Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic


also Kabarda-Balkaria. Part of the RSFSR. The Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Oblast was formed on Jan. 16, 1922, and transformed into an autonomous soviet socialist republic on Dec. 5, 1936. Its area is 12, 500 sq km. Population, 614, 000 (1972). The Kabarda-Balkar ASSR has eight raions, seven cities, and seven urban-type settlements. The capital is the city of Nal’chik.

The Kabarda-Balkar ASSR is a socialist workers’ and peasants’ state and an autonomous soviet socialist republic. The present constitution was adopted on June 24, 1937, by the Extraordinary Tenth Oblast Congress of the Soviets of Kabarda-Balkaria. The highest bodies of state power are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR (which is elected by the people for a term of four years, on the basis of one deputy per 4, 000 people) and its presidium. The Supreme Soviet appoints the government of the republic—the Council of Ministers. The Kabarda-Balkar ASSR is represented in the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by 11 deputies. The local organs of state authority are city, raion, settlement, and village Soviets of working people’s deputies, which are elected by the people for two-year terms.

The Supreme Soviet of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR elects the Supreme Court and the presidium of the Supreme Court for a term of five years. The Supreme Court is composed of two court collegiums, one for criminal and one for civil cases. The attorney of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR is appointed by the Attorney-General of the USSR for a term of five years.

Kabarda-Balkaria is located in the central part of the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus and the adjoining Kabardin Plain. The highest peaks are in the southwest and the south, where some mountains of the Bokovoi Range and the Glavnyi, or Vodorazdel’nyi, Range rise above 5, 000 m (Elbrus, 5, 642 m; Dykhtau, 5, 203 m; and Shkhara, 5, 068 m). To the northwest the terrain descends, dropping to below 200 m at the confluence of the Malka and Terek rivers. The Glavnyi and Bokovoi ranges have an alpine landscape; further northeast a band of cuesta-type foreranges stretches from west-northwest to east-southeast; the fore ranges exhibit Karst phenomena, such as craters, sinkholes, lakes, and springs. Descending toward the northeast, the terrain of the northern cuesta merges with the aggradational Kabardin Plain.

The mineral resources of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR include molybdenum, tungsten (in Tyrnyauz), and polymetal ores, gold, coal, mineral building materials, and mineral-water springs.

Climatic conditions are governed by the laws of vertical zonal-ity. In the Kabardin Plain the average January temperature is −4°C, the average July temperature 23°C, and the annual precipitation less than 500 mm. The length of the frost-free period in the plains is under 190 days. In the mountains the average temperature in January and February descends to −12°C or below, the temperature in July and August is 4°C or below, and the precipitation is 2, 000 mm a year or more. Kabarda-Balkaria is one of the major centers of the modern glaciation of the Greater Caucasus. Several big glaciers descend from the Bezengi wall and from the mountains of the Bokovoi range; the most important glaciers are the Bezengi and Dykhsu.

The rivers are in the Terek River basin. The largest of them —the Terek, Malka, Baksan, Chegem, and Cherek—rise in high mountain glaciers. The thawing of seasonal and permanent snow and of the glaciers causes a high water level in spring and early summer. The small rivers in the band of foreranges have summer flooding caused by rain. The hydroelectric power reserves are estimated at 1.6 million kilowatts.

The Kabardin Plain has well-developed chernozem, meadow chernozem, and dark chestnut soils, with the latter in the far northeast. There is cultivated vegetation on the site of the formerly dominant low-lying steppe, and flood meadows, brushwood, and forests in the valleys of the Terek and of the lower course of the Malka. The low- and medium-mountain cuesta band has leached and mountain chernozem and brown mountain-forest soils covered with broad-leaved forests and cultivated vegetation (on the site of the broad-leaved forests and postforest meadows). Subalpine and alpine meadows are encountered on the mountain-meadow soils on the crest of the Skalistyi range and the Bokovoi and Glavnyi ranges, and upland xerophytes and pine forests grow in the valleys. Forests cover more than 180, 000 hectares; the most common species are the beech, hornbeam, oak, birch, alder, and pine. The mountains are inhabited by the lynx, stone and pine marten, brown bear, boar, roe deer, chamois, and wisent; the most commonly found birds are the pheasant, the common and mountain partridge, the quail, and in the high mountains the snow partridge and the red grouse.

Steppe landscapes with agricultural lands dominate the Kab-ardin Plain. The cuesta zone is distinguished by forest-steppe, mountain-forest, and mountain-meadow landscapes (the latterwith subalpine and alpine zones). The Bokovoi and Glavnyiranges are an area of mountain-meadow landscapes with sub-alpine, alpine, and subnival zones and landscapes of the glacial-nival zone. The latter are the sites of glaciers, permanent snow, bare rock, and talus slopes.


Kabardins and Balkars are the native population of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. According to the 1970 census, the population is composed of 265, 000 Kabardins, 51,000 Balkars, 219, -000 Russians, 10, 000 Ukrainians, 9, 000 Ossetians, and some other nationalities. The population increased 2.7 times between 1926 and 1972. The average population density is 49.1 persons per sq km (1972). The piedmont plain is most densely populated. The proportion of the urban population rose from 7 percent in 1926 to 53 percent in 1972. The cities of Nal’chik (171,000), Prokhladnyi (43, 000), Maiskii (20, 000), Baksan (19, 000), Nart-kala (19, 000), Tyrnyauz (18, 000), and Terek were founded during the Soviet period. (All city population figures are from 1972.)

The territory of Kabarda-Balkar has been settled since antiquity. Artifacts of the Mesolithic (eighth to fifth millennium b.c.) are represented by the Sosruko and Sos grottoes in the Baksan gorge and by the Kala-Tebe grotto in the Chegem gorge, and artifacts of the Neolithic have been discovered in the Agubek settlement and at the nomadic campsite on the Kenzhe River. The Bronze Age is represented by artifacts of the Maikop culture, including the Dolinskoe settlement and burial mounds in Nal’chik, by the North Caucasus culture, and by the Koban culture, which is represented by the Kamennomostskii burial mound and the Zhemtala treasure. Elements of the Scythian and Sarmatian cultures began spreading in Kabarda-Balkaria in the early Iron Age. Subsequently the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alani had a great influence on the distant ancestors of the Kabardins: the Sinds, Maeonians, Zikhi, and Kerkety. These tribes were ancestors of the Adygeian, Kabardin, and Circassian peoples who lived on the Azov-Black Sea coast and were known by the collective name of Adygs. In the middle of the first millennium B.C. the Sinds on the Taman Peninsula had their own state, which later became part of the Bosporan state. The Sinds were farmers, artisans, and navigators. The invasion of the Huns in the fourth century A.D. led to an economic and cultural decline of all the Adyg tribes.

