Russia and the North Caucasus

The Russian drive towards the warm seas began in the second half of the sixteenth century from the banks of the river Terek. Four centuries later the Russians had not moved further than the river Arax. The opening to the warm seas remains an unattainable goal. Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan still stand, and a count-down has begun for Russia’s withdrawal from her colonies. External pressures from Great Britain, France, Germany, Turkey and the United States have often been advanced as an explanation for the lack of success of the Russian advance towards the Muslim world. Seldom have local resistance and opposition to the conquest been taken into account. However, the North Caucasus, which has been in a state of almost permanent warfare against Russia since the first jihad led by Sheikh Mansur in 1783 until the Chechen and Ingush uprising of 1943 has played a capital role in making any further Russian conquest southwards impossible. Today it remains the least sovietised and most staunchly Muslim of all the territories of the Soviet Union. This book focuses exclusively on the domestic factor.


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