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Vainakh social organization scheme.

Tukkhum are systems of social organisation in traditional Chechen society. A tukkhum is a grand alliance of familial clans or teips. The tukkhum brings together clans which are unrelated by blood but united in a higher association for the joint solution of common problems — the protection from enemy attack and economic exchange. A tukkhum occupied a specific territory, which consisted of the area inhabited by members of the tukkhum, as well as a surrounding area, where the teips, which comprised the tukkhum, engaged in hunting, farming and cattle breeding. Each tukhum spoke their own dialect of the Vainakh language.

Tukkhums, in contrast to the teips, had no official head or commander (Chechen: byacha). Thus, the tukkhum was not so much a governmental or political body as a social organization.

The deliberative organ of the tukkhum was the Council of Elders, which included representatives of all the teips comprising the tukhums, on an equal footing.

The Council of Elders would convene to address inter-teip disputes and differences, to protect the interests of the individual teips, and tukkhums in general. The Council of Elders had the right to declare war, to conclude peace, to negotiate with the help of their own and others' ambassadors, to make and break alliances.

A tukkhum was not a consanguineous union, but a kind of brotherhood. It is a formation that emerged from the tribal organization. This alliance, and (or) the association of several teips, was established for specific purposes.[1]

The tribal union of tukkhums forms the Kham or the entire Chechen nation. During the 16th and 17th centuries nine tukkhums, composed of separate teips were formed in Chechnya.

The Coat of Arms of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria had nine stars on it to represent each Tukkhum.

At the moment, the Chechens are united in 9 tukhums, comprising more than 100 teips:

  1. Äkkhi - Mostly residents of the Novolaksky District; Khasavyurtovsky District, Babayurtovsky District and the Kazbekovsky District of central Dagestan.
  2. Mälkhi - According to legend from the south of Chechnya, modern day Itum-Kalinsky District.
  3. Nokhchmakhkakhoi - Historically the largest Tukkhum. According to legend they come from central Chechnya.
  4. Orstkhoi (Arshtkhoy) - Historically from the modern borders of Chechnya, the Achkhoy-Martanovsky District and across the border in the Sunzhensky District, Republic of Ingushetia
  5. Terloi - One of the most largest Tukkhum. The Terloy come from the Western regions of Chechnya and have a few villages in Georgia.
  6. Chanti - From the areas around the Argun River (Caucasus).
  7. Cheberloi (Chebarloi) - Historically from the south-eastern border areas with Dagestan. The areas of Sharoysky District and Vedensky District.
  8. Sharoi - Also from the south-eastern borders areas. Have a presence in Khasavyurt.
  9. Shotoi - From the north of the Shatoysky District and areas such as the Urus-Martanovsky District.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Мамакаев М. Чеченский тейп (род) в период его разложения. Грозный, 1973. Перепечатка главы «Чеченский тейп»// ред. Ю. А. Айдаев Чеченцы. История, современность М.: «Мир Твоему Дому» 352 стр. 1996 ISBN 5-87553-005-7