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Chechen Ethics

Chechen ethics has three levels:
1) Adamalla (humanity) – the system of universal human norms;
2) Nokhchalla (this word literally means “Chechen-ness”) – the system of particular Chechen norms;
3) Konakhalla (“konakh” means “noble man”, “konakhalla” is what makes him such) – the system of the highest ethical norms.
“Konakhalla” can be compared to Bushido and Confucius’s teachings. Like Bushido, it was originally warrior’s code of ethics. Although there are many similar traits between them, there is also a difference. Unlike feudal Japan, Chechnya was a democratic country. Chechen konakhs served their nation and Motherland. They highly valued their personal freedom and dignity….

Although they were respectful to others, they considered other people equal to themselves. They did not commit ritual suicide because any suicide was against “Konakhalla”.

Who is a konakh?

1. For konakh, the main goal and meaning of life is service to his nation and his Motherland. For him, interests of the nation and Motherland are above his personal interests.
2. Konakh gives an oath to serve and serves only to Motherland. He is ready to sacrifice his life for Motherland, but never, in no circumstances, konakh gives up his personal dignity and honor.
3. The highest expression of konakh’s service is the defense of Motherland from enemy’s attacks. For konakh, death in the just war or at the defense of his honor and dignity is more preferable than life in dishonor and shame.
4. Creative labor for the benefit of Motherland in peaceful time is konakh’s duty in the same way as defense of his country during the war. Labor does not humiliate, but raises konakh’s dignity.
5. In any circumstances, konakh should respect his Motherland and his nation’s choice. He should be able to submit his personal desires and preferences to this choice, even if he has to go against his beliefs.
6. Konakh should remember that for him Motherland, personal dignity and honor are higher than life. However, when he has to choose between Motherland’s interests and his honor, konakh leaves Motherland.
7. Serving to Motherland, konakh does not expect thankfulness for his actions. For konakh, there is no higher reward than people’s thankful memory.
8. Konakh’s actions and emotions are controlled by his mind, and his heart helps him to avoid extremes. However, the basis of konakh’s attitude to the world is humanity. Everything beyond is not worthy for konakh.
9. The essence of humanity is wisdom, humanist attitude to the world and people, mercy, and compassion. Konakh’s humanity and mercy are expressed not only in compassion to people, but also in defending and helping them. First of all, konakh has to be merciful to week and powerless people.
10. Justice is the real measure of konakh’s relationships with people. He has to be fair to people in the same way as to himself. In his actions, konakh follows the principle of mutuality: “Do not do to others what may be unpleasant to you.”
11. Konakh’s nobility is expressed not only in justice, but also in respect toward people regardless of their age and social status. In communication with people, he should be very polite, restrained, and humble.
12. Konakh’s main riches are his honor and personal dignity. All the other benefits of this world may be regained after lost, but the lost honor may be regained only through the honorable death.
13. Spiritual purity is a mirror which reflects konakh’s inner essence and his actions. Without spiritual purity, there cannot be genuine humanity and compassion.
14. Genuine courage is expressed in patience and ability to control oneself and the situation. Unreasonable bravery is courage with closed eyes. It is forgivable for a young man who does not know the price of his nor other’s life. Konakh’s self-control is courage of the knowledgeable person, it is an acknowledged step toward death.
15. Genuine faith and justice are konakh’s highest spiritual goal. Konakh learns the essence of the world by his mind and heart. He learns the essence of faith by his heart and soul. In religious matters, konakh follows the Prophet’s words: “There is no compulsion in the religion”.
16. Konakh should always train his mind, comprehend wisdom and experience of others, learn sciences that give a key to understanding of the world because it is only through the knowledge that is possible to come to the genuine faith and comprehension of justice.
17. Konakh should be modest in religious rituals. He never emphasizes his religiousness and does not substitute the genuine faith with the form. For konakh, the inner essence of faith is always more important than its outward expression because the first is pleasant to God while the second is pleasant to people.
18. Konakh is ready to meet any tests that his destiny sends him. However, he always remembers that God always gives him a choice between good and evil and he is ready to be responsible for his choice before God and people.
19. Konakh never gives up trust in God. It helps him in unequal battle and in any hard circumstances. It is his source of his inner power and patience.
20. Konakh is tolerant to people of other religions. He does not force them to follow his views or living. Compulsion causes hypocrisy, and hypocrisy is incompatible with the genuine faith.
21. Konakh should not infringe on personal dignity and honor of other people. He should be lenient toward their weaknesses and errors.
22. Konakh should be able not only to defend his opinion, but also to listen to others’ opinion and agree with it if it is correct. To admit that somebody else is right, to give up in an argument or quarrel to a weaker opponent is not a weakness, but expression of nobility.
23. When somebody makes good to konakh, he repays many times more because thankfulness is an attribute of a noble person. However, he does not expect thankfulness when he makes good.
