Kolesov V.I.

FROM “RUM-MILLET” TO RUSSIAN “INORODTSY”: BEGINNING OF GROUP FORMATION OF MOUNTAIN GREEKS IN THE NORTH-WESTERN CAUCASUS (FIRST PART OF 20th CENTURY)

Abstract:

The article focuses on the transformational processes in the North-Western Caucasus in the late 19th century that took place after the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 and in the context of confrontation with local people, later called the Caucasian War. Russian governmental models and sociocultural practices came to replace the Ottoman Millet system. The native Caucasian population was categorized as “Inorodtsy” according to the “Laws about Estates”. The aim of the article is, using the example of Circassian language community of mountain Greeks, to demonstrate the controversial process of group formation as a complex of changing social networks. The actor-network theory of Bruno Latour was used as a methodology. Applied to the historical realities of the first half of the 19th century, it made it possible to present the identification of an individual with a particular group as an ongoing process. The author also considers possible ways of formation and expansion of the Greek population in the region, their relationship with the Anatolian part of Turkey, Crimea and the Mariupol region. Having preserved their rela-tions with the Adygs and Cherkesogai, during the first half of the 19th century Mountain Greeks consolidated into a relatively stable group, gradually transforming from the confessional “class” of the Ottoman millet system into an ethnic community of the “century of nationalism”. It is shown how the process of migration to the territory of the Russian Empire affected family histories of some Greeks (i.e. the Demtirovs, Seraphims and Kokshevs). Group formation of the mountain Greeks can be an example of the processes of “ethnisation” of the Caucasian groups in the first half of the 19th century. When writing the article, the author used unpublished documents from the State Archive of the Krasnodar region and personal archives from the mid-19th century, such as diary records of the Englishman James Bell and memories of the Frenchman Tabou de Marigny

About the autors:

Vladimir Igorevich Kolesov, independent researcher

Place of employment:

independent researcher

Contacts:

e-mail: kolesov_v@yahoo.co.uk

Key words:

transformation; North-Western Caucasus; Millet System; Russian Empire; Ottoman Empire; Mountain Greeks; Cherkesogai (Circassian Armenians); colonisation; group forming; Inorodtsy; Grivensky Circassian aul (village)