The Balkars were formed by the merging of northern Caucasian and Alani tribes with Bulgars and Kipchaks who had settled in the foothills of the Caucasus. The Kabardin-Circassian language belongs to the Abkhazo-Adyg group of the Ibero-Cauca-sian language family. The language of the Balkars belongs to the Kipchak group of the Turkic language family. In the early 13th century the Mongol-Tartar invasions forced the ancestors of the Balkars to resettle into the mountains after a long and bitter struggle. In the 13th and 14th centuries some of the Adygs came to be known as Kabardins and settled in their present habitat. The territory of present-day Kabarda and Balkaria was devastated by the Mongol-Tartar invasions and part of the population was exterminated. In the 17th century the development of feudal relations, which had already arisen before the Mongol-Tartar invasion, led to the further feudal fragmentation of Kabarda into Greater and Lesser Kabarda and to a complex class and estate social heirarchy. The peasants were enserfed by princes and noblemen. The Balkars living in the mountain gorges divided into five mountaineer societies. The raids of the Crimean khans constantly threatened the lands of Kabarda-Balkaria with enslavement and the population with complete extermination. In 1557, Kabarda, then ruled by Temriuk, voluntarily joined the Russian state. The marriage of Ivan IV (the Terrible) to the Kabardin princess Maria Temriukovna further cemented the relations between Kabarda and Russia. From the middle of the 16th century on, the Kabardin people actively participated in the struggle of the Russian state for access to the Black Sea, and Kabardin aristocrats held prominent positions at the tsarist court and in the army. The strong points built on the Terek and Sunzha rivers for the defense of the Northern Caucasus from Crimean and Turkish invaders also promoted the establishment of Russian relations with Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

The 1739 Treaty of Belgrade, which was signed after the war of 1735–39 between Russia and Turkey, declared Kabarda neutral, and in the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774, Turkey recognized that Kabarda was part of Russia. The union of Balkaria and Russia was completed in 1827. This union was progressive for Kabarda and Balkaria. It provided them with defense from the Crimean khanate and the Turkish empire, which had both introduced the most backward forms of feudal exploitation and driven the local population into slavery.

The feudal relations of the 19th century had a special character, because they were complicated by vestiges of the patriarchal clan systems. The peasants were dependent on the feudal lords to varying degrees. The growth of feudal exploitation led to peasant uprisings in 1804, 1824–25, 1837, and 1854. In the 1860’s, Kabarda and Balkaria were made part of Terek Region. Sh. Nogmov, the first educator of the Kabardin people, made a great contribution to the development of cultural relations with Russia.

Serfdom was abolished in Kabarda and Balkaria in 1867, in connection with the bourgeois reform in Russia. The agrarian reform undermined but did not completely destroy patriarchal feudal relations. Capitalist relations were only embryonic. Development was accelerated in the late 19th and early 20th century in Kabarda by increased economic relations with Central Russia and construction of the Vladikavkaz railroad in the 1870’s (Rostov-Vladikavkaz). The economic and class differentiation of the peasantry was under way. By 1916, landlords and kulaks owned more that 50 percent of the land, and about 40 percent of the peasant households had no horses. The process of capitalist development had not been completed by 1917.

The Russian Revolution of 1905–07 aroused the working masses to revolutionary struggle. The fighting druzhinas of 1905–07 were formed with the assistance of the Caucasian Union Committee of the RSDLP, the strike bureau of the Vladikavkaz railroad, and the social democratic organization of Mineral’nye Vody. In December 1905, demonstrations, meetings, and armed actions took place in Nal’chik, the stanitsa of Ekaterinograd-skaia, and elswhere; peasants set fire to landlords’ and kulaks’ estates, drove out the local authorities, and siezed landlords’ and state land. From December 26 to December 28, 1905, power in Nal’chik was in the hands of the rebels. In December 1905, martial law was proclaimed in Kabarda. The slogan of the agrarian movement of 1906 was “Land to the Peasants!” The authorities brutally suppressed the actions of the working people.

During Stolypin’s agrarian reform landlords and kulaks seized a considerable part of the peasant lands and forests. This led to new agrarian disturbances, one of which took place in the Chegem gorge in 1910. In May and June 1913 these disturbances developed into the Zol’skoe, Chegem, and Cherek peasant uprisings, which were suppressed by punitive troops. The struggle of the poor peasants became more organized under the influence of the Bolsheviks, who were led in the Northern Caucasus by S. M. Kirov. These events served as a school of revolutionary education for the peasant organizers B. Kalmykov, T. Akhokhov, T. Kashezhev, M. Fanziev, Kh. Karashaev, and other leaders of Karakhalk (Poor Peasants), a revolutionary democratic organization of poor peasants (1913–16), as well as others, such as Iu. Nastuev and M. Eneev.

After the February Revolution of 1917 the authority of the bourgeois Provisional Government was represented by the counterrevolutionary Nal’chik District Civilian Committee, which was formed on March 27 (April 9). The first organization of the RSDLP was established in Nal’chik in late March 1917, and Soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies arose in Nal’chik and at Prokhladnaia station in April. Soviet power was established in Kabarda and Balkaria after Terek Oblast was proclaimed a Soviet republic on Mar. 4, 1918. In March, revolutionary detachments headed by delegates to the Terek People’s Soviet occupied Nal’chik. The First People’s Congress of Soviets, which was held in Nal’chik, Mar. 18–23, 1918, proclaimed soviet power in Kabarda and Balkaria. In implementing the Decree on Land, the Soviet government transferred all privately owned lands, orchards, forests, and pastures to members of the small peasantry. In June 1918 the anti-Soviet rebellion of G. Bicherakhov broke out, and the white Guards seized Nal’chik in October. The rebellion was routed in November 1918 by units of the Red Army with the participation of Kabardin and Balkar revolutionary detachments. In January 1919, General A. I. Denikin’s White Guard troops occupied Kabarda and Balkaria. A rebellious movement unfolded under Bolshevik leadership, and on Mar. 24, 1920, partisan detachments, supported by the 11th Red Army, liberated all of Kabarda and Balkaria from the White Guards and nationalist gangs and restored Soviet power. In January 1921, Kabarda and Balkaria joined the Gortsy ASSR as administrative okrugs. The Fourth Congress of Soviets of the Kabardin Okrug proposed on June 10, 1921, the formation of an autonomous oblast. On Sept. 1, 1921, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the RSFSR affirmed a decree on the formation of the Kabarda Autonomous Oblast as part of the RSFSR. On September 2 the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a resolution signed by V. I. Lenin on extending material aid to the Kabarda AO. The Constituent Congress of Soviets of Kabarda was held Nov. 25–30, 1921. Satisfying the wishes of the working people of Kabarda and Balkaria, the All-Russian CEC of the RSFSR resolved on Jan. 16, 1922, that the Balkar Okrug should be separated from the Gortsy ASSR and united with the Kabarda Autonomous Oblast, thus forming the Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Oblast.

