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Age of RoguesRebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires$
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Ramazan Öztan and Alp Yenen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781474462624

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462624.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Caucasian Banditry in Late Imperial Russia: The Case of Abrek Zelimkhan

Caucasian Banditry in Late Imperial Russia: The Case of Abrek Zelimkhan

Chapter:
(p.83) 3 Caucasian Banditry in Late Imperial Russia: The Case of Abrek Zelimkhan
Source:
Age of Rogues
Author(s):

Jeronim Perović

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474462624.003.0003

The Muslim populated North Caucasus, especially the mountainous parts inhabited by Chechens and Dagestanis, represented the most difficult to control borderland area of the Russian Empire. This chapter is analysing the complex realities in this volatile region by looking into the phenomenon of “banditry” (abrechestvo) as well as a political manifestation of resistance to Russian rule. As a case study serves the life story of the most notorious “abrek” at the time: the Chechen Zelimkhan Gushmazukaev. Together with his small group of followers, Zelimkhan for more than a decade roamed the region, raiding Cossack farms, robbing banks, trains and post offices, and murdering local representatives of the tsarist government. He was tracked down and killed in September 1913. He gained legendary status already during his lifetime, and became a frequent topic of debate in the Russian press as well as the ruling political and military circles. Drawing on newspaper articles and book publications from the late tsarist and early Soviet period, as well as police and other reports from the imperial Russian archives, this chapter unravels the myth behind the legend and provides insight into the state of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution.

Keywords:   Russian Empire, North Caucasus, Chechnya, Banditry, Rebellion, Colonialism, Abreks

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