Problems Of Social Adaptation Of Chechen And Ingush People In Involuntary Settlements


The paper considers the formation of the Chechen-Ingush diaspora in Kazakhstan based on archive materials and literature sources. Since 1944 Chechen and Ingush people have been living almost in all areas of Kazakhstan. Their population ranges depending on real events in Chechnya and Ingushetia. The Chechen and Ingush people are stable ethno-confessional groups within the multiethnic society of Kazakhstan. In general, they integrated into the sociocultural space of Kazakhstan as ethnocultural nations with their specific subculture. In conditions of administrative-command system their cultural isolation was mainly involuntary and imposed by circumstances of eviction when ethnic values were developed as a protest to the Soviet regime. The migration processes caused by deportations in the 1930-1940s of the 20th century affected personal development in the conditions of alienation. The key condition of sustainable and systematic development of each society is the transfer of its diverse experience to new generations starting their life, i.e. obligatory inter-generational transmission of ethnic culture critical for the socialization of younger generation. It is important to study the socialization of the Chechen and Ingush people in special settlements driven by the deportation to Kazakhstan and Central Asia in 1944 for development and implementation of scientifically based sociodemographic policy of the state based on comprehensive analysis of the country’s development in historical retrospective. Besides, the study of these problems plays a major role in fostering patriotism, strengthening civil peace and interethnic concord among the younger generation in the Chechen Republic, the Republics of Ingushetia, and in Kazakhstan.

Keywords: ChechensIngush peopleevictionKazakhstansocializationdiaspora


A special model of the economy of involuntary labor was created under totalitarianism in the history of the USSR economy. It is based on hard physical work, high performance and cheap labor.

Forced industrialization, shortage of technologies, qualified personnel, primitive production contributed to consolidation and wide use of involuntary labor in the country. This was the reason for nonconventional labor resources due to special resettlement, mobilization, and political repressions. During the studied period this included deported people, which gained the status of special immigrants, labor army members, prisoners of war, repatriated people. All of them were officially called special squads, i.e. a special contingent of people, groups of persons, categories of people rigorously registered and controlled by the National Committee of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Generally, such people were intended for use in the industry.

The preparatory measures to welcome and accommodate the displaced persons from the North Caucasus began in the middle of January, 1944, and by February 16 it was necessary to prepare all empty premises for their accommodation. In the absence of empty buildings, since the deported Germans were kept there, the problem was solved by compaction of collective farmers, workers, employees in houses. The forced resettlement of highlanders in severe winter of 1944 made it quite complicated to create acceptable conditions at new places of residence.

Special immigrants were deprived of the property rights. Houses, cattle and other values were only partially compensated. At a new place of residence, the Chechen and Ingush people started their life from scratch.

Problem Statement

The adaptation process is one of the most actual problem in the history of displaced persons. Successful socialization implied that an individual assimilates the entire necessary information, which existed in collective memory of either human community. Undoubtedly, a necessary condition of the social progress is continuity of generations in all life domains: production, political, economic, legal, moral, and esthetic relations.

Kazakhstan became the second homeland for hundreds of thousands of people of different nationalities. Warm relations were formed with local population, which shared shelter, heat, and bread with special immigrants and was sympathetic to their needs. The Chechen and Ingush people of Kazakhstan as a self-reproducing and self-sufficient demographic community of tribespeople were gradually integrated into Kazakhstan and shared the idea of common homeland with indigenous population living by its laws and rules.

Research Questions

The paper considers some aspects of social adaptation of the Chechen and Ingush people in special settlements.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to tackle the problems of socialization of the North Caucasian people (on the example of the Chechen and Ingush people) to new ethnocultural environment in the conditions of special settlements and their integration into modern multiethnic Kazakhstan.

Research Methods

The study is based on objective analysis of particular historical facts used to define the nature of repressive processes and their consequences. The dialectic approach to the study allowed analyzing various internal contradictions of history of the Chechen and Ingush people in the years of eviction. The problem-based approach to the study allowed reflecting the historical situation of labor socialization of special immigrants, its multidimensionality and contradictions. The historical and evolutionary approach made it possible to consider the transformation of the Chechen-Ingush society since 1944 until present.


The forced relocation of the population of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR from its historical homeland to Kazakhstan and the republics of the Central Asia began on 23 February 1944. The next day (on February 24) it was reported to I. Stalin on sending 569,729 people in 180 echelons, including 478, 479 Chechen and 91,250 Ingush people (SARF). According to official figures, 1,272 Chechen and Ingush people died in transit, 50 people were killed (Arapkhanova, 2004).

