Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

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Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic


(also Dagestan ASSR; Dagestan), part of the RSFSR. Formed Jan. 20, 1921.Area. 50.300sq km; population, 1,457,000 (1971, estimate). Dagestan has 39 raions, eight cities, and 14 urban-type settlements. Its capital is the city of Makhachkala.

Constitution and government. The Dagestan ASSR is a socialist state of workers and peasants, an autonomous Soviet socialist republic. Its present constitution was adopted by the Extraordinary Eleventh All-Dagestan Congress of Soviets on June 12, 1937. The supreme bodies of state power are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Dagestan ASSR, with one deputy per 7,000 inhabitants, elected for four-year terms, and its presidium. The Supreme Soviet forms the republic’s government, the Council of Ministers of Dagestan. The Dagestan ASSR is represented by 11 deputies in the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Local bodies of state power are municipal, raion, settlement, and village Soviets of working people’s deputies, which are elected by the population for two-year terms.

The Supreme Soviet of the Dagestan ASSR elects for a five-year term the republic’s supreme court, which is composed of two judicial colleges (for criminal and civil cases), as well as the presidium of the supreme court. The procurator of the Dagestan ASSR is appointed for a five-year term by the procurator general of the USSR.

Natural features. Dagestan is situated in the eastern part of the Northern Caucasus and is bounded on the east by the Caspian Sea. Its shoreline (530 km) is weakly indented. The Gulfs of Agrakhan and Kizliar and the Agrakhan Peninsula are located in the north. Dagestan includes the islands of Chechen’ and Tiulenii.

With regard to topography the territory of Dagestan is divided into four sections. The lowland section (a considerable portion of which lies below sea level) is the southwestern portion of the Caspian Lowland and is subdivided into the Terek-Kuma, Terek-Sulak, and Primor’e lowlands. The piedmont section consists of individual ranges, extending to the northwest and southeast, divided by broad valleys and hollows. Interior, mountainous Dagestan is characterized by a combination of broad plateaus (Araktau, Gunib and Khun-zakh) and narrow, monoclinal ridges (the Salatau and Gim-rinskii ranges), with elevations to 2,500 m. In many places the mountain ranges are cut through by deep ravines and canyons; among these the Main Canyon of the Sulak River is outstanding for its depth (up to 1,800 m). High-mountain Dagestan includes two principal mountain chains—the Glav-nyi, or Vodorazdel’nyi, Range of the Greater Caucasus (Dagestan occupies its northern slope) and the Bokovoi Range. The highest point in Dagestan is Mount Bazardiuziu, with an elevation of 4,466 m (on the border with the Azerbaijan SSR).

Deposits of industrially significant minerals in Dagestan include petroleum, fuel gases, coal, sulfur, marls, and quartz sands. There are also mineral springs.

On the whole the climate is characterized by an abundance of heat and dryness. The average January temperature in the lowlands ranges from + 1.4° to − 3°C (in the mountains, from −5° to −11°C); the average July temperature reaches + 24°C. Annual precipitation averages 200–300 mm in the northeastern lowland and 600–800 mm in the mountains (the maximum occurs during the spring and summer). The frost-free period in the lowland areas is 160–180 days in the north and up to 235–250 days in the south.

Dagestan’s river network is notable for its density. The rivers are fed principally by rain and snow. The principal rivers are the Terek, the Sulak, with its tributaries the Avarskii Koisu, Andiiskii Koisu, Kazikumukhskii Koisu and Ka-rakoisu, and the Samur. Hydroelectric power resources are 3.4 million kilowatts. Rivers are used for hydroelectric power engineering, land reclamation, and water supply, and partially for rafting logs. There are more than 100 small lakes, with a total area of about 150 sq km; most of them are situated along the lower reaches of the Terek and Sulak.

The lowland soils are chestnut, prairie, and solonchaks. The piedmont and mountainous areas of Dagestan exhibit altitudinal zonality in the distribution of their soil covers. Chestnut and mountain-forest soils are found in the piedmont regions. Mountain chernozems have developed on the northeastern slopes of the foothills, as well as in the plateaus on the interior mountain sections. Mountain-steppe, mountain, brown forest, and mountain-meadow soils are also characteristic of these hills.

Vegetation in the lowland areas and on the lower parts of the slopes is for the most part desert-type wormwood-halophytic, and semidesert wormwood-gramineous. Above 500–600 m and up to 1,500–1,600 m, forest tracts composed mainly of oak, hornbeam, and beech are widespread, whereas in the interior and high-mountain areas they are composed of birch and pine. Mountain-xerophilous frigana (xerophytic shrub and semishrub formations) predominates on the southern slopes. Mountain steppes and meadow steppes, which at higher elevations give way to subalpine and alpine meadows that are used for summer pastures, are characteristic of the plateaus of interior, mountainous Dagestan, as well as of the northern slopes of the frontal mountain ranges.

The high-mountain part of Dagestan is the most abundant in fauna, which includes the Caucasian tur, wild goat, roe deer, chamois, European brown bear, and red deer; leopards and other mammals sometimes intrude. Among the birds are the snow pheasant, rock partridge, Alpine choughs, and eagles. The Caspian Sea has herring, mullet, sprats, Caspian sturgeon, giant sturgeon, whitefish, and salmon.


Population. Approximately 30 nationalities and ethnic groups live in Dagestan. According to the 1970 census the most numerous of these are Avars (349,300), Russians (209,600), Dargins (207,800), Kumyks (169,000), Lezgins (162,700), Laks (72,200), Azerbaijanis (54,400), Tabasarans (53,300), Chechens (40,000), Nogais (21,800), Rutuls (11,800), Aguls, and Tats.

In comparison with the prerevolutionary period the population of Dagestan has doubled, and as compared to 1959, it has increased by 37 percent. The average density is 29 persons per sq km (1971). During the period from 1926 to 1970 the urban population has grown by a factor of almost 6, and its relative proportion has increased from 11 to 36 percent. The most important cities (as of the beginning of 1971) are Makhachkala (193,000), Derbent (59,000) and Khasav”iurt (56,000). The cities of Izberbash, Kaspiisk, Kizil”iurt, and Khasav”iurt have grown up during the years of Soviet power.

Historical survey. The territory of Dagestan was inhabited by man during the Paleolithic age. Relics of the Stone Age have been discovered (Chumus-Inits, Usisha, Chokh, and Rugudzha), the oldest of which date to the Acheulean age. Remnants of the Neolithic age (Tarnair, Buinaksk, and Akusha) indicate the transition of the tribes of Dagestan to hoe farming and livestock breeding. The subsequent Aeneolithic age (third millennium B.C.)was characterized by the further development of the farming and livestock-raising economy. The most important achievement of this epoch was the mastery of copper metallurgy.

The first major division of labor occurred during the Bronze Age. Plow farming, as well as livestock raising (primarily sedentary), developed. Intertribal exchanges increased. During the period of the introduction and assimilation of iron (first millennium B.C.)the process of disintegration of the clan structure was accelerated. The tribes of Dagestan (Legs, Gels, Utins, and others) began to form alliances, which at the end of the first millennium B.C. became members of a large state grouping located in the eastern Transcaucasus and known as Caucasian Albania. During the period of Albania’s existence the cities of Chola, Toprakhka-la, and Urtseki formed in Dagestan. During the third century A.D., southern Dagestan, right up to present-day Derbent, was seized by the Sassanids, and in the fourth century the coastal belt north of Derbent was occupied by the Huns. At this time the population of Dagestan practiced farming and livestock raising; crafts and trade were developed, for the most part, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The cities of Derbent, Semender, and Zerekhgeran (Kubachi) were important crafts and trade centers.

