Boston bombing suspects from Chechnya! Cui bono?


ChechnyaThe revelation that the family background of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings can be connected to Chechnya prompted a rushed speculation in the mainstream media about the attack as yet another example of Islamic terrorism without any factual substantiation.  Some officials even speculated, without any clear evidence, by identifying the brothers with a group that has a long history of violence against Russia and ties to Muslim extremists groups. It is necessary to treat all of the initial reports by the media with extreme skepticism.  So far all available evidence point out that these bombers may well have more in common with the shooters at Columbine than the 9/11 hijackers.

Chechnya is a small Caucasian republic within the boundaries of Russian Federation with barely over one million people, but the country and Chechens attracted attention worldwide in the 1990s when they fought two wars against Russia to become an independent republic. 

Whether the terrorist act of the suspects of the Boston bombing had any links with their country of origin, or with any international terrorist network like Al Qaeda, or with a home-grown right-wing organization, or this was an act carried out with some state involvement, remains unknown. We have thought the following article written in the immediate aftermath of the Beslan school siege in 2004, will be quite useful to remember the Chechen –Russian conflict. 

(Alternatives, Summer & Fall 2004,

Russia and Chechnia: A Long History of Conflict, Resistance and Oppression

Bülent Gökay*
The intentional targeting of a school by Chechen hostage-takers and the cruelty and the brutality they employed against defenceless children has horrified the world. It is an atrocity and the Chechen insurgents and Islamist terrorists who carried it out are ruthless criminals. Absolutely nothing progressive can come of such barbarous terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. The terrorist methods employed by these groups are absolutely reactionary and entirely counter-productive, and can neither be supported nor defended.(1)To recognise this political fact and state it openly in no way minimises the criminal repression carried out by Putin and the ruling elite of Russia against the Chechen people. Taking children hostage and other similar actions are the inevitable consequence of a war that has long since taken the form of state-organised terror. The brutal war carried out by the Russian army and security forces for over 10 years in Chechnia has altered the nature of the Chechen rebellion, fuelling the growth of separatist movements, hardening its fighters, and putting the extreme Islamists in the driving seat. All these increased the desperation of the local people and pushing layers of young people towards Islamic radicalism and suicide bombing.(2)

Historical legacy

Since the time of the tsars, the Chechen people have fought against the Russian armies for their independence. For Russians the lands of Chechnia has always been a place of exotica and inaccessible cultures. In the nineteenth century the extremes of the North Caucasian lands touched the imagination of many Russian writers and poets. Tolstoy wrote his Caucasian epics when he was twenty-four and a volunteer cadet in the army. ‘I know how to use a dagger/ I was born in the Caucasus’ writes Pushkin. Lermontov, in his poem ‘The Dispute’, refers the men of these romantic lands as “Mark me, these men are wise, and though/ Their first rush may have ceased/ Take care! It is an Orient flow/ The teeming, powerful East!” He wrote about these heroic and exotic people with a high imagination: ‘They don’t seem to know when they ought to die- indeed these villains can hardly ever be killed. They are a people without the slightest idea of propriety.’ Both Lermontov and Tolstoy fought against the Chechens as young Russian officers. They discovered in the region ‘the exodic revelation’. Alexander Dumas saw it as rich material for another book of travel. He visited the Caucasus in 1858, and his account of this journey, En Caucase, was published in Paris next year.(3) Pushkin also wrote his famous poem, ‘The Caucasian Prisoner’, to glorify the campaigns of the famous 19th century Russian general A.P. Ermolov against the rioting North Caucasians. Although they romantically admired the ‘primitive freedom’ of the North Caucasians the Russian writers and poets considered the final triumph of ‘Russian civilisation’ over the ‘exotic tribes’ of this region as an unavoidable historical necessity.(4)

The Chechens, however, did not act in accordance with great Russian writers’ and poets’ admonitions. They stubbornly resisted Russian campaigns and fought for their freedom against all-powerful armies of the tsars. The continuous manifestation of separatist aspirations of the Chechens dismayed the Russians. They could not understand why this country, for which they had feelings of genuine sympathy and admiration and for which they had conceived a real cult, should answer their love with hostility and openly wish to break away from Russia.

