- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
168

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
168
fresh or strengthened forces against him, he had
but his one anny, always the same, and his Murids,
who were ever being thinned through losses and
desertions. There was, moreover, the fact that the
new Russian firearms and rifl.es were far better
than those of the mountain peoples. The Russian
lines were pushed on farther and farther round
Shamyl, who after the destruction of Dargo in 1 845
had chosen Veden in Chechnia as his head
quarters. On the ist of April, 1859, this strong
fortress was tåken by storm by the "three-eyed"
General Yevdokimov after two months’ siege,
with remarkably small losses for the Russians.
Shamyl now went offinto Daghestan, and with iron
courage strove to put up a defence there in per
manent positions. But more and more of the
mountain tribes now fell away from him ; his most
faithful chieftains failed him; even Kibit Mahoma,
the fanatical kadi ofTilitl, went over to the Russians
and stood opposed to him. Betrayed and forsaken,
with wives and children and a small following he
now took refuge for the last time on the mountain
known as Gunib, on the left bank of the Kara
Koisu, where they were still faithful to him. This
was in August, and a few days later, on the o,th,
the Russian anny came up and the siege began.
The mountain is like a huge truncated three
sided pyramid, whose sides rise perpendicularly
over the mountain land around. The flat top is per
haps ten square kilometres in area, with grazing
and plough-land, birch-woods and brooks running
through it. On this plain lies the a-ul of Gunib;

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