the environment and other ethnoses, and, as a rule, non-equilibrium, irreversible processes take place in it. Therefore, only laws of non-equilibrium thermodynamics are applicable to this system.

Thus, the laws of physics can be successfully applied to describe ethnic systems and the processes taking place in them. In the analysis of the development of ethnic systems, such concepts as external impact (pressure) and a sociocultural crisis (a chaotic state of the system) are also used. While external impacts imply natural and climatic cataclysms, military actions, ideological influence of the state on the ethnos, deportation, etc., the sociocultural crises imply irreversible destructive processes in the ethnic system caused by this influence, i.e. they are the response (reaction) of the ethnic system to external influences.

According to the definition in Khaken, (1980), the sociocultural crisis is the violation of the balance of the structural ordering of a local sociocultural system, coherence, and complementarity in the functioning of its various subsystems, the effectiveness of the interrelations between its components. This ultimately leads to a decrease in the level of sociocultural integration and community consolidation, degradation of the regulatory and regulatory functions of culture, and destruction of its relevant mechanisms.

According to the authors of Khaken, (1980), the sociocultural crisis can have external and internal causes. The external causes can include the changing natural and climatic conditions, aggression, or conquest of one ethnos by another. The internal causes can include the conflicts leading to acute contradictions in the ethnic system, which in turn lead to the disengagement of the ethnos, degradation of ethno-cultural values, and often civil wars devastating for the ethnos. In our opinion, internal causes in most cases are due to external factors, although in rare cases it is impossible to exclude contradictions caused solely by the internal causes.

As it is known, the Synergetics studies the natural and social phenomena based on the principles of thermodynamics of nonequilibrium processes and has achieved certain progress. Therefore, when analyzing the processes that took place in the ethnic system of the Chechens, we proceeded from the principles of the modern synergetic concept and theory of ethnogenesis developed by Gumilev (2002) and Khaken, (1980). This gives an opportunity to look at both the ethnic system as a whole and at the objective processes taking place in it from a new perspective and make general conclusions.

It should be noted that Gumilev in his works used the terminology and some laws of the natural sciences. He introduced new categories and concepts that do not always coincide with the commonly accepted ones. Therefore, in our opinion, before proceeding with the presentation of the main material, it seems reasonable to consider the categories and concepts used in this article more closely.

Gumilev (2002) gave his own definition of the ethnos, which is of key importance in his theory and was borrowed by him from the synergistic concept for a good reason: “The ethnos is a stable, naturally formed group of people that opposes itself to all other similar groups and is characterized by a unique behavior model that regularly changes over historical time”. As can be seen from the definition, the main distinguishing features of the ethnos according to Gumilev are not the language, territory, origin, material culture, or ideology, but the unique behavior model and opposition to all other similar groups of the ethnos.

We would like to emphasize that in the given article we strictly adhere to this definition, and when we speak about the appearance of a new ethnos, we mean a significant change in the behavior pattern (the ethnos’ pattern).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose is to study the aspects of formation, development and behavior of the ethnic system in the context of modern synergetics.

Research Methods

The complex of theoretical and practical research methods, including the analysis of theoretical sources, methods of analysis and comparison, was used in the work. The authors conducted a theoretical analysis of philosophical, historical, cultural literature in the context of the studied problem. The methodological basis consists of theoretical and empirical methods of scientific knowledge: historiographical, historical and pedagogical and retrospective analyses; systematic, axiological and cultural approaches based on the search of holistic and interrelated characteristics of the studied historical facts and phenomena.


Proceeding from the foregoing, we can state that:

– The Chechen ethnic system is characterized by a relatively young age. It is heterogeneous, mosaic, and dispersed. This strengthens it, makes it elastic and resistant to external influences.

- The Chechen ethnic system was self-organized under the influence of external forces during the deportation period, united behind religious and ethno-cultural values. The sub-ethnos in the form of religious communities started emerging in the system.

