From Thomas M. Barrett’s “Lines of Uncertainty: The Frontiers of the North Caucasus” (Slavic Review 54:578-601), p. 593:
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Russian government expended even more effort luring Armenians to the north Caucasus. The first major land grant was awarded in 1710 to an Armenian from Karabakh, Safar Vasil’ev, for the cultivation of mulberry gardens (for silkworms) in the Kizliar region. In the eighteenth century, large numbers of Armenians from Turkey and Persia resettled in the Terek River basin; others fled there from mountain, Crimean or Nogai captivity. During this period, Kizliar and Mozdok were largely Armenian: in 1796, there were 2,800 Armenians and only 1,000 Russians at Kizliar; in 1789, 55.6 percent of the population of Mozdok was Armenian and Georgian. Nearly 3,500 more Armenians resettled in 1797 along the Caucasus military line from khanates in Dagestan and along the Caspian Sea. Armenians engaged in silk production and viticulture and were the backbone of regional trade in the north Caucasus. Another large group of Armenians moved in 1839 from across the Kuban to settle along the western part of the Cossack line at Armavir, where the residents (even in 1859) spoke a Circassian dialect and resembled the mountain people. Armenian in self-identity, Christian in faith, members of the Russian Empire, surrounded by Cossacks, and Circassian in speech, dress, cuisine and custom-the Armavir Armenians demonstrate how complex this ethnic frontier could be.
Barrett also mentions “Iakov Alpatov of the Cossack village of Naur who twice fled for the mountains, converted to Islam and formed a thieving band of Chechens and Cossacks in the 1850s that robbed farmsteads, stole cattle and took captives, not only from Cossacks but also from Kalmyks and Nogais well into the steppe.” Frontiers are confusing, exciting places!