Ossetian Migration To Lesser Kabarda Lands In The 18th–19th Centuries


The proposed paper is devoted to the migration of Ossetians to the lands of Lesser Kabarda in the 18th–19th centuries. The accession of Ossetia to Russia followed a massive resettlement of the highlanders of Ossetia to the foothill plain. It was caused by the desire of the Russian administration in the Caucasus to populate the lowlands with calm Ossetian population and the agrarian policy pursued by the government in the North Caucasus. An important reason for the establishment by the Russian government of Ossetian settlements on the plain after the conclusion of the Treaty of Georgievsk was the issue of safe travel to Georgia. This contributed to the development of the economic life of the foothills of the North Caucasus. The purpose of this work is to identify the facts of the settlement of Ossetians in Lesser Kabarda and to determine the causes of migration processes of Ossetians in the indicated period. To accomplish the tasks, materials of unpublished archival documents are introduced into scientific circulation. In the work we used general scientific methods (analysis, synthesis, induction), as well as a comparative method. Based on archival and published sources, the paper discusses the facts of migration of Ossetians to Lesser Kabarda. The research materials can serve as an additional source for studying the history of Ossetia and Kabarda. They allow a more thorough and deep study of the genealogy of Ossetian families, as well as the issues of migration of the peoples of the North Caucasus.

Keywords: Russia, the Caucasus, Ossetia, Kabarda, genealogy, migration


From the second half of the 18th century, the accession of Ossetia to Russia followed a mass resettlement of the highlanders of Ossetia to the foothill plain. It was caused both by the desire of the Russian administration in the Caucasus to populate the lowlands with calm Ossetian population and the agrarian policy pursued by the government in the North Caucasus. An important reason for the establishment by the Russian government of Ossetian settlements on the plain after the conclusion of the Treaty of Georgievsk was the issue of convenient and safe travel to Georgia through the Daryal Pass. Besides, this would contribute to the development of economic life of the foothills of the North Caucasus.

Problem Statement

Based on archival and published sources the paper considers the facts of the migration of Ossetian surnames and individual representatives of the Ossetian ethnic group to Lesser Kabarda.

Research Questions

Due to the proximity of Lesser Kabarda and Ossetia, the migration of the population in both directions was ordinary. The reasons were kindred relationships, trade and economic relations of the representatives of both peoples, blood revenge, etc.

The sources recorded several examples of such migration. In the first half of the 18th century, the Mirzaevs, who came from the Tagaur Aldars, moved from Ossetia to Lesser Kabarda. On 20 March 1874, the Tagaur Aldars issued a certificate of the origin of this branch of the Tagaurs: “We, the undersigned Tagaur Aldars, give this certificate to Elmurza, Murtaz, Kazi and Hazesh Mirzaev living in Lesser Kabarda that their great-great-grandfather Ataby six generations ago, or 150 years ago, approximately at the invitation of the Duke Dudarov of Lesser Kabarda (the Mudarovs) moved to reside in Lesser Kabarda, and the Mirzaevs come from the Tagaur Aldars and have perfect equal rights with us, like the Aldar Mirzaevs, whose surname between us has now ceased (SA NOIHSR. F. 16. Op. 1. 35). It was signed by Tagaur Aldars: Zaurbek Dudarov, Gutsyri Tuganov, Inaluko Gadoevich Tkhostov, Khabosh Kanukov, Beibulat Dudarov, Elmurza Dudarov, Misost Dudarov, Gutsyr Tekaevich Shanaev, Azhuko Tuganov, Lisiko Kanukov, Tasoltan Shanaev and Adil-Girey Aldatov.

This certificate was submitted by Elmurza Mirzaev, a resident of Lesser Kabarda, to Tersko-Kuban estate commission, where he applied on 18 September 1874 with a statement on the definition of his estate rights (CSA RNO-A. F. 262. Op. 1. 12).

