A Groundbreaking Discovery: Ahmed Tsalykkaty's "The Mountain Republic"

  • 08/02/2024
Today I am addressing you with another groundbreaking finding in North Caucasian history research. This is a work that Ahmed Tsalykkaty wrote during his immigration life and we were not aware of its existence until today. In this study, which he completed during his stay in Prague in the mid-1920s, Tsalykkaty examined a geographical, statistical, ethnographic, linguistic, economic, and political analysis of the Soviet Mountain Republic and Dagestan Autonomous Republic which was founded by the communists on the relics of the Republic of the Union of United Mountaineers of North Caucasus.
The registered members can access Tsalykkaty's work from our archive by clicking the following link;
Ahmed Tsalykkatı, "The Mountain Republic" (In Russian)

The Borders of The Republic of the Union of United Mountaineers of North Caucasus (Click on the image to view in larger format)
The Soviet Mountain Republic and Dagestan Autonomous Republic - 1921 (Click on the image to view in larger format)
This important work provides us with concrete information about the economic and political strength and potential of the unity of the Mountaineers'. Tsalykkaty based his work mainly on the borders of the Soviet Mountain Republic and the Dagestan Autonomous Republic, which were established in 1921, but also took into account the expansion made by the Bolsheviks on the northern borders of Dagestan in later times. While examining this work, we easily realize the importance of Mountaineers' territories such as Abkhazia, the Black Sea coastline, Kuban, South Ossetia, Zakatala, and some Lezgin settlements in the Southern Dagestan, which were detached from the Mountaineers' Union by the Bolsheviks and left to the administration of various other units.
In the first part of the work, which consists of two main chapters, Tsalykkaty illustrates the great difference between the structures of the Republic of the Union of United Mountaineers of North Caucasus and the Soviet Mountain Republic of the Bolsheviks. In the second part of the book Tsalykkaty focuses on the traditional history of the Mountaineers Union and provides us with some critical information on the short history of the Republic of the United North Caucasus Mountaineers Union. He presented striking information about some events of the period. I am particularly impressed by the information in the last chapter of the book, where he shared with us very particular information about the activities of the Allied Madjlis of the Mountaineers and the Azerbaijan-Mountaineers Committee, which operated in Tbilisi after the Bolsheviks invaded the North Caucasus.

The Cover Page of Ahmed Tsalykkaty's Work (Click on the image to access the original work)
When we read this work, we cannot deny our regret that it had not come to light much earlier. In fact, during the cataloging and document identification work I carried out in the Haydar Bammat Private Archive, I realized that some well-known figures from the North Caucasian political emigration were aware of the existence of this work. We are especially witnessing in Ahmed Tsalykkaty's letters that Said Shamil, who frequently visited Prague at that time to take over the control of the Popular Party of the Free Caucasian Mountaineers, was aware of this work. We understand that Said Shamil wanted to get the draft copy of the work from Tsalykkaty and promised to publish it to win his heart. From the proceeding political events, it can be understood that Tsalykkaty refrained from giving the draft of his work to Said Shamil.
Since this draft copy was found in Haydar Bammat's private archive, it is understood that it was somehow delivered to Haydar Bammat after Tsalykkaty died in Poland in 1928. As of 1928, the clashes between different factions within the North Caucasian political immigration flared up and Haydar Bammat, the leader of the Kavkaz group which was the largest of these factions, most probably did not attempt to publish the work due to the political climate of the period.

Ahmed Tsalykkaty (1920)
I am sure that this study, which has come to light today, will make a great contribution to understanding the difference between the Republic of the Union of United Mountaineers of North Caucasus, which is often confused today with the Bolsheviks' Soviet Mountain Republic. I hope that the Russian original of the draft I share with you will soon be translated into English and Turkish by one of the self-proven research writers. I have already planned to share some striking information from this work of Tsalykkaty in my monograph, which will focus mainly on the documents from the private archive of Haydar Bammat. However, I believe that it is a must for this work to be edited and published as a whole.
While I present this work of Ahmed Tsalykkaty to you, I consider it my duty to commemorate him with mercy and gratitude.

Cem Kumuk
Istanbul, 8 February 2024