Russian (CIS)English (United Kingdom)
ISSN 2223-165X





Выпуск 29 (68) 2018
Contents Print

Becolova E.B. Life in Sciense. Print



The name of Tamerlan Alexandrovich Guriev is widely known in scientific circles of Russia and abroad. The scientist, who left a bright trace in Ossetian studies, is an extraordinary personality, an example of selfless service to science. Doctor of Philology, Professor Tamerlan Alexandrovich Guriev – scientist-encyclopedist, fine researcher of the Ossetian language, literature, folklore, translator, publicist, critic, author of art works. The article contains a scientific and creative portrait of Professor T.A. Guriev, created on the detailed data on life and creativity, which make up the intellectual appearance of a great scientist and recognized organizer of science. Both the article and the given examples are convincing evidence of a real recognition of the professor's contribution to Ossetian studies and Russian science. Guriev was a scientist with an extraordinary breadth of the research range, a deep understanding of the internal structure of the language and a passionate champion of the national school; actively propagandized the national language, considering it the main individuality of the people. The native language, according to the professor, expresses the storehouse of his thoughts and feelings, therefore, for his preservation in the family and school, it is necessary to teach children at the initial stage in the Ossetian language. The process of studying languages should proceed consistently and organically: from native – to the Caucasian languages, from the study of their structures - to the theoretical problems of linguistics. When comparing languages, it is necessary to search for common properties of the objects to be compared, based on mental mechanisms, semantic features and cognitive parameters. Guriev-author was characterized by the breadth of linguistic vision, deep penetration into specific facts of the language, a subtle resolution of actual theoretical and practical problems.

Keywords: Ossetian studies, Caucasian studies, translation, bilingualism, vocabulary, lexicology.


Khoziev B.R. Human. Scientist. Personality. (Scientific Portrait of T. Guriev) Print

In the article an attempt is made to write a scientific and creative portrait of one of the organizers of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the chief researcher of NOIHSS, the Honored Worker of Science of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania and the Russian Federation, Doctor of Philology, Professor Tamerlan Alexandrovich Guriev. It highlights the importance of the work of the scientist in the field of Ossetian linguistics, onomastics, folklore, etymology and lexicology, his role in the theory and practice of the lexicographic description of the Ossetian language. T.A. Guriev drew attention to the unresolved problems of Ossetian studies, with all the difficulties of their comprehensive development. The fact that he had a thorough knowledge of his native Ossetian, Russian and Mongolian languages and also knew several Iranian, Slavic and Western European languages was of crucial importance in his research activity. While analyzing the scientific heritage of Guriev, the author focuses on the natural talent of the scientist, highlights his deep intellect, scientific erudition, passionate passion for his work, and notes the extraordinary breadth of interests, encyclopedic knowledge and the integrity of the scientific worldview. The article also substantiates Guriev's ability to work with young researchers and analyzes the contribution made by the scientists to the development of science as a chairman of the Association of Scientists of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. Attention is focused on the activities of Guriev as a popularizer of science, his role in uniting and consolidating the writers of the republic, his publishing, translation and wide public activities.

Keywords: Tamerlan Alexandrovich Guriev, scientific heritage, Ossetian linguistics, Folklor studies, works on Lexicology, Etymology, Onomastics.

Chibirov L.A. On a Separate Indo-Scythian-Ossetian Parallel in the Scientific Heritage of T.A. Guriev. Print

