By Sebastian Smith
Publish yr note: First released in 1998
Ancient guests known as the Caucasus the mountain of languages. Greeks, Persians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Mongols and Turks have all gone through the sector; poets and artists were encouraged through its rugged good looks and but its historical past is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged by way of nearly non-stop conflict. 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 by way of the most invaluable oil pipelines on the earth.
The most modern clash to brush around the zone begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. millions of Russian infantrymen and millions 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, background and battle journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this state of mountain tribes and the may well of the Russian military. A relocating instance of ways background could 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 specifically terrible conflict. - Literary evaluate it is a riveting booklet, written with nearly seemless splendor. - foreign Affairs
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Additional info for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
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. They spoke Russian well, knew Russian culture, had served with Russians in the Soviet army and even fought with Russians against fellow Muslims in Afghanistan.
The Chechens are lazy. That I can tell you for sure – they are lazy. All they want is prestige, gold teeth, nice clothes, good cars, and lots and lots of children. They know nothing except stealing and conning. The only people who ever worked hard in Chechnya were the Russians. The ones who built all the houses were Russians. All Chechens do is steal. They’re terrorists, they’re criminals. The mafia there is also over here. ’ ‘I see the criminals from the Caucasus come and go through this airport all the time.
Whichever autonomous republic you are in – from Dagestan, to Kabardino-Balkaria or Adygea – the scene is the same. The map says you are on the southern border of the Russian Federation, but this is in theory. In fact, you left Russia long ago and you have now entered the ancient, enduring and tragic world of Allah’s mountains. p65 4 6/12/2000, 11:03 am The Jigsaw 5 PART I The Jigsaw “Why should she be homesick? ” from A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov. p65 5 6/12/2000, 11:04 am 6 Allah’s Mountains 1.