(Own name: Malkarli)
Caucasian people, closely related to Karachai, who speak a Western
Turki (Kipchak) language. Today they live in Kabardino-Balkaria,
where they constitute an absolute minority of 10 per cent. Ethnically
descendent from a tribal mixture, maybe the Khazars, they have
been known in the Caucasus region since the fourteenth century.
Living in the high glacier regions, they were, until this century
called Mountain Tatars or Mountain Kabards. Balkars turned to
Islam in the eighteenth century under Nogai and Tatar influence,
and were incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1827. On 8 March
1944 the entire Balkar population was deported and spread throughout
the Kazak and Kirgiz republics. In 1957 they were permitted to
return to their former republic, but not always their original
homes. Originally a herding people, they were mainly settled in
collective and state farms. Since their return they have felt
discriminated against regarding admission to higher education.
In 1991 the First Congress of the Balkar People met with the aim
of obtaining equal political participation and to restore their
homeland, by demanding their territorial rights and full rehabilitation
for losses during the years of deportation.
This information is taken from "The North Caucasus: Minorities
at a Crossroads" written by Helen Krag and Larsh Funch.