Teip (also taip and taipa; Vaynakh тайпа taypa [ˈtajpə]: family, kin, clan, tribe[1]) is a Chechen and Ingush tribal organization or clan, self-identified through descent from a common ancestor and geographic location. There are about 130-233 teips (though some sources state that there may be as many as 300). More than 20 teips originated from newcomers, in particular Avars, Kumyks, Jews, Georgians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians. The taips descending of non-Ingush or non-Chechen ancestors are called impure teips (in other languages: söli taypa, соьли тайпа). A teip's internal dynamic is based on honor, and blood feuds play a major role.

The teip membership and the tukkhum membership defined the social position of a Chechen. The lack of any affiliation of a person can be described as “This man has neither a teip nor a tukkhum”.

Traditional teip rules and featuresEdit

Common teip rules and some features:[2]

  • The right of communal land tenure
  • Common revenge for murder of a teip member or insulting of the members of a teip
  • Unconditional exogamy
  • Election of a teip representative for Tukhum Council of Elders.
  • Election of a headman
  • Election of a military head (in other languages: bjachi, bjači, бячча) in case of war
  • Election of a Teip Council of Elders without property qualification
  • Open sessions of the Council of Elders
  • Equal right of all members of the Council of Elders
  • The right of the teip to depose its representatives
  • Representation of women by male relatives
  • The right of the adoption of outside people
  • The transfer of property of departed to members of the teips
  • Every teip has a name derived from the ancestor
  • The teip has a defined territory and a traditional mountain
  • The teip had a teip tower or another building or natural monument convenient as a shelter, e.g. a fortress, cave or rock
  • In the past the teip had its own Godhead
  • The teip had specific festivities, customs, traditions and habits
  • The teip had an own taip cemetery
  • There was a common teip hospitality

List of teipsEdit

Below is a list of teips with the tukkhum to which it belongs, a short description, relation to the Russian Chechen conflict and notable members:

  • Cheberloy (Chabarloy, Chebarloj) tukkhum (Russian: Чебарлой) - Very close-knit, nationalism and tribalism is really popular.
    • Nijaloy (Russian: Нижалой)
    • Makazhoy (Russian: Макажой) - Known for extreme violence. Many of their fighters died in the first and second Chechen war.
    • Rigakhoy (Russian: Ригахой)
    • Buni (Russian: Буни)
  • Sharoy tukkhum (Russian: Шарой) - Seen as brother tukhum of Cheberloy
  • Shotoy tukkhum (Russian: Шотой) - Seen as brother tukhum of Cheberloy
    • Varandoy (Russian: Варандой)– one of the best known highland teips. Of outer roots according to Russian accounts.
    • Keloy (Russian: Келой) - one of the indigenous Chechen teips.[3] Representatives of this teip historically predominantly lived in several localities: Hal-Keloy (sometimes Hal-Kiloy), Nokhch-Keloy, Yukherch-Keloy.
  • Akkiy tukkhum (Russian: Аккий)
  • Myalkhi tukkhum (Russian: Мялхи) - Close-knit, with a different type of blood feud, they kill the head of a social group instead of the killer.
  • Nokhchmakhkakhoy tukkhum (Russian: Нохчмахкахой)
  • Orstkhoi tukkhum (Russian: Орстхой)
  • Terloy tukkhum (Russian: Терлой)
    • Beshni (Russian: Бешни), a highland south-eastern teip. Has its own mountain – Beshni-Lam.
    • Chinkhoi(Chonkhoy)(Russian: Чинхой). Teip with pro-federal position.
  • Chantiy tukkhum (Russian: Чантий)

An ancient highland teip. Often called the "naive" teip for its members being too generous and warmhearted. The members of this teip have never really been on a particular side (pro-Russian or independist), but always stayed on the side which favors the Chechen nation. Chanti/chonti from Kalmyk language means "a place where wolves are present")

