New Political Boundaries in the Caucasus

The former Russian Vice-royalty of the Caucasus comprised all the territory between the line of the Manich Depression on the north—bordering the Government of Astrakhan and the territory of the Don Cossaks—and the Turkish and Persian frontiers on the south and southeast. With the collapse of the Imperial régime in the spring of 1917, and the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks in the autumn of the same year, a process developed throughout the Russian Empire of disintegration into component national units. That part of the Vice-royalty lying north of the Caucasus mountains, comprising the Government of Stavropol and the Provinces of the Kuban and Terek Cossacks, remained politically a part of Russia, and was during 1918 and 1919 one of the principal theatres of military operations during the Russian Civil War. In the eastern mountains, including the Chechen and Ingush districts and Daghestan, acutely anarchic conditions prevailed. The tribesmen became alternately the dupes of Turkish and Tatar political adventures, and the victims of the military excursions of the contending ‘‘Red’’ and ‘‘White’’ factions. In the first month of 1918 a ‘‘Republic of the Mountaineers’’—alternately ‘‘Gorkskaya’’ or ‘‘Daghestanskaya Respublika’’— was formed, with a capital, first at Vladikavkaz, later at Nazran, and finally at Temir-Khan-Shura (now Buinaksk). In March 1919 Denikin occupied Temir-Khan-Shura. In the autumn, however, the tribes rose, and Denikin was only suppressing them with difficulty at the moment when his northern front was broken by the Bolsheviks. It was not until a year later that the Bolsheviks finally re-established Russian authority in the mountains in a six months’ campaign lasting until May 1921, which involved much sharp fighting, and of which a recent account, published in Moscow,* recalls Baryatinski’s operations against Shamil....


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