– During the period of military campaigns (1994–2000), the ethnic system was developing by a complex path; the unification processes caused by external aggression were followed by the development towards the sociocultural crisis. As a result, a sociocultural crisis occurred in the ethnic system with all the ensuing consequences, namely, a break in the ethnos took place, a departure from national customs and traditions, as well as a devaluation of ethno-cultural values, violation of the internal orderliness of the ethnos, etc. was observed.

The Chechen ethnos remained in extreme situations almost continuously for several centuries. Even mentioning the last few of them is very indicative: in the twentieth century, the Chechens faced the severest situation of deportation (1944–1957) and two military campaigns (1994–1995 and 1999–2000). These critical states put the Chechen ethnos on the brink of physical, spiritual, and moral destruction. However, contrary to all expectations and forecasts, the Chechen ethnic system managed not only to survive in these inhuman conditions, but also preserve its basic ethno-cultural values: language, customs, traditions, etc. So far, such characteristics of the Chechen ethnic system as elasticity, resistance to external influences, activity and energy have not been subjected to any significant scientific analysis, i.e. the high passionate tension, which has been manifesting itself during the last centuries.

Gumilev defined several phases of the ethnos development. He wrote, “Now we can say that the “starting point” of ethnogenesis is the sudden appearance of a certain number of passionarians and sub-passionarians among the population. The phase of ascent is a rapid increase in the number of passionate individuals. An active process of ethnos formation is underway; the active phase is the maximum number of passionarians, the flowering of the ethnos (physical, spiritual, political). The phase of breaking is the sharp reduction of passionarians and their displacement by sub-passionarians; the ethnos stops in development. The inertial phase is the slow decrease in the number of passionate individuals, the process of degradation of the ethnos begins. The phase of obscuration is the almost complete replacement of passionarians by sub-passionarians who by virtue of the mind peculiarities either destroy the ethnos as a whole or do not have time to destroy it before the invasion by foreigners.” (Gumilev, 2002) Further, he wrote: “In the periods of the first two phases of ethnogenesis, the ethnic system overcomes extraneous influences; the growing passionate tension makes it resistant” (Gumilev, 2002). The presence of passionarians in the ethnic system makes it plastic and capable of resisting external impacts.

Thus, the stability and high passionate tension of the ethnos is determined by the age and mosaic structure of the ethnos. In the first two phases of development, the ethnic system is relatively young, with a relatively large number of passionarians, which leads to a marked increase in the passionate tension. The stability of the ethnic system is also achieved due to its mosaic structure and dispersity. The uniformity of the ethnic system, contrary to the prevailing opinion, reduces the elasticity, and, consequently, resistance of the ethnos to external impacts.

Proceeding from these principles, let us consider in more detail the main factors contributing to the stability of the ethnic system of the Chechens. First, it is its mosaic structure or intra-ethnic fragmentation. The Chechen ethnos is a highly disperse ethnic system consisting of Taips, Tukhums, Ghars, Nekiyas, Tsiinan Nakhs, etc. In addition, the Chechens are divided according to their territorial division into Lamroy, Terkhoy, Nokhmakhkkhoy, etc.

The second factor contributing to the stability of the ethnos to external influences, according to the theory of ethnogenesis, is its age. Therefore, we will consider briefly the turning points in the history of the development of the Chechen ethnic system during the last millennium. As noted in (Akhmadov, 2009; Akhmadov, 2016), “... the Chechens are the aborigines of the Caucasus, who had lived on this land for tens of thousands of years; they had close contacts with Transcaucasia, as proven by many facts.” As shown in the monographic study of Gumba (2016), the Nakhs controlled the territory from Elbrus to the Andean range in the 2nd millennium BC; they had their own statehood, as well as close contacts with both Transcaucasia and the peoples living in the Middle East.