In the period of the prewar five-year plans (1929–40) the Kabardin and Balkar peoples, because of the help of the Russian and other peoples of the USSR, passed from a patriarchal feudal economy to socialism, bypassing the stage of capitalism. More than 70 big industrial projects were built and industrial output increased 152 times from 1913 to 1940. In 1934, kolkhozes united 99.5 percent of the peasant farms, and from 1913 to 1932 the sowing areas increased by 68 percent. On Jan. 3, 1934, Kabarda-Balkaria was awarded the Order of Lenin for its successes in agriculture. Kabarda-Balkaria was transformed from an agrarian colonial borderland into an industrial-agrarian republic. A cultural revolution was carried out, and by 1940 the written language had been created and illiteracy basically eradicated and many of the formerly strong clan and feudal vestiges had disappeared. National cadres of the working class and intelligentsia had come forward, and higher educational institutions, scientific and scientific research institutions, and clubs had been established. The socialist transformations radically changed family and social life. The emancipated woman mountaineer had become an active builder of a new life. According to the Constitution of the USSR of 1936, the Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Oblast was transformed into the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. The Extraordinary Tenth Oblast Congress of Soviets of Kabarda-Balkaria adopted a republic constitution on June 24, 1937.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the territory of the republic became the scene of bitter battles. Soldiers of Kabarda-Balkaria fought on the fronts and the working people worked selflessly in the rear. At the price of great losses, the enemy occupied Kabarda-Balkaria in October 1942, but in January 1943 the republic was cleared of the invaders. More than 15, 000 soldiers received government awards, 20 people were honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and more than 12, 000 people were awarded orders and medals for labor in the Great Patriotic War. The Central Committee of the CPSU, the Soviet government, and the Russian and all the fraternal peoples of the USSR helped a great deal in the restoration of the republic economy. In 1943 a total of 11.35 million roubles were assigned to construction and restoration.

In March 1944, as a result of violations of socialist legality, the Balkars were resettled in regions of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. The Kabarda-Balkar ASSR was renamed the Kabarda ASSR. On Jan. 9, 1957, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued a decree on the restoration of the national autonomy of the Balkar people and the transformation of the Kabarda ASSR into the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR.

In the postwar period Kabarda-Balkaria made remarkable strides in economic and cultural development. On July 4, 1957, the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR was awarded a second Order of Lenin to mark the 400th anniversary of Kabarda’s unification with Russia and for successes of the working people in economic and cultural development. By 1972 the title of Hero of Socialist Labor had been conferred on 24 people and 27, 253 people had been awarded orders and medals of the USSR. On Aug. 31, 1971, the republic was awarded the Order of the October Revolution on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR and for successes in communist construction. To mark the 50th anniversary of the USSR the republic was awarded the Order of Friendship of Peoples on Dec. 29, 1972.


In the Soviet period Kabarda-Balkaria has become a republic with a developed and diversified industry and a highly intensive agriculture. An industrial economic structure has been created. In 1970 industrial output accounted for 78 percent of the economy. Resorts are becoming increasingly important in the economy of Kabarda-Balkaria, and tourism and alpinism are developing.

Table 1. Output of basic types of industrial goods
* While output of electric power dropped in 1971, its consumption in the national economy increased through the reception of power on electric networks from other regions.
Type of goods1940195019601971
Electric power (million kW-hr)*93114219179
Cable products in copperweight (thousand tons).........1.69.4
Instruments and means of auto- mation and their spare parts (thousand rubles; wholesale prices for July 1, 1967)....5, 13129, 843
Woodworking machine tools (units)...............1, 0761, 701
Building bricks (million units)...15.710.068.1121
Precast concrete structures and parts (thousand cu m)......49183
Outdoor knitwear (thousand units)65591261, 627
Leather footwear (thousand pairs)221103250837
Meat (thousand tons)........5.66.314.818.3
Vegetable oil (thousand tons)..7.65.713.79.6
Cheese (tons)............3433346182, 496
Canned goods (million standard cans)...............6.912.850.0101
Grape wine (thousand decaliters)75221681, 406

Industrial output increased 15.9 times from 1940 to 1971. In the prewar and the first postwar five-year plans the branches processing agricultural raw materials, such as light industry and the food industry, had a predominant share in the structure of industry. But in the late 1950’s heavy industry took a leading role in the industrial complex. While light industry and the food industry continue to increase in absolute numbers, instrument making, machine building, and nonferrous metallurgy have taken the lead in industrial development. In 1971 the extracting industry accounted for 10.5 percent of the gross product and the manufacturing industry for 89.5 percent. Table 1 shows the major types of industrial output.

Electric power is produced by hydroelectric power plants. The biggest of them is the Baksan Hydroelectric Power Plant, which was built in accordance with Lenin’s GOELRO plan.

The leading branches of heavy industry are machine building and metalworking, which account for 25.6 percent of the gross product, 25.9 percent of the value of fixed capital, and 40.9 percent of the industrial production personnel (1971). The output of machine building and metalworking increased 133.2 times from 1940 to 1970. The republic has enterprises producing electrical engineering equipment, machine tools, instruments, and tools. The largest of them are the Northern Caucasus Electrical Apparatus Plant and plants producing remote control equipment, machines, machine tools, and high-voltage equipment, all located in Nal’chik; a diamond tool plant in Terek; cable and repair plants in Prokhladnyi; an X-ray equipment plant in Mai-skii; and a low-voltage equipment plant in Tyrnyauz.

On the eve of the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) a ferrous metallurgy has been created on the basis of the rich tungsten and molybdenum ores. This industry is represented by the Tyrnyauz mining and metallurgical combine, with a hydrometallurgical plant in Nal’chik.

The output of the building materials industry increased 23.5 times from 1940 to 1970. This industry produces reinforced-concrete structures, construction ceramics products, wall materials, nonore materials, and porous fillers. There are reinforced concrete plants in Nal’chik, Tyrnyauz, Prokhladnyi, and Nartkala; brick plants in Prokhladnyi and Baksan; and a cement plant in Nal’chik. The chemical industry, which is developing, includes lacquer and paint factories and tire repair plants. Commercial beech lumber is processed by local furniture enterprises, such as the Elbrus Furniture and Woodworking Firm in Nal’chik, the Baksan and Prokhladnyi furniture factories, and the Nal’chik, Maiskii, and Sovietskii woodworking plants. This wood is also shipped to other furniture enterprises in the Soviet Union as semifinished products.

