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Key words
life providing systems, cattle breeding, the Caucasus, mountain villages, Pshavs, Khevsurs, Tushes, mountainous Dagestan
About the Author
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Senior lecturer, University Scholarly Centre of Social Anthropology, Russian State University for

This paper is financially supported by the grant of the Russian Fund for Humanities No. 15-01-00445 "Construction of meanings of life: Reality and its perception in Russia and adjacent countries (socio-anthropological studies)", led by professor O. Yu. Artemova, supervised by academician V. A. Tishkov, within the research group of theUniversity Scholarly Centre of Social Anthropology, Russian State University for Humanities, which had included O. Yu. Artemova, Yu. V. Artemova and M. I. Drambyan, with participation and aid from K. U. Begiashvili i V. V. Novikov.


This article considers contemporary situation in life providing systems among several ethnic groups, which reside in mountain areas of the Northern and Southern Caucasus. The author considers subculture groups within the Georgian ethnic massif, i. e. Khevsurs, Pshav, Tush as well as inhabitants of Mountain Dagestan. The Khevsurs and the Pshavs reside at traditional resettlements in mountains of Eastern Georgia. The Tushes live in Kakhetia, in the Alazani valley of the Republic of Georgia where they have moved from the mountains of Tushetiya. The Avars of Mountain Dagestan and the Tabasarans live now on the plane near Derbent the city, but they have moved there during Soviet period from mountain regions of Southern Dagestan. Material for the paper has been recorded by the author during field researches. Disintegration of the Soviet Union led to a rupture of economic relations between different regions, residents of mountain settlements lost an opportunity to use flat pastures both because of emergence of frontiers, and with emergence of a private ownership on the land. Disintegration of existing economy system of the USSR led to reduction of jobs in mountains and thus new life providing practices have acquired signs of archaization. Concrete cases of real vital strategy of mountaineers are described in details. Despite a cultural and political difference between regions, it is possible to track the general tendencies. Despite advent of modernization (technological, social and economic) during the Soviet period, socialist system caused also a sort of preserving impact on many aspects of economic life of mountaineers. The author presents a hypothesis about a structural conflict between traditional economic systems with economy of the modernized societies.


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