24. Konakh should behave himself with dignity both in joy and in sorrow. Shadow of sadness on one’s face and gloomy silence are inappropriate in a feast in the same way as laugh and talkativeness in a funeral. In any situation, he has to express self-control and calmness.
25. Konakh should respect and honor his parents, take care for them, and give them provision when they are old. He has to share with them not only lodging and bread, but also joy and sorrow.
26. In his family, konakh should be as just as in society. In both punishment and reward, he has to be stable and self-controlled. He should not offend or use physical punishment toward his family members.
27. Konakh should be modest in life, everyday living, and social matters. Konakh’s intelligence, courage, and actions first of all should be evaluated by others. However, even subjectivity of this evaluation does not give him right to praise himself.
28. Honor and dignity of a woman are inviolable for konakh. Konakh will never allow anyone to offend a woman in his presence.
29. A woman’s life is double inviolable for konakh. Under no circumstances, konakh will use an armor against her or will threaten to use it.
30. Konakh will never cause a child pain or suffering. There is no goal which would cause konakh to sacrifice life or health of children.
31. For konakh, guest’s life and freedom is more precious than his own life. However, he is not responsible for the guest who committed a crime.
32. In a foreign country, konakh should not only keep its laws, but also to respect its customs and traditions and follow them if it does not contradict his national dignity. In this way, he expresses his thankfulness of this country’s air and bread.
33. Konakh’s nobility is expressed in the ethics of his behavior. No circumstances are able to make konakh violate the etiquette.
34. For konakh, friendship is sacred. Konakh is ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of friendship. He loves genuine friend like a brother, respects like a father and honors like a dear guest.
35. In friendship, konakh should be faithful and devoted. Defending his friend, konakh does not spare his life. He is equally known by friendship and enmity.
36. Generosity is the measure of konakh’s attitude to his enemy.
37. At the war, konakh should not go beyond what is permissible toward an enemy. He should not give a freedom to his feeling of anger and malice.
38. Konakh expresses nobility and mercy toward a defeated enemy. He prefers a noble enemy to an unfaithful friend.
39. Konakh should not use an armor against an unarmed enemy. He is obligated to render help to a seriously wounded enemy in the same way as he would do it to any other person.
40. Konakh should do his best to avoid battle against a weaker enemy because any result of such a battle will not give him glory, but may disgrace his name. If he is unable to avoid it, he should give the enemy an opportunity to choose an armor and to be lenient to him.
41. Konakh should not avoid battle against a stronger enemy. However, he always prefers peace if it is possible without a damage to the nation’s interests, his honor and personal dignity.
42. Konakh should keep best traditions of his family, remember his ancestors, respect his background and his nation’s history.
43. Konakh should perfect his spirit and body his whole life in order to serve his nation with the highest benefit.
44. Konakh is responsible for his words and actions. He always fulfills his promises given to other people and never violates his promises, even at the cost of his life.
45. Konakh may have healthy ambition, but jealousy to other’s glory or riches is unworthy of him. It makes mind not clear and fills heart with poison. Where there is jealousy, there is no humanity and no mercy.
46. Feeling of competition may help konakh to reach goal more quickly, but it is inappropriate toward a friend or a brother. Competition for Motherland is noble, but competition for personal glory is unworthy.
47. Konakh should avoid lie and slander as well as people who spread them. He never says about people what he would not say in their presence. About dead people or people in trouble, konakh says good or nothing.
48. Konakh’s truthfulness and sincerity come from courage. However, there is nothing more unworthy for him than hypocrisy. It comes from baseness and cowardice and almost always cause treachery.
49. Politeness and respect should not become ingratiation and sycophancy toward rich and mighty people. Konakh should express a special respect only to women and elderly people. Respectful attitude toward older people is an expression of good manners, respectful attitude toward women is an expression of manliness, and respectful attitude toward younger people is an expression of nobility.
50. Under no circumstances, konakh should infringe other’s property.
51. Konakh is permitted to accumulate riches. Accumulated through the righteous way, riches of genuine konakh can serve not only his interests, but also interests of his nation and Motherland. Greediness and meanness are able to make useless the best attributes of any person in the same way as the excessive extravagance is able to impoverish the most rich person. Generosity increases both konakh’s glory and his wellbeing.
52. Konakh should courageously bear all the hardships of life that he has, including physical sufferings.
53. Konakh has a respectful attitude to his armor, he respects it, do not use it without a need, never uses it for gain or unrighteous deed.
54. Konakh should be ready to die at any moment because there is nothing eternal in this world. However, konakh should not pursue death and risk his life without necessity because life is the highest God’s highest gift to a human being.
55. Konakh’s death should be as dignified as his life.

