By Anatol Lieven

The humiliation of Russia by way of separatist rebels within the Chechen battle marked a key second in Russian-and maybe world-history. during this significant new paintings, special author and political commentator Anatol Lieven bargains a riveting eyewitness account of the conflict, the 1st in-depth portrait of the Chechen humans in English, and a cosmopolitan and multifaceted reason behind the Russian defeat and the current weak spot of the Russian kingdom and state.

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For that matter, this has also been true of many of the palatial residences. A familiar sight in Chechnya is to enter some small village of straggling one-storey houses, and suddenly to come up against a towering, half-finished three-storey mansion behind high walls, and to be told that it was being built by a businessman in Moscow, whose mother and other relatives had remained in the village. But above all, this is true of the graves. The overwhelming majority of Chechens who die in Grozny, in peace and war alike, have been buried by their relatives not in the city cemeteries, but in those of their ancestral villages, often near the shrine of an ancestral saint.

I offered my flask to a plump middle-aged dentist called Gia, an intelligent, humorous-looking man with a balding head who was suffering badly from the steep climb in the stifling heat of the forest. 'Please don't think we want to fight and kill people,' he gasped, leaning against a tree. ' He admitted he was himself pro-Gamsakhurdia, and in private made no secret of his loathing for his Mkhedrioni comrades. Particularly striking was the absence of many volunteers from elsewhere in Georgia. It was just the same on the Azeri side in the Karabakh War - most of the fighters, at least up to 1994, were Azeris from Karabakh and the surrounding regions, whose homes were directly threatened.

But looking at it from my window that morning I noted the following in my diary 'more like a babbling travel writer at a new resort than a supposedly serious correspondent in the middle of a revolution':1 'A delightful first impression. Open, cheerful, friendly without the odious oily familiarity of the Azeris. Also not subservient, either to me or their own officers. Self-respect and personal dignity. And none of the Soviet surliness. What a change from Baku! Chechen contempt for the A2eris - "all bandits", of course.

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