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Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power Paperback – 1 Jul 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300078811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300078817
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 810,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

The humiliation of Russia by separatist rebels in the Chechen War marked a key moment in Russian - and perhaps world - history. In this new analysis Anatol Lieven offers a riveting account of the war as a means to explore the painful fate of the post-Soviet state.

About the Author

Following his career as a Moscow-based correspondent for "The Times" of London, Anatol Lieven was a fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1996. He was also a correspondent in Central Europe for the "Financial Times", and is now editor of "Strategic Comments" and expert on post-Soviet affairs at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Lieven is the author of "Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power" and the prize-winning "The Baltic Revolution".

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lieven gives a vivid account from the front line in Chechnya during the recent war. He spoke to the main protagonists on both sides and also to the common soldiers or fighters. He offers many lively examples of Russian incompetence and corruption and writes admiringly but not uncritically about the courage and tenacity of the Chechens who fought this once mighty military force. Lieven also analyses thoroughly the broader military and political reasons for the Russian defeat and traces its causes to the general state of political decay in present day Russia. He offers the historical background of the very troubled Russian-Chechen relationship. He draws many interesting parallels with other political systems where corrupt and incompetent leaders have remained in power over longer periods of time e.g. in certain Latin American countries. Lieven writes critically about western analysts such as the historian Richard Pipes who still tend to regard Russia as an inherently expansionist power. Military expansion, in his view, is simply not on the agenda for a very long time, if only due to the very sorry state of the Russian military and of politics generally. A very insightful book, very rewarding.
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Format: Paperback
This thorough and comprehensive account of Russo-Caucasian relations and War in the 90's, the examination of key figures, as they were then 10 years ago, and a dissection of the shortcomings of the Russian Military with a Structural analysis of its failings, ensure this book 10 years on post Putin is still of interest.
Lieven has an established academic record, and with his inside connections presents an authentic , authoritative and impartial voice. He gives an interesting account of the chechen people, who 10 years ago were little known in the West.
As it transpires the War is in a second phase and ongoing. This however is an exceptionally detailed account and analyis of the mechanism and execution of the first War in its historical and contemporary contexts.
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Format: Paperback
A very shallow review of the past 200-year long struggle between the Chechens and the Russians. The author, Anatol (Peter) Lieven, originally an office writer/journalist, tries to venture into the fields of investigative journalism, anthropology, ethnography, history, and military history. I believe this is a lackluster book with an explosive title, but it fails to live up to the hype. It is evident throughout the entire book, that the the author, Anatol Lieven, suffers a 'superiority complex'; as one progresses through the book, it turns more into a tirade of why HE is significant because HE was there and HE saw it all. Some of his 'discoveries' are questionable, others are simply laughable. His 'presence' in Chechnya amounts to a couple of weeks 'in the field' before and after heavy fighting. This book is his own verbal gibberish, converted into text, mixed with ideas adopted from other writers (Moshe Gammer), and sold as a 'new' text.

