Kubachins - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. The form of social organization until the end of the nineteenth century was the village territorial commune ( jamaat ), the internal life of which was regulated by the norms of customary and Quranic law. It consisted basically of freeholding commune members, the majority of them craftsmen. Pasturelands, common land, hay fields, and forests were under the control of the commune. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the lands were divided into three sections corresponding to the three quarters of the village (high, middle, and low). The inhabitants of one quarter did not have the right to pasture livestock, cut hay, or cut wood in the sections belonging to other quarters. Offenders were fined. The property of individual families—sections used for growing hay or grain and certain small hay fields—could be sold or rented. There were also church lands belonging to the mosques ( waqf ) . In the social life of the Kubachins before the Soviet period Men's Clubs, abounding in complex and varied, strictly observed ceremonies and rituals, enjoyed great public authority.

Political Organization. Kubachi society was governed by a special organization, the Chine, consisting of seven men selected by the commune at a town meeting. It was guided by the norms of customary law and conducted internal and external affairs. Legal and executive power were under its control. Subject to it was a military organization with the functions of guarding the village against external attacks and the defense of the forest, haying and pasturelands, and livestock. After Kubachi became part of Russia and the new administration was introduced, the Chine declined, but the village remained a self-governing entity.

Social Control. The commune regulated the activities of the Chine, Quranic judges, the personal and public life of the commune member, and the observation of customary law and of order and discipline. The most important decisions were made at town meetings.

Conflict. Lawsuits, controversies, clashes, and squabbles within the commune were considered and resolved by the Chine and the Quranic court, but unusual, more important issues were treated at the town meeting. In controversies with neighboring villages concerning forests, hay fields, or pasturelands, the Kubachins, in defense of their rights, had recourse to weapons but in some cases resorted to mediation by the elders of neighboring settlements.


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