Description : This is the first book to present a comprehensive history of the Northwest Caucasus. Based on extensive research, it describes the peoples of the Northwest Caucasus, which have a significantly different ethnic makeup and history than the Northeast (Chechnya and Daghestan). The book examines their struggles for survival against repeated invasions and their ultimate defeat at the hands of the Russians. It explores interethnic relations and demographic changes that have occurred in the region over time with a particular focus on the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, incorporating recently published archival materials concerning the deportation of the Abazas, Circassians and Ubykhs to the Ottoman Empire by the Russians, which is treated as the first act of ethnic cleansing in modern history. The book also closely examines the struggles the Northwest Caucasus peoples continue to undergo in the post-Soviet era, facing pressures from organized crime, religious extremism, and a federal government that is unresponsive to their needs. It emphasizes the strategic importance of the region, lying on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea directly on the border between the "Christian" and "Muslim" worlds. Overall, it will be of interest to scholars of Russian history and politics, Caucasus and Central Asian Studies, genocide studies, international relations and conflict studies.
Description : The overall character of the Black Sea region has been defined over time in various ways. For specialists in economy and trade, it has represented a region at the crossroads of the trade routes between Europe and Asia; for political scientists and historians, it has been a space of confrontation between the great terrestrial and naval powers; for the scholars attentive to its cultural dimensions, it has been a contact zone, a space of interaction between different peoples, religions and cultures. These attempts at a definition all revolve around an essential (and ambivalent) feature of the Black Sea as a factor of connection, a bridge, and at the same time a border, a dividing line between Europe and Asia, between the Baltic and the Mediterranean region. In this fluctuation between the two, the predominance of one over the other (“bridge” or “border”) has depended on a number of factors, first among them the distribution of power relations in the region. This volume, which originated in a symposium hosted by the New Europe College – Institute for Advanced Study in Bucharest, brings together contributions coming from scholars within the Black Sea region and outside it, in an attempt to look at the Balkans and Caucasus from a comparative and multi-disciplinary perspective, highlighting their differences, as well as their common features. The overarching question this volume and the papers included in it address – and leave open – is to what extent we are dealing with a coherent zone, whose past, present and future can legitimately be considered as being traversed by meaningful interrelations, suggesting a shared destiny.