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The Arshtins were a group of Vainakh living in between the Ingush and Chechens, along the Sunzha's middle reaches and their tributaries.[1] They were mostly known as Karabulaks, which they are called in Russian, from their Kumyk name. They also called themselves "Baloi".[2] They were variously called an independent people, a subgroup of Chechens, or a subgroup of Ingush (which was further complicated by the fact that many in the 19th century considered Ingush to be a subgroup of Chechens, including many Ingush themselves). Their language is thought to have been somewhere between Chechen and Ingush (not unlike today's Galanchozh dialect spoken by the Myalkhi tukhum).[1]

Total population
75 families (1865)
Vainakh dialect akin to the Galanchozh dialect

Differentiation from Chechens and IngushEdit

The Russians and the Kumyks both seem to have called the Arshtins a separate people, but other people of the region seem to have considered them simply to be Chechens separated from their fellows by political boundaries, due to the division of Vainakh land between Kumyks and Circassians. However, both micro-Chechens and Arshtins overthrew their overlords, the former establishing the clan-based democratic "Ichkerian" (from Turkish, meaning the free people) state based around Tukhum loyalties. The Arshtins may or may not have been separate from this.


The late 1850s saw the end of the Eastern and Central Caucasian resistance to Tsarist rule was defeated; and in 1865, the Caucasian cleansing operations occurred. Although they mainly targeted Circassians for expulsion or murder, the Arshtins also fell victim. In May–July 1865, according to official documents, 1366 Arshtin families disappeared (i.e. either fled or were killed) and only 75 remained.[1] These 75, realizing the impossibility of existing as a nation of only hundreds of people, joined (or rejoined) the Chechen nation as the Erstkhoi tukhum.[1][2] The land of the 1366 Arshtin families that "disappeared" was settled by Cossacks.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Anchabadze, George. The Vainakhs. Page 29
  2. ^ a b Jaimoukha, Amjad. The Chechens: A Handbook. Page 259.