Cultural Corner

“You Want to End Conflict, Ignorance, and Poverty? Start a Children’s Online Newspaper”

See what the University of Irvine California wrote about the Roddy Scott Foundations project to bring Journalistic skills to the children of Pankisi and start the process of literate self advocacy.

In the Pankisi Valley of Georgia, students in a foundation-sponsored English Language program are enriching their language study by generating an online English language newspaper – Pankisi Times. Since the paper’s inception, student engagement in producing the Times has served as an example of the type of “self-generated learning” associated with Sugata Metra and his “Hole in the Wall” experiments in India. By researching and writing articles for the newspaper, Pankisi youth are not only improving their language acquisition and gaining computer skills but also distancing themselves from the effects of recent conflict while countering their geographic isolation.

The Valley
Pankisi Valley from Roddy Scott Education Center

The Pankisi Valley, situated in North Georgia, bordering Chechnya, is inhabited primarily by ethnic Chechens – called Kists – who came to the valley in the 19th century, and by recent refugees from the wars in Chechnya. The Russian-Chechen Wars (1994-1996 and 1999-2009) encouraged not only an influx of refugees from the intense fighting that spread throughout Chechnya but also the intrusion of Chechen fighters and foreign militants looking for a place to train and regroup. Refugees and militants both brought their fundamentalist Islamic beliefs, with Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia introduced into the historically Sunni Muslim community previously identified with the Sufist branch linked to Central Asia.
By 2002 the Valley had gained an international reputation for kidnapping, drug-dealing, and arms-trading, with governments, including Georgia, banning travel to the region. This also was the year when freelance British war journalist Roddy Scott, in the company of Chechens, was killed by Russian troops.

Introducing an English Language Program: A Memorium and a Counterbalance
Roddy Scott Foundation

Five years after Roddy Scott was killed, his parents and friends chose to honor his memory by establishing the Roddy Scott Foundation to provide English language instruction for children in the Pankisi Valley. It was the intention of Mr. Scott’s parents, Robin and Stina, and Vlad Lozinski, former international news journalist, that participation in the foundation’s language program would stimulate children’s interest in the outside world and thus counter conflict and ignorance. Local teachers, who were provided summer training at the American Academy of Tbilisi, were solicited to teach an initial class of 45 students.
As the program progressed, it gained support from private individuals and organizations, with the embassies of The Netherlands and Estonia, among others, donating computers and helping with building restoration.