Among numerous works of T. A. Guriev on the Narts’ epic and on the history of words and names the theory about the origin of the theonym «Afsati», undoubtedly one of the oldest deities in the OssetianNarts’ pantheon, patron of hunters and ruler over wild animals, occupies a special place. V. I. Abaev elaborated the version of the substrate origin of this image, reinforced it with Caucasian parallels, although eventually came to the conclusion about the possibility of reviewing his hypothesis. Based on the complex and comparative analysis of folklore and ethnographic material, archaeological data T. A. Guriev comes to the conclusion, that this image has quite reliable parallels in many Indo-European peoples and languages and that it reveals very archaic features that go back to the time Indo-Iranian and Indo-European community. Etymological analysis of the name of the deity also indicates its Indo-European character. Guriev proved that: a) the Ossetian word fos / fons has quite reliable parallels in many Indo-European languages; b) this popular Caucasian deity Afsati should be considered in the context of Indo-Iranian influences; c) the name Afsati should be traced back to the archaic Indian Pasipati, in which pasi- ‘cattle’, paiti- ‘host’, i.e. ‘the owner of the cattle’. The importance of this theory is not only the scientific truth achieved, it may also serve as a model of interdisciplinary research.

Degoev V.V. The Caucasus in the Works of European Authors of the XVIII Century. Print

The threefold task the author had in mind implies the following. First, to assess informative value of the 18th century European sketches on the Caucasus as a source of the appropriate knowledge. Second, to redirect scholarly attention towards searching for distinct lines between murky facts and their interpretation, oftentimes arbitrary, uncritical, and even openly biased. It would help to reveal what might be called a scientific trend in Western “historiography” on the region`s past. Third, to expose the role of the incoming political and ideological factors determined by geostrategic interests of the concerned States on the one hand and by its largely prejudiced, as it were, orientalistic perception of the East on the other. While the author found his general approach promising he hesitates to claim that all of his conclusions are flawless. Some of them need further arguments either pro or contra to deservedly place the subject in question in a wider context of history.


Keywords: scientific Caucasian studies, "image of the other", European writings.


Marzoev I.T. Namesakes Tuganovs: History of the Origin of Family Names. Print

The article presents a historical-genealogical study of two family names: the Tuganovs from the Digor Society of North Ossetia and the Tagaur Aldar Tuganovs from the Tagaur Society of North Ossetia, based on archival sources and published materials. The genealogical legends of both families, preserved in the oral folk art of the Ossetians, were also investigated. The difference in the origin of each of the two genera, which are not privileged by common common roots, is shown. The settlements in which the Tuganovs lived in both Ossetian societies are indicated. According to the petitions of the representatives of both families submitted to the Committee for analyzing the personal and land rights of the mountaineers of the Military Ossetian District in 1859, the ancestor of the Tuganovs from the Digor Society is Badeli, and the ancestor of the Tuganovs from the Tagaurian society is Taga. The name of the Tuganovs is found in addition to Ossetia, among the Kabardins, Ingushes, Nogais, Russians, Tatars and other peoples. And if before the revolution the Tuganovs in Ossetia belonged to the privileged class, then among the neighboring peoples of the Caucasus and Russia, representatives of this family often could also refer to dependent estates. A number of related surnames, originating with them from the same root, are determined. Biographical information and photographs of the most famous representatives of the names of the Tuganovs of Digorian and Tagaurian societies of North Ossetia are also presented. Examples are given of the namesake of the Tuganovs among the nobility of the neighboring Caucasian peoples and among the dependent estates of Ossetia and Kabarda. The materials of the study significantly supplement the history of Ossetia, contribute to a deeper and renewed study of the genealogy of Ossetian surnames.

Keywords: Russia, Caucasus, North Ossetia, national aristocracy, nobility, genealogy, military intelligentsia.

Agababyan A.G. Abkhazian Ag(A)-Nykha and Circassian Ahyn: to the History of one Ritual Order. Print