I regret ever having picked up this book, and if you want a more serious, proven, approach to the problems of Russia and Chechnya, please consult Robert Seely - A Deadly Embrace (for contemporary wars in Chechnya) and Moshe Gammer - Muslim Resistance to the Tsar (for the historical aspect of the conflicts).
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By A Customer on 4 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a very thorough and balanced account of the Russian invasion of Chechnya. Mr Lieven should be congratulated for writing this book. Highly recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but beware of biases 20 May 2000
By Billy Winters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mr. Lieven does an excellent job in his analysis of the Chechen conflict, but readers should use caution against potential bias. During his time in Chechnya, the author seems to have grown quite affectionate toward the Chechens. This leads to the Russians being painted as the villain (not that they are angels, but neither are the Chechens). However, Mr. Lieven does provide a fascinating insight into the war. I love his miniature analyses of the evolution of modern war. This book is not for beginners, but few Yale publishings are. Beginnners should look for a Chechnya book from a mass-market publisher.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good, but not really for beginners. 13 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lieven's book is sporadically brilliant at telling the story of why the Russians failed to conquer Chechnya, and why they'll probably fail again. In particular, he brings to the fore how russian foreign policy is dictated by the internal political struggles amongst the rich and greedy; and how the russian military suffers from a serious lack of morale.
But the book has serious problems: Lieven assumes his readers are as knowledgeable as him. For instance, Lieven talks of all these important figures in the Chechnyan war, but often doesn't bother to introduce them. He doesn't explain who General Dudayev was until about 50 pages through the book. The legendary exploits of a great chechnyan rebel, Shamil, aren't discussed till near the very end of the book. Lieven doesn't discuss the history of Russian involvement in chechnya till two-thirds of the way through the book.
There's no damn map, so often you have no idea what took place where.
If you want a good short introduction to the chechnya conflict, this isn't it. You're better off starting off with something a little simpler, that actually tells the story in a relatively linear and straightforward manner.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very thorough analysis of the Russian defeat in Chechnya 1 Nov. 1998
By Ben de Jong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Lieven gives a vivid account from the front line in Chechnya during the recent war. He spoke to the main protagonists on both sides and also to the common soldiers or fighters. He offers many lively examples of Russian incompetence and corruption and writes admiringly but not uncritically about the courage and tenacity of the Chechens who fought this once mighty military force. Lieven also analyses thoroughly the broader military and political reasons for the Russian defeat and traces its causes to the general state of political decay in present day Russia. He offers the historical background of the very troubled Russian-Chechen relationship. He draws many interesting parallels with other political systems where corrupt and incompetent leaders have remained in power over longer periods of time e.g. in certain Latin American countries. Lieven writes critically about western analysts such as the historian Richard Pipes who still tend to regard Russia as an inherently expansionist power. Military expansion, in his view, is simply not on the agenda for a very long time, if only due to the very sorry state of the Russian military and of politics generally. A very insightful book, very rewarding.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply essential reading 29 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most important works for those who read, write and think about any of the following:
Capitalism;
RMA Issues;
Nation-States;
Revolutions;
Post-Soviet Society;
Islam;
Tribal Society;
East-West Divisions;
The Rule of Law;
War;
and Human Rights.
There is very little that this book does not at some point find a way to address. That is my only real problem with the text: Like its author, it has a way of involving many different ideas that may, or may not, actually hold together to make a compelling argument. However, unlike other authors' attempts to weave this kind of tapestry, this book succeeds more often that it confounds.
I think it is the first book I have read that accurately captured just what was going on in Chechnya in terms of what had happened in Moscow. This is more than a typical piece of modern war-correspondent work. This is an author who understands both sides of the conflict, and not only in terms of the tactical and strategic pictures. More than a blow-by-blow account of Russian brutality (which it contains as well), it moves beyond the normal, facile explanations of Russian behavior in the Caucasus.
Would the normal view of an expansionist Russian still account for the ways in which the first Chechen campaign was conducted? Only partly, and it would be wholly unsatisfying to stop there. To answer this question requires a deeper understanding of modern Russia than you would get from the traditional explanations coming from Conquest et. al.
What Lieven has done here is to capture more than the status on the ground. He has achieved the first real and complex portrait of the Russia of Boris Yeltsin, the Russian army in its post-Soviet incarnation, and one of the best examples of the kind of analysis that needs to be done on modern armies who must confront ancient societies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great look at the 1994-1996 conflict but a little biased 2 May 2010
By Lehigh History Student - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Lieven does an interesting look at how Chechnya has impacted Russia in his look at the war of 1994-1996. It is very well done in detail and looks at the historical and practical reasons for the Russian defeat in the war. As other reviewers have pointed out there is a bias from the author and it is not for beginners. During his time in Chechnya he has become a fan of the Chechens and it is obvious in the way that he characterizes both parties in the war. This is a very intense and widely ranging scholarly work looking at factors including military, sociology, economics, religion, politics and history related to the conflict. The author makes a very strong point related to the character of the Chechens on religion and culture and why the fight in the war as a religion older than Islam. For those who really want to dive into why the Russians struggled in this conflict and how it persists into today this is a great book to use.
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