Ingush people

The Ingush (/ˈɪŋɡʊʃ/, Ingush: ГIалгIай, romanized: Ghalghaj, pronounced [ˈʁəlʁɑj]) are a Northeast Caucasian native ethnic group of the North Caucasus, mostly inhabiting their native Ingushetia, a federal republic of Russian Federation. The Ingush are predominantly Sunni Muslims and speak the Ingush language.[4] According to XIX century scientist Semen Bronevski the Ingush are known as Kisti, Ghalgha, Ingushi and they use the names interchangeably. According to the German scientist Peter Pallas who visited the Caucasus the Ingush are known as Loamaro, Kisti, Ghalghai, Ingush.

Total population
330,000 [1]
Regions with significant populations
 Russia444,833 (2010)[2]
    Ingushetia385,537 (2010)[2]
    Chechnya1,296 (2010)[2]
    North Ossetia-Alania28 336 (2010)[2]
 Kazakhstan15 120 (2009)[3]
Predominantly Sunni Islam (Shafii Madhhab)
Related ethnic groups
Other Nakh peoples (Chechens, Bats, Kists)


The name Ingush is derived from the ancient village Angusht, which was renamed into Tarskoye and transferred to North Ossetia in 1944 after the deportation of 23 February 1944, a.k.a. operation "Lentil".

The Ingush, a nationality group indigenous to the Caucasus, mostly inhabit Ingushetia. They refer to themselves as Ghalghai (from Ingush: Ghala ("fortress" or "town") and ghai ("inhabitants" or "citizens").[5] Ingush speak Ingush language. According to Professor Johanna Nichols of Berkeley in her book Ingush-English Dictionary on page 5: "The Ingush language and Chechen are distinct languages and not mutually intelligible". The Ingush are traditionally a classless society based on a clan system and unwritten law. Every clan, and each clan member, are viewed as equal. Unlike the neighboring nations in the Caucasus (including Chechens), the Ingush never had social superiors or inferiors. The Ingush/Ingushetia were also known by the following names: Gelia (American cartographer J. H. Colton,Strabo[6]), Ghalghai/Gelgai (Self), Nakh (self, meaning "people"), Vainakh (self, meaning "our people"), Kist (Georgian), Gergar (Self), Dzurdzuk (Georgian), Ghlighvi (Georgian), Angushtini (Russian), Machaloni (Ossetian), Chechen highlanders called Ingush Makhaloni or Makhloi (according to Chechen historian Khalid Oshayev), Orstkhoi (self), Nart-Orstkhoi (self), Galash (self), Tsori (self), Dzheirakhoi (self), Khamhoi (self), Metshal (self), Fyappi (self), and Nyasareth (self). The self-namings represent different Vainakh tribes which make up the Ingush population today.[7] Byzantine and Georgian missionaries partially Christianised the Ingush, although Christianity was weakened by the Mongol invasions. The remains of several churches, notably the Tkhabya-Yerd and the Albe-Yerd can be found in Ingushetia. The Ingush gradually converted to Islam troughout the 18th–19th century. Vakhushti of Kartli wrote in 1745, that the inhabitants of the village Angushti were Sunni Muslims.