Light industry and the food industry, which use local raw materials, account for 52.3 percent of the gross output, 23.2 percent of the value of the fixed capital, and 34.5 percent of the industrial production personnel (1971). The gross output of the food industry increased 5.3 times from 1940 to 1970, and that of light industry, 17.8 times. The food industry has 15 branches, the best developed of which are meat, butter and cheese, confectionery, fruit and vegetable canning, vegetable-oil extraction, starch and molasses, and winery. The leading enterprises are a meat combine, a confectionery factory, a dairy, and a creamery in Nal’chik; a cannery and a winery in Nartkala; and a butter and cheese dairy and a winery in Prokhladnyi. Light industry produces, among other things, textiles, clothing, footwear, and leather haberdashery. Nal’chik is the site of the Iskozh Combine, a large enterprise that includes an imitation leather plant and clothing fabrics and shoe-and-cardboard factories. Also located in Nal’chik are the Druzhba Knitwear Combine and clothing, shoe, and leather haberdashery factories. A knitwear factory is located in Baksan.

Grain farming and livestock raising are the leading branches of agriculture. In 1971 arable land covered 42.6 percent, hay-fields 9.8 percent, and pastures 45.1 percent of the agricultural fields. There were 75 kolkhozes and 36 sovkhozes in early 1972. The republic used 8, 600 tractors (in terms of standard 15 horsepower units), 766 grain-harvesting combines, and 3, 900 trucks for agriculture in 1972. Table 2 shows the structure of the sowing areas.

Grain farming in the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR produces mainly wheat and corn. In 1971 the gross harvest of these two crops reached 196, 800 tons and 99, 500 tons respectively, an increase from 64, 400 tons and 79, 000 tons in 1940. Kabarda-Balkaria is one of the biggest corn-growing regions of the country and a major supplier of hybrid corn seeds for many regions of the USSR. With a well-developed fruit cultivation and viticulture, fruit and berry plantings cover 21, 100 hectares (ha) and vineyards 3, 000 ha (1971). The same year, the harvest of fruit and berries was 41, 700 tons and of grapes, 9, 300 tons. Irrigated farming, which increased from 19, 000 ha in 1945 to 94, 000 ha in late 1971, receives water from the Malo-Kabardin, Terek-Kuma, Baksan, and Cherek-Chegem irrigation systems.

Table 2. Crop areas (in hectares)
Total cultivated area.....173, 000270, 500332, 000
Grain crops.............155, 300167, 500144, 700
Winter wheat.........39, 80068, 70067, 500
Corn.............28, 40064, 40042, 300
Millet.............45, 9008, 7009, 700
Industrial crops..........4, 10042, 90039, 600
Sunflowers...........1, 70027, 40028, 700
Southern hemp......11, 4009, 000
Potatoes, vegetable and melon crops..........4, 50015, 10015, 500
Fodder crops.............1, 10045, 000132, 200

The major animals raised are dairy cattle, dairy-and-meat cattle, sheep, swine, fowl, horses (Kabardin breed), bees, and silkworms. In late 1971 the herd of livestock consisted of 270, 000 head of cattle (161,000 in 1940), including 100, 000 cows (66, 000); 106, 000 swine (42, 000); and 384, 000 sheep (410, 000). Cattle, sheep, and horses are driven to the Zol’skoe subalpine pastures from May to August.

The output in livestock raising increased as follows from 1940 to 1971: meat (in slaughter weight), from 11, 700 tons to 31, 100 tons; milk, from 54, 800 tons to 200, 400 tons; eggs, from 30.4 million to 130.7 million; and wool, from 690 tons to 1, 247 tons.

The following figures represent the increase of state purchases from 1940 to 1971: grain crops, from 98, 500 tons to 166, 000 tons; sunflowers from 16, 200 tons to 22, 100 tons; hemp (stems), from 16, 800 tons to 28, 500 tons; vegetables, from 7, 100 tons to 60, 200 tons; livestock and poultry, in liveweight of livestock and fowl, from 5, 800 tons to 29, 200 tons; milk, from 10, 500 tons to 89, 300 tons; eggs, from 19.5 million eggs to 67.6 million eggs; wool, in test weight, from 639 tons to 1, 420 tons.

There were 133 km of operating railroads in Kabarda-Balkaria in 1971. Its territory is traversed by the North Caucasian railroad, with a 41-km branch from Kotliarevskaia station to Nal’chik and two lines from Prokhladnaia station to Gudermes via Mozdok and via Groznyi. Automobile transport is the major means of transport, and it plays an important role in the freight and passenger turnover within the republic. In 1971 the republic had 1, 633 km of roads, including 1, 386 km of hard-top roads. Highways connect Nal’chik with Ordzhonikidze, Stavropol’, Groznyi, Makhachkala, Piatigorsk, Mineral’nye Vody, and Krasnodar. The Moscow-Tbilisi major highway passes through Kabarda-Balkaria. Airlines connect Nal’chik with Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, Ordzhonikidze, Groznyi, and other cities.

Kabarda-Balkaria exports nonferrous metals, instruments, means of automation and spare parts to them, centrifugal pumps, electrical technical and cable products, woodworking machine tools, motor and tractor trailers, and many products of light industry and the food industry. It imports mineral coal, petroleum products, ferrous and nonferrous metals and products made of them, chemical and mineral fertilizers, apparatus and instruments, machines, and engines.

There are several economic regions in the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. The steppe region has a highly intensive agriculture composed of both farming and animal husbandry, as well as a developed industry. Grain farming based on artificial irrigation predominates. Almost all the commodity viticulture is concentrated here. There is dairy and dairy-and-meat livestock raising, and the raising of fine-wool sheep is a rapidly developing branch. Fur farming is also important. Industry (machine building, food, and building materials) is located mainly in the cities of Prokhladnyi, Nartkala, Maiskii, and Terek.

The piedmont region has a developed, diversified industry and intensive agricultural production. Industry includes machine building, metalworking, metallurgy, the chemical industry, woodworking, light industry, food, and building materials. Land farming is dominated by cultivation of maize, wheat, barley, and millet. Horticulture (apples and pears) and vegetable cultivation are also found here. Industrial crops, including sunflowers and southern hemp, play an important role. Animal husbandry specializes in dairy, meat-and-dairy, and meat-and-wool production. Natural pastures account for 33 percent of the agricultural lands. Poultry breeding is well-developed.