Prior to the mid-sixteenth century, Russia had no significant contacts with the peoples of the North Caucasus. The situation changed as a result of Ivan the Terrible’s conquest of the khanate of Astrakhan, at the mouth of the Volga River, in 1556. Russia was now a Caspian power and became involved in the conflicts of the North Caucasus. In 1562 the tsar Ivan sent a five hundred men force accompanied by an equal number of Cossack settlers. More parties of Cossacks continued to settle along the lower course of the Terek River and on the foothills of Chechnia. These Cossack communities were composed of runaway serfs, soldiers of fortune, religious dissenters, and those Cossacks whose territories in the Ukraine and along the lower Volga had been absorbed into the expanding Russian state. These Cossack settlers subsequently became known as the Terek Cossacks.(5)

During the second half of the eighteenth century, Prince G.A. Potemkin, the governor-general of southern Russia, and erstwhile lover of Catherine the Great, began to implement a grand plan to extent the Cossack line across the whole North Caucasus. He developed a policy of utilizing Cossack communities as the principal means of projecting Russian power in the region. Potemkin’s Cossack cordon procured the North Caucasus plain for the Russian Empire. In 1763, the fortress of Mozdok was established by the Russians. But Russian expansion in the North Caucasus met with protracted mountaineer resistance among the Chechens and Daghestanis. There the tsar’s muskets were met with the ‘sabres of Paradise’.(6)

Leadership of mountaineer resistance to the Russians fell upon a circle of Islamic mystics who belong to the Naqshbandi Sufi brotherhood. In general, Sufism is Muslim mysticism or the spiritual quest that leads to direct experience of the reality of God’s being. The Sufi brotherhoods were based on the disciples of each master and upon the groups of Sufis who lived in common residences. Brotherhoods were formed when Sufi masters in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries began to reckon themselves the descendants of earlier teachers. Those who descended from the same teacher regarded themselves as units of much larger religious movement accepting the same higher authority. Naqshbandi is one of the major Sufi tariqas. From its origin, Central Asia, the Naqshbandi Sufi brotherhood spread to other parts of the Muslim world. In the fifteenth century Naqshbandi missionaries began to make converts among the peoples of the North Caucasus. Islam, however, probably made little impression upon them until the eighteenth century. From then on Naqshbandi Sufi masters embraced an active political role in the North Caucasus to defend Muslim communities against external oppression.(7)

Sheikh Mansur, a Chechen shepherd, was one of the first leading Naqshbandi master in the North Caucasus. After having visions of horsemen sent him by the Prophet Muhammed, he announced himself master. He wore a veil to conceal his radiant holiness, and declared that he would make the Caucasus a bastion of Islamic resistance to the Russians. By 1785 Mansur had already begun to preach publicly for the eradication of all pre-Islamic practices, the replacement of customary law with the Shariat, and holy war against the Russians. Within few months, Mansur attracted a large following, composed mainly of Chechens and Daghestanis. For the Russian army it took more than five years to suppress the rebellion. Mansur was captured in 1791, and died in detention three years later.(8)

The defeat and capture of Sheikh Mansur did not eradicate Naqshbandi influence among the peoples of the North Caucasus. After a generation of suspension, the Naqshbandi movement revived in a more rigorous manner called as ‘Muridism’ by the Russians. The word ‘murid’ refers to the disciple of a Sufi master. Murids were Muslim warriors, fighting monks who lived in isolation in the mountains.(9)

Beginning in the early years of the 19th century, a series of three murids, led by three masters, attempted to organize the Muslims of the North Caucasus into a single Islamic state. When in 1802 the kingdom of Georgia had been annexed by Russia, all the warring Muslim tribes in the North Caucasus banded together in a terrible force.(10) The third of these masters was the renowned Shamil. Truth and legend about Shamil’s murids are so inextricably mixed that it is difficult to be sure where one ends and the other begins. Shamil’s Murids were told to have preferred death to being disarmed. No Murid was ever taken alive.(11)

When the women of a cliff-top Chechen village saw that all was lost, they threw their children over precipices and jumped after them. Shamil’s powers and spirit became legendary. He was said to be able to jump twenty-seven feet, he could sever the butt of a rifle with one blow of his kindjal, and he was once seen to cleave a Cossack horseman to the saddle in one cut. Shamil’s rebellion continued in the mountains of Daghestan and Chechnia for a quarter of a century until his defeat in 1859.(12)

