Zelimkhan Kharachoevsky

"To those who do everything according to the law, I have nothing against him. I have a good attitude to such a person, and I love him, respect him, and consider him a relative. To those who do not act according to the law, I have a court and judge for myself." - from Zelimkhan's letters.

Zelimkhan Gushmazukayev, one of the most famous of the last Chechen abreks of the pre-revolutionary period, was from the village of Kharachoi. Zelimkhan was known as "viceroy of the mountains" for his more than 13 years of successful actions against the Caucasian administration.

Zelimkhan came from a wealthy family, in 1901 he had already been a family man and did not think about the fate of an abrek. But an unexpected conflict, a chance, encounter between young men of rival families led to the death of Zelimkhan's relatives. In response, he carried out "blood feuds". But according to the laws of the Russian Empire he was to be put on trial for murder. And in 1901, having been imprisoned, Zelimkhan, 27, escapes and begins his fight, and thus finally closes for himself the possibility of a peaceful life. The tsarist administration put a large bounty on his head, which grew over a period of 13 years while Zelimkhan remained elusive to the authorities. A number of Chechen villages were heavily fined for hiding an abrek, and several villages suffered punitive expeditions, but none of the villagers extradited him.

Zelimkhan and his detachment participated in numerous clashes during his abrektship. He exacted revenge for murdered highlanders, he plundered banks, treasuries and the rich, and distributed the money among the poor. They were ambushing punitive detachments, and Zelimkhan, keeping pursuers alone in pursuit, was giving his comrades an opportunity to escape, and was fantastically escaping unharmed from the encirclement himself.
His ideals were the heroes of the Caucasian War. Postcards depicting Imam Shamil, Khadzhi-Murat and the chechen naibs were found in Zelimkhan's bag, which he lost by chance.

Gradually, after losing most of his unit, Zelimkhan went into the mountains. In September 1913 his location became known to the authorities. He got into an unequal fight with a detachment that surrounded a house near the village of Shali, where he was staying. Zelimkhan resisted for a long time the army, which led by the traitor to the spot, but after a long battle, on September 27, at dawn, he was killed.
Having tasted the bitterness of life, he soared in a tempest.
And chose the road of the abrek,
And the fervor of his heart has not cooled down
On the rampant stirrup of the century.
(M. Geshayev)
"Abrek Zelimkhan" 2020. Paper, tempera. 97х67.8. Poster.
"Zelimkhan Kharachoyevsky" 2019. Paper, tempera. 70.6х56.3.
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