Emergence of Pankisi Times
As students became more familiar with using computers, they expressed a desire to “do something” with their developing language skills. At the same time, Mr. Lozinski was observing that enthusiasm among the English language teachers seemed to have plateaued. With encouragement from Mr. Lozinski, students decided to create an online newspaper, in English, and thus Pankisi Times was added to their language study activities. The students selected their own topics, conducted their own research, and composed their own articles in the English language class. Mr. Lozinski agreed to serve as grammar and spelling editor; but, as he explained during his 2013 TEDx presentation in Tbilisi, he provides minimum correction in order to maintain the “student voice.”

Presenting at TEDx Tbilisi

Observing a Sunday Session

Currently, the Roddy Scott Foundation is providing English language instruction to about 200 young people – elementary through high school – from 12:30 to 2:30 or 2:30 to 4:30 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fourteen of the more advanced students (generally 11 to 14 years old) contribute to Pankisi Times. During their afternoon sessions, they alternate language instruction, where they write news articles by hand, and time on the computers, where they type in their stories.
Once the articles are written, the students send the articles to Mr. Lozinski (who may be in London, Sydney, Warsaw, or Paris) via a radio link (dongle) since the Valley is not yet wired. He reviews the articles and establishes a time to Skype with the students while they are in the Saturday or Sunday classes. During the Skype session that I observed, Mr. Lozinski suggested grammar corrections and then challenged the student to think about how they might have been changed by producing an online newspaper. Recently, I noticed that one of the articles in the latest edition of Pankisi Times is titled “The Result of my Learning.”

Since the first edition of Pankisi Times, students have continued to select their own topics for the newspaper articles, which, on the day of my visit, included Forests in our Valley, the Star Spangled Banner, Environmental Pollution, Sights in my Village, the Importance of Friends, and the Power of Ads. Mr. Lozinski commented that he has observed an evolution in content since the first edition, from initial articles that reflected adult-influenced themes, to articles about what the students and their friends were thinking, to more recent analyses of global issues – e.g., climate change.
The Roddy Scott Foundation English Language Program and Pankisi Times rely upon donations from private individuals and from foundations and embassies to maintain the program. Aside from expenses associated with servicing donated computers, paying English instructors, and maintaining the facility, the cost of producing an online newspaper is minimal, particularly when considering the benefits. As demonstrated in the Pankisi Valley, an online student newspaper can be an effective means of deepening student engagement in their language learning while incorporating computer skills, stimulating interest in issues beyond the immediate environment, and connecting communities with people and places in the world beyond.

Past events, Photojournal, Support Us, Supporters and donors

Letter from a former pupil. Beka Umarashvili

To Roddy Scott foundation

I am happy with the fact that Roddy Scott Foundation still operates and actively encourages our talented generation in Pankisi. If by chance I happen to hear or see news of this Foundation I still feel a sense of pride and I think of all the happy days that I spent here. I can cry tears of joy over my happy life that was built on the foundation. It is impossible not to use those things that you received and learned from the Foundation. It is knowledge that represents your power, and I was gifted by this power of education to go forward in life . For some reason we were chosen by American Academies, where we were able to keep up our English, and get sociable in the English language medium . We had an unforgettable time in the summer school where we learned English with Georgians by the initiative of the Roddy Scott Foundation. This year we had national exams in different subjects and one of them was foreign language, so the English courses that I had in the foundation really helped me to do the best and get more points than ever! And what’s more during the time of learning we were able to get more friends, get closer with them; also I met foreigners, who helped me to find my way in a career in the future. The foundation is really helpful for all of the students, to get a higher education in English, also to become more sociable in the sense of engaging in the wider world and more talented! Lots of students who thought that they couldn’t do anything at all, well you know – the foundation helped them to find themselves in this society and make life better than they could imagine ever. Thanks Roddy Scott foundation for giving the best teachers, students, and for the best director and for the best chances we ever had to go into life confident of our future lives. Marsho!

Beka Umarashvili

Student of Robakidze state University (Tourism administration)

Latest NEWS, News from the RSF Teaching Project in the Pankisi, Georgia

With thanks to the McLain association for children

We have to give a huge thanks for the enormously generous grant of $25000 from the McLain Association for Children, which has provided financial stability over the last year for the continuation of the Foundation over the last year. They have made the schools running viable and we hope the results are proof of the worthiness of this cause that education and education and education ( to paraphrase a certain famous leader) is the only route out of poverty to a brighter future. With many thanks again for your enormous generosity and foresight.