The Chechens played a particularly significant role in the Murid wars of the nineteenth century. They were the elite of Shamil’s army. Without their support Shamil would not have been able to continue his fight so long. In Chechnia Shamil rallied around him a number of powerful chieftains who practiced a system of jungle warfare.(13) They drew the Russians farther and farther into the dense, green, overcast jungles, and then slaughtered them.(14) One Russian general of the last century reported as the Chechens had a way of handling their weapons only at the last moment. They would charge on the enemy at tremendous speed; at twenty paces they would fire, holding thereins in their teeth; then, swinging back their guns, they would rush right on to the Russians, whirling their shashkas over their heads, slashing with fearful strength.

It was only after the defeat of the Murid Uprising that the Chechen lands came under Russian rule. The greater portion of the Chechen population living the Sunzha valley was forcibly uprooted to make way for the Cossacks. Some were resettled near Russian forts, where they could be better controlled. This caused several thousand Chechen families to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire rather than submit to Russian rule. The loss of their lands in the Sunzha valley only heightened their bitterness.(15)

During the last decades of the tsarist Russia, a liberal nationalist intelligentsia began to appear among the Chechens and other mountaineer peoples. This small group of intellectuals seems to have been limited to families that had access to education in Russian schools. The dominant current among this mountaineer intelligentsia was a desire for unification of the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus into a single nationality. The liberal nationalist influence was never able to rival the popularity of the Sufi brotherhood, and lacked the passionate appeal of fierce mountain spirit.

After the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia, the general atmosphere of hope and optimism increased the expectations for a secular liberal development in the North Caucasus. Chechens and other mountain peoples set up organisations that claimed to embody the aspirations of their respective peoples. In March 1917 Chechen nationalists, together with their Muslim neighbours Ingushi, set up a League of the United Mountain Peoples. They called for the creation of a federal republic of autonomous, self-governing provinces, each with its own elected legislature and administration. They recognised a close rapprochement with the other nationalities of the Caucasus as essential for the purpose of realising common democratic ideals on the basis of mutual respect. This created a change in the attitude of the Cossacks towards the Chechens. They announced that the Terek Cossacks would no longer celebrate their annual festival on 25 August, the anniversary of the capture of Shamil.

When the First All Muslim Congress of Russia met in Moscow in May 1917, a liberal North Caucasian delegate, Ahmad Salihov, was elected its chairman. In his speech to the congress Salihov expressed their aims as a democratic and peaceful development out of the control of the imams and mullahs. Resolutions passed by the Muslim Congress included the following subjects: religious, local, educational, cultural and judicial rights of Muslims and their political administrations; women’s rights in general and within the domain of Islamic Law in particular, and above all women’s right to vote in the Constituent Assembly elections; the rights of labour; land reform and distribution. This Muslim Congress also prohibited polygamy, decided to form Muslim national military units, and demanded the introduction of the eight-hour working day.

All the above contemporary issues skilfully campaigned by the liberal elements of the peoples of the North Caucasus did not eliminate the age-long religious fervour and ethnic tensions. A number of skirmishes involving Chechen and Ingush bands erupted soon after in and around Groznyi. This growing tensions both led to and were used as an excuse by a resurgence of Muridism which sought to restore the imamate of Shamil. The leading figure in this was Sheikh Uzun Hadji, an elderly Chechen who had been exiled to Siberia by the tsarist administration due to his extreme religious activities. Uzun Hadji was determined to pursue his own aims in opposition to the liberal nationalist leadership of the Mountaineer League. During the fall of 1917 increasing number of raids were organised by the Chechen militants against the Cossack and Russian villages and Groznyi oil fields.(16)

In mid-November the clashes between the Chechens, on the one hand, and the Cossacks and Russians, on the other, increased, which soon turned out into an open warfare. During the fighting the oil fields of Groznyi were set on fire. The fire was not put out for nearly eighteen months. As many as five thousand people reportedly fled from Groznyi. The collapse of order in the region led the Bolsheviks to come out openly in favour of Soviet power. The Groznyi Bolsheviks were active among the workers in the Groznyi oil fields, setting up armed workers’ detachments. The Bolsheviks assumed control in the Chechen territory at the end of 1917 and a Soviet republic was formed in the region in March 1918.(17) It was called Terek Soviet Republic after the Terek River which cuts across the Northern Caucasus. The Terek Republic, which excluded the representatives of the Chechens and Ingushi, managed to survive only until the beginning of 1919. The White Army occupied the area in early 1919 and it was not until 1920 that Soviet rule was re-established.(18)

This once again prompted a popular uprising with a strong flavour of holy war in the mountains of northeastern Caucasus against the Soviet rule. In spite of the small area affected by the revolt, it was one of the most serious challenges Soviet power had ever faced. It was an especially ferocious war with very high casualties. No prisoners were taken and the losses suffered by the Red Army were extremely high.(19)

The rebels’ strongholds were almost exactly the same territory held by Shamil at the end of the Murid wars: the whole of upper Daghestan and upper Chechnia. It was the same Chechen and Daghestani clans who had fought the tsarist armies eighty years before under the same Sufi Naqshbandi banner. It was the Sufi leadership that gave the Daghestani-Chechen revolt its unique character. Only a mystical tariqa could force the fiercely independent clansmen to submit to an iron discipline and absolute dedication to the holy war.

The rebels were not numerous. The entire population of the area affected by the revolt was not large and the maximum number of rebels under arms were estimated at not more than 10.000. But the fighters enjoyed the complete support of the population. Most of the fighters came from the less accessible mountainous parts of Avaristan and Chechnia.

The ideology of the rebels fighting against the Red Army was that of the jihad, the fight against ‘Evil’. The political programme of the rebels was equally simple: Expulsion of the infidels and the establishment of a theocratic state. They sought to set up a petty caliphate of the Caucasus. The war in Daghestan and Chechnia was a religious war, not a political movement, neither a national liberation struggle. The rebels had a limited local identity and they fought for a religious ideal, not a national one.

Their tactics were similar to Shamil’s tactics: attacks against Soviet garrisons and encirclement and destruction of Red Army columns in the narrow mountain valleys. These tactics could be compared to the tactics of the Afghan mujahid in the Panshir valley. The Red Army suffered several severe blows before the rebels were finally wiped out.(20)

On 30 October 1920, the rebels surrounded an important Red Army unit in the narrow Arakan valley and destroyed it to the last man. The battle of Arakan repeated almost exactly the pattern of two preceding battles fought in the same area: the battle of the Sunzha river in May 1785 where Imam Mansur destroyed a Russian brigade, and the disastrous expedition of Vorontsov against Vedeno in 1845.

A month later, on 30 November, the 1st Model ‘Revolutionary Discipline Rifle Regiment’ was surprised by the Chechen mountaineers in a high pass between Vedeno and Botlikh and massacred. The few survivors were left naked to freeze to death. On 8 January 1921, a cavalry regiment of Moscow cadets and a battallion of the 291st Rifle Regiment were surrounded in upper Chechnia and destroyed. But the rebels were too heavily outnumbered and the Red Army proceeded to systematically occupy one valley after another. Uzun Hadji died during the revolt. In May 1921 the revolt was finally crushed. Most of the leaders of the revolt had been killed in battle. Some rebels, however, retreated into the mountains of upper Chechnia and fought back until 1925, when they were finally captured and executed.(21)

The Daghestani-Chechen revolt went practically unnoticed in the West, because, in Daghestan and Chechnia, there were no attractive romantic figures like Enver Pasha. The rebel leaders were conservative Sufi sheikhs fighting for the glory of God. Uzun Hadji, the main spiritual authority behind the rebellion, was promising ‘to weave a rope to hang the students, the engineers, the intellectuals’. In these conditions it was difficult to find someone in liberal Europe who would sympathize with these outspoken reactionaries. Also, the rebels fought to the last. There were no survivors to write their memoirs. And also, after 1927, Soviet censorship forbade all mention of the 1920-21 revolt. No books were published on this tragedy.