The article considers in detail an order that can be characterized as the dominant element of the two ritual cults in the Black Sea cultural area. So-called rule of changing the places / alternation of actors when carrying out actions with the sacrificial animal became a unique component of the modern family prayer Ag(a)-nykha and the celebration of Ahуn's «deity», that ceased its existence more than a century ago. This fact, with the exception of individual hints of some ethnographers, hasn’t been given due importance for a long time, and the supposition about the possible proximity and common origin of this celebrations was hushed up. On the example of the data collected by the author during fieldwork in Abkhazia and Shapsugia and the available in the academic access of the Caucasian / North Caucasian folk material (songs, family legends), a detailed structural and semantic analysis of the central plots is carried out which shows the significance of the fixed procedure for ceremonies. Along with this plot, we distinguish a whole complex of narratives (legends and fairy tales), which ideologically justify the necessity of organizing these rituals and clarify the issue of their historical relationship (motive of battle with a snake, herself going cow, etc.). Consequently, the idea of the probable continuity of one cult from another becomes really reasonable. But Abkhazian Ag(a)-nykha and Circassian Ahyn can be the local versions of a wider mythological tradition, and this idea requires further clarification and reconciliation.

Keywords: Ag(a)-nykha prayer, Ampar lineage, Ahyn cult, rule of passage from place to place, alternation of actors, narratives, family legends and traditions.


Matveev V.A. Inter-Ethnic Conflicts in the North Caucasus: De-Escalation Practices in the Context of the Aggravation of Russian Revolutionary Crisis in Summer of 1917. Print

The July events in Petrograd worked towards further aggravation of Russian revolutionary crisis, followed by onward destabilization sweeping both central and peripheral regions of the country. In the summer of 1917, the northeastern areas of the Caucasus within the Tersky region witnessed an upswing in interethnic conflicts, which were at that point in time encouraged by ongoing raids on Cossack and other Russian settlements, as well as the auls of peaceful mountaineers. These raids came amid plunder and depredation, which undermined agricultural production. The imminent threat of civil war turned out a common peril for the peoples inhabiting the region, whereby both Russian population and the mountaineers fled to become refugees. The author believes that 1917 restored the line of confrontation, which once existed in the era of the Caucasian war. However, in terms of the “insider-outsider” criterion, this line was no longer clearly defined. This had a lot to do with the medley of population that emerged due to collective settling in flat land auls as people moved away from the upland. Nevertheless, just as was the case with the Caucasian War, many mountaineers joined in the resistance to raids, thus affirming their commitment to the choice of ties with Russia even in the context of revolutionary unrest. The article analyzes the historical practices in addressing stability issues in the region and preserving the integrity of the peoples that settled within it. The topic is explored using the data retrieved from sources previously not covered by the scientific nomenclature. In keeping with these data, the study illustrates the efforts of all ethnic communities of the region in eliminating conflicts and finding appropriate practical solutions.


Keywords: historical practices, ethnic conflicts, raids, revolutionary crisis, Russian co-citizenship, solidarity, February coup.

Nagieva M.K. The Training of National Staff in Dagestan in 1920s. Print

The article deals with the problem of training professional staff of specialists from representatives of indigenous peoples of Dagestan for the authorities and management of national autonomy at the initial stage of socialist construction. The extremely low level of economic development, the almost total illiteracy of the local population, and the acute shortage of educated cadres served as a serious obstacle to the implementation of the policy of korenizatsiya, which included, in particular, the active involvement of representatives of local peoples in the Party and Soviet government of the Dagestan ASSR. Their effectiveness largely depended on the level of literacy of the society and managerial training. The author traces the ways and methods of training managerial personnel. It was noted that at the initial stage, the staff deficit was partially replenished through the organization of training courses for specialists and then the creation of training centers, on the basis of which later technical schools and schools were established, which initiated the formation of the vocational education system in the republic. The personnel training was also carried out through targeted assignment of representatives of local peoples to the central educational institutions of the country. The administrative structures were provided with the necessary personnel also due to the involvement of specialists in pre-revolutionary Dagestan who expressed a desire to cooperate with the Soviet authorities. The author concludes that as a result of the purposeful work of the Soviet state for a short period of time, it was possible to provide Dagestan with the necessary personnel, to train specialists for various spheres, to provide personnel continuity, which positively affected the tasks of the socioeconomic development of the republic.


