Khakas - Kinship and Sociopolitical Organization

It used to be claimed by Soviet scholars that the Yenisei Kirghiz whom the early Russians forced out of the Minusinsk Basin were a local feudal aristocracy, and today's Khakas population is descended from the "exploited" classes of the old society. Whether or not this is true, by the October Revolution of 1917 Khakas society was once more characterized by considerable economic and social distinctions. There were the hereditary rich (often Kacha) cattle breeders with large herds and extensive land-use rights, but also the poor (often Sagai) hunters and fishers with little capital and low social standing. Nevertheless, all the Khakas were ultimately bound together by a complicated network of patriarchal kinship ties, and it was common for the better-off individuals and families to provide assistance to their poorer relatives. The wealthier, pre-Revolutionary Khakas produced an incipient native intelligentsia, something that only two other indigenous peoples in Siberia, the Yakut and the Buriats, also had. During the Soviet period, this early intelligentsia and its descendants were destroyed and a new type of "proletarian" intellectual was created.

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