Igor Starkov

chechnya-blood revenge

Abu-Kasym Zaurbekov, 82, the Chanti clan, Grozny, Chechnya
Chechnya is Russia's only region where old customary tribal laws - the
adat - have been preserved and are almost fully functional. The blood
revenge is one of them. A homicide should entail the murder of the
perpetrator or one of his kin. The Chechen society consists of teips
or clans. Every clan has its own elders or, at least, respected
members. In case of a conflict, the rivals first talk to the elders
and only then - to police. The government may resolve an issue using
the Criminal Code while the elders would always do it equitably and
faster.  Blood revenge sounds strongly but a significant number of
conflicts involving murders is resolved peacefully when the offended
party forgives the wrongdoers. Such agreements are made by the elders
whose say has an absolute weight in the Chechen society. When the
respected men reach an agreement, the conflict may be considered
resolved. This story is about people who avert the blood revenge using
the power of their authority and the ancient Chechen customs.