In the mountain region there is a highly developed mining industry, as well as electrical engineering, metallurgy, and forestry. There is specialization in the manufacture of animal husbandry products. Mountain horticulture is developing in the lowlands and river valleys. Grain crops (maize and wheat) and industrial crops (sunflowers) represent a considerable proportion of cultivated crops, and potatoes are also grown. The region is a major center of tourism, mountaineering, and mountain skiing.

The living standards of the people of the republic are constantly rising. From 1961 to 1971 the wages of workers and white-collar employees increased by 64 percent, and the compensation for labor on kolkhozes increased 2.6 times. Pension insurance funds have increased. From 1940 to 1971 the retail goods turnover of state and cooperative trade increased 13.1 times in comparable prices.

The housing fund in cities and urban-type settlements increased 6.9 times between 1940 and 1971. In 1971, 134, 500 sq m of housing were opened for tenancy by state and cooperative enterprises and organizations and by housing construction cooperatives. Workers and white-collar employees built 47, 300 sq m of housing with their own money and with the help of state credit; and kolkhozes, kolkhoz members, and the rural intelligentsia built 41, 200 sq m by the same means.


In 1913, Kabarda-Balkaria had two hospitals with 20 beds, one dispensary, nine first-aid stations, two private pharmacies, and a total of 11 doctors. On Jan. 1, 1972, the republic had 49 hospital institutions with 5, 300 hospital beds, or 8.6 beds for every thousand people; 79 polyclinics and dispensaries; 46 gynecologic consultation centers; and 45 children’s nurseries with space for 2, 600 children. There were 1, 700 doctors, or one doctor for every 367 people, and more than 5, 000 paraprofessional medical personnel. Medical personnel are trained by the Nal’chik Medical School. Nal’chik is a resort that uses the Belo-rech’e mineral springs. Dolinsk, the “Valley of Narzans” mineral spring, Adylsu, and Dzhilysu are resort areas. There are also sanatoriums and rest homes. Kabarda-Balkaria is a center of tourism and mountain skiing in the USSR. A complex of sports installations have been built in the Elbrus area, especially on the upper course of the Baksan River. There are cable cars on Cheget mountain and around Mount Elbrus. Popular tourist trails are found along the valley of the Malka River (the Valley of Narzans), along the valley of the Baksan toward Mount Elbrus (the Adyrsu and Adylsu gorges), across passes to the shore of the Black Sea, and along the Chegem and Cherek gorges. Mountaineering is common in the Elbrus area and the central part of the Greater Caucasus.

In the 1914–15 academic year there were 112 schools with 6, 700 pupils and no higher or secondary specialized schools in what is now the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. In the 1971–72 academic year there were 299 schools of general education with 146, 100 students, 22 vocational and technical schools with 6, 700 students, and ten specialized secondary schools with 10, 300 students. The Kabarda-Balkar University in Nal’chik has a student body of 9, 500. In 1969 there were 189 preschool institutions with 18, 800 children attending them.

On Jan. 1, 1972, the republic had 230 mass libraries with 3.321 million books and magazines; a museum of local lore and an art museum in Nal’chik; 231 club institutions; 216 motion picture projectors; 11 Young Pioneers’ houses and palaces and young technicians’ and naturalists’ stations; and nine children’s sports schools.

In 1972 the republic had eight scientific institutions, which had all been established during the Soviet period. The first research institute, founded in Nal’chik in 1926, is now the Kabarda-Balkar Research Institute of Economics, History, Language, and Literature under the Council of Ministers of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. Nal’chik is the site of the High-Mountain Geophysical Institute of the Chief Administration of Hy-drometeorological Service under the Council of Ministers of the USSR; the institute works out the methodology and means of fighting hailstorms and snow avalanches. The Kabarda-Balkar State Agricultural Experimental Station, established in 1937, deals with the selection of grain, fruit, and vegetable crops regionalized for Kabarda-Balkaria. The Kabarda-Balkar Experimental Station of Horticulture was established in 1935. Scientific research is also conducted in departments of Kabarda-Balkar University. In 1972 the republic had more than 870 scientific personnel, including 32 doctors of science and about 400 candidates of science.


In 1971, publishing houses in Kabarda-Balkaria produced 123 books and pamphlets with a total of 625, 000 copies; six periodicals and serial journals with a total annual circulation of 175, 000, and 11 newspapers with a total annual circulation of 31.001 million copies. There are four republic newspapers: the Kabar-din-Circassian-language Lenin guegu (Leninist Path, since 1921), the Karachai-Balkar-language Kommunizmge zhol (Path to Communism, 1921), and the Russian-language Kabardino-Balkarskaia pravda (1921) and Sovetskaia molodezh’ (1939). Oshkhamakho (Elbrus, 1958) is a Kabardin-Circassian magazine devoted to literary, social, and political topics. The almanac Shuiokhluk (Friendship) has been published since 1958 in Kara-chai-Balkar. Bloknot agitatora has been published since 1951 in Russian, since 1952 in Kabardin-Circassian, and since 1958 in Karachai-Balkar. The Kabardin-Circassian-language almanac Vachu enur (The Light of the Stars, 1961) is published for children.

The republic radio and television broadcast one radio and one television program in Kabardin-Circassian, Karachai-Balkar, and Russian and receive a television program via the Orbita satellite system. The television center is located in the city of Nal’chik.

Although the Kabardins and Balkars speak different languages, their common history gave rise to an identical development of literatures. A Kabardin-Circassian alphabet was introduced in 1923 and a Karachai-Balkar alphabet in 1924.

An important source of the literature of Kabarda and Balkaria was folklore, which is richly represented by songs, fairy tales, proverbs, historical and heroic tales, and lyrical poetry. The Kabardins and Balkars created the heroic mythological epic poem Narty. This epic expresses with great artistic power the energy of labor, military valor, and world view of the people and their ethical, aesthetic, and other kinds of values. As early as the 19th century, the Kabardin poet and philologist Sh. B. Nogmov (1794–1844) created a Kabardin-Circassian alphabet and grammar and wrote the History of the Adygeian People (1861). The essays and short stories of S. Kazy-Girei (1801–43), written in Russian, were favorably reviewed by V. G. Belinskii and A. S. Pushkin. Some other prerevolutionary Kabardin and Balkar writers who wrote in Russian were S. Khan-Girei, the author of ethnographic essays; Kazi Atazhukin, an educator who published the first book in Kabardin-Circassian (1864); Iurii Akh-metukov (Kazi-Bek), the author of novellas, short stories, and essays; and the Balkar ethnographer and folklorist S. Urusbiev. The beginnings of enlightenment and literature could not be disseminated among the people in prerevolutionary conditions.