In Lesser Kabarda, the Mirzaevs were assigned to the estate of nobles of the 2nd degree. In 1883, Elmurza Mirzaev was listed as a foreman of the Islamova village of Lesser Kabarda (Beituganov, 1998), and was also a member of the Vladikavkaz Student Assistance Society.

In 1828, Izmail Khadzhievich Aldatov was killed by his serf Shavkudz. His mother Maria Aldatova petitioned the Vladikavkaz commandant, Major General Nikolai Petrovich Skvortsov, where she desctibed the details of the murder: “My ancestors had serfs purchased according to our customs. From them I inherited the Ossetians Gibil, Kapi and Shawkuds, from which the first two brothers for unknown reason last 1828 on the tenth week persuaded the last Shawkudz and gave him their dagger, which acted being crazy, but by their instruction. He hid that dagger in his sleeve, went to my son Smail Aldatov, who was sitting in his yard, suddenly took it out of his sleeve, without saying a word, instantly wounded him firmly in a right leg hip, from what he, Aldatov, died on the fourth day after that. Having learned that their desire was fulfilled the first instigators having taken the last Shavkudz, at the same time from the aul located here, they fled to the mountains to a foreman Beslan Shanaev, who has transferred the first Gibil and Kapi to Lesser Kabarda under the protection of Mr. Major General Duke Bekovich-Cherkassky, where they now live safely. And the third, Shavkudz, is located in the aul in the Kambileevka River. On the expulsion of the first to Vladikavkaz at the request of mine, although Your Excellency treated him, Mr. Major General Duke Bekovich-Cherkassky, but His Holiness regarding his March 20 address No. 15 announced to me, clarifies that being in Kabarda the indicated Ossetians Gibil and Kapi allegedly were not in participation and persuasion of Shavkudz to kill my son Aldatov. But in order to avoid all the consequences concerning them, according to folk custom between the Circassian and other tribes of the existing, supposedly should remain in their current residence in Kabarda. But them, Gibil and Kapi, in fact are real guilty ones in the murder of my son Smail Aldatov, because if they had not taught their crazy brother Shawkudz, he would never dared not commit such an extremity. As proof of which, Shavkudz, in his mockery, fearlessly lives in the aul on Kambileevka, and sometimes comes here to Vladikavkaz, which a sensible Ossetian, according to our customs, cannot dare to do and appear at the scene of his crime. In all fairness, I sent witnesses, extraneous Ossetians here: Kulakh Doyatov, Konchav Tulatov, Gak Kusov and others living in the neighborhood of people, and therefore they did not take him to Kabarda, so that they could only justify themselves and refer to him as a killer. But in addition to their crime, they must be inherent, in all the rights of our customs, all three in my full authority. And for such an act, I must understand with them properly or give to the Russian government to deal with them according to the laws. Therefore, I accept the courage again to bother Your Excellency with my most comprehensive request – not to leave in such a case, to protect me with my justice and bring to the attention of all the above-mentioned circumstances where it should be. And despite any mistakes of the culprits, to demand all three in Vladikavkaz through a guard and treat them as murderers to the full extent of the Russian laws.

Fortress Vladikavkaz. 7 July 1829.

For lack of literacy I apply my ring seal to this petition. Ossetian foreman Marya Aldatova” (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 2. Op. 1. 920).

Ossetia is considered the homeland of the ancestor of the inhabitants of Lesser Kabarda, the Blaevs. On 21 January 1846, Major Cherepanov addressed a report to the head of the Caucasian Line Center, Major General Duke Golitsyn, which referred to the request of the Tagaur Aldars Aldatov to return them their former Kavdasard Blaev (who killed Aldatov’s father), who had been living with the family in Lesser Kabard for about 15 years”. F. 16. Op. 1. 440. T. 1).

On 7 December 1867, the People’s Court of the Ossetian District issued a certificate to the resident of Lesser Kabarda, Second Lieutenant Dzhambulat Blaev, that his father for blood feud had moved from the Ossetian District to Kabarda, which comes from the name of the Tagaur Aldars the Aldatovs (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 40. Op. 1. 12).