Keywords: the Soviet state, Dagestan, the national issue, the policy of korenizatsiya, training of staff, national staff.


Amirkhanova M.M. Labor Organization in the Industry of Dagestan in 1930s. Print

The article deals with the issues of labor organization in the industry of Dagestan in conditions of the socialist management based on the archival documents introduced for the first time. It is noted that the main producers of industrial products were state-owned enterprises. The quantitative and qualitative changes in the composition of the working class are highlighted which resulted from the industrial development of the republic in the 1930-s. Particular attention is drawn to measures undertaken to involve indigenous peoples in industrial production. The activity of labor inspection in the field of organization of the system of labor protection, improvement of working conditions at industrial enterprises is traced. On the example of the plant "Dagestan lights", the trades of "Dagrybtrest" it is shown how this problem was solved. Labor inspectorates were required to monitor the housing conditions of workers, the availability of clothing, timely and fully payment, food service, etc. To effectively combat injuries at industrial enterprises, the creation of safety commissions "Treugolnik (Triangle)" was proposed. They were to consist of a responsible person in safety engineering, a representative of the labor protection committee and a doctor or a paramedic of the first aid station. The author characterizes the role of trade unions in carrying out the collective agreement company, in providing training of skilled workers for industrial production. The shortcomings that have taken place in the system of FZU (factory apprenticeships) for the training of qualified national cadres are revealed. In conclusion, it is discussed that, despite some positive shifts in the organization of labor, in general it was not properly established at most industrial enterprises during the reviewed period in Dagestan.

Keywords: Dagestan, industry, labor organization, working class, labor inspection, collective agreements.

Dzitstsoity Yu.A. On Some Relics of the Old Iranian Lexicon in the Toponymy of Ossetia. Print

The article deals with relics of the Old Iranian lexicon in the toponymy of Ossetia. Most of them are represented both in North and South Ossetia. Many relicts are found in two or more place names. The Iranian etymology of relics considered here is quite probable. Of particular interest are the agiotoponyms (Ʒirijy ʒwar, etc.), which allow us to supplement our knowledge about the Old Ossetian pantheon of the gods. Among the toponyms under discussion there are quite enough names of the mountain landscape. This indicates that the lexemes underlying them have recently been freely used. The stem *mar- ‘dam’ is also represented in the toponymy of modern Ukraine and the North Caucasus. This points out to the Scythian and Alan heritage in these regions. The stem *Baz- ‘sheep-pen’ left its mark also in the appellative vocabulary of the Russian language – cf. dialect stem baz(ok) ‘sheep-pen’. This indicates, at least, the Alanian age of the lexeme. The stem *Zær- ‘grass’ confirms V.I. Abaev’s opinion, who singled out this stem on the basis of several Ossetian appellatives. As borrowing, it is represented in the dialects of the Russian, Udmurt and Komi languages. Two toponyms allow reconstructing the lost names of the Old Ossetian fauna: wærg- ‘wolf’ and *nāga- ‘snake’. Among the material under consideration there is also the topo-formant -sar-, represented as an unproductive affix also in the appellative vocabulary of the Ossetian language, as well as in the other Iranian languages. In general, the analyzed toponyms confirm the glory of toponymy as a keeper of archaic and relict vocabulary.

Keywords: toponymy, Ossetia, relics, etymology.


Bepievi N.I. From the History of Ossetian Writing: Ossetian Copyists of the Monuments of Old-Georgian Literature. Print