According to the Russian historian-researcher of political repressions in the Soviet Union Zemskov (1991),

during the first years of life in special settlements the evicted population from the North Caucasus considerably decreased due to high mortality. From the moment of immigration and until 1 October 1948 about 146,892 people died while only 28,120 people were born, i.e. the mortality was 5.2 times above the birth rate. (para. 6)

The archive materials reflect the facts of hiding the number of the dead from authorities. It is noted that “the dead are not registered anywhere but buried furtively from commandant’s offices. The mortality rates were mainly caused by dystrophy and gastric diseases, malnutrition”. Thus, as of 5 May 1945 there were 413 people out of 1,500 registered Chechen special immigrants that died due to malnutrition and lack of medical care during the construction of Irtysh Power Plant (Kazbekova, 2017).

The geography of the Chechen and Ingush people was the following: Jalal-Abad Region – 24,281, Jambyl Region – 16,565, Almaty Region – 29,089, East Kazakhstan Region – 34,167, Southern Kazakhstan Region – 20,808, North Kazakhstan Region – 39,542, Aktyubinsk Region – 20,309, Semipalatinsk Region – 31,236, Pavlodar Region – 41,230, Karaganda Region – 37,938 people.

Scattered across the vast territory and limited in contacts with compatriots, the special settlers were endangered by ethnocultural assimilation with the local population. The first years in special settlements became particularly difficult for deportees. In the Kyrgyz SSR by the autumn of 1944 almost 31,000 families of special settlers occupied 5,000 houses and only every sixth family lived “within the walls”, the rest lived under shelter and in the open sky, while about 64,000 families lived in Kazakhstan “on consolidation”.

As the researcher of social history of the people of the North Caucasus Schneider (2008) fairly notes, it would be wrong to say that the special settlers settled in all areas of the Kazakh SSR in equal numbers, however there was one or two families in all regions. About 50 Chechen and 13 Ingush people were registered as special settlers in the Tajik SSR and 39,663 Chechen and 1,389 Ingush people were registered in the Kyrgyz SSR in 6 areas of the republic. Approximately 120 Chechen and 108 Ingush people were registered in special settlements of the Uzbek SSR. Besides, several representatives from among the repressed North Caucasian people lived in special settlements in certain areas and autonomies of the RSFSR (Schneider, 2009).

The preparatory measures to welcome and accommodate the displaced persons from the North Caucasus began in the middle of January, 1944, and by February 16 it was necessary to prepare all empty premises for their accommodation. In the absence of empty buildings, since the deported Germans were kept there, the problem was solved by compaction of collective farmers, workers, employees in houses. The forced resettlement of highlanders in severe winter of 1944 made it quite complicated to create acceptable conditions on new places of residence. The housing and financial conditions of special immigrants remained difficult throughout the entire period under consideration. The measures taken by regional and local economic organizations could not fully satisfy the needs of special immigrants. The Chechen and Ingush people amongst special squads were exposed to discrimination in all spheres of cultural, public and political life. Being in direct administrative submission of regional and local special commandant’s offices they suffered from movement restrictions and arbitrariness of commandants (Isakieva, 2016).

Numerous data and reports from places of their residence demonstrate that the Chechens were physically and morally abused. For example, the report of the inspector of resettlement office in the Karaganda Region of 30 November 1944 refers to beatings of Geliev to death in Oktyabrsky District by the district office director Antipin for the former one to leave a person to do the job instead of him for a prayer. There are also facts of regular beatings of special settlers by the chairman of the Pavlovsk Council Mr. Kusainov. As a rule, such acts of arbitrariness and abuse went unpunished (Ibragimov, 2015).

Finding themselves in hellish conditions beyond survival, the special settlers used any opportunity to earn and provide living for their families. Certainly, the labor use of special immigrants is one of the key elements of deportation. The repressed citizens were engaged into various kinds of works: industrial constructions, work in coal-mining industry, mining operations, forest working, construction of transportation lines, industrial enterprises, rail and earth roads, fishing industry. The majority of deported citizens was engaged in agriculture (Bugai, 2012).

By 1946 the tension in the solutions of placement and employment of the Chechen and Ingush people in special settlements was relieved though many problems remained. The country leaders made various decisions to improve supply and to create the necessary conditions for the employment of this category of people at enterprises of the above republics. Many special settlers gained their social status through socially useful labor in collective farms and work at manufacturing enterprises.

