- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
163

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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SHAMYL
163
more that neither Daghestan nor Chechnia could
be tåken by isolated campaigns, and that ShamyPs
power could not be broken at one blow. There
must be patient, methodical work to strengthen the
Russian lines along the outermost boundaries, and
to fortify them with a chain of strong forts linked
by roads, and by building permanent quarters
with adequate barracks; so gradually they would
push these fortified lines forward. Together with
this an attempt was made to cut down and thin
out the forests in Chechnia, which gave the foe so
great an advantage, and to make broad open roads
through them, while the a-uls there were destroyed
so far as might be.
Shamyl on his side made use of the time to estab
lish his power firmly over the mountain tribes, and
in 1849 it was at its height; but it was a pure
despotism, and rested more and more on the exe
cutioner’s axe. None dared oppose his will, not
even the kinsmen of his victims. Thousands were
always ready to sacrifice their lives at his bidding,
and his chieftains were ready to lead them. First
among these was Hadji Murad. He made raid
after raid, each bolder than the last, into the heart
of the enemy’s country. There was no limit to his
daring, and with his unrivalled resourcefulness
and swiftness he always got away unharmed. In
December 1846 he made his way with 500 men
by night into Djengutai, the capital of Mekh
tuli, and carried offthe widow ofhis old foe, Akhmed
Khan, right under the nose of the strong Russian
garrison. In April 1849 he surpassed his reputa

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