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Chronology for Kumyks in Russia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Kumyks in Russia, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38d21e.html [accessed 19 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Mar 1 - Jul 31, 1990 Members of the Kumyk form the Tenglik (Equality) Movement to press for a Kumyk state. The leader of the organization is Salav Aliyev who is calling for promotion of traditional Kumyk values and political self-determination. The Dagestani People's Soviet offer the Kumyk an autonomous republic within the Dagestani federal structure, but Kumyk leaders balk at the offer and talks break down. The Kumyk felt the level of autonomy would be too limited under the plan. The offer was also contingent on Kumyk support for a planned resolution for Dagestani independence.
Apr 1991 The autonomous Soviet republic of Dagestan votes on a resolution to create the sovereign republic of Dagestan. 39 out of 54 regional soviets supported the resolution. Most of those opposing it, had expressed aspirations for the creation of their own titular states. Among the groups in opposition are the Kumyk, Lezgin and Nogai. Also this month, the Russian Federation passes the Law on the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples. The law requires the return of deported peoples to their former homelands, but establishes no mechanism to facilitate it.
May 1991 The Dagestani assembly reestablishes the Aukhovsky District which was home to the Chechen-Akkintsy prior to the 1943-44 deportations under Stalin. The land is now settled by Avars, Laks and Dargins.
Jun 1991 For three weeks, Muslims in Dagestan demonstrate against the prohibitively high cost of airline tickets to Mecca for their Islamic pilgrimage. A state of emergency has been declared after some of the demonstrators tried to storm the Council of Ministers building.
Nov 1991 Aliyev affiliates Tenglik with the Assembly of Turkic Peoples. This association brings together Turkic peoples of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus, including organizations of the Azeris, Balkars and Nogais (the other Turkic group in Dagestan). A potential conflict with the Avars has led to the Kumyk National Movement mobilizing some 15,000 - 20,000 men. The Kumyks (as well as most Caucasian peoples since the time of Shamil) are renowned for their ability to manufacture arms in their homes. There is little information regarding the nature and cause of this dispute.
May 1992 A decision by the Dagestani Congress of People's Deputies to give a part of previously Kumyk land to the Lak leads to increased tensions around the disputed land. Two camps of Kumyk representatives have gathered to demand a repeal of the decision, while Laks have been arriving by the bus and truck-load. Together, there are thousands of people on both sides and they are reportedly armed. Dagestani militiamen have been deployed to the area to keep the groups separated. No bloodshed has been reported.
Jul 1992 The Kumyk movement, Tenglik, holds a referendum among the Kumyk on establishing an autonomous republic, Kumykia, as part of Dagestan and Russia. There is no report on the results of this referendum. Given the continued militance of Tenglik, it may be reasonable to conclude that the referendum supported Kumykia. The area proposed for the autonomous republic of Kumykia includes land which the Dagestani government had promised to Laks in return for their acceptance of the return of Chechens-Akkins to land which had been taken away from them by Stalin and later settled by the Laks. This fact has made the government unwilling to accept the proposal as it now stands.
Jul 1 - Sep 30, 1992 An agreement is reached between the Kumyks and the Laks allowing the Laks to settle areas which are historically Kumyk. The agreement is reached with assistance of Muslim clergy once again.
Sep 5, 1992 A contingent of Chechens, Avars and Kumyks in western Dagestan block the route of a column of Russian troops heading for Chechnya. The citizens have taken two of the division's officers hostage demanding the column turn around. The column has returned to its base and the officers have been released unharmed according to the Chechen Minister of Information.
Oct 7, 1992 The Russian Internal Ministry deploys special units to Dagestan and other adjoining North Caucasian districts in response to the recent upsurge in criminal activity in the region. The Ministry stresses that individual rights and freedoms are not being restricted under this move. After the troops enter one western Dagestani town of Chechens, about 3,000 residents surround the dormitory and demand their removal from the city. The blockade is lifted without incident.
Oct 20, 1992 The Association of Caucasian Peoples is set up to provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes among the peoples of the Caucasus. The association is made up of various ethnic associations, such as the Congress of the Kabardin People, Sadval (of the Lezgin people) and Tenglik.
Dec 1992 A republic court in Dagestan has revoked the decision of the Kumyk National Movement to form the Kumyk republic and leave Dagestan.
May 1993 A brawl between groups of Dargins and Kumyks leads to the death of one man with seven others being wounded in Khasavyurt district. The brawl started as a dispute over land for the construction of two houses. The local authorities have instituted a state of emergency as fights have escalated to the use of firearms. Interior Ministry and OMON elite militia units have been deployed. Ethnic and religious leaders have been called in to calm the situation. The dispute is finally resolved upon the intervention of Muslim clergy. Muslim clergy are widely perceived as the only force which can talk to all sides in Dagestan. They may be the only unifying force in this republic.
1994 According to a representative of Tenglik, there have been more than 40 political murders of Kumyks since 1992. He also reports that Dagestan has the largest number of politically motivated acts of terrorism registered in the Russian Federation (this was said to support the claim of over 40 political murders of Kumyks).
Jul 1994 Under a proposed new constitution for Dagestan, each of the 14 largest ethnic groups would have a seat on the ruling state council. In separate referenda, the people of Dagestan rejected a presidency as well as private land ownership out of fear it would give one ethnic group too much power and lead to conflict over ethnic land rights.
Jan 1995 Candidates are nominated and elections for the new People's Assembly are scheduled for March. Among the candidates, Avars, Dargins and Kumyks are the best represented of the ethnic groups.
Feb 1995 The national movements of the Kumyks and Avars have condemned the use of force by Russia in Chechnya.
Mar 1995 There are unconfirmed reports that Kumyks in Chechnya have formed self-defense battalions to protect themselves from Chechen fighters. The report comes from the Russian government press center.
Apr 1995 The elections for the People's Assembly are declared valid in most districts in March and this month the assembly opened its first session. There are 112 seats filled out of 121 total seats in the assembly. The former chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Dagestan was unanimously elected as speaker of the assembly (by secret ballot). The electoral commission has reported that 57% of the population voted in the elections. I find no report of the ethnic breakdown of the assembly or the voting.
Jun 1996 At a meeting in Khasavyurt, leaders of the national movements of the Avar, Lak, Lezgin and Kumyk peoples demanded that the Dagestani leadership take tough measures to ensure order in districts of the republic which border Chechnya. All of the groups had suffered kidnappings as a result of the war in Chechnya. (British Broadcasting Corporation 6/24/96)
Apr 1997 The election of an ethnic Avar mayor in the town of Khasavyurt led to several days of protests and the occupation of the city administration building by the IkkenBChechens (70%) and Kumyks (20%) who made up the majority of the city. (TASS 4/10/97)
Aug 1997 Basyr Alzhanbekov, a Kumyk leader, was shot and killed. Police believed the contract style killing was related to his business affairs, and not politically motivated. (TASS 8/17/97)
Sep 1999 In response to the Chechen invasion of Dagestan in August, the Russian army began training volunteer forces to fight alongside regular Russian troops. However, only Avars, and some other ethnic groups, were armed, not Lezghins or Laks. (Middle East News 9/26/99)
Oct 1999 As the war raged in neighboring Chechnya, reports surfaced that Dagestani authorities would only let fleeing Kumyks, Dargins, and Chechens registered in Dagestan into their territory. (What the Papers Say 10/1/99)

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