Slavery was a deeply ingrained social institution in the North Caucasus. As in other societies with slaves, slavery in the North Caucasus spilled well beyond the economics of coerced labor, becoming firmly interlaced with local traditions, including institutions of retributive justice. The custom of blood revenge stands out as the most infamous example of this connection.

The Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

The chapter presents a document discovered in the archives of Russia’s viceroyalty in the Caucasus. Written in Arabic (the lingua franca of Muslims in the Caucasus) but notarized by a tsarist official in Russian, this
document records the sale of a Circassian child slave girl named Bikka in 1864, three years after Russia abolished serfdom in the empire.

Russian- Arab Worlds: A Documentary History
(Oxford University Press 2023)

The Russian administration in the Caucasus frequently documented its encounters with individual cases of enslavement through oral testimonies of runaway or manumitted slaves who sought Russian intercession. Such testimonies varied in length and generally reflected the narrow imperatives of knowledge that was deemed essential for the efficient functioning of the local imperial bureaucracy. One such archival folio documented the story of captivity, enslavement, and eventual return to homeland of a Georgian man named Joseph.

Peripheral Histories?

In the nineteenth century, the world experienced a great shortage of one of the most precious commodities of the time – medicinal leeches. But where many saw adversity, others recognized opportunity. Such recognition brought merchants like Pietro Battso from the Kingdom of Sardinia to the South Caucasus in 1844.

The Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia

This paper explores competing narratives of the Stalinist and Soviet past in the Republic of Georgia through examination of two public history sites: the Stalin Museum in Gori and the exhibit of the Soviet Occupation at the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi. 

The Public Historian (2020) 42 (3): 33–60.