Valerik River

Valerik (Валери́к, Валарта/Valargthe) is a little river in Chechnya, a tributary of the Sunzha. The river's lower stream becomes dry in summer.


The name of the river means 'river of the dead' in Chechen. Possibly this river was a border between the Veinakhs and the Iranian peoples who lived in the steppe, and a place of bloodly battles. A neighbouring river is named Mardan, which means 'river of the dead' in Iranian languages.

Human history

In 1840 the two battles between Caucasian Imamate murids and the Russian Imperial Army, advancing towards inner Chechnya, occurred at the banks of the river. The Russians under A.V. Galafeyev (first battle) and P. Kh. Grabbe (second battle) defeated the army of Imam Shamil on 11 July and 30 October respectively. After this battle Shamil withdrew from Chechnya and retreated to Caucasian Avaria.


A battle of the Valerik River is described in Mikhail Lermontov's "Valerik" verse. Lermontov was a participant in both battles and gained recognition as a hero, but due to Nicolas I's personal negative attitude towards Lermontov, he was not awarded a medal.

The meaning of Valerik as "the river of the dead" is still used metaphorically: the battle of Komsomolskoye was referred as a "Valerik of the late 20th century".


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