Anthropology of the Ingush population

In 1901 Scottish Geographical Magazine on pp. 570–572 mentions: "The Ingoush are considered very ancient inhabitants of the Caucasus; but their origin is lost in obscure and even contradictory traditions. They have long been supposed to be identical with the Tchetchen – an error which has recently been disproved by anthropological inquiries, which have shown that they are a distinct ethnical group of men ... The complexion of the Ingoush is swarthy; he is tall and slight in form; restless, always on the alert, inquisitive, dexterous, and usually highly intelligent ... In every respect the Ingoush prove to be, anthropologically, a group of men inhabiting the Caucasus, distinct from their neighbors, the Ossetians, Tchetchen, Lesghin, Kymykh, Circassian and Kabardin, Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew and others."[8] According to anthropologist Ivan Pantyukhov, anthropologically the Ingush differ not only from other populations of the Caucasus but even Chechens with whom they form a single speech community due to passive bilingualism practiced by the Ingush people. The Soviet-Russian anthropologists and scientists N.Ya. Marr, V.V. Bounak, R.M. Munchaev, I.M Dyakonov, E.I. Krupnov and G.A. Melikashvilli wrote: "Among Ingush the Caucasian type is preserved better than among any other North Caucasian nation", Professor of anthropology V.V.Bounak "Groznenski Rabochi" 5, VII, 1935. Professor G.F.Debets recognized that Ingush Caucasian anthropologic type is the most Caucasian among Caucasians.[9] Prussian scientist Peter Pallas visited Ingushetia and made observation of Ingush people, he also confirmed that Ingush people are completely different from their neighbors in his book “Thravels through the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire in the years 1793 and 1794” pp.435-436: “There is a tribe of people differing entirely from all other inhabitants of the Caucasus, in language as well as in stature, and the features of the countenance: their national name is LAMUR, signifying inhabitants of mountains; by others they are called Galgai, or Ingushians … Their manner of pronouncing appeared to us, as if their mouths were full of stones. We were informed that they are an honest and brave set of people, maintaining their independence, and are subject only to their elders, or priests, by whom their religious sacrifices are performed. They are almost the only nation inhabiting the Caucasus, among whom the shields has been preserved, as a part of their accoutrements. These bucklers are made of wood, covered with lather, and bound with iron hoops of an oval form. The short knotty pike which forms part of their armor, serves not only as a weapon of defense, but is likewise used for supporting the gun between its forked branched, by fixing the pointed end in the ground, which enabled the sharp-shooter to take a more accurate aim. The Ingushians are excellent marksmen…”[10]

Ingush Language and Grammar

According to the linguist Johanna Nichols, who studied languages including Chechen and Ingush in her book "Ingush Grammar" says: "To my surprise, Ingush turned out to be the most complex language of my sample, besting even polysynthetic languages like Seneca, Lakhota, and Halkomelem. Ingush is not polysynthetic; its complexity is due to large inventories of elements (phonemes, cases, tenses, etc.), a high degree of inflectional synthesis in the verb, and classification of various types – declension and conjugation classes, agreement genders, overt inherent genders, split verbal lexicon, split alignment, etc. Perhaps this complexity explains why it has taken thirty years to produce this grammar, during most of which time the project has in fact been on or near the front burner ... Ingush and Chechen are distinct languages and not mutually intelligible, but because of widespread passive partial knowledge of standard lowlands Chechen by Ingush they function to some extent as a single speech community."[11] "Ingush is the native language of the great majority of the approximately 300,000 Ingush people, most of whom live in or near the Republic of Ingushetia on the north slope of the Great Caucasus mountain range in the South Russia ... Ingush and Chechen are distinct languages and not mutually intelligible, but because of widespread passive bilingualism they form a single speech community."[12]

Origin of the Ingush population

According to Leonti Mroveli, the XI-century Georgian chronicler, the word Caucasian is derived from the Vainakh ancestor Kavkas.[13] According to Professor George Anchabadze of Ilia State University "The Vainakhs are the ancient natives of the Caucasus. It is noteworthy, that according to the genealogical table drawn up by Leonti Mroveli, the legendary forefather of the Vainakhs was "Kavkas", hence the name Kavkasians, one of the ethnicons met in the ancient Georgian written sources, signifying the ancestors of the Chechens and Ingush. As appears from the above, the Vainakhs, at least by name, are presented as the most "Caucasian" people of all the Caucasians (Caucasus – Kavkas – Kavkasians) in the Georgian historical tradition."[14][15] In an article in Science Magazine Bernice Wuethrich states that American linguist Dr. Johanna Nichols "has used language to connect modern people of the Caucasus region to the ancient farmers of the Fertile Crescent" and that her research suggests that "farmers of the region were proto-Nakh-Daghestanians". Nichols is quoted as stating that "The Nakh–Dagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise to Western civilization"[16]

