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

By Sebastian Smith

Publish yr note: First released in 1998

Ancient visitors 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 by means of its rugged good looks and but its background is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged through almost non-stop conflict. each 50 years, it sort of feels, Russia makes an attempt to take keep watch over of this highly strategic a part of the area - sandwiched because it is among Iran, Turkey and Russia and crossed through probably the most worthy oil pipelines on the planet.

The most modern clash to brush around the region started 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 acceptance. Sebastian Smith travelled to Chechnya in this interval.

A mix of travelogue, heritage and struggle journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this country of mountain tribes and the may possibly of the Russian military. A relocating instance of the way heritage should be written. Smith's account of the ancient history to the clash reads like a unique, 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 exceptionally terrible conflict. - Literary overview this can be a riveting ebook, written with virtually seemless attractiveness. - overseas Affairs

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Additional resources for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya

Sample text

Eventually, Stalin died and the Chechens returned to their homeland. As soon as they got the chance, they gathered all the stones up again and built a memorial, a garden of death, in the centre of Grozny. Dignity was restored. Then this war. New blood, new fury. ‘When the Russians stormed Grozny, they fired their tanks from the memorial,’ Basayev says. ’ Basayev stared at the ground a lot before, during the joking, but now, he’s looking me right in the eye. ‘They want to force the whole people on to its knees and turn us into their slaves, but we can’t take these insults anymore.

There had been no democratisation and no decolonisation. The old tsarist-communist cycle of resistance and repression was dormant, but intact, waiting to be given another, bloody spin. 2. REBELS The hotel Nart in Nalchik, capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, is one of those Soviet dreams of modernity which turned to parody. Built as part of the mass tourism programme, the Nart is all glass and concrete, towering over the central park. ’ But a decade after glasnost and perestroika, the Nart is on hard times and unlikely to improve.

The major towns are off the Soviet production line – wide, treelined avenues, sombre blocks of flats around courtyards, desolate main squares named after Lenin and monstrous concrete administration headquarters. Russian is the lingua franca, while the schools and every other sphere of official life look, sound and smell Soviet. But Russification stops there, and the North Caucasus remains fiercely proud of its differences. Maps of the region are a psychodelic quilt. Stretching down the slopes of the North Caucasus are seven tiny autonomous republics: Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, KarachaiCherkessia, and Adygea.

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