The conquest of the Caucasus seen through Caucasian cultures

The Caucasus has always occupied a special place in Russia’s history and imagination. The Caucasian War of the 19th century, the bloody chaos in the North Caucasus in 1918-21, the later armed uprisings of the highlanders against Soviet power and the two Russian-Chechen campaigns of the 1990-2000s have similar narratives from the past that reappear in both sides’ perceptions of each other. The modern Caucasus is largely a product of imperial history. That is why the history of the conquest of the Caucasus is essential to understand how the region is developing today.

Throughout history, the Caucasus has been an arena for the struggle of various forces. The Persian, Ottoman and Russian empires fought over it. Russia won out, but after the annexation of Transcaucasia, it was drawn into the Caucasian wars, and the hopes of the Russian elite for a quick victory were dashed. The unusual conditions of the mountain wars, combined with the resistance of the local population and the lack of a unified strategy and tactics, prolonged this war for more than 30 years.

The great product of this history is the songs of Ossetians, Chechens, Lezgins, Terek Cossacks and Pontic Greeks. For instance, one can listen to the Cossack song “All Home” that concludes a feast. Sometimes the song would, but guests did not want to leave, so the host would sing it again and again. One can also get acquainted with the culinary traditions of various peoples of the North Caucasus, like Avar khinkal, Lev Tolstoy’s understanding of Chechen table traditions through and traditional cheese pies. Click on this link to find out more. For other knowledge about the Caucasus, see the list of fiction and scientific literature, as well as feature films about the conquest of the Caucasus.
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