It is noteworthy that in Lesser Kabarda, the Blaevs were called Tlekotlesha, i.e. first-degree buildings. This became possible, since in the class hierarchy of Kabarda, unlike Ossetia, children from unequal marriages were not considered slaves, provided that they were born of free women. It was this circumstance that favorably influenced the fate of Blaev in Kabarda (Beituganov, 1998).

In Lesser Kabarda, the Blaevs became a famous and respected surname. In the mountain area Kuyan, the tlekotlesh Kaitmurze and Kairbek Blaev were allocated 300 acres of land (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 2. Op. 1. 43). Second Lieutenant Dzhambulat Blaev is included in the “List of residents of the Lesser Kabarda site who have their own factories, horses of 28 December 1868” (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 2. Op. 1. 1739). In 1892 the officer of the Terek permanent police Misost Kantemirovich Blaev was listed as a translator of Kabardian and Ossetian languages (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 40. Op. 1. 755).

Since the 30s of the 19th century, the Russian military authorities, trying to secure the Georgian Military Road with the forces of the relocating Ossetians, forced them to occupy land on the southern slope of the Kabardian Upland, following a firm government instruction: To turn the resettlement of Ossetian villages for general benefit, to calm the region from predatory mountain gangs (Berezov, 1980).

Until the beginning of the 19th century this resettlement was episodic and voluntary. The mass eviction of Ossetians to the plane began with the restoration of the Vladikavkaz fortress and other military fortifications. It happened in two stages. The first stage lasted until 1816. Then, mainly the residents of the Tagaur society were evicted. The second stage began with a plan developed by Ermolov, according to which it was decided to transfer the Georgian Military Road from the right bank of the Terek to the left.

So, several Ossetian auls appeared on the flat lands. In 1835, a warrant officer Berd Kusov received permission from the Russian administration to settle with his relatives and other free people in Zamankul. In 1838, the village of Elkhotovo was founded, which was also supposed to become a new outpost designed to protect the Georgian Military Road and the Cossack villages. This land was bought by the government from the Kabardian Duke Tau-Sultanov and given to the Ossetians.

In August 1849, the commander of the Caucasian line, Lieutenant General Zavadovsky, addressed the chief of the main staff of the Separate Caucasian Corps, Adjutant General Kotseba, in which he reported on his inspection of the land in Lesser Kabarda and the opportunity to settle there the auls of Esenov, Kozyrev and Gizelskago among 130 yards, but about the exact location of these auls he will additionally report to His Excellency (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 233. Op. 1. 4).

On 25 September 1849, the head of the Center of the Caucasian Line, Colonel Eristov, addressed a report No. 1711 to the commander of the Caucasian military line, Lieutenant General Zavadovsky, about the possibility of relocating three Ossetian villages to Lesser Kabarda: “In addition to reporting for the absence of my Colonel Popov to the Chief of Staff of the troops entrusted to Your Excellency, Major General Filipson, dated 21 August No. 1496, I have the honor to submit, with Your Excellency’s consideration, a copy of my report to the Chief of the General Staff of the Troops in the Caucasus the order No. 1710 regarding the relocation of the following auls from the Vladikavkaz district to Lesser Kabarda: Gizelsky, Esenov and Kozyrevykh” (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 233. Op. 4).

In 1849, the Registered List of Asiatic auls of Esenov, Kozrov and Gizelsky, moving from the Vladikavkaz district to Lesser Kabarda was compiled (Galtsev, 1942).

It included Tagaur aldars: staff captain Getagaz Bataevich Kanukov (born 1814 – died until 1874), Izmail (Smiley) Khadzhievich Aldatov, Aslanbek Inalovich Tulatov, Akhlau Murzabekovich Tulatov, Dzhanmurza Uarievich Tulatov, Aslanbek Khamurzaevich Tulatov, Magomet Kelemetovich Esenov, Pshimakho Utsievich Mamsurov and Tatarkhan Dzhankhotovich Mamsurov.

