Download Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith PDF

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 undergone the zone; poets and artists were encouraged through its rugged good looks and but its background is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged via nearly 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 by way of essentially the most useful oil pipelines on this planet.

The most up-to-date clash to brush around the region begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. hundreds of thousands 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 conflict journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this country of mountain tribes and the may well of the Russian military. A relocating instance of ways historical past might be written. Smith's account of the historic heritage 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 certainly terrible conflict. - Literary evaluation this can be a riveting booklet, written with nearly seemless beauty. - foreign Affairs

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Extra info for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya

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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. This is made easier when the media hides what has happened. Yet, regardless, the ruins of Grozny and many Chechen villages are there. So are the graves of many tens of thousands of Russian citizens and Russian soldiers.

Russian reporters, with one or two brave exceptions, go there to serve as government mouthpieces. Internet websites present all views, but few facts. The only way even to taste the truth is to travel inside Chechnya and speak to ordinary Chechens – but this is complicated, time-consuming and on occasion dangerous. In such a climate, one could do far worse than to reopen Tolstoy, who a century ago absorbed a number of profound lessons about Russia and about Chechnya that are worth relearning. The reader might turn to the famous scene in Hadji Murat in which Russian troops lay waste to a Chechen village.

P65 12 6/12/2000, 11:04 am The Jigsaw 13 Even without Narts, the Caucasus is steeped in myth and legend. The Garden of Eden is said to have been in Abkhazia and Noah’s dove rested on Mount Elbrus. The ancient Greek hero Prometheus was chained to the Caucasus – either Elbrus or Kazbek, according to different versions – after he stole fire from the gods, and Jason landed on the coast of Georgia in search of the Golden Fleece. But Narts are peculiarly Caucasian. They were North Caucasians at the beginning of time, close cousins of the Titans in Greek myth.

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