The disintegration of the primitive communal structure and the emergence of feudal relations took place during the sixth through tenth centuries. Beginning in A.D. 664, Dagestan was subjected to constant attacks by the Arabs, who forced the conquered population to pay heavy taxes and intensively introduced Islam. The peoples of Dagestan offered stubborn resistance to the Arabs, in a number of instances drawing upon the support of the Khazar Kaganate from the north. At the beginning of the ninth century anti-Arab outbreaks intensified in Dagestan. In 851, Dagestani mountaineers supported an uprising against the Arab regime in Georgia. In 905 and 913–14 united forces of Dagestani mountaineers defeated a puppet of the Arabs, the ruler of Shirvan and Derbent. From this time on, Dagestan began to establish ties with Rus’.

During the tenth and 11th centuries there was further development in farming and livestock raising, as well as in blacksmithing and foundry work and the production of jewelry and ceramics. Kubachi weapons and Lezgin and Tabasaran carpets and palasy (pileless handwoven carpets) were exported by way of Derbent to the east and north (Rus’). Construction technology and applied art reached a high level of development; the Arabic writing system became widespread.

In the mid-11th century the Seljuks seized Azerbaijan and a large part of Dagestan. Relatively large state groupings (the Avar Khanate, the Kazikumukh Shamkhalate, and the Kaitag Utsmiate), as well as a number of petty political formations, began to take shape in Dagestan toward the end of the 12th century. The shamkhals and khans attempted several times to unite all of Dagestan under their authority, but the undeveloped nature of feudal relations, ethnic heterogeneity, and internecine strife prevented the establishment of a unified state.

During the 1220’s, Dagestan was subjected to a devastating invasion by the Mongol Tatars. In the 14th century it was invaded by the armies of Uzbek, Tokhtamysh, and Timur (Tamerlane). With the formation and strengthening of a centralized Russian state, especially after the latter’s annexation of the Kazan and Astrakhan khanates (1552 and 1556, respectively), firm ties were established between Dagestan and Russia. In northern Dagestan the Russian city of Terki came into being; economic ties were developed between Dagestan, Transcaucasia, and the Northern Caucasus.

Feudal codes that supplemented the standards of common law through articles strengthening the rights of the feudal lords over the dependent population were drawn up in the Kaitag Utsmiate and the Avar Khanate during the 16th and 17th centuries. Feudal divisiveness, frequent conflicts and constant incursions by Turkish and Iranian conquerors were the reasons for Dagestan’s retention of its patriarchal-feudal relations for such a long time and for the slow development of its productive forces. In this situation Dagestan sought the protection of Russia. During the first half of the 17th century the Tarkov Shamkhalates, the Kaitag Utsmiate, and others became subject to Russia. In 1722, Peter I annexed maritime Dagestan to Russia, but according to the Treaty of Giandzha (1735), Russia, which was then interested in an alliance with Iran, ceded this area to Iran. The heroic struggle of the Dagestani peoples against the Iranian conquerors did not cease even after 1735. The economic development of the maritime regions surpassed that of the mountainous regions, where the principal branch of agriculture was distant-pasture livestock raising and where domestic crafts were well developed. Trade within the country was mainly through barter. Trade ties between Dagestan and Russia were strengthened.

In areas where feudal relations were more developed, the exploited population was composed of peasants in varying degrees of dependency. In the free societies of Dagestan, where the foremost branch of the economy was cattle raising, the feudalizing aristocracy concentrated in their own hands the mountain pastures and the cattle. The exploitation of the immediate producer was veiled by vestiges of patriarchal-clan relations.

Despite political and economic fragmentation, as well as the constant incursions of foreign invaders, the culture of the Dagestani peoples developed during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Gulistan Peace Treaty of 1813 gave de jure form to the annexation of Dagestan by Russia, thus affording the peoples of Dagestan firm protection from foreign invasions, creating the conditions for the elimination of political fragmentation, and facilitating the sharing by the mountaineers in the economy and culture of the Russian people. However, the colonial policy of tsarism brought about spontaneous uprisings by the mountaineers. At the beginning of the 1830’s an anticolonial liberation movement sprang up among the mountaineers under the banner of Muridism; it was directed by Gazi-Muhammad (1828–32), Hamzat-Bey (1832–34), and Shamil (1834–59). who proclaimed themselves as imams of Dagestan and Chechen. At the beginning of the 1840’s the military-theocratic state of the imamate included a considerable portion of Dagestan and Chechen. However, behind the external successes of the imamate lay a steady growth of class contradictions, which in the 1850’s led to the desertion of the movement by the popular masses. Tsarism intensified its military offensive, and in 1859, Shamil was forced to capitulate. In 1860 the Dagestan Region was organized; a military-national administration—a bureaucratic apparatus adapted for colonial conditions—was introduced. In 1865–68 the slaves and part of the feudally dependent peasantry were freed. It was not until 1913 that the tsarist government promulgated a law on the liberation of the dependent peasants from their feudal obligations. The struggle of the masses against the colonial yoke continued to grow. In 1877, with the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, a revolt flared up in Chechen and Dagestan in which various strata of the population took part.

In the 19th century, and especially after the construction in the 1890’s of the Vladikavkaz Railroad, which connected Dagestan with the center of Russia and with Baku and Groz-nyi, Dagestan became part of the mainstream of capitalist development. Cooperages, petroleum refineries, rope and paper factories, a printing plant, and other enterprises were built. By the beginning of the 20th century there were about 70 enterprises, primarily of the small-scale, cottage-industry type. A working class was forming; in 1897 there were 1,300–1,400 industrial workers in Dagestan, and in 1905 there were 9,500. The working class was formed from newly arrived Russian workers and peasants, in addition to seasonal migrant workers from Dagestan and Iran. There was a population growth in Petrovsk-Port (renamed Makhachkala in 1922), Derbent, Temir-Khan-Shura (since 1922, Buinaksk), and other cities.

Changes also occurred in agriculture. Large capitalist farms arose in the plains and foothill areas. Russian peasants who resettled in Dagestan brought with them a higher level of farming culture and introduced a number of farm crops that were previously unknown in Dagestan. During the 1890’s new farm equipment was introduced, and the conversion to the three-field system of crop rotation was under way. From 1884 to 1913 the sown area increased by 70 percent. Nevertheless, prerevolutionary Dagestan remained one of the backward outer fringes of Russia.

In 1904–05, under the influence of the Russian revolutionary movement, the first RSDLP groups sprang up in Petrovsk-Port, Derbent, and Temir-Khan-Shura. During the Revolution of 1905–07 (in February, May, and October 1905) the workers on the railroad and in the port and textile mills went out on strike. There were disturbances among the peasants in a number of settlements (Tarki, Kiakhulai, Sabnava, Bashly, Maraga, and Ersi). The Peasant Center, in which the revolutionaries M. Dakhadaev (Makhach) and M. M. Khiz-roev took part, was established. In July 1906 a revolt took place among the 83rd Samur Infantry Regiment in Deshlagar (now Sergokala), but it was put down.

In spite of the repression, the Dagestan Social Democrats continued their activity. The Fifth Conference of the Terek-Dagestan Federation of the RSDLP was held in November 1907. The largest Social Democratic organization of Dagestan was the Petrovsk Group of the RSDLP, which was headed from the end of 1906 until 1911 by the Bolshevik I. V. Malygin. Under Bolshevik leadership outbreaks by the workers and peasants of Dagestan occurred in 1910 and 1911, the winter of 1912, and the spring of 1914. After the February Revolution of 1917 a local body representing the regime of the bourgeois Provisional Government—the Special Commissariat, which was subordinate to the Special Transcaucasian Committee—was formed in Temir-Khan-Shura in March and April. On Mar. 11 (24), 1917, a soviet of working people’s deputies was organized in Petrovsk-Port. However, the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) seized the leadership of the soviet. It was during this period that bourgeois nationalists and the Muslim clergy strove for the separation of Dagestan from Russia.