The available historical facts and information show that by the time of the Mongol invasion both in the plain and mountainous parts of the Caucasus, there was a stable ethnic system of the Nakhs, into which, as structural elements, various Nakh societies or Taips, including the Galgays, Orstkhoys, and Batsbys, were included. There is every reason to believe that the central place in this ethnic system was occupied by the Chechens, the Nokhchiys. This is evidenced by numerous historical and linguistic data. (Gumba, 2016; Ovkhadov, 2007). A good basis for such an assertion is that the new ethnic system, which is discussed below, is called the Nokhchiys. Let us note that this is a topic for a separate study, which goes beyond the scope of this article. However, as a result of the predatory and devastating invasion of the Mongols, the Nakhs were pushed into the mountains. The ethnic territory narrowing by hard-to-reach mountains led to a regress in the socio-political, economic, and cultural development of the Nakhs (Akhmadov, 2006).

The Mongol-Tatar invasion, of course, had negative consequences for the Nakhs’ ethnic system. However, Timur's campaign in 1935 led to incomparably difficult devastations. According to historical documents (Khizriyev, 1992), Timur ravaged with fire and sword both along the plain and along the mountainous part of Chechnya. The ethnic system of the Nakhs was severely deformed and its integrity was virtually destroyed. The publication (Khizriyev, 1992) scribes those events as follows: “... Timur's invasion of the North Caucasus and the pogrom he committed were an even more terrible tragedy, as he penetrated such impenetrable gorges, which the Mongolian feudal lords had never reached. The devastation and robbery of towns and villages caused a decline in trade and handicraft production. The Nakhs’ ethnos disintegrated into separate societies.”

After Timur’s invasion, the Nakhs were dispersed in hard-to-reach mountain gorges by separate sub-ethnoses. The connection between them was virtually interrupted, which contributed to the formation of individual societies (Taips) in the Nakhs’ ethnic system. The demographic decline began; the existence of the ethnos became more difficult and complicated in the severe conditions of the highlands. About 50–100 years later, when it became virtually impossible to live in the mountains because of overpopulation, the natural process of reconquest began, i.е. the Nakhs, who lived in extremely cramped conditions, started to gradually return by families and small groups to their ancestral lands, Nokhchmokhk (the Nokhchiys’ country).

The return of the Nakhs to the ancestral lands was a comparatively long and difficult process. They had to overcome the resistance of those who controlled those territories. Naturally, there were armed clashes. However, the soil in the foothill part was much more fertile than in the stony mountains; the natural and climatic conditions were much more favorable. These factors stimulated and accelerated this process. The process of revival of agriculture, handicraft production, trade, as well as a demographic rise, started. Here is how the well-known historian, Professor Ya. Akhmadov described these events: “The formation of the ethnopolitical borders of Chechnya in the 16th–18th centuries, coupled with a demographic growth and dense population of the plane, was the result of deep civilizational processes. The “filling” of a certain geographical space in the northeast Caucasus by the Chechen ethnic community was not a mechanistic phenomenon, but a complex integration process of a new dynamic nation that drastically changed the old way of life in the region.” (Akhmadov, 2016).

As a result of close contacts with the Dagestanis, who by that time professed Islam, the process of Islamization of the Nakh Taips living on the border with Dagestan noticeably intensified. Under the influence of these factors, the behavior pattern was gradually changing, and according to the theory of ethnogenesis, a new sub-ethnos of the Nokhchiys (Chechens) appeared. According to Gumilev ( 2002), new ethnoses appear on the border of various landscapes and ethnoses. Nokhchmokhk (Ichkeria) is located on the border of mountains and plains, and borders on Dagestan in the east. At the same time, in our opinion, one of the main factors in the emergence of the new ethnos of Nokhchiys in the depths of the ethnic system of the Nakhs is the adoption of Islam.

It should be noted that the emergence and development of the Chechen ethnos (the Nokhchiys) with its behavior pattern based on the Islamic culture is a complex multi-factor process that does not obey linear laws. With the adoption of Islam, the sub-ethnos of the Nokhchiys expanded and gradually assimilated the rest of the Nakh societies, i.e. they adopted Islam, changed their behavior pattern, and began to realize themselves to be a part of the ethnic system of the Nokhchiys. This process flew naturally without coercion from the borders of Dagestan towards the west, and gradually all the new sister societies of the Nakhs were incorporated into the ethnic system of the Nokhchiys.

In our opinion, if it were not for the intervention of tsarist Russia, which artificially divided the Chechens and the Ingush, the process of expanding the sub-ethnos of the Nokhchiys would assimilate the Ingush societies. However, as a result of Russia's active actions in the Caucasus in the 17th–18th centuries, the Ingush and Chechens were opposed to each other, and this process, as well as the process of Islamization, stopped. At the beginning of the 19th century, several armed clashes were provoked between the Chechens and the Ingush (Gapurov, 2016), which could not but affect their mutual relations. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Ingush concluded an agreement with Russia and took part in the Caucasian war on the side of Russia. As is known, the Ingush adopted Islam only in the middle of the 19th century, thanks to the efforts of the great Sheikh Kunta-Khaji Kishiev (Gapurov, 2016). However, irreversible differentiation and division of the Chechens and Ingush had occurred by that time. The chance of uniting into a single ethnic system, bestowed by the Almighty, was missed.

The history of relations between Russia and Chechnya during this period was very complex and ambiguous. The periods of warm, good-neighborly relations alternated with military conflicts. Worth mentioning are the following events: the people's liberation movement under the leadership of Imam Mansur, the uprising led by Beibulat Taimiev in 1825, the Caucasian War of 1817–1864, the Alibek-Khadzhi uprising in 1877 (Akhmadov, 2016), etc.

As it was said above, since the end of the tenth century and until the October Revolution, the Chechens were in extreme conditions, caused by almost incessant military actions. The new power of the Soviets proclaimed such ideals as equality, collectivism, the priority of moral principles in the mutual relations of people, which coincided with the Chechens' ideas about personal and social relations. Therefore, at first the power of the Bolsheviks was supported by the Chechen people. The Chechens took an active part in the Bolsheviks’ struggle with the White Army of Denikin.

However, the subsequent policy of the Bolsheviks regarding interethnic relations, collectivization, and indigenization, the struggle with the remnants of the past tangibly affected the psychology of the mountaineers. Their age-old way of life was broken; the trust to the Soviet power was undermined. This period can be characterized by a relatively calm state, since there were no active armed clashes. But only at first glance. In reality, the 1930s are distinguished by a strong ideological influence of the state on the spiritual sphere of small-numbered peoples. The policy of nationalization, which implied much attention to the development of the language and culture of small-numbered peoples, was gradually replaced by the indigenization policy, the vector of development of small-numbered peoples turned towards their Russianization. National customs and traditions were declared remnants of the past. For the sake of the dominant ideology, the history of peoples was distorted. While in the early 1930s, children up to the seventh grade were taught in their native language, the office work in the regions was translated into Chechen, the circulation of newspapers, magazines, and fiction in the native language increased, starting from the mid-1930s onwards, these progressive changes in the society were gradually phased out.

Despite the absence of military action, the Chechen ethnic system, as well as the rest of the peoples living on the territory of the Soviet Union, during this period had a strong ideological influence on the part of the state, capable of causing, under certain conditions, a sociocultural crisis. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the political system that had existed in Chechnya since the time of the Caucasian War was introduced from the outside, first by the Russian Empire and then by Soviet Russia, which depersonalized the political and legal culture of the Chechens, as well as of other peoples conquered by the empire. Obviously, this “introduced” a political system, being “alienated” from the sociocultural values of the Chechen society, initially generated internal instability, contradictions, and conflicts.

Despite these negative phenomena, the Chechen ethnic system was developing, national literature was emerging, and theaters, museums, higher and professional educational institutions began functioning.

However, the situation radically changed in 1944, when the people were subjected to forcible deportation. The external pressure from the ideological turned into physical, the influence increased significantly. The ethnos, in fact, was put on the brink of physical destruction. People, divorced from their habitat, not adapted to the new situation, without any means of subsistence, without the right to move, were specially dispersed across the expanses of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This was a deliberate action, organized at the state level and aimed at the destruction of entire ethnic systems. Everything was targeted to make these ethnic systems face a sociocultural crisis that would lead to their collapse.