The article is devoted to the translation and literary activity of those who contributed to the development of Ossetian writing and Georgian-Ossetian cultural ties. Some works of ancient Georgian literature, alongside with Georgian scribes, were also copied by Ossetian scribes. The dictionary Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani, which is the result of deep analysis and encyclopaedic observation-explanations, from the very beginning turned into a subject of public interest: Vakhtang VI defined it as "Sitkvis kona" ("Bouquet of words"). Those who were engaged in the description and compilation of lists of books, made on their margins notes containing information about the census-takers. Over time, as well as for other reasons, many names were lost, but some have been preserved in history precisely thanks to these postscripts and inscriptions. In the article on the basis of linguistic analysis, it is established that the first scribe of the Dictionary Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani was an Ossetian by birth Guriev. The author of the article notes that Ossetian copyists of Georgian books, in particular John Yalguzidze, were also engaged in translations from Georgian into Ossetian, that they made their own contribution to the development of the Ossetian language and culture. The activity of Ossetian census takers of Georgian books, considered in the article, makes a significant contribution to the problem of the peoples with recent record of literacy, which is significantly updated by modern scientific research and wide public discourse. Since it is customary to refer in this way to such peoples after the establishment of Soviet power, the material revealed a serious argument for confirming the unacceptability of this "political" definition for the Ossetian language. Together with other identified literary monuments, the works of Ossetian scribes are the basis for revising established, but not corresponding to modern concepts, postulates. The carried out research allows to consider activity of Ossetian copyists of books as the factor of strengthening of cultural communications between neighboring people.

Keywords: the Ossetian language, the Georgian language, copyist, scribe, translation, cultural ties.

Senko E.V., Lazarova I.A. On the Problem of Russian-Ossetian Language Contacts. Print

The article deals with the problem of language contacting on the territory of modern Russia: in the conditions of globalization taking place in the modern world, the erasure of national differences, namely regional studies of the Russian language, the definition of its regional features on the phonetic, lexical-phraseological, grammatical and other levels are becoming more important. The concept of regiolect is relatively new in linguistics; however, lexical items borrowed from another language, but used only in the zone of contact of various languages, attracted the attention of linguists. Of course, in comparison with the occurrences of West-European or Oriental languages stream units of the languages of the peoples of Russia in Russian language is of a different nature, that is a similar kind of language of movement must be described in the projection on the Russian language system, functioning in the speech of representatives of non-titular ethnic group or another national region. The purpose of the article is to update the scientific attention to this problem on the basis of Russian-Ossetian language relations, to emphasize the importance of the latter in the light of modern trends in the development of Russian society. It is argued that in historical retrospect the nature of the interaction of the languages in question was heterogeneous: the approximate similarity of the "prestigious potential" of the Slavic-Iranian influence over time gave way to a significant strengthening of the role of the Russian language, formed by virtue of this unidirected language contacts and the corresponding similar aspect of their scientific research. It is stated that certain changes that have occurred recently in the field of language policy of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, should determine the opposite, Ossetian-Russian, line of linguistic research of the relevant language contacts; this fact is objectively dictated by the nature of the latter: it is well known that any long-term ethnic contact cannot be unilateral.

Keywords: language contact, regionalism, regionalism, borrowing, Russian-Ossetian language relations.

Abaeva F.O. K’ælætdzhyn: on the Ossetic Household Lexis. Print

The article is devoted to the consideration of the term k’ælætdzhyn, "the carved wooden chair (of the elder)", the key reality among the furniture objects in the traditional Ossetic dwelling (khædzar) having special social and status significance. K’ælætdzhyn emphasized marked role of the eldest family male member in relation to the rest of several generations of the large patriarchal family. The author studies both the word and the correlated concept in the ethnolinguistic aspect. Practice has shown that this method makes it possible to describe and more deeply analyze the material under study, to identify the key points of the semantics of the word, functions and values of the realities of life of the Ossetians. Lexical and semantic analysis of ethnographism related to house furniture allows to reconstruct the traditional representation of the world, the main ethnic and cultural characteristics of the Ossetiс material world. The choice and significance for the complex study of the ethnographic object k’ælætdzhyn is justified by the fact of its gradual disappearance from life and the Ossetian vocabulary in connection with the irrelevance of the very object for everyday life. The task also includes the establishment of deep prasemantic realities; motives for preserving the word itself, its meaning and functions both in the material and spiritual life of the ethnos. The word k’ælætdzhyn belongs to the category of ethnographic vocabulary of the Ossetian language, since it names the concept, which is characteristic for the definite people, for the Ossetians in particular. Ethnographisms belong to the most ancient and stable layer of the vocabulary of the language and play significant role in the so-called basic vocabulary, despite the fact that some lexemes eventually become outdated and constitute groups of archaisms and historisms of the present-day language.

