Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition by Sebastian Smith

By Sebastian Smith

A mix of travelogue, historical past and conflict journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this state of mountain tribes and the may well of the Russian military. it's also a narrative of the historical past, humans and cultures of the Caucasus and of tiny ethnic teams suffering for either actual and cultural survival.

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Extra info for Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition

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Yes they were bloody, yes they stole, but they were daring, desperate men. Though many abregs were criminals, an abreg could also be a man who had killed to defend his, or his family’s honour and then fled to escape a vendetta. When the Russians invaded, there were rebels who continued to fight on alone in the mountain ravines and forests, becoming cult figures and symbols of freedom. p65 13 6/12/2000, 11:04 am 14 Allah’s Mountains too were abregs. Such men could be cut-throats, but they could also be Robin Hood type folk heroes, defenders of the people.

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.

A convenient myth exists that when God dished out riches throughout the world, he forgot the Caucasus, and realising his error, allowed the peoples there to go to their neighbours and take what they needed. Lermontov said in A Hero of Our Time: ‘These Circassians (North Caucasians) have got thieving in their blood. They’ll steal anything, given the chance. ’ It is true that stealing was a fact of life in the 19thcentury North Caucasus. But this was not petty, ordinary burglary, this was the nabeg, the full-blown raid.

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