In the middle of the 19th century the Russian government began to forcibly relocate Ossetian auls from mountain Ossetian communities to the lands of Lesser Kabarda. In the spring of 1850, the following auls were to be relocated to Lesser Kabarda: Esenova in the amount of 28 yards, Magomet Mamsurov in the amount of 26 yards, Aslangireya Kundukhov in the amount of 31 yards, Osman Mamsurov in the amount of 34 yards. Total 199 yards (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 290. Op. 1. 111).

Tagaur aldar Osman Mamsurov appealed to the head of the Vladikavkaz district, Major General Ilyinsky, with a request for permission to remain in his former place of residence. In response to his request of 9 August 1850, it was said that “the resettlement of the Gizelsky auls and others to Lesser Kabarda is the permission and indispensable will of Mr. Commander-in-Chief of the Corps and therefore I cannot petition to leave Mamsurov aul in the current place”; with the instructions “to inspire Mamsurov that he and his aul move to the place indicated to him without expecting any more changes on this matter (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 290. Op. 1. 111).

On 17 April 1851, the residents of Kobansky, Kakkadursky and Esenovo auls also refused to move to Lesser Kabarda and, on the occasion of their own land in the mountains, asked for permission to move to live there.

The Dargavsky aul was designated for resettlement to Elmurz Tagaevich Mamsurov, Tatarkhan Dzhankhotovich Mamsurov and Pshimakho Utsievich Mamsurov, where they lived earlier.

The Kakkadursky aul was designated to Magomet Kelemetovich Esenov, where he lived earlier.

The Kobansky aul was designated to Aslanbek Khamurzaevich Tulatov and Akhlau Murzabekovich Tulatov for resettlement, where they lived earlier (Galtsev, 1942).

One of the reasons for the relocation of Ossetian villages to the lands of Lesser Kabarda was that the lands occupied by these villages were planned to be transferred to the Vladikavkaz Cossack Regiment (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 290. Op. 1. 111).

The land occupied by twelve Ossetian auls was given to the Vladikavkaz linear Cossack regiment: the Kozyrev aul – 40 yards; the Esenov aul – 28 yards, the Aldatov aul – 25 yards, the Magomet Mamsurov aul – 26 yards, the Aslangirey Kundukhov aul – 31 yards, the Osman Mamsurov aul – 34 yards, the Khatakshuko Kanukov aul – 13 yards, the Bazyr Mamsurov aul, the Khatakshuko Kanukov aul – 23 yards, the Tulatov aul – 58 yards, the Kraikovsky aul – 6 yards, the Babatkokhsky aul – 24 yards, the Baltinsky aul – 40 yards. Total – 348 yards (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 233. Op. 1. 9).

In total, 11458 acres of land were allocated for all immigrants from the Tagaur society of North Ossetia in Lesser Kabarda. Of it the following was given in favor of the owners: Kozrov – 1000 acres; Esenov – 1,500 acres (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 291. Op. 1. 30).

On 5 February 1851, the representatives of the Kozyrev family petitioned His Excellency the head of the 20th Infantry Division and the commander of the Left Wing of the Caucasian Line, Lieutenant General Evdokimov, to allocate them land and a proposal to the Caucasian administration to endow them with plots of land in Lesser Kabarda. They reported that since the establishment of the Russian Government in the Caucasus, by order of General Ermolov 45 yards from the Kozyrev family were expelled from their original place of residence from the mountains to the plane. By his order, they settled in the most dangerous place between the Terek and Arkhonka rivers, where they lived for 30 years and guarded this area from the attack of rebellious highlanders. Subsequently, this land, by order of the Government, was given to the Cossacks of the Vladikavkaz regiment, in return for which Kozyrev allocated a plot of land in Lesser Kabarda about 1000 acres, where they, in the amount of 45 yards, moved in 1851.

