This article examines the political mobilization of the autochthonous mountain peoples of the North Caucasus in 1917-1918. These years provided a brief and confused yet real moment of freedom wherein the mountaineers were able to assert their own positive political ambitions. The most important mountaineer political force in this period was the Union of Allied Mountaineers (UAM), a broadly based pan-mountaineer movement led by a nascent native intelligentsia. This article contends that the conventional portrayal of the mountaineers in these years as intractable rebels and Islamists is misleading. It argues that a cogent sense of self-interest led them consistently to pursue cooperative policies, policies sharply at odds with the existing historiography's emphases on violent conflict and resistance as the essential themes of not only North Caucasian politics but of the politics of ethno-national movements in this period in general. To support this contention, the article explores the record of the UAM and its members in three areas: relations with Russia and Russians, the impact of Islam upon mountaineer politics, and relations with outside powers.
|Number of pages
|Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas
|Published - 2008
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