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Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society (California Series in Public Anthropology (Paperback)) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 14. Juni 2004

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This is an illumination of one of the world's most troubled regions from a unique perspective - that of a prominent Russian intellectual. Valery Tishkov examines the evolution of the war in Chechnya that erupted in 1994, untangling the myths and the long-held resentments that have fuelled the crisis.


"This book, though controversial in perspective, is an anthropological tour de force. Through detailed description, Tishkov enables readers to see behind the banal generalities around such terms as self-determination. The book puts a foreign world--ethnic and national violence--under a microscope and reports on those details that are unfortunately lost in all too many informed discussions."David D. Laitin, author of "Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the Near Abroad"
"Non-Russian students of ethnicity have long admired Valery Tishkov as a supremely knowledgeable specialist in the subject, an acerbic critic of careless description, and a superb organizer of research. Here, however, we discover a sympathetic observer, historical analyst, and concerned citizen who deplores war's destructiveness. Tishkov brings Chechen voices to eloquent witness against sham and obfuscation."Charles Tilly, author of "Durable Inequality"
"This is a most valuable book on an important subject about which Americans know little. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the all-important U.S./Russia relationship as well as to general students of international affairs."Thomas Graham Jr., former U.S. ambassador and author of "Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law"
"This book confronts the difficult question of why such conflicts arisewhy do people who have lived side by side start killing one another? Some explain this in terms of history, citing innate hatred, the incompatibility of civilizations, or the unusual social structure of the rival nationalities. Some say the war in Chechnya was bought and paid for. But the question remains of why it is so easy to lead a society into conflict: why people take up arms or find themselves unable to oppose the initiators and perpetrators of violence. Tishkov's explanation has important theoretical and political significance and deserves the attention of an international audience." from the foreword by Mikhail S. Gorbachev"

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Amazon.com: 4.8 von 5 Sternen 5 Rezensionen
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A relatively balanced analysis of this difficult conflict 17. August 2004
Von M. Voronenko - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Unlike many other books on Chechnya, this one offers a unique ethnographic account and analysis of this war and of what preceded it. Although very academic, it offers 'direct voices' of Chechens (mostly) that either suffered the war or have escaped it and now live elsewhere. The book does not attempt to glorify or condemn either side but, on the contrary, demonstrates how hawkish parties in both Moscow and Grozny have committed acts of political shortsightedness that dragged the country into war.

While this book is not going to satisfy anyone whose opinion has already been formed, especially anyone who views this conflict in terms of a small brave nation fighting against an imperial monster, it is more scientific and balanced than any other book that exists on this subject in English. It also takes a stab at Western preconcieved notions such as a failure to recognize ethnic cleansing of Chechnya in 1991-94 when the city of Grozny has been cleansed of non-Chechens who were forced to leave the republic or killed, their appartnments having been taken by the militants.

In short, this book will please you if you are looking for a balanced account or if you have an open mind and are not already set in condemning the Russians. After all, these are Chechen voices too.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a subtle, unpacking of the Chechen conflict 31. Mai 2005
Von Andrew Campbell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I came to this book after reading several books on the Caucusus -- Yo'av Karny's 'Highlanders' (2001) being the best -- and a couple on Chechnya -- Khassan Baiev's memoir 'The Oath' (2004) the most profound of those. Admittedly, I came to Tishkov's work skeptical: he is Russian, after all. For those of us perhaps a little too eager to see local resistances to 'imperial' power and statehood as liberatory struggles, Tishkov engages us in a real marvel of anthropology, teasing apart threads, and questioning assumptions. Like Baiev, albeit in a very different way, Tishkov's professionalism, his belief in the rationalism of the anthropological method, carries this book. It is certainly possible he may have carefully selected and then edited his informants' words, but to what end? Throughout the book I was successively impressed by his unwillingness to engage in "a debate over the truths of who did what during the Chechen war." This is not to say that Tishkov avoids pointed commentaries about either Russian hubris or Chechen entrepreneurial violence, but it is to say that he does a profound job in helping his readers understand the precarious nature of war and peace, especially in a cultural climate where "even the slightest of differences can be used to justify violence."
9 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The casualty of war. 28. April 2005
Von Tam - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Following the tide of change that resulted in the breakup of the Soviet Union, the people of Chechnya proclaimed their independence in November 1991. Inevitably, many events took place between the newly formed nation and the Russian Federation, leading to the invasion of Chechnya by Russian troops in early December of 1994. A conflict that Anatol Lieven, the author of Chechnya: Tombstone Of Russian Power, has referred to as "the greatest epics of colonial resistance of the past century". Thus, for the next ten years, one bloody war after another reduced a thriving country to rubble; the Chechens enduring unimaginable suffering with no end in sight. To date, the struggle for self-determination has somehow, develop into an "Islamic" guerrilla war. Chechnya: Life In A War-Torn Society is not an account of the war; rather it is a reflection on a Chechen society forced into a never-ending, cruel and traumatizing war. The author of this scholarly text, Valery Tishkov, is currently the director of the Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Therefore, his views on the conflict can be deemed authoritative and to some extent, biased.