After the victory of the October Revolution in Russia a resolution on the recognition of Soviet power was adopted at the November 7 (20) session of the Petrovsk Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, following a report by N. A. Anisimov, delegate of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets. At the end of November 1917, a Military Revolutionary Committee headed by U. D. Buinakskii was established in Petrovsk-Port, and at a meeting on Dec. 1(14), 1917, Buinakskii, in the name of the committee, proclaimed the establishment of Soviet power. In their struggle to prepare and carry out a socialist revolution in Dagestan, the Bolsheviks used the revolutionary forces of the Dagestan Socialist Group. On Mar. 25, 1918, counterrevolutionary forces organized an armed attack on Petrovsk-Port. The Red Guard Detachment of Petrovsk-Port retreated to Astrakhan’ and partially to Baku. After reinforcing their ranks, the Red Guard detachments returned to Dagestan and restored Soviet power (on Apr. 20, 1918, in Petrovsk-Port and on April 24 in Derbent). On May 1, 1918, a detachment of Soviet troops headed by Buinakskii entered Temir-Khan-Shura; and on May 2 an oblast military revolutionary committee was organized (D.-E. Korkmasov, chairman; M. Dakhadaev, A. Ismailov, S. Kazbekov, G. Saidov, S. I. Gaviev, and E. G. Gogolev). By July 1918 Soviet power had been established in the Temir-Khan-Shura, Kaitag-Tabasaran, Kazi-kumukh, and Dargin districts and partially in Gunib and Kiurinsk districts. On July 20, 1918, the First Congress of Soviets of representatives from the cities and liberated districts of Dagestan opened in Temir-Khan-Shura.

With the intrusion into the Caucasus of the German-Turkish and then the British interventionists during the summer and autumn of 1918, Soviet power in Dagestan temporarily collapsed. During the summer of 1918 the counterrevolutionary detachments of L. Bicherakov captured Derbent, Petrovsk-Port, and Temir-Khan-Shura. The following organizers of the struggle for Soviet power were seized and brutally murdered: M. Dakhadaev, N. G. Ermoshkin, I. A. Kotrov, G. V. Kandelaki, and G. Tagizade.

In mid-February 1919 the First Party Conference was held underground in the village of Kumtorkala; it elected the underground Dagestan Oblast Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik), headed by Buinakskii, and created the Military Soviet of Dagestan (Buinakskii, O. M. Leshchinskii, S. Ab-dulkhalimov, and others). A partisan movement developed in Dagestan, and detachments of the Red Army were formed (about 8,000 men). However, in May 1919 the counterrevolutionary government arrested almost the entire staff of the Dagestan Oblast Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik). Buinakskii, Leshchinskii, Ismailov, and others were shot. In July the White Guard troops of A. I. Denikin entered Dagestan. However, the revolutionary movement grew; by the end of 1919 all of Dagestan was convulsed by an uprising directed by a newly created underground Dagestan Oblast Committee and the Caucasus Regional Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik), headed by A. I. Mikoyan.

In March 1920 the Eleventh Red Army approached Dagestan. Insurgent detachments liberated Derbent and Temir-Khan-Shura. On March 30, units of the Eleventh Red Army, together with the partisans, captured Petrovsk-Port, and Soviet power was restored throughout Dagestan. During the spring of 1921 the anti-Soviet revolt of N. Gotsinskii was put down.

On Nov. 13, 1920, at the Extraordinary Congress of the Peoples of Dagestan, held in Temir-Khan-Shura, a proclamation was made by the government of the RSFSR concerning the Soviet autonomy of Dagestan. On Jan. 20, 1921, a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the RSFSR provided for the formation of the Dagestan ASSR within the RSFSR. In 1921 the First All-Dagestan Constituent Congress of Soviets (December 1–7) adopted the constitution of the Dagestan ASSR; it also elected the Central Executive Committee and Council of People’s Commissars for the republic.

The economic revival of Dagestan was inaugurated. The government of the RSFSR assisted Dagestan in overcoming the difficult aftereffects of the civil war. V. I. Lenin, in a letter of Apr. 14, 1921, entitled “To the Communist Comrades in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Dagestan, and the Gortsy Republic,” outlined a program of economic, political, and cultural construction within these republics. Upon Lenin’s directive, 1.5 million arshins of fabric, 15 railroad cars of farm equipment, 23,000 poods (376,740 kg) of grain, and a great deal of medical supplies were sent to Dagestan in 1921. From 1920 to 1923 a total of 200 million rubles was allocated to this republic. By 1926 the total output of Dagestan’s large-scale industries had exceeded the 1913 total gross output by 21.5 percent. During the years of socialist construction, the economy of Dagestan was completely transformed with the aid of the Russian and other fraternal peoples. Dozens of large and medium enterprises, as well as electric power plants, were built; oil fields and coal mines also came into being. Well-developed modern industry was established. The output of large-scale industry in 1940 had increased by a factor of 11 over that of 1913.

A multibranch kolkhoz and sovkhoz agriculture also came into being. By the beginning of 1940, 98.5 percent of the peasant farms had been collectivized, and the length of the irrigation network had increased by a factor of 5.5 as compared to 1921. In 1923 the Dagestan ASSR was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor of the RSFSR for its labor achievements in building the October Revolution Canal (1921–23). A cultural revolution took place: illiteracy was eliminated; the previously existing clan and feudal vestiges were successfully overcome; a national intelligentsia and national cadres of working-class origin grew up; and educational, scientific, and research institutions, as well as libraries and clubs, were established. Dagestan literature and art attained considerable growth. On June 12, 1937, the Eleventh Extraordinary All-Dagestan Congress of Soviets ratified the constitution of the Dagestan ASSR, which reflected the triumph of socialism in the republic.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), the workers of Dagestan displayed courage and heroism at the front and in the rear. Forty-seven Dagestanis were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and more than 25,000 service personnel were awarded military orders and medals.

During the postwar years the economy and culture of Dagestan continued to develop rapidly. There was a considerable increase in the material and cultural standard of living among the people of Dagestan. On Nov. 9, 1965, for the successes achieved by workers in developing the economy and culture and in honor of the 45th anniversary of Dagestan’s autonomy, the republic was awarded the Order of Lenin.

An important event for the Dagestani peoples was the resettlement of mountaineers to the plains. Some 130,000 persons were moved into well-planned settlements with cultural, educational, and medical institutions.

In 1970 the republic was struck by a natural disaster, an earthquake, which inflicted great material damage on the national economy of Dagestan and its population. The Central Committee of the CPSU and the Soviet government rendered considerable assistance to the workers of Dagestan in eliminating the effects of the earthquake.

On Jan. 19, 1971, in connection with the 50th anniversary of the republic’s formation and for the successes achieved in building communism, the Dagestan ASSR was awarded the Order of the October Revolution.


Economy. During the years of Soviet power Dagestan has grown into a republic with well-developed industry and mul-tibranch agriculture. A large role in the development of the economy has been played by power engineering and the petroleum industry, machine building, and the production of building materials, as well as the chemical and food industries. The proportion of the extractive branches of the economy is about 7 percent of the total production of Dagestan’s industry.

INDUSTRY. The branch structure of the principal industrial production groups is as follows (1970, in percent): petroleum extraction 20.7, power engineering 16.4, chemicals and petrochemicals 1.8, machine building and metalworking 20, lumbering and wood processing 1.4, building materials 6.8, glass 1.7, light (consumer) industry 2.8, food 24.6, and remaining categories 3.8. Data on the production of the most important types of output are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Most important types of industrial output
Electric power (million kW-hr).........7274.9273612
Petroleum (thousand tons)..............1452902261,988
Gas (million cu m).............................28.75757.71,600
Construction bricks (millions).........12.8147.357.3
Window glass (million sq m).............
Cotton fabrics (million m)................8.54.613.810.2
Knit underwear (thousands)..............69132111,167
Leather footwear(thousand pairs).............................4281991,3581,538
Fish catch (thousand tons)..............59.845.436.657.8
Canned goods(million standard jars)...................35.127.9123234
Grape wine(thousand deciliters).....................4812135811,901

The largest electric power plants are the Chir”iurt and Gergebil’ hydroelectric power plants and the Chirkei Hydroelectric Power Plant (under construction in 1972) with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts (kW). The extraction of petroleum and gas increased by factors of 13.7 and 55.7, respectively, from 1940 to 1970. The oil fields are concentrated in the regions of Makhachkala and Izberbash; natural gas is extracted at Dagestanskie Ogni and Dzulak. New deposits of petroleum and gas have been discovered in the northern part of the Terek-Kuma Lowland. Most of the petroleum is transported to oil refineries in Groznyi.

The output of machine building and metalworking increased by a factor of 7.2 during the period 1958–70. Machine-building and metalworking enterprises in Makhachkala, Izberbash, Derbent, and Kizil”iurt produce metal-cutting machine tools, marine machinery, diesels, electrothermal equipment, electrical-engineering apparatus, separators, pumps, various instruments, and automation equipment. The building-materials industry is represented by a large glassworks (in Dagestanskie Ogni), a house-building combine (Derbent), and a plant for producing reinforced-concrete structural members (Makhachkala). Enterprises of the chemical industry (Makhachkala) produce varnishes, paints, and fiberglass. A major new chemical industrial enterprise under construction is the Chir”iurt Phosphate Plant.

The food industry produces about one-half of the total industrial output. Its principal branches are wine-making, fisheries, and canning. There are major enterprises for the production of canned fruits and vegetables in Derbent, Buinaksk, and Khasav”iurt. One of the oldest occupations of the population is wine-making (with centers at Kizliar and Derbent). The fishing industry is well developed along the coast of the Caspian Sea. There are also textile (mainly cotton and woolen), knitted-goods, garment, and leather footwear enterprises. Dagestan has long been famous for its crafts.

AGRICULTURE. As of 1970, farmlands amounted to 2,945,000 hectares (ha), of which arable fields totaled 489,000 ha, long-term (perennial) plantings (orchards, vineyards, and so on) about 100,000 ha, hayfields 260,000 ha, and pastures 2,058,000 ha. The area of irrigated lands was 348,000 ha. As of Jan. 1, 1971, there were 167 sovkhozes and 376 kolkhozes. There were 18,200 tractors (based on 15 hp each), 1,700 grain-harvesting combines, and 8,300 trucks. The structure of the sown areas is indicated in Table 2.

Table 2. Structure of sown areas (ha)
Grain crops...................................240,500332,500260,200
winter wheat.............................84,600137,800150,600
winter barley.............................29.60020,00030,400
seed corn..................................43,10061,40032,300
Industrial crops............................5,00030,90012,700
Potatoes and vegetable-meloncrops.................................6,10022,30021,400
Fodder crops................................3,20020,700132,500
Total sown area............................256,800406,400426,800

Horticulture and viticulture have been greatly developed. The planted area of fruits, berries, and vineyards in 1970 was 105,800 ha, as compared with 8,800 ha in 1913.

The total harvests were as follows (1970 figures, in tons): all grains, 355,000 (223,600 in 1940); vegetables, 98,000 (32,300 in 1940); fruits, 81,000; and grapes, 184,000.

In livestock raising the principal role belongs to sheep raising (see Table 3 for data on livestock). Sheep are bred mainly for meat and wool.

Table 3. Livestock population at beginning of year (head)
Sheep and goats.....................1,626,0002,341,0003,064,000

Livestock production in 1970 was as follows (figures in parentheses are for 1940): meat (dressed weight), 46,900 tons (24,600 tons); milk, 259,700 tons (100,000 tons); wool 9,254 tons (2,402 tons); and eggs. 104.1 million (62.8 million).

State purchases in 1970 were as follows (figures in parentheses are for 1940): grains, 77,100 tons (45,300 tons); vegetables, 55,100 tons (19,400 tons); sunflower seeds, 4,700 tons (900 tons); fruit, 57,700 tons (8,200 tons); grapes, 170,300 tons (7,300 tons); livestock and poultry, 45,200 tons (15,500 tons); milk, 91,300 tons (15,700 tons); eggs, 32.8 million (11.7 million); and wool, 10,237 tons (2,839 tons).

In the lowland areas mechanized farming has been developed primarily on irrigated lands, with grains, industrial crops, vegetables and melons, viticulture, horticulture, and dairy livestock raising: fine-fleeced sheep are raised in Nogaiskii, Kizliar. and Tarumovka raions. This belt contains 27 percent of the farmland, 47 percent of the arable land, and 55 percent of the long-term (perennial) plantings in Dagestan. Gardens and orchards are widespread in the piedmont areas; in Buinaksk, Kazbekovskii, Novolakskoe, and Sergokala raions there is also sheep and cattle raising (15 percent of the usable farmlands, 22 percent of the arable land, and 26 percent of the long-term plantings). In the mountains there is sheep and cattle raising for meat and milk, as well as mountain-valley horticulture (58 percent of the farmlands, 31 percent of the arable land, and 19 percent of the long-term plantings).

TRANSPORTATION. The length of railroads has increased by a factor of 1.7 as compared to 1913; in 1970 it was 435 km. The most important railroad lines are Gudermes-Ma-khachkala-Baku and Chervlennaia-Kizliar-Astrakhan’. Makhachkala is a seaport. By the end of 1970 there was a total of 8,400 km of motor-vehicle roads. 4,600 km of which were paved. The Moscow-Baku Highway passes through the territory of Dagestan for 270 km. Air transportation links Makhachkala with Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Baku. Simferopol, and many population centers within the republic. The Makhachkala-Groznyi and Izberbash-Makhachkala oil pipelines and the Makhachkala-Derbent gas pipeline are in operation.

The people’s well-being, based on the growth of national income within the republic, has been constantly increasing. The total turnover of retail goods in 1970 (in adjusted prices) has increased by a factor of 6.6 as compared to 1940. During 1970 residential buildings with a total area of 610,000 sq m were constructed at the expense of the state, the kolkhozes, and the public. Funds for social insurance and guaranteed pensions have grown, and the population’s real income is increasing.


Public health. As of Jan. I, 1971, there were 182 hospital institutions functioning, with 11,600 beds (7.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), as against 377 beds in 1913; outpatient clinical assistance was being rendered by 211 medical institutions. There were 2,900 physicians (one per 489 inhabitants) and about 9,000 paramedical personnel working; in 1913 there were 66 physicians.

Dagestan has nine sanatoriums, rest homes, and boarding-houses, as well as more than 100 mineral springs. The Talgi health resort is popular, as are the treatment facilities at Makhachkala. Rychalsu. Gunib. Buinaksk, and Kaiakent.

Education and cultural affairs. Before the October Revolution, 13,200 persons were studying at 191 general-educational schools, and there were no institutions of higher learning. During the 1970–71 school year there were 1.636 general-educational schools, with 398,900 pupils; 27 technicums, with 23.100 students; and four institutions of higher learning (the V. I. Lenin State University and agricultural pedagogical, and medical institutes), with a total enrollment of 20,400 students. In 1970, 30,800 children were being trained at 295 preschool institutions. As of Jan. 1, 1971, there were 842 people’s libraries (with total holdings of 6.4 million books and journals) and 1,066 club institutions. Museums include a museum of fine arts in Makhachkala; house museums of S. Stal’skii in the village of Ashaga-Stal, U. Buinakskii in the village of Ullubiiaul. and P. I. Bagration in the city of Kizliar; a historical-revolutionary museum in Buinaksk; and museums of local lore in Makhachkala (republic-level), Derbent, and the village of Akhty. There were seven theaters and 898 stationary film projection units. Extracurricular institutions include 23 houses of Pioneers, six young technicians’ stations, six young naturalists’ stations, 12 children’s sports schools, and a base for campers and tourists.

