By Sebastian Smith
Publish yr note: First released in 1998
Ancient visitors referred to as the Caucasus the mountain of languages. Greeks, Persians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Mongols and Turks have all undergone the zone; poets and artists were encouraged by way of its rugged attractiveness and but its heritage is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged by way of nearly non-stop warfare. each 50 years, it kind of feels, Russia makes an attempt to take keep watch over of this highly strategic a part of the realm - sandwiched because it is among Iran, Turkey and Russia and crossed through one of the most beneficial oil pipelines on this planet.
The newest clash to comb around the region begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. millions of Russian squaddies and millions extra Chechens - either rebels and civilians - died and Chechnya's cities and towns have been bombed past reputation. Sebastian Smith travelled to Chechnya in this interval.
A mix of travelogue, heritage and battle journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this state of mountain tribes and the could of the Russian military. A relocating instance of the way heritage might be written. Smith's account of the historic historical past to the clash reads like a singular, yet greater, since it additionally has the intimacy and immediacy of an eyewitness account. He has given us a memorable, well-researched account of a primarily terrible warfare. - Literary overview this can be a riveting ebook, written with virtually seemless attractiveness. - foreign Affairs
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Extra info for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
To Russians, the Caucasus are the enfant terrible of an empire. The region may be beautiful, but the people are suspect. Conveniently for xenophobes, and Moscow’s notorious police, most of the Caucasians are dark-haired and dark-eyed. Forget all the variety. ’ In Moscow, the Caucasians you’re most likely to see are fruit sellers sitting behind huge piles of green, yellow and red fruits, the gift of their lush homeland. Invariably, these cheorny seem to have the edge on competitors – more stalls, more choice, lower prices – and that causes resentment among the Russians.
What could be more loathsome to a people who consider ancestors as important as the living, who still rise out of their car seats in respect as they drive past cemeteries? The Soviets tore out hundreds, perhaps thousands of tombstones, purely to insult and humiliate. Eventually, Stalin died and the Chechens returned to their homeland. As soon as they got the chance, they gathered all the stones up again and built a memorial, a garden of death, in the centre of Grozny. Dignity was restored. Then this war.
But more likely than not, his root motives will be Introduction xxxv revenge, or nationalism, rather than religious fervour, let alone allegiance to a nebulous al-Qaeda agenda. The terrible possibility, though, is that with the death of Maskhadov – figurehead of all Islamic moderates and secular nationalists – the radicals will completely take over the armed resistance. This would be a disaster for Russia and for Chechnya in particular. In 1994, the separatist leaders, like all Chechens, shared a recent Soviet existence with Russians.
Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith