The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History

By Walter Z. Laqueur | Go to book overview
Save to active project

THE SHAMIL PROBLEM

by PAUL B. HENZE


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

SHAMIL, BORN in 1797 and most active in the years 1834-59, was the last and the most successful of the great Moslem resistance leaders who fought to stem the Russian advance into the Caucasus. Based in his native Dagestan, his movement spread to include more than a dozen mountain peoples, most of whom were to some degree inspired by a form of militant, fundamentalist Islam called Muridism. While Shamil and his followers would probably have welcomed Turkish or Western assistance, they received no substantial aid from abroad. Hopes which rose high during the Crimean War were shattered as 'the Allies neglected an opportunity which will never recur of placing a belt of independent tribes in a position of vast natural strength rearwards of the Russian movement in Asia'.1 Shamil was captured by Russian forces in 1859. Several hundred thousand Caucasian mountaineers fled to various parts of the Middle East in the years that followed. Large-scale Caucasian resistance thus ended, but Shamil has remained a legendary hero among the native Moslem peoples of the Caucasus to the present day. The fact that he lived comfortably for twelve years after his capture under protective surveillance in Russia and eventually died on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1871 is an interesting measure of the difference between the Tsarist and Soviet régimes in treatment of resistance leaders.

Few pre-Revolutionary Russian historians were entirely negative in their evaluation of Shamil. The bravery and colourfulness of the Caucasian mountaineers have always appealed to Russians. There

____________________
1
F. H. Skrine, The Expansion of Russia, 1815-1900 ( Cambridge, 1904), p. 134.

-415-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 518

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?