The Kozyrevs noted in the petition that such an amount of land for all yards was insufficient for use, and they filed a request to the former Chief of the General Staff, Mr. Adjutant General Kotseb, to give him land in Lesser Kabarda in the same amount as it was seized from them. The Commander-in-Chief of the Corps, Duke Vorontsov, on the basis of the report of the Chief of Staff, ordered the head of the Center of the Caucasian Line to give Kozyrev the amount of land for their aul, counting 15 acres per capita in the number of yards. But the Kozyrevs were not satisfied with such an order of the highest authorities for reasons unknown to them, and for almost seven years they had no land, both for tillage and for haymaking. They had to buy bread and hay in neighboring villages for money.

At the same time, Lieutenant General Evdokimov was given copies for consideration from the order No. 216 of Adjutant General Kotseb to the head of the Center of the Caucasian Line dated 5 February 1851.

In conclusion of the petition, the Kozyrevs asked Lieutenant General Evdokimov for an order to give sufficient acreage of land to them.

Due to illiteracy, the entrusted foremen from the Kozrov surname attached their ink ring marks to the petition: second lieutenant Tsuki Kozrov, Temurko Kozrov, Totik Kozrov, Sakudz Kozrov, Tego Kozrov, Kavdin Kozrov, Zaurbek Kozrov, Daya Kozrov, Uviziko Kozrov, Umar Kozrov (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 254. Op. 1. 7).

The list of residents of the Kardiusar aul appointed to the settlement in Lesser Kabarda in 1851, compiled by acting bailiff of the Allagir and Kurtatinsky peoples staff captain Zhukaev, included 26 heads of families represented the name Kozyrev: 1. warrant officer Tsuki Kozyrev, 2. Tsukun Kozyrev, 3. Inal Kozyrev, 4. Tsopan Kozyrev, 5. Uvazhiko Kozyrev, 6. Dochey Kozyrev, 7. Gabis Kozyrev, 8. Aitek Kozyrev, 9. Sma Kozyrev, 10. Daya Kozyrev, 11. Elzaruko Kozyrev, 12. Savkutz Kozyrev, 13. Davi Kozyrev, 14. Bado Kozyrev, 15. Zaurbek Kozyrev, 16. Kavdyn Kozyrev, 17. Dido Kozyrev, 18. Chermen Kozyrev, 19. Bestov Kozyrev, 20. Kuzan Kozyrev, 21. Temurko Kozyrev, 22. Magomet Kozyrev, 23. Hadzimet Kozyrev, 24. Bazi Kozyrev, 25. Mayram Kozyrev, 26. Hadzi Kozyrev (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 290. Op. 1. 111).

But this relocation in 1851 did not happen and lasted for several years. In a report addressed to the Military Chief of the Vladikavkaz District, Major General of Ilyinsky district Colonel Eristov wrote: “To the recall of Your Excellency No. 498 dated March 27 I have the honor to convey that as of 12 March No. 386, regarding the relocation of Gizelsky auls, some people of which did not express a desire to indicate places for the settlement to Lesser Kabarda, I informed you on the 23rd of last month with No. 558, now Lieutenant Kozyrev arrived at me and I sent him to the bailiff of Lesser Kabarda, the centurion Turgiev, with a report to this latter to indicate him a place for settlement with aul, behind Borokov aul on the river Kuyan or at Zhamankul, if there are no obstacles from the Tausultanovites in this place” (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 290. Op. 1. 111).

Major General Verevkin, in a letter No. 1918 dated 27 December 1853 transmitted a request of the Kozyrevs to the head of the Center of the Caucasian Line and asked for information to settle this request. It was about giving them a plot of land for 45 yards in Lesser Kabarda, together with the allotted plot to their relative staff captain Kozyrev, instead of the Vladikavkaz district taken from them on the Georgian Military Road, called Kardiusar, located between the Terek and Arkhon rivers.

