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 gone through the zone; poets and artists were encouraged via its rugged good looks and but its heritage is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged through almost non-stop struggle. each 50 years, it kind of feels, Russia makes an attempt to take keep an eye on of this highly strategic a part of the area - sandwiched because it is among Iran, Turkey and Russia and crossed through one of the most precious oil pipelines on the planet.
The newest clash to comb around the quarter all started while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. millions of Russian squaddies and hundreds of thousands extra Chechens - either rebels and civilians - died and Chechnya's cities and towns have been bombed past acceptance. Sebastian Smith travelled to Chechnya in this interval.
A mix of travelogue, historical past and warfare journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this country of mountain tribes and the may of the Russian military. A relocating instance of the way historical past could be written. Smith's account of the ancient heritage to the clash reads like a singular, yet higher, since it additionally has the intimacy and immediacy of an eyewitness account. He has given us a memorable, well-researched account of a especially terrible conflict. - Literary assessment it is a riveting e-book, written with virtually seemless splendor. - foreign Affairs
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Additional resources for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
He got back to the mountains and handed the money out to his people and some to the orphans. When he was still young, in his 40s, he became ill and had to see his relatives in Shali. It was there that one of his own relatives – on his mother’s side – sold him out and he was killed fighting. Zelimkhan was a classic: anti-Russian, bank-robber, good shot, apparently invincible, and finally brought down by treachery. But defining the abreg is not always easy and probably depends what side of the gun you’re on, an ambiguity repeated in general attitudes to banditry and stealing.
This is their job. Their attitude might be summed up in the colonialist maxim that the people being Introduction xxxvii brought into the empire ‘only understand force’. It is an age-old theory and one as fresh in Russian minds concerning Chechens today as it was to their predecessors in the nineteenth century. In this particular episode, the protagonist is called Butler. He is a likeable young man for whom the Chechen war provides adventure and an escape from his debt-ridden life in Saint Petersburg.
Nor are his exploits merely predatory; for he goes to the wars accompanied by his five sons (he lost another one recently in the expedition across the Kuban), the eldest of whom he obliged the other day to train himself by attacking alone two out-posted Cossacks. The young man slew one and captured the other. Quite apart from nabegs, the North Caucasus has always had a deeprooted martial culture. Until the Bolshevik revolution, every man kept a firearm at home and boys were brought up knowing and loving weapons.