Chechnya by Mr. Anatol Lieven
Tombstone of Russian Power

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The war between Russia and the Chechen separatist forces, from December 1994 to August 1996, may be seen by future historians as a key moment in Russian and even world history. This is not because of its immediate consequences, which seem likely to be limited, but because of the light it has thrown on one of the crucial developments of our time: the end of Russia as a great military and imperial power. In terms of sheer logistical achievement, the Chechen victory - against such odds - over the Russian army is one of the epics of colonial resistance this century. As a moment in military history, it has lessons to teach on military anthropology, the nature of urban combat, national mobilization, and the limits of air power. In addition to providing a step-by-step account of the conflict on the ground, Lieven takes issue with the prevalent Western schools of thought and writing about Russia, which have exaggerated its military strengths, misconstrued its political culture, swallowed its nationalist rhetoric, and transposed imagined "ideological quests" onto the Russian psyche. Despite what most "experts" would have us believe, ordinary Russians are not primarely concerned with empire, glory and national status, but with economics, security and the daily effort to survive. Despite the scale of the Russian defeat, the mystique of its military power remains tenacious in the West. Lieven's account demolishes the conventional black-and white view, ridicules the incessant repetition of the baseless and mistaken set of alternatives for the country's future, and sets Russia's humiliation at the hands of a tiny group of badly-organized guerrillas in a framework.

About Mr. Anatol Lieven

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Following his career as a Moscow-based correspondent for "The Times" of London, Anatol Lieven was a fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1996. He was also a correspondent in Central Europe for the "Financial Times", and is now editor of "Strategic Comments" and expert on post-Soviet affairs at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Lieven is the author of "Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power" and the prize-winning "The Baltic Revolution".
Published April 20, 1998 by Yale University Press. 448 pages
Genres: History, War, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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Throughout his study, Lieven interweaves specifics of the situation in Chechnya (background on Grozny, Dudayev, and the course of the war itself) with a broader look at Russian society (privatization, the new capitalist elites, the Russian army, the nature of Russian nationalism) and the historic...

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The New York Review of Books

On the contrary, the Chechen gangs found their main customers, protectors, and business partners within the Russian banks, the Russian army, and the Russian government.

Sep 24 1998 | Read Full Review of Chechnya: Tombstone of Russia...

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