Special immigrants were employed by the order of authorities disregarding the desire and specialty of the exiled. For example, as of 1 June 1946 a former journalist Bilal Galaev worked as a driller in a mine, Alba Dudaev – a former regional prosecutor worked as a miner, Aama Ibragimov – a party organizer worked as a miner, Akhmet Nadyrov – former deputy of the Regional Land Department worked as a digger similar to Abilkhan Sultanov – the second secretary of the regional communist party of Bolsheviks.

Out of 1,349 Chechens arrived on 4 March 1944 about 651 persons were employed at Chulak-Tau chemical plant on the following professions: engineers – 4 people, doctors – 2 people, medical and veterinary paramedics – 2 people, laboratory assistants-chemists – 5 people, operators – 1 person, mechanics – 32 people, carpenters – 7 people, drivers and tractor operators – 38 people, smiths – 1 person, agronomists – 3 people, railroad workers – 3 people, drillers – 2 people, bricklayers – 3 people, accountant officers – 18 people, teachers – 23 people. The others were distributed for work in 26 collective farms of the area. The reports of mine administration of Leninogorsk enterprises of the East Kazakhstan region specified that among special immigrants there are 10 teachers, 3 accountants, 1 paramedic, 1 accountant and that they were not intended for use by occupation (Ermekbaev, 2009).

In scientific study of the problem of adaptation of the special immigrant Chechens during the Great Patriotic War the prominent Soviet and Kazakhstan scientist-historian Kozybaev (1991) describes how the Chechen and Ingush people were getting used to life in Kazakhstan. “They had different fate. They had no time to think over their personal offences since it was war and hence the common grief. All people were doing their best to bring the Victory closer to reality. In the spring of 1944 a young Chechen Kh. Estoev became an apprentice to the smith of the Moskovsky Kustanay State Farm T.I. Kotomakov. Timofey Ivanovich taught him blacksmithing. In 1944-1945 a shepherd M. Dosaev received an official message of thanks from the board of Kalinin collective farm of the Uritsky district of the Kustanay region. In 1945 he received a cow and a calf for growing and keeping 115 lambs from each one hundred ewes and cut 22.5 kg of wool from each sheep for the collective farm. The entire Gekhanov’s family was famous for good work in the collective farm named after the 3rd International of the Kustanay district: a father and a son were shepherds, a mother worked as a calf-woman, a daughter as a milkmaid. There are numerous examples of this kind. The author comes to a conclusion that together with the Kazakhs, the Russians, the Chechen and Ingush people worked in the industry, developed production, acquired new professions. Thus, in 1944 A. Magomadov, M. Salamov, Kh. Murdalov, G. Edilov, B. Musaev and many others worked at the Leninogorsk Mine and Polymetallic Plant. Having begun with ordinary workers, they gradually gained the qualification of mine foremen. The same year M. Salamov mastered the profession of a miner in the Bystrushinsky Mine, and after completing the corresponding courses, he became a mine foreman. Over 400 people from among the Chechens and Ingushs had long-term experience in oil fields and plants. Among them there were deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the 1st convocation a drill operator M. Magomirzoev and a foreman A. Tsomaev, oil engineers I. Almazov, A. Matsiev, M. Vedzizhev, A. Askhabaliev, A. Akhmatkhanov, A. Uzhakhov. In East Kazakhstan M. Sharipov, Kh. Arsamirzoev, S. Sarakaev, etc. worked at the Belousovsky Mine, Z. Sultanbekov, A. Gaziev, Kh. Magomadov, R. Asukhanov, A. Akhmatkhanov, S. Engenoev, etc. worked in mines of Karaganda and Temirtau (Kozybaev, 1991).

Almost all able-bodied special settlers and sometimes even those who were considered disabled were working, especially it was noticeable during the first years of their living. From archival sources it is known that as of 1944 there were 16,396 working people out of 16,927 able-bodied ones in the Dzhambulsky Region. 583 old men and teenagers were engaged in seasonal field works. In the Akmola Region 19,345 people, including 2,746 old men and teenagers actually worked out of 17,667 registered able-bodied people.

Special immigrants from the North Caucasus alongside with other categories of special immigrants were registered with the National Committee of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and were assigned to certain enterprises. For example, as of 25 June 1947 about 124 Chechens worked in the Kazakhuglerazvedka Trust. The special squads were attracted to construction and coal mining against contracts signed between the Department of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs and economic bodies. The special immigrants were employed through the Karagandaugol Trust, which had a special department on special immigrants and on its order the arrived contingent was distributed in labor colonies-observations close to mines.

In 1944 the average monthly contingent of workers in mines reached 28,646 people and made 112.7% in comparison with 1943. As of 1 July 1944, there were 42,955 workers, or 85.5% to the overall numerical strength of workers. In 1945, 13,542 workers were employed in mines of Karaganda, among them there were over 4,000 people deported from the North Caucasus (Suleymenova & Nugman, 2012).

Thus, work in production, participation of the Chechen and Ingush people in public life as part of the special squads improved their social position, changed their attitude to life, developed national consciousness (Isakieva, 2015).

According to the Committee on Statistics of the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan, at the beginning of 2017 the number of the Chechen-Ingush diaspora made 32,894 people.

The first national cultural centers of various diasporas of Kazakhstan were established in the late 1980s of the past century. The first public association of the Chechen and Ingush people appeared in 1989 in Almaty, Kazakhstan before the collapse of the USSR. In 1995 it was re-registered with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan as the Association of Cultural Development of the Chechen and Ingush people with separate boards (Chechen and Ingush) and cochairmen.

The Vaynakh Association includes national and cultural associations of the Chechen and Ingush people of all regional centers of Kazakhstan. The first leaders or cochairmen of the Vaynakh national cultural center in Almaty was the Doctor of Philosophy, professor Andarbek Dudaevich Yandarov and the Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, professor, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan Sultan Mazhitovich Ozdoev. The heads of regional Chechen-Ingush national cultural centers were also the members of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. The Vaynakh Association headed by A.S. Muradov and S.M. Ozdoev made a considerable cultural and educational contribution.

The cultural center fosters the improvement of national and international relations in harmonious combination of public, state and national interests, actively involves the representatives of the nation living in Kazakhstan into democratic transformations in all spheres of public life, performs cultural and educational activities to revive and develop the national consciousness, to study the native language, culture, and history of people, to preserve and develop national customs and traditions, considers the problems of the population and solves them in cooperation with state and public organizations.

The Vaynakh national cultural center establishes and supports relations with other similar societies and holds cultural events, strengthens international relations, friendship and consent between the people of the area. It is worth noting that it took some time for various ethnic groups and citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan to acquire the sense of belonging to a single Kazakhstan society after the independence. The Association committed itself to the role of a uniting political force to foster cross-cultural and interethnic interaction within the state program of improvement of the Kazakhstan model of interethnic and interfaith consent.

The Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan constantly improves its style of work. The chairman of this authoritative assembly N.A. Nazarbaev considers it an effective remedy able to regulate the international and interfaith relations. The authority of the assembly was extended in the course of the constitutional reform. Under the Law On modification and amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan , the assembly is transformed from the advisory into the constitutional body representing various ethnic groups in social political life of the society. The parliament has quotas for election of deputies from among the members of the assembly. They review legal acts to identify the nature of interethnic concord, equality and tolerance.

It is fair to say that the Chechen and Ingush people are stable ethno-confessional groups within the multiethnic society of Kazakhstan.

In general, they integrated into the sociocultural space of Kazakhstan as ethnocultural nations with their specific subculture. One feature of the Chechen and Ingush people distinguishing them from other diasporas of Kazakhstan is that they minimized communication with the surrounding society. In the conditions of administrative-command system its cultural isolation was mainly involuntary and imposed by circumstances of eviction when ethnic values were developed as a protest to the Soviet regime.


Thus, despite extremely difficult living conditions and all adversities, the deported Chechen and Ingush people worked on equal terms with other workers thus making a fair contribution into the development of the country’s national economy.

Relations of various nationalities in the course of production broke national isolation, contributed to mutual contacts between workers, rallied them in their fight for rights, laid the foundation for international solidarity and friendship.

The Chechen-Ingush diaspora of Kazakhstan is trying to maintain the national communal unity and to strengthen national consciousness. At present, the Chechen and Ingush people are distinguished from other diasporas by stable national group consciousness due to the maximum adaptability in Kazakhstan, which was a consequence of their adaptation to life among local population in severe conditions of deportation. Religion, namely Islam, is another supporting mechanism for these nations. It helps to unite in diaspora and to keep and strengthen the originality of ethnic cultures.

The Chechen and Ingush people of Kazakhstan as a self-reproducing and self-sufficient demographic community of tribespeople are gradually integrated into Kazakhstan and share the idea of common homeland with indigenous population living by its laws and rules.

During its activity the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan proved to be an efficient body that governs international relations, develops civil identity thus maintaining differences in culture, religion, languages, fostering patriotism in line with the unity of the Kazakhstan people.


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28 December 2019

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Khasbulatov, S., Khizriev, H., Khasbulatova, Z., & Isakieva*, Z. (2019). Problems Of Social Adaptation Of Chechen And Ingush People In Involuntary Settlements. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1351-1358). Future Academy.