By Sebastian Smith
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Additional resources for Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition
Brutal policing, corruption, lack of an independent justice system and the rolling back of democracy, is infecting the entire North Caucasus with what were once considered Chechnya-specific problems. Ingushetia, where the popular local president Ruslan Aushev was summarily forced out of office to make way for one of President Putin’s secret service colleagues, is spiralling out of control. Firefights between soldiers and insurgents take place there every other week. The Beslan school hostage massacre reignited tensions between the North Ossetians and the Ingush, and shook the traditionally loyal Ossetians’ faith in the state.
P65 14 6/12/2000, 11:04 am The Jigsaw 15 riches under fire, was a family with honour. The more daring the exploit, the more profit, but also the more honour. A family without fighting men lost prestige and was itself vulnerable. Like Narts and lone wolves, North Caucasian rebels of myth and fact tend to end up on their own. It’s part of the abreg’s aura. The last antiSoviet Chechen abreg died in 1976. Legend has it that he came down from the mountains where he’d lived for decades to the village graveyard in Komsomolskoye and prepared to die.
The first bomb attack did not target civilian apartments within Russia proper, but military housing in Dagestan. This quite plausibly could have been the work of Dagestani or Chechen guerrillas. After all, they were fighting with Russian forces in that very region. Maybe these same guerrillas went on, anonymously, to bomb the apartment buildings, but it cannot be ruled out that the Introduction xxxi FSB, or the Kremlin, had by then seen the potential and planted the bombs itself. We will probably never know the truth, nor, even as their tanks rolled into Chechnya, did Russian voters.
Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition by Sebastian Smith