In the modern Caucasus, there is almost never a court for kidnapping a bride. Several years ago, a fine for kidnappers was introduced in Chechnya - a million rubles. But this does not stop those who want to steal a girl they like and marry her.
The custom of kidnapping the bride is ancient. It has been practiced by many nations. In some cultures, traces of it are preserved to this day. Now in the Caucasus, this practice exists in three main variants.
If a girl is kidnapped for a joke, while the parents of the young are aware of what is happening, and they themselves are aware of the playfulness, then this is a tribute to tradition. Sometimes the kidnapping is committed by the conspiracy of a guy and a girl. In the third case, the girl is indeed abducted against her will, while her relatives may also be opposed to marriage.
Often, the theft of a girl is justified by Muslim traditions, but this is not true - Islam prohibits marriage without the consent of both parties. Moreover, many Muslim leaders insist that the bride's father should also be present at the wedding ceremony (nikah).
There is also a negative attitude towards abduction in the Chechen traditional law, adat. According to its standards, a woman should have the right to choose. However, even mullahs often marry after kidnapping the bride. And there are reasons for this behavior.
Nowhere to go
Caucasian parents love their daughters and are in no hurry to marry the first person who asks for their hand in marriage. And often the groom has already been appointed and will not refuse him. Then a man can start tracking down a girl he likes.
When she is left alone, she is forcibly dragged into a car and taken to a place prepared in advance. In many cases, the very fact of the abduction is already a stain on the girl's reputation, even if she was recaptured or she was able to escape. But if she was not found overnight, then this is almost a guarantee of marriage. Parents rarely accept their daughter back, although such cases occur.
Sometimes the attempts of relatives to return the girl end in conflicts with the use of weapons. If there are victims, then in this case it is rare to simply close our eyes to the situation.
Girls have the opportunity to say “no” at a religious wedding ceremony, but only a few use it - both because then the family can abandon the “stained” daughter, and because the groom often threatens with murder.
But even if the girl returns home, then few people will want to marry her later - in the eyes of a traditionally minded society, she is already disgraced. Men motivate their refusal by the fact that they do not want to marry a girl who has been touched by someone else.
A girl kidnapped by someone whom she does not want to be husbands, and rejected by relatives, either resigns herself to such a situation and consents to marriage, or commits suicide.
To maintain the appearance of legality, the groom sometimes pays compensation for the girl. The family will most likely agree without them. Secret weddings are rare.
By mutual agreement
Sometimes the bride and groom themselves choose kidnapping. For example, if the parents want to marry their daughter to their chosen groom, and the girl already has a lover. In this case, the parental fear that the daughter will be disgraced often plays into the hands of the young, and they receive consent to the wedding.
Kidnapping "by agreement of the parties" is also resolved if the groom or the bride is the youngest in the family, and their older brother or sister is not yet married. In this case, one is supposed to either wait for the wedding of the eldest son or daughter, or arrange a "forced" marriage in order to prevent shame on the whole family.
Sometimes parents are aware of a planned kidnapping. This happens if the family of the bride or groom is experiencing financial difficulties.By tradition, the wedding should be as luxurious as possible, with the participation of all relatives on both sides. But the abduction makes it possible to conduct a modest ceremony, solely for the official registration of marriage. The bride is theatrically "stolen" according to all the rules, taken to the house of her future husband, and in the morning her parents go there.
In some cases, the bride and groom find themselves in the situation of Romeo and Juliet: if they come from warring births, then kidnapping is the easiest way to achieve marriage. The conflict in this case must be resolved by the elders.
The number of reports to the police on the fact of abductions is estimated annually in the North Caucasus in the hundreds. But only a few appear before the court. The rest of the kidnappers become lawful husbands.
In 2013, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said that brides were no longer stolen in the republic. He also established a punishment for religious leaders participating in the abduction - they are threatened with deprivation of the clergy. However, despite the declarative statements of local authorities and religious leaders, the practice of kidnapping girls in the Caucasus is still a long way off.