By Sebastian Smith
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Additional info for Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition
For years, Chechnya has been treated as an anomaly in Russia’s search for stability and democracy. Yet Chechnya is at the heart, not at the margins of Russia’s post-Soviet military, political and moral decline. It is because of Chechnya that Boris Yeltsin finally cut ties with the democratic reformers; that Russians came to elect the exKGB officer Vladimir Putin; that extreme nationalists and racists left the shadows for centre stage; that the armed forces failed to reform. Russians badly want to believe that Chechnya is a fringe affair.
Although there were no other armed, separatist revolts, small Moslem nations such as the Adygei and Avars had much in common with the Chechens historically and politically. The same genocidal deportations were carried out by Stalin against the Ingush, Karachai and Balkars. These peoples’ stories were virtually unknown both in Russia and abroad, and I wanted to compare their modern fates. Did they also consider themselves trapped in the wheel of history, or had their republics become integrated Russian provinces?
Stretching down the slopes of the North Caucasus are seven tiny autonomous republics: Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, KarachaiCherkessia, and Adygea. Although they are on the southern side of the mountains, within Georgia, two more areas, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, are considered part of the North Caucasian world. 3 million people. Some say 40, others up to 100. 8 million, there are officially 34 of these mini nations, most of them speaking languages incomprehensible to the others.
Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition by Sebastian Smith