Genetics of Ingushetia's population

The Ingush have 89% of J2 Y-DNA which is the highest known frequency in the world and J2 is closely associated with the Fertile Crescent.[17][18]

The mitochondrial DNA of the Ingush differs from other Caucasian populations and the rest of the world. "The Caucasus populations exhibit, on average, less variability than other [World] populations for the eight Alu insertion polymorphisms analyzed here. The average heterozygosity is less than that of any other region of the world, with the exception of Sahul. Within the Caucasus, the Ingush have much lower levels of variability than any of the other populations. The Ingush also showed unusual patterns of mtDNA variation when compared with other Caucasus populations (Nasidze and Stoneking, submitted), which indicates that some feature of the Ingush population history, or of this particular sample of the Ingush, must be responsible for their different patterns of genetic variation at both mtDNA and the Alu insertion loci."[19][20]

Ingush Character

"Notes on the Caucasus" By Elim H. D'Avigdor, 1883 states: "The Ingouch have great personal pride and determination of character. Forty or fifty years ago, when slavery was an institution in the Caucasus, and people purchased servants, male and female, from the mountaineers (as now in Central Africa), Ingouch slaves were excessively rarely met with, they wither refusing to be taken alive or committing suicide. An Ingouch whose ideas of meum and tuum were confused being detected by some Russian soldiers at Wladikavkas in the act of driving off a cow, was severely beaten that, though he contrived with great difficulty to reach his village in the mountains, he shortly afterwards died. His remaining brother, taking his rifle, ammunition, and some millet in a bag, set out alone to avenge his death. Arriving by bypaths in the vicinity of Wladikavkas, he took us a position before daylight among the rocks on the hillside, and watched till he saw a Russian soldier at a convenient distance from the lines. After stalking and “dropping” his man, which, being a good shot, her rarely failed in doing, he cut off the ears of the Russian, and made for the mountain, where he offered them up on the tomb of his brother, and again returned to prowl round the outposts. In this manned he, in the course of a few months, manager to “pot” three officers and fifteen privates, a tolerable “bag” for one man, armed with a flint rifle and inferior home-made powder."[21]