Scientific institutions. In 1970 the republic had more than 20 scientific institutions, including institutions of higher learning. The republic’s scientific center is the Dagestan Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Along with the academic scientific institutions in the Dagestan ASSR there are scientific research institutes of agriculture, the food industry, and veterinary science; the Dagestan Division of the Scientific Research Institute of Fishery; and a research department for power engineering.

In 1970 there were more than 2,000 scientific workers in the republic, including 68 doctors of sciences and about 800 candidates of sciences; Kh. I. Amirkhanov. a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (in physics), is working in Dagestan.

Press, radio, and television. In 1970, 286 books and pamphlets were published, with a total circulation of 999,000; 22 journal-type periodical publications came out, with a per-issue circulation of 181.000 and a yearly circulation of 1,457,000. There were 47 newspapers, with a per-issue circulation of 305.000 and a yearly circulation of 63,781.000. The republic newspapers are published in the languages of the peoples of Dagestan: Kommunist (since 1928), in Lezgin; Baarab bairakh (Red Banner; since 1918), in Avar; Lenin elu (Lenin’s Path; since 1918), in Kumyk; and Lenina bairakh (Lenin’s Banner; since 1921), in Dargin; as well as Dage-stanskaia pravda (Dagestan Pravda: since 1918) and Kom-somolets Dagestana (Komsomol Member of Dagestan; since 1921), in Russian. The following sociopolitical and fiction journals and almanacs are also published: Druzhba (Friendship; since 1952), in Avar. Dargin, Lak. Kumyk, and Lezgin; Literaturnyi al’manakh (Literary Almanac; since 1953), in Tabasaran; Sovetskaia Rodina (Soviet Homeland; since 1960), in Tat; Zhenshchina Dagestana (Woman of Dagestan; since 1957), in Avar, Dargin. Kumyk, Lak. Lezgin and, since 1962, Tabasaran; and Sovetskii Dagestan (Soviet Dagestan; since 1965) and Bloknot agitatora (Agitator’s Notebook; since 1945). in Russian.

The republic radio and television broadcast in Lezgin, Avar, Dargin, Kumyk, Lak, and Russian on two radio programs and one television program; they also relay broadcasts from Moscow. The television center is in Makhachkala.

Literature. Dagestani literature is a multilingual literature of the peoples of the Dagestan ASSR. It has developed in Avar, Kumyk, Dargin. Lak, Lezgin, Tabasaran, Tat, and Nogai, as well as Russian. The folk-poetic creativity of the Dagestanis is rich in epic and lyric songs, tales, traditions, and legends, as well as proverbs and sayings. The Lak song Partu Patima tells of the struggle against the Mongol-Tatar invaders during the 13th and 14th centuries; the Dagestani songs On the Defeat of Nadir Shah demonstrate the solidarity of the mountaineers in their struggle against the Iranian invaders. The Avar Song of Khochbar and the Kumyk Song of Aigazi and Kartgochak express the people’s resistance to feudal oppression. The prolonged period of Caucasian wars, until as late as the mid-19th century, is reflected in cycles of heroic songs. Motifs of songs and tales of the peoples of the Northern Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Middle Asia, as well as the Near East, are encountered in these tales, heroic epics, and historical songs.

The first editions of folkloristic and fiction works in Russian and Dagestani date to the 19th century. The Collection of Nogai and Kumyk Folksongs, compiled by the poetM. -E. Osmanov (1840–1904), was published in St. Petersburg in 1883. Examples of the Dagestani peoples’ folklore were cited in the works of the Russian scholars P. K. Uslar, A. A. Shifner, N. Dubrovin, and N. Semenov. Folkloristic works that had been gathered by Dagestani cultural figures, including the Avar A. Chirkeevskii, the Lak A. Omarov, the Dargin B. Dalgat. the Lezgin Kazanfarov, and the Kumyk Shikhaliev, were published in editions dealing with the Caucasus in general.

The sources of Dagestani literature go back to the early medieval literature of the Christian Caucasian Albania (fifth to eighth centuries), as well as to the literary traditions of the countries of the Near and Middle East. Medieval Dagestani literature is represented by hagiographical works (The Historyof Abu-Muslim) and chronicles (Derbend-name and The History of Derbent and Shirvan), which began to be composed in the tenth and llth centuries in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkic. Religious, philosophical, moral-ethical, scholarly, and fictional works by Islamic authors penetrated into Dagestan. The scholars of Dagestan and their works were recognized in the most important centers of the caliphate.

The 17th and 18th centuries saw an intensive development of the democratic elements in local, nationalistic cultures. Social satire (Said Kochkhiurskii) also appeared. Motifs of real life and of secular love (Kor Radzhab, Lezgi Akhmed, Ialdzhukh Emin, Amankhor, and others) gradually led the art of the ashugs (folk singers and storytellers)—so-called oral literature—away from the medieval poetic canons to the paths of realism. In written literature there began the period of the “bilingual” authors, who wrote in Arabic and their native languages (Khadzhi-Mukhammed ibn Musa al-Kudutli, Khadzhi-Davud al-Usishi. Mukhammed ibn Ali al-Ubri, and Dibir-Kadi al-Khunzakhi). The creation in the 18th century of the adzham writing system, which was based on Arabic graphics, was of great importance.

During the 19th century an antipatriarchal, antifeudal literature came into being. Ideas of religious tolerance and social equality became more and more a part of Dagestani literature. The democratization of content also gave birth to satirical devices that were close to “oral literature” and folklore (Gasan Alkadari, Khadzhi-Mukhammed as-Sugratli, and Khadzhi-Abdurakhman al-Akhti). During the mid-19th century the national literatures of Dagestan were represented by the following outstanding poets: the Kumyk Irchi Kazak (c. 1830–c. 1879), the Lezgin Etim Emin (1838–84). the Dar-gins Omarla Batyrai (c. 1820–1902) and Mungi Akhmed (1843–1915), and the Avars El’darilav of Rugudzha (1857–82) and Tazhutdin of Batlaich (1867–1909). The struggle against social injustice, violence, and arbitrary rule, and an aching compassion for oppressed people, became a component part of the democratic literature of Dagestan.

Lyrical love poetry developed. In the creative work of the originators of the national literatures and their successors— the Dargin Sukur Kurban (1842–1922), the Lak Mallei (1860’s to the beginning of the 20th century), the Avar Makhmud (1870–1919). and the poetesses Ankhil-Marin and Patimat of Kumukh (second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century)—the religious concept of the world was contrasted with a humanist view of man as a being born for happiness. The traditional genres of panegyrics and exhortations were replaced by a lyricism of genuine feelings. The Lezgin G. Alkadari. the Kumyk M.-E. Osmanov. and the Laks G. Guzunov (1854–1940) and Iu. Murkelinskii (1860-1918) propagandized the need for broad education among the common people and for changes in the life of society. At the beginning of the 20th century the Kumyks M. Alibekov (1859–1919) and N. Batyrmurzaev (1869–1919) reinforced the conception of the educators by asserting the need for women’s education.

After the Revolution of 1905–07 the Utopian nature of such Enlightenment humanism became clear. The social contradictions, arbitrary rule, and corruption of local authorities, as well as the ignorance of the masses, were revealed in sharp outline. Dagestani literature gradually came to understand the genuine problems of the time. The satire of Suleiman Stal’skii (1869–1937) and Gamzat Tsadasa (1877–1951) was directed against the very foundations of the old world. The revolutionary poets S. Gabiev (1882–1963), G. Saidov (1891–1919). Z. Batyrmurzaev (1897–1919), and R. Nurov (1889–1942) called for a struggle for the people’s happiness. In 1912–13 in St. Petersburg, S. Gabiev published the newspapers Dawn of Dagestan and Muslim Gazette in Russian. In 1917–18 the Kumyk writers Z. Batyrmurzaev, N. Batyrmurzaev, T. Beibulatov (1879–1938), and others published the journal Tang-Cholpan (Morning Star) in Temir-Khan-Shura. These publications printed publicistic works, fiction, and translations from other languages.

