From Conquest to Deportation
The North Caucasus under Russian Rule
A synoptic history of Imperial and Soviet Russian conquest and colonisation of the North Caucasus.
This book is about a region on the fringes of empire, which neither Tsarist Russia, nor the Soviet Union, nor in fact the Russian Federation, ever really managed to control. Starting with the nineteenth century, it analyses the state’s various strategies to establish its rule over populations highly resilient to change imposed from outside, who frequently resorted to arms to resist interference in their religious practices and beliefs, traditional customs, and ways of life.
Jeronim Perovic offers a major contribution to our knowledge of the early Soviet era, a crucial yet overlooked period in this region’s troubled history. During the 1920s and 1930s, the various peoples of this predominantly Muslim region came into contact for the first time with a modernising state, demanding not only unconditional loyalty but active participation in the project of ‘socialist transformation’. Drawing on unpublished documents from Russian archives, Perovic investigates the changes wrought by Russian policy and explains why, from Moscow’s perspective, these modernisation attempts failed, ultimately prompting the Stalinist leadership to forcefully exile the Chechens and other North Caucasians to Central Asia in 1943-4.
Jeronim Perović is Professor of Eastern European History at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He specialises in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as the history of the Balkans.
‘A brilliant work and a fresh view of a complex region. One of the most intelligent, erudite and wise studies of the Caucasus I have read.’ — Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics, University of Kent, and Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
‘A magnificent study of destruction and identity formation among the North Caucasian communities resisting centralized Russian rule. Perović judiciously probes the manifold sources of intra-Caucasian violence.’ — Michael Reynolds, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
‘The book that many of us have been waiting for. This is the most thorough and balanced account of Russia’s most troubled frontier region, a story of repression and collaboration, integration and alienation. Using memoirs and archival materials, Perović paints a nuanced picture of imperial ambitions thwarted by native traditions and misunderstandings.’ — Ronald G. Suny, William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished Professor of History, University of Michigan, and co-author of Russia’s Empires
‘This masterful book weaves together a vast amount of research. Anyone with an interest in the North Caucasus and its complex relationship with Russia should read this work.’ — Ian Lanzillotti, Assistant Professor of History, Tennessee Wesleyan University
‘A comprehensive overview of over two hundred years of Russian rule in the Northern Caucasus, rich in detail, compelling in interpretation, and precise in its research. Perović’s impressive study convincingly explains why neither Tsarist Russia, nor the Soviet Union, nor in fact the Russian Federation, ever really managed to control this region.’ — Klaus Gestwa, Professor at the Institute for Eastern European History and Area Studies, University of Tübingen