Traces a personal journey through the violent decolonisation of the soviet empire. This work describes how lightly armed Chechan fighters held their own against tens of thousands of Russian troops, a conflict that in many essentials has not changed since Lermontov and Tolstoy fought the 'gortsy'.
Sergey Novikov, a colonel and Arabist in the KGB, warned Chris Bird in 1993 not to go to the Caucasus, telling him he would be shot or kidnapped down the first side street. Bird ignored his friend's advice and took his young family to the Georgian capital, Tblisi, where he worked as a reporter. The nights were broken by gunfire, and the anarchy on the streets was reminiscent of revolutionary Russia - Russian soldiers driving off to the front bringing to mind the armies of War and Peace. The Russian empire has invariably 'caught a Tartar' whenever it has sought to subdue the Chechens. Their endless war continues to this day at inhuman cost in the valleys and mountains of the Caucasus. Chris Bird describes how lightly armed Chechan fighters held their own against tens of thousands of Russian troops, a conflict that in many essentials has not changed since Lermontov and Tolstoy fought the 'gortsy'. "To Catch a Tartar" is an individual and very personal insight into the absorbing history of a very complex region still in turmoil today.
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'A captivating read' -- Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times 'Instructive and erudite' -- New Statesman 'Bird [has] tackled with courage and intelligence a region which has always fascinated Westerners by its physical beauty and by the spirit of its peoples' -- Times Literary Supplement 'Highly readable' -- Literary Review
About Chris Bird
Chris Bird was the Caucasus correspondent for Agence France-Presse and then The Associated Press, and lived in Tbilisi with his family. He is now a medical student in London.
To Catch a Tartar by Chris Bird
Used - Very Good
Hodder & Stoughton General Division
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