Keywords: the Ossetian language, lexis, semantics, industrial lexis, household lexicon, housewares, k’ælætdzhyn, carved wooden chair.



Abdollahi M. Number as Symbolism of Cultural Code in Shahnameh and Ossetian Nart epic. Print

The symbolism of the number evokes great interest in the context of the study of epic works. Extensive research and theory view the semantics of numbers in the folklore sources, but no comparative studies on the symbolism of numbers in the epic of the Iranian peoples and the Ossetians have been undertaken so far. However, it is reliably proven in the historical science that the Persians and the Ossetians share common historical roots, are bound by cultural and social ties. This fact is reflected in Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, who repeatedly mentioned Alan in his work. The Iranian peoples have a rich epic tradition, which goes back to ancient times and has preserved cultural, mythological and religious symbols. Both in the the Ossetian Narts’ epic, and in Shakhnameh, the concept of "Number" is widely used as the basic concept of culture. The task of the present article is to study the concept of "Number" in the Persian and Ossetian epics, to identify similarities and differences in the interpretation of their symbols. It is known that numbers have long played an important role in people's lives in different parts of the world and, apart from the quantitative index they have hidden semantic codes. The study of these meanings and the influence of the qualitative and semantic characteristics of certain numbers, such as three, four, seven, thirteen, forty and others, on the life of the Persians and the Ossetians shows their considerable similarity. As a result of the research it was proved that the numbers presented in Shahnameh and the epic legends about the Narts are inextricably linked with the mythological consciousness of peoples, with sacred symbols of their traditional culture and testify to common historical roots, cultural contacts and influences.

Keywords: Shakhnameh, Narts’ sagas, number, symbol, the Ossetian language, the Persian language.


Abisalova R.N., Kalabekova L.T. The Georges Dumézil’s Letters to Konstantin Gagkaev (1961—1983) Print

The article deals with 26 letters of the outstanding French scientist Georges Edmond Raul Dumézil to the famous Ossetian scientist, doctor of philology, linguist, folklorist, connoisseur and researcher of the Narts epic K.E. Gagkaev. Acquaintance with the epistolary heritage of outstanding scientists seems very fruitful, it allows us to penetrate into the creative laboratory, to assess the professionalism, talent, erudition of both researchers. The letters also reveal human qualities, tolerance of the discussion, respect for the opinion of the addressee. In the preface to the published sources, a brief description of the creative legacy of Dumezil and Gagkaev. It is noted that the main object of scientific interest of both scientists for more than half a century of scientific research was the Indo-European, especially Iranian, and Caucasian languages, mythology, epic. Named works of scientists, in particular, analyzed the work of Gagkaev, devoted to the studies of Dumezil on the Nartovsky epic. The letters were written by Dumezil to Gagkaev in the period of 1961-1983. They are evidence not only of the high scientific erudition of Dumezil, understanding of the subtlest nuances of Nartiada, but also of a desire to delve deeper into the features of the formation and existence in the traditional culture of the outstanding epic monument of the Ossetian people. In addition to their value of scientific observations and characteristics contained in the letters, they are distinguished by warmth, friendly disposition; contain expressions of gratitude to Gagkaev for providing scientific information. The published materials were extracted from the Scientific Archives of the North Ossetian Institute of Humanitarian and Social Research named after V.I. Abaev (K.E. Gagkaev Fond). The letters are translated from French into Russian and provided with notes containing information on the issues discussed.

Keywords: G. Dumézil, K.E. Gagkaev, epic, mythology, Narts epic, folklore, three-functional theory, social organization.