Bitter Choices: Loyalty and Betrayal in the Russian Conquest by Michael Khodarkovsky

By Michael Khodarkovsky

Russia's try to consolidate its authority within the North Caucasus has exerted a bad fee on each side because the mid-nineteenth century. Michael Khodarkovsky's ebook tells the tale of a unmarried guy with a number of allegiances and offers a concise and compelling heritage of the mountainous area among the Black and Caspian seas. After forays starting within the overdue 1500s, Russia tenuously conquered the peoples of the quarter within the 1850s; the crusade was once outlined by way of a cruelty on each side that proven a trend repeated in our personal time, fairly in Chechnya.

At the heart of Khodarkovsky's sweeping account is Semën Atarshchikov (1807-1845). His father used to be a Chechen translator within the Russian military, and Atarshchikov grew up with roots in either Russian and Chechen cultures. His facility with neighborhood languages earned him fast advertising within the Russian military. Atarshchikov loved the boldness of his superiors, but he observed the violence that the Russians inflicted at the local inhabitants and was once torn among his tasks as a Russian officer and his affinity with the highlanders. two times he abandoned the military to affix the highlanders in raids opposed to his former colleagues. after all he used to be betrayed by means of a compatriot who sought to achieve desire with the Russians by way of killing the notorious Atarshchikov.

Khodarkovsky areas Atarshchikov's lifestyles in a wealthy context: we research greatly in regards to the region's geography, its peoples, their background, and their conflicts with either the Russians and each other. Khodarkovsky unearths disputes one of the Russian commanders and the rules they encouraged; a few argued for humane techniques yet continually misplaced out to people who most well-liked extra violent ability. Like Hadji Murat-the hero of Tolstoy's final nice work-Atarshchikov moved from side to side among Russian and native allegiances; his biography is the tale of the North Caucasus, one as correct this day as within the 19th century

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