B. M. Pachev (1854–1936) was a pioneer of literature in Kabarda, as was K. B. Mechiev (1859–1945) in Balkaria. At the turn of the 20th century they wrote down the first poems and songs about the difficult lot of the working people, in an alphabet they created themselves. The Kabardins A. A. Khavpachev (1882–1972) and P. D. Shekikhachev (1879–1937) came to the fore later.

The development and flowering of literature began after the Great October Socialist Revolution. Pachev’s voice resounded with heightened energy in his poems and songs—for example, in Lenin’s Strength Is Like the Sea. In terms of its ideological and aesthetic level, Mechiev’s poetry was the most significant phenomenon in the Balkar literature of the first postrevolutionary years.

Poetry predominated in the Kabardin-Balkar literature of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The democratic traditions of folklore, enriched by the study of Russian literature, were developing, and works were created in a variety of genres. The Balkar S. Shakh-murzaev (born 1886) wrote the songs We Have Been Fighting for Hundreds of Years and V. I. Lenin (1924), Pachev wrote the poems Kabarda (1925) and My Word On Moscow (1935), Me-chiev composed the song Lenin (1924), and the Kabardin P. Ke-shokov (1871–1937) wrote the poem Narty (1920) and Song About Kalmykov (1930). Other works of this period include the songs and poems of the Kabardins Shekikhachev and T. Borukaev (1888–1937) and the Balkars B. I. Gurtuev (born 1910) and A. Budaev (1915–42). Ali Shogentsukov (1900–41), the founder of Soviet Kabardin literature, wrote revolutionary poems and the novel in verse Kambot and Liatsa (1934–36), the first long epic work depicting the mores and customs of old Kabarda. The bitter past of the people and the tragedy of the woman mountaineer are revealed in Ali Shogentsukov’s poem Madina (1928) and in the work of Budaev and A. P. Keshokov (born 1914). The latter is the author of the poems At the Foothill of the Mountains (1934) and The Fisherman’s Daughter (1939–40). The dramaturgy and prose of the 1930’s portray social relations in the past, the oppressed condition of women, the awakening of national consciousness, and the people’s movement toward revolution and socialism. Acutely social works were created at this time—for instance, The Past Days of Gisa (1935) by the Kabardin Z. Maksidov, A Pood of Flour (1936) by the Kabardin Ali Shogentsukov, and the collections of short stories by the Balkars S. Khochuev (1910–42) and Kh. Katsiev (born 1916). The Kabardin Z. Aksirov (born 1919) created the dramatic poem Dakhanago Song, on the folklore theme of the search for the people’s happiness. Heroic popular themes inspire a number of dramas, such as Korigot (1936) by Shekikhachev, Kanshoubi and Goshagag (1939) by Z. Kardangushev (born 1918) and Mazhid and Mar’iat by M. Tubaev (born 1919). (All these authors are Kabardins.) The Bloody Bride Purchase (1940) by the Balkar R. Geliaev is similar in theme.

In the 1930’s the problem of the modern positive hero was worked out in the novellas and plays of Dzh. Naloev (1906–37), S. Kozhaev, M. Afaunov, A. Shortanov, and B. Gurtuev.

The years of the Great Patriotic War saw the publication of anthologies of poems, essays and short stories: All Take up Arms! (1941), In the Name of the Motherland (1942), On the Fronts of the War (1943), and Laughter Kills the Enemy (1944). B. Bekulov’s collection of poems We Shall Win! (1942) and the poems My Motherland (1941) by Ali Shogentsukov and The Father (1944–45) by A. P. Keshokov also appeared. Poems and short stories by Keshokov and K. Kuliev (born 1917) were regularly published in the army press at the front. Ali Shogentsukov, I. Kazharov, M. Kanukoev, B. Taov, B. Kushkhov, R. Geliaev, S. Khochuev, A. Budaev, and other writers died in the struggle against fascism. In the post war period the lyrical poetry of the Kabardins A. Keshokov, Adam Shogentsukov (born 1916), and B. Kuashev (1920–57) and the Balkars K. Kuliev and K. Otarov (born 1912) became a part of generally recognized Soviet literature. The books by popular poets of the Kabardin-Balkar ASSR are especially remarkable. Among these are A. Keshokov’s The Path of the Horseman (1946), The Land of Youth (1948), The Yew Tree (1954), The Heated Stones (1964), and The Brand (1969) and K. Kuliev’s The Mountains (1957), The Bread and the Rose (1957), Fire on the Mountain (1962), and The Wounded Stone (1964). More recently, new poets have come to prominence, for example, S. Makitov (born 1920), N. Shogentsukov (born 1924), F. Balkarova (born 1926),

Z. Naloev (born 1928), Z. Tkhagazitov (born 1934), T. Zumakulov (born 1934), and K. El’garov (born 1935).

Kabardin-Balkar prose developed only in the postwar period. The first novel in Kabardin literature, The Mountaineers by A. Shortanov (born 1916), published in 1954, is a narration about the people’s fate in the first quarter of the 19th century. A. Keshokov’s work in two parts, The Mountain Peaks Do Not Sleep, published 1958–65, describes the victory of the revolution in the Northern Caucasus and the first steps toward socialism. Other prose works include Kh. Teunov’s (born 1912) novel The Shogemokov Clan (1969, revised edition), A. Shomakhov’s (born 1910) novel Dawn over the Terek (1970), B. Gurtuev’s The New Talisman (1969), Zh. Zalikhanov’s The Mountain Eagles (1962), O. Etezov’s The Stones Remember (1958) and In the Ravine (1954), M. Shavaeva’s Murat (1964), and Kh. Katsiev’s Tamata (1972).

Prose deals in an increasingly bold fashion with contemporary themes. Adam Shogentsukov’s novella The Spring of the Sofiiats (1955) has become known all over the Soviet Union. It describes bitter conflicts in a poetic way, and it presents a profound analysis of characters. His novella It’ll Bear Your Name (1970) depicts the moral quests of today’s youth. Kh. Kashirgov (born 1912) created brilliant portraits of communists in The Source of Happiness (1955), a novella about a Kabardin village in the postwar period. Kh. Khavpachev (born 1926) published the collection of short stories Good Morning, and A. Naloev (born 1921) published the collections of short stories Wind From the Urukh (1960), Humorous Dictionary (1963), and The Roads (1969). Naloev’s novella The Changing of the Guards (1967) is one of the best Kabardin late prose works about the war. The publication of the novella Kinsfolk and the short stories Farizat, Two Jumpers, and The Mechanic by the Kabardin S. Kushkhov (1930–60) constitute a significant phenomenon in contemporary prose. E. Gurtuev (born 1935) and B. Kardanov (born 1919) are writers who have recently come to light.

