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Carlotta Gall
ISBN # : 9780330350754
Publisher: Pan Books
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Chechnya, located in Northern Caucasus, was brought to its knees from a barrage of bombs and relentless destruction. The evening news showed images of mutilated bodies lying uncovered on the streets while the screams of mothers who had lost their children could be heard in the background. In the 1994 war between the Russian military and Chechen guerillas, 60,000 lives were lost. Why did it take place and what was at stake? What was gained and at what cost?
Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus, by Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Waal, is the first book-length account of what happened. Gall and de Waal, two reporters who spent many months in the war-torn territory of Chechnya dodging bullets and the threat of hostage crisis, give a truthful and balanced view to a subject that is both complex and harrowing. Their focus is on the main antagonists of the war, including Boris Yeltzin and Dudayev, the charismatic leader of the Chechens. In tracing the history of this tragic conflict, Gall and de Waal reveal a longstanding enmity between the Russians and the Chechens--animosity which dates back to Russia's imperial expansions in the 1830s and continues through Stalin's ruthless deportations of 1944. They argue that if Russian politicians had had a better sense of the past, bloodshed might have been avoided.
Tragic as the situation in Chechnya is, de Waal and Gall warn that this is not an isolated case; the lack of order since the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and the consequent problems of forming a working democracy has led to chaos and ambivalence at the highest echelons of power. And here lies the poignant message and warning of the book: Chechnya could happen again. --Jeremy Storey END

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