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Chechnya passes constitutional amendment giving republic’s leader title of ‘Mehk-Da,’ or ‘Father of the People’

Chechnya’s parliament has adopted a constitutional amendment that officially defines the Chechen-language title of the republic’s leader as “Mehk-Da,” according to Magomed Daudov, Chechnya’s parliamentary speaker.

Last week, when he announced the bill, Daudov said that the title has historically been used by inhabitants of the region and that it can be translated as “the republic’s highest official,” but he added that the most accurate translation would be “a leader who is responsible for his people.” At the same time, RFE/RL's affiliate in Chechnya, Kavkaz.Realii, reported that the term literally translates to “father of the territory,” but that it’s used to mean “father of the people.” The outlet Caucasian Knot, meanwhile, translated it as “father of the country.”

Makka Albogachiyeva, a research in the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography’s Caucasian Ethnography Department, told Caucasian Knot that neither the Ingush term Mehk-Da nor its Chechen equivalent, Mehkhan Da, was historically used in the region, and that the title arose recently as an informal way to refer to the region’s head.

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