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 undergone 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 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 important oil pipelines on the planet.
The most up-to-date clash to comb around the region begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. millions 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 warfare 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 historical past might be written. Smith's account of the ancient history 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 mainly terrible conflict. - Literary overview this can be a riveting e-book, written with virtually seemless beauty. - overseas Affairs
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Extra resources for Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya
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. They don’t work and yet they live better than we Russians do.
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. Ultimately, these facts will have to be faced. Weary Russians often describe their sole ambition as being allowed to live in what they call a ‘normal’ country. But until they confront what has been done in their name, this modest desire will remain forever beyond reach.
P65 5 6/12/2000, 11:04 am 6 Allah’s Mountains 1. BADLANDS Vnukovo Airport, Moscow Vnukovo Airport, outside Moscow, is the gateway to the North Caucasus. Planes to Grozny, Stavropol, Makhachkala, Vladikavkaz – they all leave from here. The airport is a hive of vendors, travellers with vast quantities of baggage, beggars, stray dogs and litter. Almost the only attempt at decoration is a roughly painted mural in the men’s toilets. The painting, covering most of the wall next to the standups, shows several angry dinosaurs against a backdrop of mountains and volcanoes.