The ethnic systems in the conditions of deportation turned out to be in a state that can be compared to the point of bifurcation. This means that the further development of these systems could not be predicted. Any fluctuations, i.e. unimportant, insignificant phenomena, could cause unpredictable, irreversible processes in them. The most likely direction for further development is a sociocultural crisis with all the ensuing consequences, namely: the destruction of the ordered structure of the ethnos, devaluation of ethno-cultural values, abandonment of national traditions and customs, and ultimately destruction of the ethnic system. An analysis of archival and field materials shows that some of the deported peoples partially suffered this fate. Indeed, the inhuman conditions created in the deportation led to a sociocultural crisis in some ethnic systems. In our opinion, they can include the Karachais and the Balkars who began to dissolve among the Kazakhs. It was possible because of the small number of the Karachais and the Balkars, their dispersal across the expanses of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and, most importantly, the proximity of languages. This process was stopped only due to the return of these peoples to the ancestral lands, i.e. to the familiar environment.

Unfortunately, we do not have archival materials for a deeper analysis of the behavior of other ethnic systems in the conditions of deportation. Of course, certain negative processes were observed in these systems. An exception, in our opinion, is the Chechens. The materials at our disposal (archive and field) indicate that the Chechen ethnic system behaved totally differently in the conditions of deportation. It developed in the opposite direction, i.e. the ethnos united behind its ethno-cultural and religious values, the ethnic system demonstrated self-organization and synergy.

According to official data, more than half of the population (more than 200 thousand people) perished during the eviction. The Chechen ethnos was put on the verge of real extinction. Literature, art, and ethnic culture were virtually prohibited. Not only historical and architectural monuments, i.e. the traditional Chechen towers, cultural structures, but also the entire traditional environment of the Chechens were destroyed. To erase from memory any mention of the Chechens, the government renamed almost all the villages, rivers, lakes, mountains, etc. According to the organizers of the deportation plan, it was decided to root out the Chechens of their homes. Everything was banned that concerned the Chechen ethnos: toponymy, literature, art, ethnic culture. Suffice it to say that the People's Artiste M. Aydamirova was put in prison only for the fact that she publicly sang a song in Chechen.

The Chechens were dispersed across the expanses of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. They could not leave the village where they lived without a special permission. Communication between relatives was practically stopped. There were no broadcasts on the radio, no newspapers, magazines; books were published in the Chechen language. Children were deprived of the opportunity to study, as teaching in many schools was conducted in the incomprehensible Kazakh or Kyrgyz languages. Russian schools, where teaching was conducted in Russian, were a rarity.

Thus, the deportation had all conditions for the physical and moral destruction of the nation, i.e. for a sociocultural crisis in the ethnic system. However, in spite of tough conditions, the Chechen ethnic system moved along the second development vector, i.e. united behind ethno-cultural and religious values. This is evidenced by numerous examples from the lives of special displaced residents. We have limited ourselves to a few examples that give an integral view of the processes that took place in the ethnic system during the deportation period.

According to the general opinion, people united in a single community in the difficult conditions of deportation before a huge misfortune. Massively, the Chechens began to forgive each other not only the resentments they had kept for years, but also blood revenge. They all helped each other and without exaggeration shared the last piece of bread. For example, according to eyewitnesses, the Chechens in Karaganda worked at the mine and were given food rations every day. They say that their hungry fellow tribesmen were waiting for them at the exit from the mine. They did not ask for charity. However, the miners divided their rations into four parts. One part was given to them; the second was taken home to children and parents. And they only ate half their rations themselves, although the work at the mine was hard and exhausting. Children who were left without parents were brought up by close relatives, and they were sent to orphanages only in exceptional cases. And if they were, then they were taken back at the first opportunity. Interethnic marriages were strictly forbidden, especially the marriage of girls with representatives of other nations. These measures were dictated by the real threat of the ethnos disappearance.

The story goes that shortly before the deportation, a Gudermes District resident’s brother was killed. He did not have time to take revenge on the murderer on the custom of blood revenge. In Kazakhstan, he, against all the odds, found out where his blood enemy lived and went there to avenge his brother. However, when he arrived, he found that the blood enemy and his wife had died of hunger and they had a little girl left. There were no close relatives and the girl was going to be sent to the orphanage. Upon learning of this, he introduced himself as a close relative, took the girl, raised her as his own daughter and married off.

In 1945, the famous Chechen poet and thinker M.-S. Gadayev distributed the food warehouse, of which he was in charge, to the special displaced residents dying of hunger and was imprisoned for 10 years for this. And there were many Chechen “Robin Hoods”, who at the most difficult time stole collective-farm cattle and gave out meat to the Chechens dying of hunger. It was both revenge and desire at all costs to save people from starvation. Many of them were imprisoned for decades for that. Undoubtedly, they were criminals under the laws of the state, but saviors for those dying of hunger. It should also be noted that during the deportation period, the Chechens were dying of starvation, but there were no cases of begging. This is a topic for a separate study and goes beyond the scope of ours. There are many such examples; many publications have been written about it, so in conclusion we note that at first, the Chechens were not welcomed by local residents. A rumor that the cannibals were coming was purposefully distributed among them. Only the Nokhchiy spirit («Chechenness»), solidarity, and self-control, will and mutual assistance, courage and bravery saved the Chechens from certain death.

For the general conclusions, in our opinion, the following phenomenon is of particular interest. During the years of deportation, various groups and brotherhoods were formed within the Chechen ethnic system, best adapted to the difficult conditions. Among them, we can highlight and consider in more detail Vis-Khaji Zagiev’s religious community, which was the most popular, active, and organized one.

In Vis-Khaji Zagiyev’s community, which was formed during the deportation years, there were special rules that were strictly observed by all its members. The main duty of the members of this community were work and mutual assistance, collective work was especially welcomed. The community was guided by the principle “One for all and all for one.” Equality, brotherhood, the supremacy of the interests of the community were the main values of the community. If a new family appeared, the community would gather for the traditional Chechen Belkhi and collectively build a house. If a woman became a widow, she was married off and vice versa. They supported and assisted new families, if necessary. Many of the Vis-Khaji Zagiev’s followers still live compactly in the Akmola Oblast of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where this community originated. The internal order of the community and behavior patterns developed by him were best adapted to the severe conditions, in which the Chechen ethnos was in the period of deportation. In our opinion, this community, which can be represented as a sub-ethnos, could expand and include all representatives of the Chechen society, if the external conditions did not change.

Naturally, today the external conditions have changed significantly and a gradual transformation of the psychology of this community has been observed. But the fact that a sub-ethnos in the form of a religious community originated in the depths of the Chechen ethnic system is undeniable.

As noted above, the Chechen ethnic system behaved quite differently during the military campaign of 1994–2000. To understand and analyze those processes, it is necessary at least briefly to consider those historical events that preceded the armed conflict.

In 1957, after the restoration of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, almost uncontrolled resettlement of the more than half a million population from Central Asia to the Caucasus began. Any attempts of the authorities to at least arrange, stretch this process in time failed. People were continually returning home, where no one expected them, and there were not even minimal conditions for living. Residents and the leadership of the Grozny Oblast negatively perceived the very decision to restore the Chechen-Ingush republic. The houses of the Chechens had been occupied by other people. They did not hurry to voluntarily abandon the houses of the Chechens, because they had nowhere to go. This situation gave rise to discontent on both sides. Conflicts began. Unfortunately, the collisions and even mass actions could not be avoided. Objectively, the emerged situation caused contradictions and an unofficial confrontation between the Chechens on the one hand and the authorities and residents of the former Grozny Oblast, on the other. This confrontation manifested itself in all fields of the society's activity and for a long time played a negative role in the public life of the republic.