The postwar years have produced dramas devoted to history in general and revolutionary history in particular. A. Shor-tanov’s The Party’s Envoy and Z. Aksirov’s Kyzbrun are about the life of the working people in feudal Kabarda, I. Botashev’s (born 1925) Dawn in the Mountains is about the Civil war, and I. Mammeev’s (born 1919) The Wounded Wisentis about the life of K. Mechiev. A. Shortanov’s When the Light Breaks and In One Family, M. Shkhagaspsoev’s Tamashi Family, A. Keshokov’s Al’kho and The Last Verst, and the comedies of P. Misakov (born 1930) are noteworthy plays on contemporary themes. The almanac Kabarda, published in Russian and Kabar-din-Circassian from 1945 to 1957; the almanac Shuiokhluk (Friendship), published in Karachai-Balkar since 1958; and the bimonthly magazine Oshkhamakho (Elbrus), published in Kab-ardin-Circassian since 1958, have been very important for the development of literature. The theme of friendship of peoples is widely reflected in the literature of the Kabardin-Balkar ASSR.

Literary scholarship and criticism are developing. Monographs about writers and poets, articles on special problems, and surveys have been published, including Essays on the History of Kabardin Literature (1968) and A Collection of Articles on Kabardin Literature (1957). The scholars Kh. Teunov, Z. Naloev, A. Khakuashev, L. Kashezheva, and M. Sokurov are engaged in active work on the literature of the republic.


Archaeologists have found in Kabarda and Balkaria remnants of wattle dwellings and pottery dating from the Neolithic period and early Bronze Age (Nal’chik burial mounds) and pottery and metal ornaments from the Koban culture and the culture of the Scythians and Sarmatians. Many burial mounds, family sepul-chers, and crypts have been preserved, such as the tomb under a burial mound near the city of Nal’chik (third millennium B.C.), as well as unfortified settlements and fortified towns. The latter include the fortified town of Nizhnii Dzhulat near the city of Maiskii, which existed from the beginning of the Common Era through the 14th century, with remnants of a large mosque from the early 14th century, and the early medieval fortified town of Lygyt, near the village of Verkhnii Chegem, with a complex of defense installations from the late Middle Ages. In the high-mountain regions, ruins of late medieval fortress complexes built in inaccessible places (on slopes, in recesses, and on mountain peaks) have been preserved; the architecture is severe and laconic. These ruins include the Totur-Kala Fortress and the Dzhaboev Castle on the right bank of the Cherek River, the Bolat-Kala and Malkar-Kala fortresses in the Cherek gorge, a castle on Kurnoiat-Bashi Mountain and the three-tier Zylga Complex (also called the Borziev Castle), in the Balkar gorge. Majestic fortified towers have been found: the Abai tower near the former aul (village) of Kunnium from the late 16th and early 17th century; the Balkarukov Tower in the village of Verkhnii Chegem of the second half of the 17th century, which was built by masters from Svaneti; and the Ak-Kala Tower south of the village of Bezengi, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

There are many above-ground stone mausoleum crypts dating from the 14th to the 19th century. Some are rectangular with a high gabled roof, others are round or polygonal with a cone-shaped roof. The triumphal gate in the stanitsa (village) of Ekaterinogradskaia was built in 1785 and restored in 1847 and 1962.

In the Soviet period, mainly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Nal’chik has been almost completely rebuilt and has become a modern garden city with a regular plan. The modern buildings are represented by the House of Soviets (1956, architects S. A. Maslikh and S. E. Vakhtangov), the N. K. Krupskaia Library (1959, architects I. V. and A. G. Lysiakov), the museum of local lore (1964, architect L. M. Timonina), a recreation and concert hall (1964, architect O. K. Shiriaeva), and the music and drama theater building (1967, architects E. M. Landau and others). In Dolinsk, modern sanatoriums, polyclinics, and boarding houses, and a public recreation center have been built; modern buildings in the Elbrus area include hotels in Itkol and Azau and on the Chegem River (all built by the architect V. M. Morgulis).

The folk art of Kabarda-Balkaria is represented by carving on wood (furniture, dishes, trunks), on stone (epitaphs), and on bone. Little caps and the hems and sleeves of women’s festive dresses were covered with embroidery of gold thread in combination with cords and galloons, forming large patterns of plant and corniform motifs, rhombic figures, circles, and trefoils. Granulation, filigree, etching, and sometimes decorative stones ornamented metal articles, such as earrings, rings, buckles, clasps, and parts of horse harnesses. Patterns were laid on leather articles (pouches, purses, etuis) by stamping, applique, and embroidery. The Balkars made heavy felt rugs with geometric relief patterns or patterns of large corniform figures and sun designs by means of applique and mosaic techniques. (For the latter, pieces of heavy felt of different colors were sewn together.) The Kabardins made woven mats with geometric patterns.

Representational art appeared in the Soviet period and has been developing, especially since the 1950’s. Landscape painting is very popular (N. N. Gusachenko, M. A. Vannakh, N. Z. Tryndyk, A. A. Zhereshtiev, M. A. Aksirov, Iu. S. Mushailov, and R. M. Khazhuev), as well as portrait and topical painting (N. N. Gusachenko, N. M. Tret’iakov, N. P. Tatarchenko, and N I. Dorofeev). Monumental painting and mosaic art have been developing since the second half of the 1960’s (A. M. Sundukov, V. Kh. Temirkanov, and N. I. Efimenko). A. E. Glukhovtsev, V. S. Orlenko, P. G. Ponomarenko, and G. S. Pashtov represent easel painting and book illustration; Kh. B. Krymshamkhalov and M. Kh. Tkhakumashev, monumental sculpture; and V. P. Slavnikov, A. P. Durnev, and G. Kh. Bzheumykhov, small-scale sculpture. Rug-making is a developing craft. Rugs are made of fleece with traditional large corniform figures and topical representations and portraits (Gorianka factory in Nal’chik). Kabardin-Balkar divisions of the Union of Architects of the USSR and of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR were established in 1957; in 1968 the latter became the Union of Artists of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR.


Songs and dances are the prevailing genres in folk music, which is based on diatonic natural modes; the rhythm is characterized by an abundance of syncopation and triplets. The Kafa, udzh, and islamei are popular Kabardin folk dances, and the tyuz-tepseu, tyogerek-tepseu, and abzekh are Balkar dances. The following are Kabardin and Balkar folk music instruments: shyke-pshyne, zhiia-kobuz (string instruments played with bows); pshyne-dykuakue, kyngyr-kobuz (harp-like instruments); ape-pshyne, kyl-kobuz (pizzicato instruments); nakyre, syryna (zurna-like wind instruments); bzhemii, sybyzgy (flute-like instruments); pkh”achych, kars (percussion instruments; kars are a kind of cymbals); and pshyne and kobuz (reeds; the kobuz is a diatonic harmonica). Sultan-Bek Abaev, Kiazim Mechiev, Bek-murza Pachev, and Kilchuka Sizhazhev are famous poets, folk musicians, and singer-narrators. The wealth of Kabardin-Balkar music has repeatedly attracted the attention of both prerevolutionary Russian and Soviet composers (M. A. Balakirev, S. I. Taneev, S. S. Prokofiev, and N. Ia. Miaskovskii).

Professionally composed music arose in Kabarda-Balkaria after the October Revolution, along with polyphonic choral singing. The work of A. M. Avraamov and T. K. Sheibler is closely linked with Kabardin-Balkar music. Avraamov composed the cantata People’s Happiness (1936), Kabardin Symphonic Dances (1936), and the overture Aul Batyr (1940), and Sheibler wrote a rhapsody for piano and orchestra on Kabardin themes (1951) and the ballet opera Narty, which was produced in 1957 by the Bolshoi Theater. Recent works include the national opera Madina by M. F. Balov and Kh. Ia. Kardanov (produced in 1970 in Nal’chik); the ballets Lialiutsa (1964), Dakhanago (1966), and Aminat (1968) by L. L. Kogan; the cantata-oratorio-style Requiem (1965), the symphonic vocal suite We Shall Live Under Communism (1963), and the oratorio Songs of My Motherland (1967) by Balov; The Immortal Lenin (1969) by Kardanov; and cantatas by Kardonov and V. L. Molov. Balov, Kardonov, N. S. Osmanov, Molov, and D. K. Khaupa are symphonic composers, and A. G. Shakhgaldian, Balov, Osmanov, Kardanov, Molov, Khaupa, M. Zhetteev, I. Kh. Sherieva, and B. Pshenokov have written songs.

The folk singers and musicians I. Kazharov, B. Kaziev, O. Otarov, L. Aloev, A. Khavpachev, B. Ivanova, K. Kashir-gova, and L. Tesheva have been famous since the 1930’s. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the rise of a number of professional performers: the singers and Honored Artists of the RSFSR I. Kh. Sherieva and V. T. Kuasheva; the Honored Artists of the Kabardin-Balkar ASSR V. K. Kodzokov, Kh. M. Beppaev, and B. A. Kuzhev; the Honored Artists of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR A. M. Pachev and L. K. Kul’baeva; the pianist and Honored Artist of the Kabardin-Balkar ASSR E. Kh. Borsokova; the choirmasters and Honored Artists of the RSFSR B. Zh. Blenaova, lu. M. Betsuev, and M. M. Kunyzhev; and the conductors Kh. B. Afaunov, Iu. Iu. Aliev, Iu. Kh. Temirkanov, and I. Shcherbakov. In 1972 the musical institutions of the Kabardin-Balkar ASSR were the Musical Theater (1968), the Philharmonic Society (1943), the symphony orchestra (1943), the choir of the Kabardin-Balkar Radio and Television (1965), the folk dance ensemble Kabar-dinka (1965), the School of Music (1956), the school of cultural education (1960), and 13 children’s music schools.

The Kabardin-Balkar division of the Union of Composers of the USSR was established in 1959.


The theater art of the Kabardin and Balkar peoples has its roots in everyday ritual spectacles and performances of folk singers (called dzheguako). After the establishment of Soviet power, clubs were opened and drama circles organized in Nal’chik and the villages. The authors of the plays were members of amateur theater circles. Their plays dealt with the struggle against ignorance, with religious prejudices, and with survivals of feudalism in attitudes toward women. S. Gonov, A. Shor-tanov, A. Berezgov, T. Kimov, and M. Etezov were among the first playwrights. The 1930’s saw the establishment in Nal’chik of the Theater of Working Youth, the Theater Studio, the Russian Drama Theater, and the Kabardin-Balkar traveling kolkhoz and sovkhoz theater, which contributed to the development of national art. The Kabardin-Balkar Theater of Drama was founded in 1940; its troupe was composed of graduates of the Kabardin and Balkar studios of the State Institute of Theater and Arts (GITIS). The theater’s repertoire included Vs. Ivanov’s Armored Train 14–69, Z. Kardangushev’s Kan-shaubi and Goshagak, and plays by Shortanov, M. M. Tubaev, R. Giliaev, I. Zh. Botashev, and Z. A. Aksirov.

The theater’s building in Nal’chik was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), and the theater reopened in 1948, uniting Russian and national troupes. In 1958 the Kabardin studio, composed of GITIS graduates, joined the collective, and the Balkar studio, composed of graduates of the Shchepkin Theater School, joined it in 1963. In 1961 the theater was named after Ali Shogentsukov, the founder of Kabardin literature.

The development of Kabardin-Balkar theater art and dramaturgy was greatly influenced by the culture and art of the Russian people and by classical Russian and world dramaturgy. Theaters staged the works of Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Beau-marchais, Voltaire, N. V. Gogol, A. N. Ostrovskii, and other writers. The theater’s productions include Kambot and Liastsa (1950) and The Party’s Envoy (1960) by Shortanov; Batyr, the Son of the Bear by M. M. Shkhagapsoev (1957); Dakhanago (1957) and Adiiukh (1969) by Aksirov; The Bloody Toi by O. Etezov (1959); Dawn in the Mountains (1958) and Eagles Love Heights (1965) by Botashev; Madina, based on the work by Ali Shogentsukov (1960); The Wounded Wisentby I. Mammeev and The Power of Love by K. Erkenova (both 1965); The Last Verst by A. Keshokov (1968); and The Black Trunk, based on a work by Kh. Appaev (1969). The theater has staged plays in which V. I. Lenin is in the spotlight, including N. F. Pogodin’s Kremlin Chimes (1958), The Year of Dread by A. Ia. Kapler and T. S. Zlatogorova (1965), and M. F. Shatrov’s In the Name of the Revolution (1969). In 1972 figures in the theatrical arts included People’s Artists of the RSFSR K. Kh. Dyshekov, M. K. Sonov, and A. M. Tukhuzhev; Honored Artists of the RSFSR T. T. Zhigunov, Kh. Kh. Tovkuev, and A. M. Sheriev; People’s Artists of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR K. I. Balkarova, M. Kh. Bolov, Kh. Kh. Kumakhova, M. Sh. Kuchukov, B. N. Sibekova, and M. I. Tubaev; Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR L. Kh. Erkenov; and Honored Art Workers of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR S. A. Mal’tsev and S. A. Teuvazhev.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.