At the beginning of the 20th century literature depicted the life and toil of the seasonal migrant workers: A. Iminagaev (1892–1944), Gadzhi Akhtynskii (1860–1918), Magomed of Tlokh (late 1860’s-194l). and others. Prose fiction and dramas were written (the novellas of N. Batyrmurzaev in Kumyk and S. Gabiev’s novella To the People, 1913, in Russian). The first work of Dagestani dramaturgy was G. Sai-dov’s drama in Lak, entitled The Tinsmiths (1914). In 1916–17. Z. Batyrmurzaev wrote the plays In Defiance of the Mullahs and The Mullah Came to the Madrasa in Kumyk. An important role in the formation of Dagestani literature in this new phase was played by progressive Russian literature and the influence of M. Gorky.

During the period of the October Revolution and the Civil War almost all the writers took part in the struggle for Soviet power. G. Saidov, Z. Batyrmurzaev. and N. Batyrmurzaev perished at the hands of their enemies.

There was vigorous growth of heroic romantic lyricism, which called upon the people to create a new life and to struggle, and satire, which castigated its enemies (the poems of Suleiman Stal’skii, R. Nurov, Gamzat Tsadasa. A. -K. Zakuev, A. -P. Salavatov, B. Astemirov, M. Charinov, I. Kur-banaliev. and T. Beibulatov). An intensive development and enrichment of Dagestani literature began during the 1920’s. At first in Dagestan, and later throughout the USSR, the poems of the Lezgin Suleiman Stal’skii and the Avar Gamzat Tsadasa became widely known. Z. Gadzhiev (born 1898) became outstanding among the Avar poets; R. Nurov, A. Iminagaev, and S. Abdullaev (1903–52), among the Dargin poets; A. P. Salavatov (1901–42), Abdulla Magomedov (1869–1937), B. Astemirov (1898–1967), and T. Beibulatov, among the Kumyks; I. Kurbanaliev (born 1891) and M. Charinov (1893–1937). among the Laks; and Alibek Fatakhov (1910–35), among the Lezgins. After the decree of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) “On Restructuring Literary and Artistic Organizations” (1932). the separate literary groups of Dagestan joined the Writers’ Union. Systematic publication of works by Dagestani writers, as well as of translations from the national languages into Russian and from Russian into the national languages, was begun. The first works written in Tabasaran. Tat, and Nogai appeared in print.

During the 1920’s Soviet reality and the image of the new man found reflection in the genre of lyricism; narrative poems— The Shock-Worker Gasan (1931) by the Lezgin A. Fatakhov and Fire on Private Property (1934) by the Kumyk A. Atkai (A. A. Adzhamatov. born 1910)—appeared at the beginning of the 1930’s. These narrative poems bore witness to the achievements of socialist realism in Dagestani poetry. Further development was also attained by satire (the works of S. Stal’skii, G. Tsadasa, A. Iminagaev, Z. Gadzhiev, and the Kumyk poet N. Khanmurzaev). The themes of the Soviet Motherland, the Communist Party, and the friendship between peoples who were succeeding in building socialism resounded with particular force during this period. The theme of the emancipated mountain women found profound embodiment in the verses of S. Stal’skii, Z. Gadzhiev, G. Tsadasa. A. Omarshaev, and A. Magomedov. Poetry was enriched by international subject matter: A. Fatakhov’s narrative poem War and A. -V. Suleimanov’s narrative poem Abyssinia (1933). In 1933 the novel Heroes in Fur Coats was published by the Avar writer R. Dinmagomaev (1905–44). The treasury of Dagestani literature has been enriched by the books of the Lak writer Efendi Kapiev (1909–44) Stone Carving (1940) and The Poet (books 1–2. published in 1944).

Dagestani dramaturgy has developed fruitfully. The plays The Red Partisans (1932) by A. -P. Salavatov, KhaskiV and Shamil’ (1932) by Z. Gadzhiev, The Sheik Unmasked (1933) by R. Nurov, A Trunkful of Troubles (1937) by G. Tsadasa. and Chaban Arslan (1934) by A. Kurbanov were of great social significance. The Kumyk G. Rustamov. the Tat Iu. Semenov. and others also made successful debuts. In 1938 the writing system was changed from the Latin alphabet to the Russian.

During the Great Patriotic War the striving to understand the character of contemporary man and to show his high moral qualities and Soviet patriotism led to a greater depth of psychologism in Dagestani literature and prepared the way for new achievements in poetry, prose, and drama. The poetry of T. Khuriugskii, Kaziiau Ali, A. Gafurov. Anvar Adzhiev (born 1914), A. V. Suleimanov, and Iu. Khap-palaev (born 1916) became widely known. The first works of Rasul Gamzatov (born 1923) began to appear.

Among prose works, Sketches From the Front (1944) by E. Kapiev, the articles by S. Abdullaev, and the short stories of R. Dinmagomaev stand out. The plays Bazalai, Meeting in Battle, and Aidemar and Umaiganat by G. Tsadasa. The Steel Trap by A. Atkai, The Andalialians by M. Khurshilov were produced on the stages of Soviet theaters.

New stimuli for the development of Dagestani literature during the postwar years were provided by the resolutions of party congresses on questions of literature and art, the statutes of the Program of the CPSU, and the demand for an increase in communist ideology in literature and in its militant trend. Contemporary Dagestani poetry is characterized by its scope, as well as by its diversity of artistic forms, styles, and genres.

Rasul Gamzatov, the national poet of Dagestan, has achieved outstanding success. His narrative poems The Year of My Birth (1950), Conversation With My Father (1952), My Heart Is in the Mountains (1958), and The Mountain Girl (1958) and his verse collections The Lofty Stars (1962). Written Characters (1963). and There Is No Rosary (1969) have brought all-Union and worldwide recognition to Dagestani literature. Collections by the contemporary Dagestani folk poets A. Gafurov, Z. Gadzhiev, A. Adzhiev, and Iu. Khap-palaev. as well as those of poets of the older generation (A. Atkai, A. -V. Suleimanov, and D. Atnilov), have been published. Wide renown has been won by the works of the Dargin poet R. Rashidov (born 1928), the Lak poets B. Ramazanov (born 1927) and Mirza Magomedov (1922–70), the Avar poets M.Gairbekova (born 1927) and Fazu Alieva (born 1932), and the Lezgin A. Saidov (born 1932). who embarked upon literature after the war. New forces have entered literature, including S. Rabadanov (born 1932), G. Bagandov (born 1939), S. Izgiiaev (born 1929), M.Ata-baev (born 1938), and M.-Z. Aminov (born 1938).

The genres of artistic prose have undergone considerable development. Ail-Union fame has been won by the novellas The Dargin Girls (in Russian, 1962). Snow People (1966), and A Necklace for My Serminaz (1967) by A. Abu-Bakar (born 1931) and the book My Dagestan (parts 1–2, 1968–71) by R. Gamzatov. Novellas have been published by A. Atkai, M.Sulimanov (born 1919), Musa Magomedov (born 1926), Z. Zul’fukarov (born 1927), Kh. Avshalumov (born 1913), K. Medzhidov (born 1911), and F. Alieva. Makhach (1960) by I. Kerimov, Revenge (1960), The Severe Cliffs (1966), and Roots Hold the Tree (1964) by Musa Magomedov, Fires (1965) by M. Sulimanov, The Break (1960) by II. Kerimov. The Wind Will Not Carry off a Lump of Earth (1967) by F. Alieva, and A Cluster of Grapes (1962) by M. Bakhshiev (born 1910) were published ofter M. Khurshilov’s novel Sulak the Witness (1943).