Thus, even after returning to their homeland, the Chechens continued to experience certain pressure from the side of the authorities. The unspoken oppression of the Chechens continued with varying intensity at all levels until Perestroika. The Soviet authorities did not appoint the Chechens to any responsible offices and leading positions due to distrust. It was difficult for them to find jobs in the republic; they could not be employed even as workers at industrial enterprises after their return to their homeland. To somehow support their family, they were forced to travel in the spring and summer to work. However, instead of being supported, they were condemned for this, attached various labels. The republic was experiencing an acute shortage of schools and preschool institutions. The existing preschool institutions used the Russian language. Teaching in schools from the first year was conducted in Russian. The Chechen language, even as a subject, was not taught in urban schools. The aspiration of Chechens to use their native language when communicating among themselves in public places was considered as the utmost lack of culture. Many traditions and customs that had developed over the centuries were declared remnants of the past. Chechen girls were forced to remove scarfs; Komsomol-style weddings were almost enforced, though they were fundamentally contrary to the Chechen mentality, customs, and traditions.

The peculiar outcome of this policy was that the Chechens until the end of the 1980s had the lowest level of education among the peoples of the USSR and Russia. Also, the Chechens held the first place in terms of the proportion of people who did not have secondary education and proportion of scientists was one fifth of that of the titular peoples of the North Caucasus republics. The share of the Chechens employed in the sphere of public administration was only 0.02%, that is, 2 people per 1000 of the employed population of the Chechen nationality (Ovkhadov, 2007). For this reason, the working class and the national intelligentsia, which by the end of the 1980s did not manage to occupy a worthy place in the Chechen society, arose at extremely low rates and therefore could not significantly influence the course of events of 1991.

The continued oppression of the Chechens can be viewed from the viewpoint of synergetics as the impact of moderate external pressure. How did the ethnic system behave in these conditions? In our opinion, in defiance of all expectations, this impact contributed to preserving the unity of the Chechens, which had been achieved in the years of deportation. The ethnic system of the Chechens was subject to the influence of globalization processes, objective processes in the direction of increasing entropy, i.e. in the direction of a chaos (a sociocultural crisis). However, despite these processes, thanks to the confrontation described above, the Chechens remained united until the end of the 1980s; they managed to preserve their ethno-cultural values. They supported and helped each other. In our opinion, this pressure on the part of the state and the reaction of the ethnic system to this impact acted at the beginning of Perestroika as a compressed spring, and in many ways contributed to the dramatic events in the country.

Following the synergistic concept of H. Hacken and comparing the ethnic system to a quantum generator (a laser), the period under study (1957–1990) can be considered as the period of the quantum generator (i.e. the ethnic system) pumping. While the influence of electromagnetic radiation in a quantum generator causes self-organization in the form of electron saturation of the upper energy level, by analogy, a weak external influence in the ethnic system in the form of the ethnos oppression can lead to an increase in the number of passionate individuals opposed to the existing power. When the critical state is reached, the quantum generator emits powerful electromagnetic energy. The ethnic system can behave similarly. The ethnic system of the Chechens reached a critical state, in our opinion, in the late 1980s. The principles of democracy and glasnost announced in the years of Perestroika served as a kind of impetus that provoked a release of energy, and in 1991 the ethnic system of the Chechens released the accumulated energy.

It should be noted that these processes proceeded against the background of the emerging market relations that accelerated the process of the Chechen society's differentiation. The formation of a sovereign state proved to be a challenging task. Hard days began. The new government could not provide residents with essential material amenities. Residents of the republic mostly began to feel acute need. People, even those who actively supported the idea of an independent state, were not prepared to tolerate the material need, poverty, and destitution for the sake of independence. Rallies of the dissatisfied people began, cases of robbery of trains and motor transport became more frequent. The rampage of crime flooded the republic. The special services of the Russian Federation, interested in proving to the whole world the inability of the Chechens to create a sovereign state, contributed to this process.

These processes and the upcoming market economy did what the Communists could not do. In the early 1990s, an active process of the Chechen society differentiation began. Very rich and very poor people appeared, which had not been typical of the Chechen society, in which for centuries mechanisms had existed that did not allow any great differentiation by property, “Bytal Vakkhar” (Akhmadov, 2006). These mechanisms already outlived themselves and did not function at the end of the 20th century. The contradictions between different groups and social strata became aggravated. For the first time in history, Chechens opposed Chechens. The examples are: the dispersal of the rally in the theater square; the shelling of Grozny Mayor's office, which resulted in the death of people; the clear signs of an upcoming sociocultural crisis. However, in defiance of all expectations, as a result of ill-considered actions by the leadership of Russia, which declared a state of emergency in 1991, and in 1994 marched armed forces into the republic, this process was inhibited and then stopped. These actions of the Russian leadership, perceived by the ethnic system as an external influence, led to the unity and unification of the ethnos. In 1995, almost all the people, including those who were in opposition, opposed external aggression.