The 1920-21 revolt has been remembered by the Chechens as a proof and promise of the strength of Muslim brotherhood to rise up and fight any foreign invader. The cult of saints flourished in the region. The graves of Muslim warriors and other holy places such as crossroads, hills, caves, and stones which commemorated battles fought against the Russians were visited by pilgrims seeking cures. The tomb of Uzun Hadji in the village of Tsa-Vadeno in a high valley of Chechnia is the most popular place of pilgrimage in all the Caucasus. In the long run, the guerilla war left a long-lasting heritage of anti-Russian xenophobia. Despite their ultra-reactionary religious ideology the Naqsibendi rebels remained the prototype of People’s Hero in the North Caucasus. From 1928 to 1936 and from 1940 to 1944, the history of Chechnia was an almost uninterrupted succession of rebellions, uprisings, punitive counter-expeditions, individual terrorism, and religious fanaticism.

During the Second World War Stalin (on the basis of allegations that the Chechens had collaborated with the Germans) deported the entire Chechen population to Central Asia, Kazakhistan and Siberia. Their territory was jurisdictionally divided among the Russian and Georgian Soviet Republics. Chechen place names were replaced by Russian and the land was given to new settlers, mainly Russian. This proves the degree of alarm with which the Soviet government viewed the ‘conquered’ North Caucasus. In 1943 all mosques were closed, and there were not reopened when the Chechen people were allowed to return to their homeland in the 1960s.(22)

When they came back to Chechnia, Chechens seemed to be more religious and militant than ever. The restrictive measures taken by the Soviet authorities promoted the missionary work and contributed to the development of clandestine brotherhoods among the Chechens. During the period after the Second World War Soviet sources continuously referred to the Chechens as ‘the most religious’ of all Soviet Muslims due to a long historical tradition of holy war: from the insurrection in 1783 led by Imam Mansur to the numerous anti-Soviet uprisings (1920-2, 1940-3).(23)

As this historical experience shows, nationalism in Chechnia has been centred in Islam. The legacy of Islam and Sufism is an aspect of their cultural and intellectual background. It is also a prominent part of their militant resistance tradition. Today, by a strange but logical paradox, in spite of seventy years of Soviet official rule of militant atheism, Sufism in the North Caucasus appears more dynamic than seventy years ago.

Important also is the psychological heritage of the Caucasian wars on the Russian mind. No other wars have left such a strong and long-lasting impression on Russian culture and history. The most celebrated poems of Pushkin and Lermontov, and some of Tolstoy’s fiction, were set in the rough landscape of the North Caucasus. A Russian lullaby, a poem by Lermontov, sung by mothers to their newborn sons, pictures a cruel Chechen creeping along the bank of the Terek river and sharpening his dagger to kill the child.

A century and a half after Lermontov, from the 1970s onwards, thousands of Russians started to emigrate from Chechnia and Daghestan unable to cope with the xenophobia of the local Muslim population. The legacy of two centuries of warfare is heavy. Chechnia remains a symbol of Russia‘s political and moral failure. This is why many Russian historians, even under glasnost, and even after the end of the Soviet system, continue to pretend that the Caucasian wars, the Stalin deportations were all due to the misdeeds and banditry of the Chechens themselves.(24) It may therefore prove particularly difficult for the Russians to accept disengagement from the North Caucasus, more so than from the Baltic Republics, Transcaucasia and even Central Asia.

The Russian rulers, for most of the time, despised their Muslim adversaries. They considered these fanatical fighters as half-witted and primitive, and treated all Chechens as rebels, bandits and terrorists. This had been the case in the 18th century, and it has been true for all Chechen opponents of Russia since then. In the Russian perception, the only way to deal with the Chechen resistance was (and still is) the policy of massive force, implemented with single-minded ruthlessness. The Soviet press provides rich material on the numerous trials of Sufi sheikhs from Chechnia and their murids in the late 1950s and 1960s. As a rule, the accused were always tried for “banditry” and “manslaughter”. Russian leaders on the face of the evidence should have learned a good deal from history. One is struck by the repetition of the same remedies and mistakes in the military and political field for the last two hundred years.

