The Oirats, ancestors of the Kalmyks, participated in the campaigns of Chingis Khan and his descendants as military units. There is a widespread view among Kalmyk scholars that the names of these units turned later into various ethnonyms such as Derbet (cavalry), Torghut (guards of the khan's residence), and Khoshud (vanguard units).

The Derbets of Kalmykia are the descendants of those, who together with other Oirat tribes, came to the Volga region from Dzungaria at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Derbet consists of various clans or lineages, including Abaganer, Chonos, Sharyad, Sharnut, Tadzhiut, Tsoros, Tugtun, Kharnut, Merkit, Kereit, Batut, Khoit, Khoshud, Tarachin, Sokhad, Tsaatan, Khazakh, Telegit, and others. Today the Derbets live in compact groups in the northern part of Kalmykia.

For more information on the Derbet click here. On this page, you can watch videos about the Derbet, their constituent clans, lineages, stories, legends, and much more.

Ais Sandzhiev, Legend About the Nornyakhn Clan

One of Ais’ ancestors was a big and strong man who weighed about 100 kilos. When in 1771 the Kalmyk Ubashi khan led the Kalmyks back to Dzungaria, people of the Tsagan Nur region decided to stay in Kalmykia. However, 12 men of the Nornyakhn clan followed the khan. Ais’ ancestor chased those men, caught them at a lake and by force brought them back. The Nornyakhn has since been the largest clan in the region.


Bulyash Chumudova, About the Noynakhn Clan


Three Derbet Individuals About the Derbets


Galina Yavanova, About the Bogdakhin Clan


Garya Naminov, About the Noynakhn Clan (Angi)


Ivan Modunkaev, The Derbets


Kheecha Sandzhiev, About the Bag Chonos Clan


Konstantin Naktanov, About the Bagud Clan


Lidzhi Amikov, A Legend About the Origins of Ik, Dund and Bag Khurul


Maria Mukhlaeva, The Derbets


Nadvid Ubushiev, Legends About Gyunktn (Solong Donru) and Zhizhetn Bagshi


Nikolai Oshaev, About Lamyn Arvn


Pavel Antonov, About My Clan


Ulyumdzhi Mandzhiev, About the Chonos Clan


Vera Povaeva, Stories About the Bagshin Shevnr Clan