Prehistory and early history of Ingush people

1855 Atlas Map of Turkey and the North Caucasus. The map drawn by the American cartographer J.H.Colton at the request of the U.S. Congress. Gelia, Lesgistan, and Dagestan are shown on the map, top right corner.
Map of Vakhushti Bagrationi clearly shows three Ingush societies: Kisti (Kist), Tsurtsuki (Dzurdzuki), Ghligvi (Gligvi) as parts of one country and Chechens (Chachans) as part of Daghestan without common border with the Ingush
Pottery: an ancient Ingush vessel with three handles. The side handles used to tie the knots, and the vessel itself is well balanced for an operator to pour water down with one hand. Dzheirakhovski district of Ingushetia.
Koorkhars (600 BC – 1800s AD) is a traditional Ingush female head cover (hair is put into the "horns") which comes either single "horn" for usage as cushion with helmet, or double "horns" during peacetime which are covered in jewelry.
Ingush pre-Islamic beliefs. Temple Tkhabya-Yerd (temple of 2000) was initially a cuboid cyclopean masonry structure, which was rebuilt during the spread of Christianity in Ingushetia. The rebuilt wall was done with smaller stones shown at the entrance side.
Ingush male warrior helmet.
Typical Ingush medieval castle. Majority of towers and walls were destroyed by Russian army in 19th and 20th centuries.
10,000–8000 BC
According to Bernice Wuethrich's article "Peering Into the Past, With Words", Johanna Nichols showed that linguistic evidence indicates the ancestors of Nakh people migrated to the slopes of the Caucasus from the Fertile Crescent where farming and raising sheep and cattle had been discovered. Nichols stated: "The NakhDagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise to Western civilisation." Anthropologist Henry Harpending of the University of Utah is impressed by her research.[22]
6000–4000 BC
Neolithic era. Pottery is known to the region. Old settlements near Ali-Yurt and Magas, discovered in the modern times, revealed tools made out of stone: stone axes, polished stones, stone knives, stones with holes drilled in them, clay dishes etc. Settlements made out of clay bricks discovered in the plains. In the mountains, there were discovered settlements made out of stone surrounded by walls some of them dated back to 8000 BC.[23]
4000–3000 BC
Kura–Araxes culture dominant in Ingushetia. Stone Kist of Egikal, Lezhgi, and Ezmi are discovered in modern times which show that this kind of burial was common. Invention of the wheel (3000 BC), horseback riding, metal works (copper, gold, silver, iron) dishes, armor, daggers, knives, arrow tips. The artifacts were found near Nasare-Cort, Muzhichi, Ja-E-Bortz (also known as Surkha-khi), Abbey-Gove (also known as Nazran or Nasare).[23]
20 BC
Strabo first mentions Geli, or Galgai in his reference to a nation in the center of the Caucasus. O.W. Wahl in 1875 in his book "The Land of the Czar" page 239 mentioned "These two opinions mentioned by Strabo come after all to the same point ; for the Legi are the modern Lesghi, and the Geli the Ingush tribe Galgai, and the Keraunian Mountains are the northern ranges of the Caucasus as far as the Beshtaú."[24] The same statement about Gelia being Ingush was made by a German professor Karl Koch in 1843 in his book "Reise durch Russland nach dem kaukasischen Isthmus" page 489.[25] Jacobus Van Wijk Roelandszoon, Jacobus van Wijk (Roelandszoon) in 1821 book "Algemeen aardrijkskundig woordenboek volgens de nieuwste staatkundige veranderingen, en de laatste, beste en zekerste berigten" page 1050 also mention that Gelli or Gelad are the Ingush people which is mentioned by Zonaras.[26]
900 AD – 1200 AD
the kingdom in the center of the Caucasus splits into Alania and Noble Alania (known from Russian as Царственные Аланы). German scientist Peter Simon Pallas believed that Ingush people (Kist) were the direct descendants from Alania.[27][28]
1220 AD
first invasion of Genghis Khan Mongol armies into Ingushetia. Mongols capture lowlands of Ingushetia. Impressed by the Ingush tenacious defenders, the title Khalkha (ghalgha is self naming of Ingush) was given by Genghis Khan to his son Chagatai Khan. In Mongolian term khalkha means keeper, protector, guardian, or shield. Late in fourteenth century the term will be transferred to the Mongolian nobles as Khalkha Mongols
1238 AD
capture of Ingush piedmonts by Mengu-Khan, long siege of Ingush mountains begins. Four Russian armies-the vassals of Mongols participate in the siege of Ingush mountains. Constant Ingush raids on Mongols begin.
1239 AD
Destruction of the Alania capital of Maghas (both names known solely from Muslim Arabs) and Alan confederacy of the Northern Caucasian highlanders, nations, and tribes by Batu Khan (a Mongol leader and a grandson of Genghis Khan) "Magas was destroyed in the beginning of 1239 by the hordes of Batu Khan. Historically Magas was located at approximately the same place on which the new capital of Ingushetia is now built" – D.V.Zayats[29]
1254 AD
Ambassador Gilem De Rubru of the Franciscan missionary from French king Loid IX comes to Mongol headquarters in the Caucasus. Reports that Mongols are being constantly raided by highlanders Loamaro-Keresti (Christian Highlanders), Mongolian commanders assassinated and the cattle stolen.
1300 AD – 1400 AD
War between the Alans, Tamerlan, Tokhtamysh, and the Battle of the Terek River. The Alan tribes build fortresses, castles, and defense walls locking the mountains from the invaders. Part of the lowland tribes occupied by Mongols. The insurgency against Mongols begins. "One map of the area during the Mongol period gives us a clue why there was not much written about the Vainakh— as the area of Chechnya-Ingushetia on that map is simply marked as ‘‘ungovernable.’’ This is not surprising, as the majority of armies moving north or south would be interested in passing through the mountains and getting to their ultimate destinations as quickly as possible— leaving the peoples between the two passes relatively unmolested.” – Schaefer, Robert W. “Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad” p. 51. In 1991 the Jordanian historian Abdul-Ghani Khassan presented the photocopy from old Arabic scripts claiming that Alania was in Chechnya and Ingushetia, and the document from Alanian historian Azdin Vazzar (1395–1460) who claimed to be from Nokhcho tribe of Alania.[30][31]
1347 AD
Black Death brought to Ingush people by invading Mongols. In combination with Little Ice Age which caused cold, severe shortages in food in the mountains, wars waged by Mongols, and disease the Ingush population is decimated. The death cities (necropolis) in Ingush highlands are about that era. Remaining Ingush population is migrating and squeezed into what is now known Dzheirakhski District. Ingush people lose territories West of Terek river.
1395 AD
Timurid armies invade Ingushetia near Sunzha river. They build wide fortification trenches to prevent the raids. The remains of the trench can be found near Ingush village Yandare.
1480–1566 AD
Expansion of Turkish power in the South and part of the North Caucasus: Georgia, Dagestan, Circassia.
1558 AD
Russian conquest of the Caucasus. 1558 Temryuk of Kabarda sends his emissaries to Moscow requesting help against Ingush tribes from Ivan the Terrible "Grozny". Ivan the Terrible marries Temryuk's daughter Maria Temryukovna the Circassian (Kabardin) tsaritsa. Alliance formed to gain the ground in the central Caucasus for the expanding Tsardom of Russia against stubborn Vainakh defenders.[32]
1588 AD
Chechens joined Russia (ru) (ru), and also join Russian ranks in Caucasian War. "In 1561, Tsar Ivan IV (nicknamed ‘the Terrible’): reigned 1533–1584 married Princess Maria, daughter of the powerful Kabardian Prince Temriuk, inaugurating Russia's policy of co-opting the North Caucasus elites as a mean of extending its influence in the area. Friven by the animosity toward Persians and Turks, a number of Chechen Princes sided with Russia, allowing the building of fort Terek Gorodok in 1587. The same princes were also on good terms with Temriuk. The Chechen ambassador to the tsarist court, Shikh-Murza Okotsky, later entitled Duke, presented his credentials in 1588, at the same time as influential Kabardin Prince Alkhas."[33]
1599 AD
Russian expedition forces of ambassador mission to Georgia together with Kabardian prince Alkhas are attacked by "kalka" (Ghalgha) people near settlement of Lars.
1600 AD
Russian ambassadors prefer to go around through the lands of Prince Shikh Okotski and Avar princes to Georgia
1604–1605 AD
another Russian military ambassador army on the way to Georgia attacked with muskets (“fire battle”) by kalka people near Lars (Daryal)
1629 AD
first recorded trade with kalka people, traders from Russian camp (streltsy) from Tarki come to buy led and gunpowder for their muskets.
1658 AD
Don Cossacks and streltsy are being relocated to Terek river en masse by the Russian government.
1562 AD
Joint Russian, Kabardian, and Nogay forces attack Ingush. According to Russian sources 164 Ingush settlements were completely destroyed in this war. Lowland Ingushetia occupied by Russia and their Kabardian allies.[34] Cossack General Andrei Shkuro who fought against the Ingush in XX century in his book writes:"Ever since the conquest of the Caucasus, the brave and freedom-loving Ingush, who were desperately defending their independence, were partly exterminated and partly driven into barren mountains."[35]
1711-1712 AD
Cossack towns are moved to left banks of Terek river.
1761 AD
under the pretext of defense of lowland Ingush people from vassal Chechen, Kabardin, Dagestan and Nogai attacks, which were orchestrated by Russia. Russian troops under the command of Kireev invade Nazran. For one month lowland Ingush were attacked three times by joint Kabardin-Chechen armies, Nogai-Chechen armies, and Dagestan-Chechen armies.
