The Balkars (Karachay-Balkar: sg. малкъар - malqar, pl. малкъарла - malqarla) are a Turkic people of the Caucasus region, the titular population of Kabardino-Balkaria. Their Karachay-Balkar language is of the Ponto-Caspian subgroup of the Northwestern (Kypchak) group of Turkic languages. Related to Crimean Tatar and Kumyk. There is also an opinion that the Balkars are remnants of a branch of the Bulgar tribe that moved into the Caucasus after the westward movement of the Hunnish wave at the beginning of the 4th century AD.

About 105,000 (2002) Balkars live in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

The term Balkar is said to be derived from Bolgar or Bulgar, the Balkars supposedly being Bulgars who lived in Onoghur and Great Bulgaria and who remained in the Caucasus as the others migrated to the Balkans and Middle Volga.

In 1944, Stalin accused the Balkars of Kabardino-Balkaria of collaborating with Nazi Germany and deported the entire population. The territory was renamed the Kabardin ASSR until 1957, when the Balkar population was allowed to return and its name was restored.

See also



  • Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (London: MacMillan, 1970) (ISBN 0-333-10575-3)
  • Alexander Nekrich, The Punished Peoples: The Deportation and Fate of Soviet Minorities at the End of the Second World War (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978) (ISBN 0-393-00068-0).

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