Putin, the New Tsar

Putin’s own rise to power, in late 1999, was closely bound up with similar aggressive campaigns against Chechnia, and a pledge to take down Chechen separatists. In August 1999, Yeltsin nominated the largely unknown former security service veteran, Vladimir Putin, as head of the government. Shortly afterwards a series of bomb attacks destroyed blocks of flats in Moscow and other Russian cities, claiming hundreds of victims. Although the perpetrators were never properly identified, there were many indications that the secret service agency FSB was involved. Putin used the bombings as an excuse to once again undertake a full-scale military mobilisation against Chechnia. Appealing to Russian chauvinism and making crude attacks on Chechens he was swept into office as Russia‘s president on a wave of nationalist hysteria.(25)

According to the story published by Anna Politkovskaia, a journalist of Novaia Gazeta, an agent of the FSB infiltrated the group of Chechen terrorists who took about 800 people hostage in a Moscow theatre in 2002. This agent succeeded in escaping the building and surviving the government rescue assault, as a result of which 129 hostages and the whole group of about 50 Chechen militants were killed. If this report is true, then Putin’s government is guilty not only of a cruel and merciless overreaction to the hostage crisis, but also of directly organising one of the greatest armed provocations in recent Russian history.(26)

The Russian army established a brutal dictatorship in Chechnia based on naked terror. Ten years ago Chechnya had a population of 2 million. Today it is 800,000. At least 80,000 have died since 1994 (over 40,000 them children). All major towns, including the capital Grozny, have been razed to the ground.(27) These are figures supported by reports of human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.(28)

The total destruction of Grozny by bombardment and military occupation of Chechnia by a force over 300,000 illustrates the continued application of a tsarist type colonial policy. Even Putin was forced to concede his surprise at the extent of the destruction of the city when he visited Grozny in May, following the assassination of Ahmad Kadirov, Moscow’s previous pick to lead Chechnia.(29) The city has become a phantasmagoria of charred ruins – mile upon mile of creaking, groaning constructs of shattered brick and concrete.(30)

Apartment blocks that once teemed with life now stand still and deserted, their bellies bulging and spilling on to the streets. Ceilings and floors sag at crazy angles, spent cartridge casings and shrapnel carpet the ground. At Minutka Square in the centre of Grozny, scene of some of the most vicious and close-quarters fighting of the war, I stood for a while and watched a flurry of snowflakes fall on the abandoned living rooms of people’s lives. Such complete silence, such absolute stillness. I turned slowly through 360 degrees of desolation, my vision drifting over a vast expanse of empty space. The high-rise apartments, shops and scruffy cafes of the city centre have been reduced to mounds of rubble. Then, far away, I caught a movement, the flap of a coat, a solitary dark figure pushing a pram loaded with a few desultory belongings – all that was left of a life.(31)

During the last thirteen years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian federation has been attempting to restructure its political, economic and social systems. Underlying this structural transformation has been an effort to define a new Russian identity. Today, Russians are engaged in an ever-desperate search for their own identity. The break-up of the Soviet Union caused a tide of Russian nationalism. It is now popular to talk about a mono-ethnic Russia, a state of blood, a state of soil. Almost all groups of the present day Russian Parliament are overtly or covertly trying to exploit the “Great Russian idea“. Many Russians harbour strong admiration for Putin’s tough persona and great resentment against the Chechen separatists.(32) In the absence of an all-embracing visionary ideology and in the context of the current deep crisis, an outdated and nostalgic “Great Russian nationalism” has re-emerged as an unstable amalgam of the “glorious Russian past” and the authoritarian Stalinist legacy.(33)

The continuation of the war against Chechnia is indispensable for Putin’s regime for two main reasons. First, the war gives him the excuse he needs for the building up of the repressive sate apparatus. Putin’s government employs the threat of “terrorism” to legitimise its posture as a bulwark of law and order and security. Since Putin took over as president, the powers of security and intelligence services have been massively expanded. Secondly, Putin’s measures in his “war against Chechen terrorism” are aimed at asserting the Great Power ambitions of the Russian ruling elite. The loss of this small republic would decisively weaken Russian influence in the north Caucasus–a region with vast international significance because of its rich oil deposits and its strategic proximity to the key oil pipeline routes.

The decade-long extreme brutality of the Russian state-run policy of terror and impunity has turned Chechnya into living hell, and those hostage-takers in Beslan were, like it or not, the children of this hell.(34) But the heavy-handed tactics of the Russian army in Chechnia, and tens of thousands Chechens killed cannot justify the hostage taking action in North Ossetia. Such barbarous terrorist acts against civilians will only strengthen the hand of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and compounds anti-Chechen militancy among ordinary Russians.(35)

* Senior Lecturer, Keele University.




3) M.Lermontov, A Hero of Our Times, London, 1940; L.Tolstoy, Ivan Ilych and Hadji Murat, Oxford, 1935.