1762 AD
under constant attacks from three sides, part of the severely decimated Ingush people: the Karabulaks join Russia.
1763 AD
for “defense” of Karabulaks from her attacking vassals, Russia sends the army under the command of Ya. Nadezhdin
1785 AD
Chechen leader Sheikh Mansur starts the rebellion against Russia. Russian troops “the defenders” retreat, leaving Nazran and Karabulak defenseless. Mansur gathers his Chechen and Dagestani forces and because of the fear of looting of his own villages from his standing army he orders the attack against Ingush Karabulak and Ghalash settlements. However, the Ingush defeated Mansur and he is forced to retreat.[36]
1801 AD
Georgia completely integrated into Russia, the only “hostile nation” in the Caucasus are the Ingush. Russia pays Ingush people protection money for the land route of Daryal[37]
1810 AD
the Ingush people join Russia “The act of six Ingush clans allegiance to Russia”: “By mutual agreement with commandant Delpozo and the entire Ingush people, we are the below-named 6 surnames of the Ingush free and independent people, the honorable people, 10 people from each surname, with our good will and general agreement among ourselves, agree...” [38] The rest of Ingush highland clans one by one joined Russia next decades. Religion-wise Ingushetia mostly pagan with Christian and Muslim minorities.
1811 AD
Russian envoy of a German origin Moritz von Engelhardt at czar's request visited mountainous Ingushetia and offered Ingush people to join Russia promising many benefits from czar. The representative of the Ingush people rejected the proposal with the reply: "Above my hat I see only sky". This encounter later will be used by Goethe in his "Freisinn"[39]
1811–1832 AD
rest of the Ingush highland clans under constant attacks of superior Russian forces one by one join Russia. In his 1832 expedition against the Ingush, the Russian officer F.F.Tornau who fought the Ingush with the aid of Ossetian allies, mentions in his memoirs that at most Ingush had only six hundred warriors to fight against Russia.[40]
1829 AD
Imam Shamil starts the rebellion against Russia. He conquers Dagestan, Chechnya and then attacks Ingushetia hoping to convert Ingush people into Islam thus gaining strategic ally. Ingush defeated Imam Shamil forces then and later in 1858 when he tried again two more times to capture Ingushetia. Locked in warfare with two strong opponents and their allies, Ingush forces were completely destroyed.
1858 AD
Due to constant skirmishes with Christian Russia, and propaganda of Islam by two Kymyk Ingush-speaking Muslim clerics. Ingush slowly accept Islam, when two Kymyks arrested, Ingush stage the rebellion demanding the Islam to be taught. Russia allows Chechen Sufi Kunta-Khadzhi Kishiev to teach Islam in Ingushetia. Islam of non-violence against oppressor, Islam of submission to the Russian conqueror.
03 NOV 1858
After multiple losses of Imam Shamil at the end of Caucasian War, Russians and Chechens unify their forces. Former Chechen rebels betray Imam Shamil and their men join Russian ranks. 03 November 1858 General Evdokimov ordered (order N1896) a former rebel commander naib Saib-Dulla Gekhinski (Saadulla Ospanov) of Chechnya to attack and destroy Ingush settlements near Assa and Fortanga rivers: Dattikh, Meredzhi, Aseri, Shagot-Koch and others.[41] After the losses, the remaining Ingush clans resorted mostly to underground resistance.[42]
1847–1867 AD
the Russian conquest in Ingushetia was extremely difficult and the Russian forces began to rely on the method of colonization: extermination of the local population and repopulation of the area with Cossack, Chechen, and Ossetian loyalists. The Russian Tsar encouraged the emigration of Ingush to Turkey and the Middle East by claiming that "Muslims need to live under Muslim rulers". Thus liberating the land for Ossetians and Cossacks.[42] Some Ingush became exiled to deserted territory in the Middle East where many of them died and others were assimilated. It was estimated that 80% of the Ingush left Ingushetia for the Middle East in 1865.[43][44]
1888 AD
Due to constant skirmishes with the Ingush, Russia introduces "Military-Cossack Government" in Ingushetia. Ingushetia is the only one of all mountain peoples who did not receive its district administration, but was included into separate sections into the Cossack Sunzhensky department of the Terek region.
1910–1911 AD
