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Blood and honour

Chechen vendetta code

Today in the 21-century world it’s hard to imagine that many hundreds of people are at risk of falling victim to brutal blood feuds. That though is an old tradition in North-Caucasus, it goes back centuries. However, these days the terrible custom of vendetta is widespread among many Chechen people.

According to ancient Caucasian customs, a blood feud is considered a severe punishment for the most serious crimes, like murder, a personal insult or kidnapping. Even after many years, a victim’s family can take revenge on a killer and his family to defend the honour of the clan! The ancient principle of “an eye for an eye” became an endless succession of killing entire generations from conflicting families.

The authorities and religious leaders are taking action to bring about an end to the massacre. The Quran says, Allah will forgive a criminal all his sins on judgement day if he grants a pardon to his ‘brother in faith’. Special religious conciliation commissions made up of respected elders and Muftis urge opposing sides to submit to the provisions of the Holy Book. 

They counsel restraint and forgiveness of enemies to protect future generations. Sultan Mirzaev became the Supreme Mufti of Chechnya in 1990 and since then he calls fighting parties to bury the hatchet and find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

While the whole world is engaged in proclaiming UN basic principles, ethnic peoples used to live in obedience to ancient traditions adopted from their ancestors. The echo of a shot reverberate through the centuries and the law remains silent in the face of centuries-old traditions. 

RT Doc travels to the Caucasian republics to know first-hand how local government deals with the cruel consequences of traditional practices. And whether Sultan Mirzaev will manage to reconcile the archenemies you can see on RT Doc.