The same request was repeated in a letter No. 1243 dated 28 August 1854, and on the accession of Lesser Kabarda to the Administration of the Vladikavkaz district. Major General Nidrenius, with reviews No. 1032 and No. 1828 dated 29 May 1856 and 13 September asked Mr. Lieutenant General Baron Vrevsky to provide explanations on this issue (Marzoev, 2011).

The list of natives of Lesser Kabarda, who received plots of land from the lands of Lesser Kabarda as hereditary property, includes second lieutenant Zaurbek Kozyrev, who received 200 acres (Gaibov, 1905).

It should be noted that the lands allotted in Lesser Kabarda to the Ossetians of the Tagaur community were, according to the report of the head of the Terek Region for 1865, not of the best quality and “suitable for spring pastures only”. He also noted that “from Borokov aul to the confluence of Kurp in the Terek, from 12 to 15,000 acres are completely anhydrous” (CSA CBR, 2005, F. 11. Op. 9. 87).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the facts of the settlement of Ossetians in Lesser Kabarda and determine the causes of migration processes among the representatives of Ossetian surnames in the indicated period.

Research Methods

The work used general scientific methods (analysis, synthesis, induction), as well as a comparative method applied to historical sources to determine the degree of their reliability.


The reasons and prerequisites for the settlement of the lands of Lesser Kabarda by Ossetians in the 18th–19th centuries were traced. The facts of the resettlement of entire villages and individual representatives of Ossetian surnames were revealed. To fulfill the tasks, not published materials of archival documents are introduced into scientific circulation. The materials of the study can serve as an additional source for the study of the history of Ossetia and Kabarda. They allow more thoroughly and deeply exploring the genealogy of Ossetian surnames, as well as the issues of migration of the peoples of the North Caucasus.


By the end of the 18th century, Russia’s position in the North Caucasus was significantly strengthened, and the Russian administration began to develop fertile but neglected lands of the foothill plain by relocating highlanders to these lands. To do this, Russia had to enter into transactions with the owners of these flat lands – the Kabardian dukes.

For many Ossetians the resettlement to Kabardian lands was not voluntary. This is evidenced by the petitions of the Tagaur Aldars, who were appointed to move to Lesser Kabarda with their subjects. But the immigrants were assigned plots and helped with the necessary land management work, supplied with cash loans, timber for the construction of houses. Due to this, the resettlement of the highlanders was massive and went on quite intensively. The sources report on the intensified process of resettlement of Ossetians from the Digorsky and Kurtatinsky community to Kuban, Kabarda and other places in the Terek region at the end of the 19th century. The main reason for the mass nature of this process was the lack of land in the mountains. According to the correspondent of the for 1890, N.S. Mansurov, the reason for this relocation was the concentration of most of the arable land, forest and mowing plots in Digoria in the hands of a few landowners belonging to the privileged estates of the Badelyats. Some of them own lands of up to 13,000 acres, while others have lands located in inaccessible places in sizes from 400 to 1700 square sazhens. The lack of land and its high price makes Ossetian peasants rent for 80 or more miles away from the land house. But even here they are competed by Russian immigrants, German colonists and Estonians, which are more preferable to landowners. These reasons force Ossetians to seek land for eternal use outside the district and even the Terek region (Mansurov, 1890).

Despite the difficulties, the resettlement of the Ossetian population from the mountains to the flat lands was important for the people of Ossetia. In a new place, the highlanders received land that they lacked so much in the mountains, got acquainted with the material and spiritual culture of the neighboring peoples, developed kunachestvo, atalychesrvo between them, and established kindred relationships.

The result of the resettlement of Ossetians to the lands of Lesser Kabarda was the strengthening of regular economic, political, social and cultural ties with the neighboring countries.


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Marzoev, I. T. (2021). Ossetian Migration To Lesser Kabarda Lands In The 18th–19th Centuries. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1071-1078). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.143