Place and Role of the Biy Council and People's Assembly in the Traditional Kazakh Society of the XVIII-XIX Centuries (Following the Data of the Pre-Revolutionary Russian Historiography)

  •  Zhanna S Mazhitova    


This work is aimed at studying the issue of representation of degree of biys' influence on the khan authority, including one performed through the Byi councils and people's assemblies, by the Russian pre-revolutionary researchers of the traditional Kazakh society. Biys in Kazakh steppes were not only the judges, but also served as clan leaders and were the driving force of the Kazakh society. Their role can be traced in on the works by the pre-revolutionary researchers of the region. Pre-revolutionary sources of the XVIII-XIX centuries show that all the issues of the inner and outer policy of the Kazakh clans were solved by the biys. Here we should point out the fact that such a strong position of biys is characteristic not only for the times of decay of khan authority in the steppe (the second half of the XVIII century), but also for the period of a quite strong centralized authority of the Tauke-khan era. Some sources call the Tauke-khan era the "golden century". He shared his authority for many issues with biys and didn't take any serious measures for the Kazakh steppe administration without biys' advice. The degree of biys' influence of the khan authority can be traced in the question of a khan election, which vividly illustrates the force and significance of the biy-batyr class while his electing. Analysing the works of the pre-revolutionary researchers which explain these institutions almost completely, the author make a conclusion that such government authorities allowed controlling the khan's activity and decisions in such a way that no important conclusion could be made regardless of the people's interests. In the conclusion the author summarises that the biy council and people's assembly gradually decline their importance while the Kazakh grounds entering Russia.

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