The Caucasian War Was Over 239 Years Ago, But It Is Still On

The reality remains the same: an act of terrorism was prevented in Chechnya yesterday

Today is the mourning day for the victims of the Caucasian war, which took place in 1817-1864. The war lasted almost for 50 years, it was over on May 21st, 1864, when Russian troops took the settlement of Kbaad (currently the resort of Krasnaya Polyana). That was the last center of highlanders' resistance in the West Caucasus. May 21st was the date, when Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich, the tsar's governor-general in the Caucasus, announced that the war was over.

It just so happened that this day is not an important date in Russia. However, there used to be a special badge produced in the tsarist Russia - "The 50th Anniversary of the End of Caucasian Wars." However, people celebrate the date in the republics, which border on Russia's Stavropol region, in the republic of Adygeya, for example.

The Caucasian war and the Chechen war have been made rather mythological by our historians and journalists. The two wars have been represented as liberating and fair wars that were waged by the highlanders. It is still believed that Caucasian nations wage a "holy war for freedom, for the retrieval of the Islam's role among Muslim people." That is why, Shamil Basayev is invincible, the Chechens are invincible too.

Current events in Chechnya are often called the new Caucasian war, regardless of any reasons for such an association. It is rather surprising that Kremlin image-makers have not attempted to do anything about the mentioned date. The State Duma is going to consider the presidential draft law "About the Amnesty in Connection with the Approval of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic." State Duma deputies are going to consider this issue today. The amnesty is supposed to be granted towards the people, who have committed dangerous actions in the former Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic during the period from August 1st, 1993, till the day, when the Duma's decree comes into legal effect.

However, there can be direct historical associations found in the Caucasian military campaigns. Baron Fyodor Tornau wrote in his memoirs: "The conquering of the northern mountainside was completed. There was a goal to move over to the south-western side in order to clean the riverside on the way to the sea and to prepare it for populating." The end of the war did not let those plans come true. Notorious politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky from the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia set out a project like that more than a hundred years after Caucasian wars ended. Zhirinovsky and another member of his party, Aleksey Mitrofanov, put forward an idea to resettle the undesirable Chechen population to an adjacent state. Did they mean Georgia, Abkhazia or the Pankissi Gorge?

Writers have made their contribution to the issue as well. Some researchers believe that Tolkien's hobbits lived on the territory of Chechnya, that hobbits were actually Vakhabits. To crown it all, they believe that Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a prophecy of the Caucasian War. Chechen President Jokhar Dudayev's death, researchers believe, can be considered the starting point. This allows to recognize Bilbo Baggins as Mahmud Esambayev, Gollum is Boris Berezovsky, Sauron is Boris Yeltsin, of course, Gandalf is Bin Laden, goblins are Interior Ministry officers, orcs are paratroopers. Vakhabits' major goal is to destroy the Land of Mordor and to seize the Ring.

No matter what history and forecasts might say, the reality remains the same. The Caucasian war is still on.

Valentina Lezvina

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Author`s name Olga Savka