By Sebastian Smith
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1998
Ancient travelers 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 by way of its rugged attractiveness and but its heritage is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged by way of nearly non-stop struggle. each 50 years, it kind 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 means of essentially the most worthy oil pipelines on the planet.
The most recent clash to comb around the quarter all started 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 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 kingdom of mountain tribes and the may possibly of the Russian military. A relocating instance of the way heritage may be written. Smith's account of the ancient heritage to the clash reads like a singular, 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 evaluate this can be a riveting ebook, written with virtually seemless splendor. - foreign Affairs
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Additional resources for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
I don’t get a word in and don’t really want to; there’s no point. Every time I open my mouth, my friend fires out another sentence. I have the impression it’s been pent up a very long time. ‘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.
Chechens, Armenians, Georgians, they’re all the same. They take from us and make nothing themselves. You should have seen in the old days how we lived in Russia, under the Communists. There was nothing on the shelves. You know why? p65 6 6/12/2000, 11:04 am The Jigsaw 7 On the surface, the North Caucasus looks like many other non-ethnicRussian regions which have undergone decades of Russification. 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.
Nobody spoke a word of hatred for the Russians. The emotion felt by every Chechen, old and young alike, was stronger than hatred. It was not hatred, it was a refusal to recognise these Russian dogs as men at all, and a feeling of such disgust, revulsion and bewilderment at the senseless cruelty of these creatures that the urge to destroy them – like the urge to destroy rats, venomous spiders or wolves – was an instinct as natural as that of self-preservation. The villagers were faced with a choice: either to remain as before and by terrible exertions restore all that had been created with such labour and so easily and senselessly destroyed, while every minute expecting a repetition of the same thing, or they could act contrary to the law of their religion and, despite the revulsion and scorn they felt for the Russians, submit to them.
Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith