Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Brief Collection of Older Posts on Chechnya

I am not going to claim to be an expert on Chechnya. I know enough about Chechnya to know that there are very few such experts in the world and one of them, Moshe Gammer very recently died of cancer. But, I have been writing professionally about their deportation in 1944 since 1997. So despite not being an expert I do have some familiarity with the history of the nationality. Since the US media is flooded with bad commentary about Chechnya, I thought I would link to some old posts of mine providing a brief history of the Chechens. The most important event in recent Chechen history in shaping their national development was Stalin's deportation of nearly the entire population to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 1944. The collective memory of this ethnic cleansing has been an important tool for political mobilization of the Chechen people and plays a similar role in their understanding of their own history as the Holocaust does for Jews and the Armenian Genocide does for Armenians. The 1944 deportation is why there are still Chechen communities in Kyrgyzstan. They are the descendants of the Chechen survivors of the deportations and special settlement regime who did not return to Chechnya during the Khrushchev era. The best short introduction to the history of the Chechens is Moshe Gammer, The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule (London: Hurst and Co., 2005). If you want to know more about Chechnya and its people I suggest you check out Gammer's book and turn off your television.


PaperSmyth said...

Turning off the TV is always a good idea when one wants to learn anything.
Thanks for the links and book suggestion, Otto. I've been looking for a place to start the "this culture is not full of monsters" discussion, and it helps.

J. Otto Pohl said...

You are welcome.