- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
149

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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SHAMYL
149
followers came pouring in together under his
flag.
In November of that year something happened
that was to have fateful results for the Russians.
Hadji Murad, who all along had been their friend
and ally, had had the suspicion brought on him
by his enemy Akhmed Khan of Mekhtuli—pro
visional ruler of Avaria—of being in secret corre
spondence with Shamyl. He was arrested and tåken
to the Russian headquarters under a strong escort.
On a narrow path along the mountain-side, where
they had to go in single file, he suddenly jerked
away the ropes holding him and jumped over the
cliff. All thought it was certain death, but he escaped
with a broken leg, and, although badly hurt, he
managed to drag himself to friends, and from now
on became the dangerous foe of the Russians. He
joined Shamyl, who appointed him naib, and
gradually he won the Avars over to his side.
Shamyl chose the a-ul of Dargo in Chechnia
(Ichkeria) as his capital, and during the foliowing
years used his time in organizing his kingdom. He
divided it into districts governed by naibs, each of
whom had to furnish at least three hundred mounted
fighting-men. The core of a standing anny was
formed from these mounted men, chosen from every
tenth farmstead, and quartered in each a-ul, which
had to keep their horses, till their land, and reap
their crops. These men had always to be ready to
carry out orders, and when a campaign was over
they came back to their a-uls, where they also kept
a hold on the other inhabitants. If needful their

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