- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
121

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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121
VI
MURIDISM AND THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
When in 1801 the Tsar of Russia had tåken to
himself the crown of Georgia, it became of great
importance to subdue the mountaineers—mostly
Mohammedans—in the Caucasus lying between,
so as to make the Russian power in the south quite
secure. The object was to allow the Tsar to stretch
his grasping hand towards the Turks in the south
west and the Persians in the south-east and, indeed,
further still, towards India. These mountain peoples
were not in great numbers, and could doubtless
be overcome without any great difficulty by the
huge Russian forces. True, they had done no
injury to Russia, and this country had no right
whatever to their land, but this had no weight
against an Imperial wish; their land had to be
made an integral part of the Russian Empire, and
free or autonomous tribes in these mountains, or
on the plains north of them, "were incompatible
with the dignity or honour of the Tsar". What the
conquest was to cost in streams of blood, in devasta
tion, want, misery, and suffering for tens of
thousands of mountain dwellers was, needless to
say, of little weight ; this was these people’s own
fault for setting themselves up against the Imperial
commands. Moreover, so it was said, they carried
on robbery, took cattle, and plundered people on
the high-roads. But what shall one say of the
Russian Tsar and his people, who by no right what

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