The Kirghiz of Russia in XIX to early XX centuries: their quantity and location

Naila Bekmakhanova
Institute of History of RAS

The Kirghiz of Russia in the XIX to early XX centuries: their quantity and location

47th Meeting of the PIAC, Cambridge 2004

The Kirghiz people consist of three cognate tribes. They are on-kanat (right wing), sol-kanat (Ieft wing) and bulgachy group (ichkilik group in another nomination). Ethnically S. M. Abramzon outlines several components of their origins. They are main Central Asian elements (ancient Turks, Kazakhs, Nogays and Mongols) and other ethnic elements. For instance, the ethnic group of Sart-Kalmaks that lived long time close to Kirghiz now call themselves also “kirghiz” and musulmans. The group of Kalmak-Kirghiz includes kirghiz elements, Kazakihs and Tuvins. This group is lamaistic. The group of Chala-Kazakhs includes Kirghiz, Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Uighurs, but now they call themselves also “kirghiz”.

For the first half of the XIX century the quantity of the Kirghiz population according to the calculations of P. E. Keppen, P. P. Semionov-Tienshensky, K. Ritter and N. Y. Bichurin was in Bugu kin 11 thousand chariots (55–60 thousand men), in Sary-bagis kin 16,5 thousand chariots (80–90 thousand men), in Sayak kin 10 thousand chariots (around 50 thousand men), etc. E. Bardashev counted about 200 thousand men that integrated Russia in 1850s. There were approximately 150 thousand men in Kokand and Khiva. The total number of all Kirghiz was around 350 thousand men.

N. A. Aristov aggregated all published statistical materials for the second half of the XIX century. It was about 318,388 Kirghiz, 304,388 inside Russia and 14,000 outside. Acccording to our estimation there were 353,126 men in the late 1860s. In the end of the 1890s there were 634,800 men and in 1917 there were 737,200 men. Geographically they were located in Central Tien-Shan: 24,000 men; Tokmak ouyezd: 87,344 men; Issik-Kul ouyezd: 60,596 men; Hodgent uoyezd: 9,370 men; Fergana Oblast: 105,216 men; Talas: 47,800 men; Pamir: 2,221 men; Buhara: 4,000 men; Eastern Turkestan: 10,000 men and Kuldja: 2,579 men.

The proportion of all Kirghiz to the total population of Russia in 1917 dropped from 0,51% to 0,43% by 0,08 percentage points as we suppose that some Kirghiz emigrated out of Russia in 1916–1917 with other peoples of Russia.