4) H. Troyat, Pushkin , London, 1974, pp.168-174.

5) This brief summary is based on the following sources: M. Saray (ed.), Kafkas Arastirmalari, I, Istanbul, 1988; I. Berkok, Tarihte Kafkasya, Istanbul, 1958; N.A. Smirnov, Politika Rossiina Kavkaze v XVI-XIX Vekakh, Moscow, 1958; J.F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, London, 1908.

6) L. Blanch, The Sabres of Paradise, London, 1960. This is a very colourful, historically accurate, but somewhat romanticised account of the Shamil’s movement. For expatriate literature in Turkish see T.M. Goztepe, Imam Samil, Kafkasya‘nin Buyuk Harp ve Ihtilal Kahramani, Istanbul, 1961; A.H. Hizal, Kuzey Kafkasya, Ankara, 1961; A. Kunduk, Kafkasya Muridizmi, Istanbul, 1987; S.N. Tansu, Caglara Basegmeyen Dagli. Seyh Samil, Istanbul, 1963; Z. Yetik, Imam Samil, Istanbul, 1986.


8) W.E.D. Allen and P. Muratoff speculate in their Caucasian Battlefields that Sheikh Mansur was either a renegade Italian monk or a Turkish agent. (Cambridge, 1953, p.45.) For the details of Mansur’s life see A. Bennigsen’s important study, ‘Un mouvement populaire au Caucase au XVIIIe si‚cl‚’, Cahiers du Monde russe et Sovi‚tique, Vol.V/2(1964), pp.159-197.

9) Berkok, Tarihte Kafkasya, pp.449-452.

10) A. Gradovskii, Vysshaia administratsiia Rossii XVIII st. i geberalprokurory, St. Petersburg, 1866, p.121.

11) The most comprehensive study of Shamil is M. Gammer, Muslim Resistance to the Tsar, London, 1994.

12) J. Milton Mackie, Life of Schamyl and Narrative of the Circassian War of Independence Against Russia, Boston, 1856, p.193.

13) S. Erel, Dagistan ve Dagistanlilar, Istanbul, 1961, p.144; M.Z. Hizaloglu, Seyh Samil. Simali Kafkasya Istiklal Mucadeleleri, Ankara, 1958, pp.25-27.

14) A. Gradovskii, Vysshaia administratsiia Rossii XVIII st. i geberalprokurory, St. Petersburg, 1866, p.121.


16) B. Fowkes, Russia and Chechnia. The Permanent Crisis, Macmillan, 1998, pp.5-9.

17) G.K. Ordzhonikidze, Izbrannie stat’I rechi, 1911-1937, Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo Politicheskoi Literatury, 1939, pp.51-72.

18) A.I. Denikin, The White Army, London: Jonathan Cape, 1930, p.156.

19) T. Swietochowski, Russian Azerbaijan 1905-1920, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp.165-190.

20) A. Todorski, Krasniaia Armia v Gorakh, Deistviia v Daghestane, Moscow: Voennyi Vestnik, 1924, pp.132-135.

21) N. Samurskii, Daghestan, Moscow and Leningrad: 1925, pp.138-139.

22) A.M. Nekrich. The Punished Peoples, London: Norton, 1978.

23) W. Flemming, “The Deportation of the Chechens and Ingush Peoples”, in B. Fowkes, Russia and Chechnia. The Permanent Crisis, Macmillan, 1998, pp. 65-86.

24) L.S. Perepelkin, in a recent article, states that ‘Chechen separatism’ is the real reason for violent escalation of events.(‘Chechenskaia Respublika: Sovremennaia Sotsial’no-Politicheskaia Situatsiia‘, Etnograficheskoe Obozrenie, 1, 1994, pp.3-15.)




28) Human Rights Watch, Welcome to Hell: Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Torture and Extortion in Chechnya, New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000.



31) Robert Parsons,

32) ‘Chechenskaia Respublika: Sovremennaia Sotsial’no-Politicheskaia Situatsiia‘, Etnograficheskoe Obozrenie, 1, 1994, pp.3-15.)

33) ‘Kavkazskaia Voina: XIX Vek [Neizvestnye Stranitsy]’, Rodina, 3-4, 1994, pp.10-151.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s