In the first five chapters, the author seeks for the answer by explaining the historical context of events such as Stalin's atrocious deportation of the Chechens to the lifeless steppes of Kazakhstan during World War II, which the Chechens suffered in silence, undoubtedly created bitterness in their memories. Yet he asserts that it is not a reason for the unending conflict. Nor, according to Tishkov, do ethnic, tribal, or religious disparities explain the tragedy of this war. Tishkov however places the core of the problem in the early stage of Boris Yeltsin's presidency when rivalries between factions paralyzed the operations of the government in dealing with the Chechen crisis. He perceives the bloodshed as the result of unresponsiveness and puzzlements on the Russian leaders when the Chechen crisis first emerged and the reluctance to deal with General Dzhokhar Dudayev, whom the author introduces in chapter six, while the situation is still in control. All through the book, Tishkov observes the first war and its aftermath through the eyes of fifty-four Chechens whom he and his associates interviewed at length. These "informers" have infused his account of the war with an exclusive directness and subtlety. Their recollections offer a distinctive ethnographic description and analysis of the war, the outcome, and what precipitated it.

According to the survivors and Tishkov, the Chechens success in the first war can be attributed to the use of "guerrilla warfare", with tactics such as ambushes and attacks on the enemy's lines of communication which the author of Resisting Rebellion, Anthony J. Joes, stated as one of the vital strategy for insurgents to succeed. Tishkov goes on to express his admiration for the Chechen fighters' ability to overcome the psychological fear and intimidation and master the techniques of guerrilla warfare. Nevertheless, in chapter seven, when they staged and recorded their attacks, Tishkov portrays the exhibitionist behavior of the Chechen fighters as acts of terrorism. The author fails to realize that it is one of the ways that terrorists can get their objectives across to a wider audience. In his book Terror In The Mind Of God: The Global Rise Of Religious Violence, Mark Juergensmeyer, the noted sociologist and the Director of Global and International Studies, explains it as a theater that terrorists use to conduct terror for their audiences whom they are trying to terrorize. Yet, Tishkov fails to mention the atrocities that Russian troops committed on the Chechens that provoked the situation in the first place. On the aspect of religious, from chapter eleven to the rest of the book, Tishkov emphasizes the negative influences of Arab outsiders in the conflict, such as the al-Qaeda terrorist's network, whom he feels is using Chechnya as a stage determined to turn it into another Islamic state similar to the Taliban of Afghanistan. Tishkov's Chechnya: Life In A War-Torn Society is a recommended book since it does not try to venerate or condemn either side of the conflict but to expose how the war-monger parties in both Moscow and Grozny have made the erroneous political decisions that brought war to the Chechens and terrors to the citizens of Russia. Last but not least, the reader of this book must approach it with an open mind and not to form their judgments prematurely. Such as, in the view of some Westerners, the conflict is being about a small brave nation fighting against an imperial monster, or, in the view of Russia, an armed coup d'etat in Chechnya led by General Dudayev, resulting in the rise of an aggressive paramilitary regime that challenged both the Russian state and its armed forces. Nevertheless, it is a conflict that for Russia, according to Joes, who ranks it as one of the most disastrous counterinsurgent experiences on record, with the full implications of which have yet to manifest themselves.
3 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A balanced yet personal look at the conflict. 18. Februar 2005
Von NahYoNah - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Tishkov presents a blanced, well researched account of the two Russian-Chechnyan conflicts. Filled with interviews of both Chechnyns and Russians, the book gives a factual account of the war mixed with personal stories of the survivors. Highly reccomended if you want a down the middle view.
3 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very reccommended 17. März 2005
Von Not Known - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a very good book about the Chechen War written from the viewpoint of the fighters. Most books on this topic are written by Liberals apologists for terrorism, who sympathise with the rebels and blame Russia for the terrorist acts committed by Chechens. Others are by extreme Conservative Christians who just hate all Muslims. Chechnya went from being a struggle for independence to a Holy Jihad. If you want to hear the real story from the voices of the Chechens, here it is! This book is easier to read then Wolves of Islam, and I reccommend reading both!
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