In dramaturgy the genres of heroic and everyday drama, as well as lyrical and satirical comedy and vaudeville, have developed. The plays of M. Khushilov (Severe Days, 1949), Sh. Abdullaev (Revenge, 1947), M. Aliev (The Ramazanov Family, 1948), M. Gairbekova (The Meeting, 1950; The White Kerchief, 1962). A. Atkai (The Brides, 1953), A. Kur-banov (Mountains on Fire, 1959; Kaitmas’s Wedding, 1961), R. Gamzatov (The Mountain Girl, I960), A. Kurbanov and M. Iakh’iaev (Roads of Life, 1960), T. Khuriugskii (The Ashug Said, 1961), A. V. Suleimanov (Aibike, 1956; Alekai and Tel’kai. 1962), and G. Rustamov (Under the Tree, 1960; Raikhan, 1962) are characteristic. Film scenarios began to appear: A. Abu-Bakar’s Clouds Are Leaving the Sky (1959) and Adam and Kheva (1969). There have been important achievements in the field of children’s literature (works by R. Rashidov, A. Adzhiev, M. Iakh’iaev. A. Guseinaev, N. Iusupov. and others). Literary scholarship and literary criticism have also developed.


Architecture and art. The stone walls and fortresses of the magnificent (more than 40 km long) Derbent defense system, which guarded the Caspian route—the principal caravan route from southeastern Europe to Southwest Asia—date to the end of the sixth century. Ties with Eastern countries influenced the architecture of Derbent, in which distinctive stylistic periods may be traced; the defensive construction of the sixth century is associated with Sassanid Iran; during the eighth and ninth centuries there was a strong influence of Arabic architecture (for example, the Dzhuma Mosque in Derbent); and in the 14th and 15th centuries, of the architecture of Shirvan. Many defensive structures made of crudely worked stone—round and square towers designed for various purposes, as well as bleak fortresses—have been preserved in the mountainous regions of Dagestan.

Over the centuries a predominantly national architecture has developed in Dagestan, although it has taken on its own particular characteristics among each of the numerous peoples or groups of peoples. Nevertheless, common traits, which were brought about by common history and by mutual influences, are also strong. The auls (villages) are usually situated in inaccessible areas. In the mountain auls the terrace-shaped composition of houses built close together forms a single, unified step-type structure. Residential buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries have been preserved (in the mountainous and piedmont regions they are made of stone, and in the southern part of the Primor’e Lowland they are adobe); they are of rectangular layout, with flat roofs. In the old homes principal attention was devoted to the design and appearance of the interiors (stucco and stone decoration of the chimneys, wooden columns with figures, and so on); during the 19th and 20th centuries the decor of the facade has played a larger role (arched portals, figured stone and wooden details, and carved window and door frames). The mosques in auls are usually rectangular stone structures with flat roofs that rest on carved wooden columns in the interiors, with a gallery in front of the main facade. The minarets are circular or square. Domed mausoleums (made of stone, usually square in design), as well as bridges (wooden and stone arched) and the architectural treatment of springs, are widespread. During the 19th century the influence of Russian architecture penetrated into Dagestan. Buildings were constructed in the Empire style (the main guardhouse in Derbent), and fortresses (Burnaia Fortress in the village of Akhty) and the city of Petrovsk-Port (now Makhachkala) were built.

During the Soviet period, with the development of industry, new cities (Kaspiisk and lzberbash) and workers’ settlements have grown up, the appearance of raion centers and mountain auls has changed, and extensive construction of modern residential and public buildings has been undertaken. The following buildings were erected in Makhachkala: Government House (architect A. M. Alkhazov), the Hotel Dagestan (architect G. Grimm), a drama theater (architect G. Ia. Movchan and others), apartment houses, and schools.


The earliest relics of fine and decorative art to be found on the territory of Dagestan include Aeneolithic painted and black-glazed ceramics, with relief and inlaid ornamentation; numerous cliff drawings, primarily carved, that date to the Bronze Age and continued to be made until the 20th century; and cast bronze statuettes of people and animals.

The great diversity of cultural ties was revealed in the rich medieval art of Dagestan. Generalized stone figures of snow leopards and lions from the Derbent fortress, the delicate bronze clasps from the tomb of Bezht, and ornamental jewels date to the sixth through tenth centuries. Beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries numerous stone reliefs and bronze kettles that closely resembled the Sassanid depictions of animals, people, and hunting scenes were created in the aul of Kubachi. With the strengthening of Islamic influence in Dagestani art, geometrical and plant ornamentation, often including inscriptions, began to predominate.

During the Middle Ages many mountain auls were transformed into narrowly specialized centers for domestic handicrafts. Kubachi became widely renowned for its jeweled artifacts and weapons and for its richly decorated niello, engraving, and inlay work. The following auls were also famous: Gotsatl’, for its stamped copper articles; Balkhar, for its unglazed ceramics painted with white engobe; and Un-tsukul’, for its wooden articles with silver inlay work and incrustations of ivory and mother-of-pearl. In many regions the weaving of napped and napless carpets, the braiding of mats, and the knitting of stockings with designs have gone on for many years. Each region has its own favorite designs, colors, and composition.

During the Soviet period the traditional types of Dagestani decorative and applied art have been preserved. Carpet-making has been developed everywhere (a number of factories have been established, and a school of carpet-making has existed in Derbent since 1931). Successful work has been done by the following masters of folk art: A. M. Ab-durakhmanov, I. A. Abdulaev, R. A. Alikhanov, V. G. Gimbatov, G. M. Kishev, G. M. Magomedov, and G. M. Chabkaev.

Fine art has also been developed; its foundation was laid by the painters M. A. Dzhemal, Iu. A. Mollaev, M. Iunusilau, and D. A. Kapanitsyn and the sculptor Kh. N. Askar-Sarydzha, who lives in Moscow. Artists working during the 1950’s and 1960’s included the painters A. I. Avgu-stovich, V. V. Gorchakov, and Kh. M. Kurbanov; the monumentalist painter I. D. Bol’shakov; the graphic artists S. M. Salavatov, G. P. Konopatskaia, V. N. Gor’kov, K. A. Murzabekov, A. N. Sharypov, and the Sungurov brothers; and the sculptors A. I. Gazaliev and A. M. Iagudaev. In 1959 the M. Dzhemal Arts and Crafts School was opened in Makhachkala. In 1938 the Dagestan Division of the Architects’ Union of the USSR was established, and in 1939, the Artists’ Union of the Dagestan ASSR.

Music. The multinational character of Dagestani culture has brought about the richness and diversity of ideas, themes, and genres of folk music and the variety of instruments, ensembles, dance forms, and so on. Even with the manifest distinctiveness of the musical art of each Dagestani nationality, Dagestani folk music as a whole has an inherent unity caused by the shared history and the similarity of living conditions among the mountaineers. Thus, the heroic epic stands out clearly in the musical and poetical creativity of the Dagestani national groups. In song folklore there are common ritual, jesting, everyday, work, and lyrical love genres. The predominant form of vocal performance is solo singing with instrumental accompaniment, and the most typical form of ensemble is the trio, with the participation of some kind of percussion instrument. The folk melodies are constructed on the basis of natural modes, without accented, dominant tonal endings. As a rule, songs are in two parts. The typical structure of the song melody has a broad initial leap and a prolonged descending line that is often sequential. The most frequent form of metric organization is a variable meter with an alternation of measures of equal length in 6/8 and 3/4 time. The most extensively used national instruments are the zur-na, duduk, balaban, and kshul among the winds, the agach-kumuz and tamur (in Southern Dagestan also the tara and saz among the plucked strings, the kemancha and chagana among the bowed strings; the single-keyboard (Asiatic) accordion, and the tep and gaval (in Southern Dagestan, the diplipito) among the percussion instruments. The baian (a kind of accordion), balalaika, mandolin, clarinet, violin, and guitar (among the Kumyks) are also commonly played in present-day Dagestan. Typical ensembles are two zurnas and a gaval; two duduks and a tep; a kshul, duduk, and diplipito; and a clarinet, accordion, and gaval. In addition to dances, there are various instrumental pieces (strummed songs and marches), frequently with programmatic content (usually solo numbers). Dance music is characterized by clarity of melody and sharpness of rhythm. In addition to a great number of varieties of the lezginka, fast dances in two-part meters, dances of various Dagestani nationalities, and dances of local origin (the Akhty Dance, the Derbent, and others), and slow, flowing dances are also widespread.

