Umalat Laudaev and “The Chechen Nation”


Umalat Laudaev (1827-1890) was a Chechen who served as an officer in the Russian Army. He wrote ethnographic and historical studies of the Chechens and other Caucasus peoples.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that Umalat Laudaev’s “The Chechen Nation” is a seminal work concerning the history of that people. Yet nobody has translated it into English. Perhaps it is presumptive of me to offer the first English translation, but here goes.

If someone can locate a translation, that is readily available and not languishing in manuscript form in a university library or in private holdings, please let me know. Searches on WorldCat and Google have proven fruitless. This was the only version I was able to locate. If someone has another version that is readily available online, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks.

The version I used is found in the Sbornik Svedeniy o Kavkazskikh Gortsakh, an intimidating phonetic assemblage which means “Digest of Intelligences concerning the Caucasus Mountaineers.” The last word is meant in the sense of Mountain People, not extreme sports enthusiasts. There are other ways to translate the title. Also, the title of Laudaev’s work has been translated as the “Chechen Nation,” but it is more accurately translated as the “Chechen Tribe.” The term used, plemia, is very clear. The reader can speculate as to the attitudes or motivations of Laudaev or his editors and later commentators and historians when opting for “tribe” vs. “nation.”

The article Chechenskoe Plemia  can be found in Vol. 6, which was published in Tbilisi in 1872 by the [Imperial] Caucasus Mountain Administrative Division (Kavkazkie Gorskie Upravlenie). It is the third entry in the first section of volume 6. Unfortunately the digest wasn’t effectively paginated. The article runs 31 pages. Immediately after the article is another entry which consists of extended notes (commentary to be precise) to the main article, a 19th-century rough approximation of footnotes. I have included these extended comments.





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