Ingush people harbor Chechen rebel Zelimkhan Gushmazukaev. Russian government severely punishes the Ingush for that. Several expeditionary forces sent to Ingush people trying to find the Chechen rebel. "On September 25, 1910, hundreds of soldiers and Cossacks under the command of the head of the Nazran district, Prince Andronnikov, were sent to the mountains to capture Zelimkhan, but he was not found. While retreating from the Assinsky gorge, the Ingush Abrek Posko killed Prince Andronnikov and seriously wounded Captain Donaguev".[45][46] Russia destroys Ingush villages, kills Ingush people completely erases two settlements especially Kok where famous ancient phallic monument was located. The entire population from Kok 320 Ingush were send to Siberia into exile.[47]
1914-1917 AD
Ingush people participate in World War I on Russian side as knights of Wild Division
1917 AD
As Russian revolution begins Ingush Wild Division moved to St. Petersburg to suppress peasant uprising. Ingush riders refuse to participate in the killing of Russian peasants and return back to Ingushetia
1918-1920s AD
Ingush people fight against Russian White Army under the command of General Denikin and General Shkuro which invaded Ingushetia. In his memoirs, general Denikin writes: "Ingush people are the least numerous, most welded, and strongly martial organization. They were, in essence, the supreme arbiter of the North Caucasus. The moral of the appearance was defined long ago in Russian text-books of geography, "the chief occupation – animal husbandry and robbery ..." The last one of the two reached special art in the society. Political aspirations came from the same trend. The Ingush are mercenaries of the Soviet regime, they support it but don’t let the spread of it in their province. At the same time, they tried to strike up relations with Turkey and sought the assistance from the Turks from Elisavetpol, and Germany – from Tiflis. In August, when the Cossacks and Ossetians captured Vladikavkaz, the Ingush intervened and saved the Soviet Board of Commissioners of Terek, but sacked the city and captured the state bank and mint. They robbed all the neighbors: the Cossacks and Ossetians in the name of “correcting historical errors” for a shortage of land, the Bolsheviks – in return for their services, Vladikavkaz citizens – for their helplessness, and the Kabardins – just out of habit. They were hated by everyone, and they did their “craft” in unison, well organized, in a big way, becoming the richest tribe in the Caucasus.”[48]. General Andrei Shkuro in his book writes: "Ingushetia was the most unanimous and entirely Bolshevik. Ever since the conquest of the Caucasus, the brave and freedom-loving Ingush, who were desperately defending their independence, were partly exterminated and partly driven into barren mountains. The Terek Cossacks were settled on the fertile lands that had belonged to them, and Cossacks founded their villages on the wedge that had cut into Ingushetia. Deprived of the opportunity to earn their bread in an honest way, the Ingush lived by robbery and raids on the Cossack lands. Even in peacetime, the Terek Cossacks bordering Ingush did not go to the field without rifles. Not a day went by without shooting and bloodshed. Considering the Cossacks as oppressors, and the Cossack lands were still theirs, the Ingush mercilessly took revenge on them. The relationship was created completely irreconcilable; further cohabitation was unthinkable. It was necessary either to exterminate the Ingush completely, or to evict the Cossacks from the former Ingush lands, returning those to their former owners."[49]
Ingush Autonomous Oblast formed as part of the USSR.
"The forcible imposition of collectivization in 1931 resulted in the death of nearly 10% of the Ingush, and the Great Terror of 1937-39 again nearly 10%, including most professionals and leaders."[50]
Nazi Germany and her allies invade the Caucasus. For 30 days German blitzkrieg captured territories of the North Caucasus from Rostov-On-Don to Mozdok[51]. The German advances were stopped at Ingush city of Malgobek [52]
23 February 1944
While men are fighting on the frontlines of Word War II, the Soviet NKVD troops flood Ingushetia. Women, children, elderly people rounded up, Ingush people are falsely accused of being Nazi supporters and the entire population is exiled to Northern Kazakhstan and Siberia where at least over 40% of the population perishes between 1944-1956. "The reason, never clarified, seems to have been Stalin's wish to clear all Muslims from the main invasion routes in a contemplated attack on Turkey"[53]
"Though the Ingush were allowed to return in 1957, the boundaries of the reconstituted Chechen-Ingush ASSR were redrawn so that essentially the entire Ingush piedmont territory, the densely populated roughly 500 sq. km. of land on the right bank of the Terek including Ongusht and several other towns as well as the eastern half of Vladikavkaz, was removed and placed in North Ossetia. Though the authorities hindered employment and legal residence of Ingush there, many Ingush did return to live as close as possible to their pre-deportation homes.[54]

