By Sebastian Smith
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1998
Ancient guests referred to as the Caucasus the mountain of languages. Greeks, Persians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Mongols and Turks have all gone through the area; poets and artists were encouraged by means of its rugged attractiveness and but its historical past is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged by way of almost non-stop warfare. each 50 years, it sort of feels, Russia makes an attempt to take regulate of this highly strategic a part of the area - sandwiched because it is among Iran, Turkey and Russia and crossed via essentially the most precious oil pipelines on this planet.
The most up-to-date clash to comb around the sector begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. hundreds of thousands of Russian squaddies and hundreds of thousands 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 historical past will be written. Smith's account of the old history to the clash reads like a unique, yet larger, since it additionally has the intimacy and immediacy of an eyewitness account. He has given us a memorable, well-researched account of a specially terrible struggle. - Literary overview this can be a riveting e-book, written with virtually seemless attractiveness. - foreign Affairs
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Additional info for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
Those planting the sacks, it turned out, were from the FSB. Naturally, there was some confusion, but the FSB offered the explanation that the whole thing had been a misunderstanding, that the sacks were actually harmless and that they had been placed in the building as an exercise in civil defence. The local police repeated that what they’d found was not a dummy, but the real thing. The investigation never went further and neither version was publicly proved. Had that resident merely shown himself an alert citizen?
Every 50 years. What about the rest of the North Caucasus? 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?
A dog – or in other versions a pair of wolves – was placed on guard and every time the dog gnawed through the heavy links, the chain instantly became whole again and even thicker. Another story has it that the Adygei Nart was chained and attacked by a bird. Here, the Nart myth and its Greek counterpart – bound Prometheus having his liver pecked out for all eternity – are almost indistinguishable. Scholars today argue over which came first, even suggesting that the earliest Greeks may have first travelled from the North Caucasus to the Balkans.
Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith