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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(self-designation, Karachaily), a people related to the Balkars living in the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast. Population, 113, 000 (1970 census).

The Karachais speak Karachai-Balkar. The nationality was formed in the 13th and 14th centuries from local mountain tribes, who had lived there since the Bronze Age, and also from Alani, Bulgars, and Kipchaks. Their traditions may be traced in Karachai culture right up to the 20th century. The basic occupation in the past was migratory animal husbandry; settled farming and trades were secondary. Feudal and patriarchal social ties were preserved among the Karachais until the middle of the 19th century. The inclusion of the Karachais in the general economy of Russia in the 19th century facilitated the development of capitalist relations. The October Revolution freed the Karachais from social and national oppression.

The Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast was formed in January 1922. Under Soviet power, large-scale mechanized agriculture was created, various branches of industry have developed, and a national working class and intelligentsia were formed. A written language was created, and a national literature developed. Violations of socialist legality led in late 1943 and early 1944 to the resettlement of Karachais in various districts of Middle Asia and Kazakhstan. A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated Jan. 9, 1957, restored the national autonomy of the Karachai people and created the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, and almost all the Karachais returned to their native area.


Ocherki istorii Karachaevo-Cherkesii vol. 1. Stavropol’, 1967.
Alekseeva, E. P. Karachaevtsy i balkartsy—drevnii narod Kavkaza. Cherkessk, 1963.
Narody Kavkaza, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960.
Zasedaniia Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR chetvertogo sozyva: Shestaia sessiia (5–12 fevralia 1957): Stenograficheskii otchet. Moscow, 1957. Pages 577–78, 743–44.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In total, the festival was attended by representatives of 24 diasporas, among them: Karachai, Belarusians, Russians, Turks, Bulgarians, Tajiks, Kurds, Uigurs, Tatars, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Dungans and other representatives of public associations.
The entire Chechen, Ingush, Kalmyk, Balkar, Karachai, Meskhetian Turk, and Crimean Tatar populations, as well as generations of Russian Poles, Germans, and Koreans, soon found themselves here, unwelcome, considered suspicious individuals or traitors unworthy of the limited available resources, and thus were reduced to a life of wretched conditions (Martin 1998).
For rural Kyrgyz, the biggest shock of the war came with Stalin's 1944 decision to deport hundreds of thousands of Chechen, Ingush, Karachai, and others from the North Caucasus to Central Asia.
During the Great Patriotic War, te Germans, Greeks, Chechens, Ingush, Karachai, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and other peoples were deported in Kazakhstan.
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The contradictions within Georgia produced Joseph Stalin, the avenging monster who later turned on his homeland, slaughtered its dissident Communists, and during World War II, expelled entire Caucasian nations (Chechens, Ingush, Karachai, Balkars, plus Crimean Tatars).
(12) Ethnic Russians have been steadily leaving the region in a process that began when the Balkars and the Karachai returned from exile in Central Asia in the late 1950s.
In both republics the titular ethnic groups are not related to each other but to a counterpart in the other, e.g., the Karachai and Balkars are ethnically close, as are the Karbardins and Cherkess.
Other of the USSRAEs Muslims followed into the Soviet death camps: Kalmyks, Tatars, Karachai, Balkars.
Turks cleansed regions of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians; Eastern European states cleansed their German populations (removing more than 10 million people in one sweep), Stalin resettled entire nationalities (Chechens, Kalmyks, Ingush, Karachai, Balkars and Crimean Tatars).
In 1943, almost all the Chechen, Ingush, Karachai, Kalmyk, and Balkar peoples were deported to Siberia.