RSF trustees

Supporters and donors

Recent successes in national exams

These are the impressive results of the Foundations first batch of school students who have performed so well in their national exams in written and spoken English.
the results speak for themselves and for the hard work and effort of the pupils and the many generous individuals and donors who mae this venture possible. They lead the way we hope for future generations to be inspired to better themselves through the old fashioned values of hard work and pride in educational achievement. The early signs are promising and a great foundation for the future.

Sometimes for the media and the outside world Pankisi turns into the place from where only bad things can you expect, but my generation will be able to change your opinion about this very tiny place, RSF student are the first who who will manage it through the education and hardworking. They have a very big success in United National Exams. Especially in English.

The first RSF course graduates participated in the exams. So our students results are:

1. Umarashvili Beka 96
2. Kushanashvili Albina 91
3. Duishvili Zahra 89
4. Pareulidze Linda 86
5. Khangoshvili Rumisa 84
6. Kavtarashvili Mariana 82
7. Baghakashvili Fatima 81
8. Kavtarashvili Arbi 76
9. Khangoshvili Omar 74
10. Mutoshvili Beslan 72
11. Gaurgashvili Zalina 71
12 Kavtarashvili Malika 70

‘We were looking forward to hearing the response to our results, and we are so very proud of our friends, and think that for all of Pankisi students its a perfect example for future students to follow our way. One may say we could have achieved higher grades but for us children communicating in Chechen learning Georgian at school and learning English as third or fourth language, I think its great success.’

P.S. Congratulation all of RSF first graduates became students. Love you all.

By: Maia Bagakashvili, Feride Kavtarashvili, Malika Margoshvili

Latest NEWS


Updating this website to bring friends and supporters upto date with the plans and goings on of the Roddy Scott Foundation should start in earnest this autumn. We will be show casing the achievements of the Foundations pupils who have performed outstandingly well in National exams in Georgia in written and spoken English.
We shall be looking at new ideas for projects and of course seeking funding and partners to make those aims a reality.
Sadly we have lost a trustee due to personal demands of work but hope that her departure will not be a permanent one, and will act as a spur to action!
Thank you Helen!

Latest NEWS

Dr Humayun Khan in Conversation with Victoria Schofield

7pm on July 6th at Throstle Nest Farm, Summerbridge HG3 4JS

Dr Humayun Khan, retired Pakistani diplomat and Foreign Secretary, will talk with author Victoria Schofield.

Drinks and canopies – £15

Please call 01423 780449 to book.

Past events

Gordon Corera & David Loyn in Discussion

BBC Security Correspondent Gordon Corerea in conversation with BBC Foreign Correspondent David Loyn, at North Stainley Village Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, on Friday 13th April 2012. We do hope you’ll be able to join us for what promises to be an interesting and enjoyable evening in aid of the Roddy Scott Foundation.

If you’d like a copy of the above poster you can down load it here:

Download Gordon Corera & David Loyn April 2012 Event Poster

Past events

Nidderdale Kite Festival and Picnic


Bring a picnic, fly a kite and have some fun in a beautiful location and help us to help others!!!!

Nidderdale Kite Festival in aid of the Roddy Scott Foundation

Nidderdale Kite Festival in aid of the Roddy Scott Foundation

Date:- 20th and 21st

August 2011

Venue:- New Causeway Farm, Fellbeck, Harrogate, HG3 5EW

Entrance Fee:- £6 per person day ticket (free car parking)

Or – £6 per person + £20/car includes entry for both days + overnight camping + post flight party Toddlers Free of Charge

Time:- 10.30am – 6.30pm day ticket holders each day Or 10.30am Saturday – 6.30pm Sunday for campers

For more information contact:- Howie 07976 853092 Robin/Stina 01423 780449

Kite making workshops, Kites for sale, Light refreshments, Evening bar and music (for campers only).

Click for map


Past events