The Lone Wolf and the Bear

Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule

November 2005 9781850657484 256pp
Temporarily out of stock


The two Russo-Chechen wars (1994-6 and 1999-onwards) have brought the country and its people to the centre of world attention, most recently when separatists stormed a Moscow theatre, taking hundreds of people hostage. This book takes a different approach from most studies published on Chechnya, arguing that fully to grasp the significance and meaning of recent events one has to study them from a long historical perspective. Since Chechen nationalists regard the wars of the 1990s onwards as part of a ‘three hundred year long war’ between them and Russia, The Lone Wolf and the Bear takes the Russo-Chechen confrontation back to Moscow’s first attempts to expand into the Caucasus in the sixteenth century. While concentrating on the Chechen struggle, its evolution and many causes, the book also tracks change within Chechen society following contact with Russia, the various and unexpected forms of modernisation, Russification and Sovietisation, the way these moulded Chechen self-perceptions and the nature of their struggle and its contribution to Chechen defiance of Russian power. Dr Moshe Gammer is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Middle Eastern and African History, Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnya and Daghestan (London, 1994) and of many articles on the history and current events of the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.


‘An excellent study, and one that is badly needed. […] It is also a groundbreaking work. It is the only book that has attempted to grapple with such a large chronological swathe of Chechen history, and to integrate those periods into a coherent whole. This is no mean feat because several of the periods have barely been studied.’ — Michael Reynolds, Harvard University

‘Moshe Gammer’s profound knowledge of the North Caucasus and its peoples has been synthesised in this fine overview of the development of Chechnya in its relations with Russia over the last three centuries. … The book is accessible in the best sense of the term.’ — Slavic Review


Moshe Gammer, Senior Lecturer in History at Tel Aviv University, is the author of Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia and Daghestan.

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