  • Tukkhum is not known
    • Chinnakhoy (Russian: Чиннахой) - Related to the Chantiy.
    • Marshaloy (Russian: Маршалой)
    • Mulkoy (Russian: Мулкой), a small highland teip in Shatoysky District.
    • Nashkhoy (Russian: Нашхой) – ethnogenetic center of Nokhchimatnens in the Middle Ages. Older brother of the Makazhoy teip(Cheberloy).
    • Peshkhoy (Russian: Пешхой)
    • Satoy (Russian: Сатой)– teip from Beltoj.
    • Turkoy (Russian: Туркой) . Turkic teip.
    • Khindkhoy (Russian: Хиндхой), a small teip located in the region of Galanchozha.
    • Kalkhoy (Russian: Калхой) highland teip.
    • Yalkhoroy (Russian: Ялхорой) – the Yalkhoroi village is named after this teip. Were helped by the Cheberloy army when they were attacked by an army of unknown origin.
    • Zumsoy (Russian: Зумсой) – highland teip.
    • Zurzakkhoy (Russian: Зурзакхой)

Ethnic minority teips- Teip-based assimilationEdit

Historically, if non-Chechen minorities living in Chechen lands wanted to take part in the political processes of the Chechen nation, and integrate into it, they would request admittance as an ethnic teip. They would continue, for a time, to speak their other languages, but also learned Chechen. Due to the encouragement of teip exogamy, as the generations passed, they would come to be heavily intermarried into the Chechen nation and as a result, be slowly Chechenized culturally and linguistically. The level of Chechenization varies between these foreign-origin teips, with some well-preserving their cultural traits and others not. They are nonetheless known as impure teips (not in a derogatory sense), for their foreign origin. Their loyalty to the nation is not any more in question than a Chechen-origin teip.

In total there are at least 45 teips which officially declare their non-Chechen heritage. However, it is highly likely that there are many other teips with foreign origin who simply forgot their long-past ancestry. However, any such speculation on an individual teips origins contradicting their own official beliefs is highly controversial.

A notable modern example of the formation of an ethnic teip is the Germans who lived among the Chechens during their exile in Kazakhstan and Siberia: during even as short a period of 13 years, the Germans decided to join the teip system, and the new "German" taip was founded by M.Weisert, whose relatives still lived mainly in Germany.[4] There have also been several periods where Jews living in Chechnya founded their own teip, which is still in existence, though it has shrunk considerably due to the flight of people from Chechnya due to the brutal war. There are also teips that were formed, sometimes temporarily, by Russians, Poles or Ukrainians.

There are a handful of peoples which actually have more than one ethnic teip in the teip system. There are 2 Russian teips (because Russians joined at two different periods), 2 Circassian teips (one for Kabardins and one for Western Adyghe), 6 Georgian teips, and 30 "Dagestani" teips, made up of the peoples of Dagestan (some of the teips in Chechnya may have been formed by peoples who are now in fact extinct in Dagestan).

Most ethnic teips are not incorporated into Tukkhums.

Incorporation of former Nakh peoples: Foreign-origin but not impure teipsEdit

Also, two Chechen tukkhums, Myälxii and Erštxoy, are thought by some to have originally been separate Nakh peoples (the Malkh and the Arshtins). Both tukkhums speak highly divergent dialects from "Standard Chechen". If they are of foreign origin, they were absorbed as tukkhums because they already contained teips and were much larger than a typical teip, so they had to be absorbed as tukkhums. However, how separate they were from Chechens is speculative, as the relationship was most likely rather fluid (as can be seen with Ingush and Chechens today, or Czechs and Slovaks).

Smaller Nakh peoples may have been absorbed as teips. Amjad Jaimoukha wrote in his book The Chechens: A Handbook that he suspects the Chechen teip Sadoy is actually the remnant of the Isadiks, a Nakh people formerly bordering the Chechens who were wiped out (probably by Scythian invaders) in Ancient times. Likewise, he suspects that the Ingush teip Khamkhi is a remnant of the Khamekits, another former Nakh nation that was wiped out. These teips are not considered to be of foreign origin because their origin is Nakh.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Нохчийн-Оьрсийн словарь (Chechen-Russian Dictionary, A.G. Matsiyev, Moscow, 1961), also available online: Чеченско-Русский словарь: “схьаIенадала-такхадала” Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine; and Ингушско-Русский словарь (online Ingush-Russian dictionary) Archived 2012-08-17 at WebCite (in Russian)
  2. ^ Traditional Social Organisation of Chechen people Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Мамакаев М. А. Чеченский тайп (род) в период его разложения : научн.-исслед. раб. / Ред. Х. М. Джабраилов. — [Переизд. работы 1934 г., пересмотр. версия]. — Гр. : Чечено-Ингушское книжное изд-во, 1973. — 100 с. — 10 000 экз.
  4. ^ http://www.shamsali.org/taj/chechnat.html#demo

External linksEdit