In the first Chechen war, people displayed massive heroism, demonstrating the best qualities of the Chechens. Internal contradictions have receded into the background. And only after the Khasav-Yurt agreements, after the withdrawal of the Russian troops, internal contradictions came to the fore. The struggle for power began. The Chechen society was split into several irreconcilable groups. Since 1996, active, energetic, supported materially and morally by the special services of foreign states, the political force in the form of Wahhabists came to the political arena. An armed confrontation between representatives of traditional Islam and Wahhabists began. The contradictions between them led to the armed conflict in Gudermes.

Thus, by the beginning of the second Chechen war, the ethnic system of the Chechens faced a sociocultural crisis. Features unusual for the Chechens appeared, including: savage bitterness, ruthless attitude towards prisoners and to each other, stealing people for ransom; an increasing number of cases of misbehavior of Chechen boys and girls at the beginning of the third millennium. There are many examples, but the thesis itself, in our opinion, is obvious and does not require special evidence. The question arises: what was the reason for such behavior? Why has not the ethnic system that survived the horrors of deportation survived these years? We are aware that it is difficult, even impossible, to find exhaustive answers to these questions, since the process itself is multifactorial, and the further development of the ethnic system from this state, which can be compared with a bifurcation point, cannot be predicted. Any seemingly insignificant factors can have a decisive influence on the further development of the ethnic system. Therefore, we attempted to consider these events from the viewpoint of the synergetic concept. It is known that in the war, passionate individuals are first to die. This leads to a decrease in the ethnic system of passionate stress, and, consequently, the ethnic system becomes less elastic and resistant to external influences. In 1995, many people were killed on both sides, including passionate individuals. This could not but affect the stability of the ethnic system. This is one of the factors that contributed to the onset of the crisis. Another important factor, in our opinion, is the fact that the ethnic system deformed by the intense external influence (the military actions in 1995), after the withdrawal of the Russian troops in 1996, could not stand against the internal contradictions tearing it from within, and developed towards the direction of a sociocultural crisis, i.e. towards an increasing entropy. We do not exclude the existence of other factors, but, in our opinion, these two factors are the main and determining ones.


Thus, while the Chechen ethnos consolidated during the deportation period, a completely opposite picture was observed during the military campaigns of 1994–2000. The Chechen society gradually split to such an extent that by 1999 the Chechens found themselves in the state of a civil war. While in 1994–1995, the Chechens displayed their national features, such as nobility, humane treatment of prisoners, as evidenced by numerous facts, like the hospital in the basement of the presidential palace, where they helped the wounded, regardless of the side they belonged to, a wild exasperation took place on both sides between the two military campaigns of 1996–2000. And already in the second Chechen campaign, a sharp confrontation between the Chechens was observed, manifested by cruelty to each other, unprecedented and uncharacteristic of the Chechens. Based on the foregoing, we can state that the Chechen ethnic system in that period began to develop along the first path that led to the sociocultural crisis emergence. Two causes led to this phenomenon, in our opinion. Firstly, as a result of the armed actions of 1995, many people died, which led to a decrease in passionate tension, and, consequently, the ethnic system became less elastic and resistant to external influences. Secondly, in the course of the armed conflict, external influences, and internal contradictions came to the fore. In our opinion, the joint action of these forces (internal and external) has led to this way of the ethnic system development, i.e. caused a sociocultural crisis in the ethnic system.


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29 March 2019

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Dadashev, R. K., & Muskhanova, I. V. (2019). Ethnic System Of Сhechens In Context Of Modern Synergetics. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2480-2492). Future Academy.