Modern History


The Ingush stone architecture is closely related to their way of life in the mountains. The stone architecture is known to mountain Ingushetia as early as 8,000 BC - 4,000 BC cyclopean masonry settlements Egikal, Targim, Doshkhakle, Leimi. Caucasologist Ruslan Buzurtanov mentions that every Ingush family had an architectural triad: a tower, a church, and a necropolis. All three were present in every settlement. All three evolved continuously over time. For example the Tkhaba-Yerdy Church was originally a pagan temple according to the evidence the earliest structures that dates back before VIII-IX centuries when it was remodeled into a Christian church adding Christian crosses and reliefs but keeping the pagan petroglyphs.[55] The Ingush stone town consisting of towers and churches were located lower than the necropolis town of the dead. Ingush necropolis had stepped roof either pyramidal or conical shape. Combat towers had stepped pyramidal roof. Necropolis evolved over time: 3,000 BC they were underground stone Kists, later grouped into pyramids, then became half underground and finally early middle ages above the ground structures. Majority of the Ingush stone necropolis and churches East of the Terek river were either partially or fully destroyed during the Soviet times especially after Ingush people were exiled en masse in 1944. The necropolis were looted by Ossetian and Russian colonists who were brought to Ingushetia after 1944. The combat towers had an entrance on the second floor which had a conical roof with a cross made of stones and a keystone which formed the floor of the next level. These conical stone crosses are unique only in the Ingush towers. The combat towers usually had five to six levels. None of the arches of windows in the combat towers had a keystone and were made of a solid blocks of stone. The famous Soviet archaeologist and historian, professor E.I. Krupnov in his book "Medieval Ingushetia" described the Ingush towers as «in the true sense the pinnacle of the architectural and constructional mastery of the ancient population of the region».[56]


The Ingush possess a varied culture of traditions, legends, epics, tales, songs, proverbs, and sayings. Music, songs and dance are particularly highly regarded. Popular musical instruments include the dachick-panderr (a kind of balalaika), kekhat ponder (accordion, generally played by girls), mirz ponder (a three-stringed violin), zurna (a type of oboe), tambourine, and drums.


Ancient Phallic statue of Kok, Ingushetia displayed in Grozny Museum, Chechnya. Such monuments were very common in ancient times through Greece, Egypt, Europe, Americas, and the Middle East

The Ingush are predominantly Sunni Muslims of the Shāfi‘ī Madh'hab, with a Sufi background belonging to the Qadiriyya tariqa of the Chechen preacher Kunta Haji.[57][58] Before converting to Islam, the Ingush used to be Christian and Pagan. Huge monuments from the Ingush Pagan past are still stored in museums such as the Phallic statue of Kok in Ingushetia, which was described by the Russian historian Krupnov. Likewise another statue was mentioned in the village of Lemi in Ingushetia. Plaetschke mentions that infertile women secretly visit the statue and pray to it, before breaking off a splinter of it and using it as an talisman.[59] Both statues were build in honor of the goddess of fertility Tusholi and are connected to other Phallic ancient statues in the Middle East.

See also


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