Before the Great October Socialist Revolution the distinctive form of national musical professionalism was the art of the folksinger-musicians (the ashug among the Lezgins, the ashuk among the Laks, the dalailausta among the Dargins, the iyrchi among the Kumyks, and the kochokhan, shaer, and others among the Avars). In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet power in Dagestan, the revolutionary committees of the cities of Temir-Khan-Shura, Petrovsk-Port, and Derbent set about organizing elementary musical education; in 1926 a musical college was established. The first Dagestani radio station (1927) played a large role in music education. During the 1920’s the first musical folklore expeditions were organized, and collections of folksongs (T. Beibulatov, 1926), dance motifs (G. Gasanov and M. Dzhemalov, 1927), and arrangements of Dagestani melodies for piano (E. Iudina, 1927) were published. The activity of Honored Art Workers of the Dagestan ASSR T. A. Muradov, P. F. Proskurin, Kh. M. Khanukaev, A. G. Abramiants, and D. M. Dalgat, the first Dagestani woman composer, was important in the development of Dagestani musical culture. The founder of professional creative work by composers in Dagestan was Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR G. A. Gasanov (the opera Khochbar, 1937; two concerti for piano and orchestra, 1948 and 1958; and chamber works).

Among other works by Dagestani composers are symphonic suites, the cantatas Tale of Liberty (1958) and Day of Labor (1958), and vocal cycles and songs by Honored Art Worker of the Dagestan ASSR S. A. Agababov, songs by Honored Art Worker of the Dagestan ASSR A. Tsurmilov; the opera Aigazi (1952), choral works, and quartets by Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR N. S. Dagirov, songs, romances, and orchestral miniatures by People’s Artist of the Dagestan ASSR S. A. Kerimov, the ballet The Mountain Girl (staged in 1968 by the Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet), the symphonic picture Dagestan (1960), vocal cycles, and a jazz concerto by Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR M. M. Kazhlaev, and the opera The Mountaineers (staged in 1970 by the Leningrad Malyi Theater of Opera and Ballet), the first Dagestani symphony (1966), the vocal cycle Inscriptions (1965; words by R. Gamzatov), Lak Songs (1967), and a sonata for cello and piano (1967) by Honored Art Worker of the Dagestan ASSR Sh. R. Chalaev. Dagestani performers include the singers Honored Art Workers of the Dagestan ASSR P. Nutsalova and A. Ibragimova, People’s Artist of the RSFSR R. Godzhieva, and Honored Artists of the RSFSR I. Batalbekova, B. Ibragimova, and M. Gasanova, and the instrumental musicians Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR U. Abubakarov and Honored Art Worker of the Dagestan ASSR K. Magomedov. The republic has a symphony orchestra, an orchestra of Dagestani folk instruments (founded in 1937), a song and dance ensemble of the peoples of Dagestan (founded in 1935), a philharmonic society, a musical college (in Makhachkala) and 12 music schools, and the Dagestan Division of the Composers’ Union of the RSFSR (founded in 1954).


Theater. The theatrical art and dramas of Dagestan have been formed from the creative work of many nationalities, including Kumyks, Avars, Lezgins, Dargins, and Laks. The sources of the theatrical culture of these nationalities derive from folk games and rituals. Wide popularity was enjoyed by the art of the pekhlevans—acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers, and folk comedians (dombai).

Amateur drama circles formed among the Lezgins in 1914, among the Laks in 1915, and among the Kumyks in 1916. An important event in the development of the Lak theater was the drama The Tinsmiths by G. Saidov (first staged in 1915). From 1918 to 1920 the drama circles of a number of settlements put on plays by the Kumyk dramatist Z. Batyrmur-zaev.

After the establishment of Soviet power in Dagestan (1920) numerous amateur circles began to work; they staged the plays of T. Muradov, M. Charinov. M. Pashaev, and G. Tsadasa. In 1930 the A.-P. Salavatov Kumyk Theater of Music and Drama was opened in Makhachkala, and in 1935, the E. Kapiev Lak Drama Theater in Kumukh, the S. Stal -skii Lezgin Drama Theater in Derbent. and the G. Tsadasa Avar Theater of Music and Drama in Buinaksk.

The plays The Red Partisans (1934) and Aigazi (1940) by A.-P. Salavatov. The Mountaineers by R. Fatuev (1939). The Partisan Magomed (1935) and Azdar (1939) by M. Aliev, Ansar by A. Alzhamatov (1941), and The Defeat of Nadir Shah (1944) and The Passing Days (1947) by M. Khurshilov were of great importance for the establishment of drama and theatrical art in Dagestan. These plays reflected the heroic past of the mountaineers, their struggle against foreign invaders, the events of 1920, which led to the establishment of Soviet power in Dagestan, and the Civil War. The plays The Steel Trap by A. Adzhamatov (1941) and The Road to Happiness (1948) and The Ramazanov Family (1950) by M. Aliev were devoted to the Great Patriotic War. Present-day life in Dagestan is narrated in the plays Friends (1947) and Salimat’s Gift (1948) by G. Rustamov, Asiiat’s Love (1946) and Kaitmas’s Wedding (1955) by A. Kurbanov, Broad Path by Sh. Abdullaev (1954). and The Battle of Life by M. Abulkhalikov and N. Molchanov (1962). Poetic striving is inherent in R. Gamzatov’s tragedy The Mountain Girl (1960). The heroic principle is characteristic of the dramas The Ashug Said by T. Khuriugskii and K. Medzhidov (1960) and Soltan Said by B. Ataev (1968). The productions Suleiman Stal’skii (1966) and Kazimagomed (1968) by B. Aidaev and Z. Efendiev. Fate by U. Mantaev (1968). and Fortress in the Mountains by M. Sulimanov (1968) were important events in the theatrical life of Dagestan.

In addition to the national theaters, the Gorky Russian Drama Theater (founded in 1924) and the Puppet Theater (founded in 1943) are operating in Makhachkala. Among the leading figures in the theatrical arts of Dagestan in 1971 were People’s Artist of the USSR B. M. Muradova; People’s Artists of the RSFSR A. S. Kurumov. M. A. Kukhmazov, and Kh. G. Magomedova; and Z. N. Nabieva; People’s Artist of the Dagestan ASSR and Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR G. A. Rustamov; People’s Artists of the Dagestan ASSR and Honored Art Workers of the RSFSR A. S. Kopenkin and M. R. Rashidkhanov; and People’s Artists of the Dagestan ASSR Sh. Abdullaev. M. Abdukhalikov, S. A. Agabalaev, I. Balugov, S. Velikhanov, T. A. Gadzhiev, S. D. Dzhetere. M. Dzhum-Dzhum, M. Ibragimov, B. M. Inusilov, A. A. Kurbanov. A. Kurbanova, Sh. K. Kukhmazova, E. D. Legomenidi, A. Magaev. G. F. Martini, S. T. Muradova, K. F. Ramazanov, T. S. Romanova, D. O. Saidnurov, U. S. Safaralieva. S. S. Tokar’, P. Kh. Khizroeva, and K. I. Iakushev.

During the 1950’s many Avar and Lezgin actors who were graduates of the Lunacharskii Dagestan Studio of the State Institute of Theatrical Arts and the Kumyk Studio of the Shchukin Theater School in Moscow came to the theaters of Dagestan. In 1961 graduates of the Dargin Studio of the Theater Institute in Yerevan joined the O. Batyrai Dargin Theater in Izberbash.


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