- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
174

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
174
As soon as peace had been made, the Russians
were able from 1856 to attack the Caucasus peoples
with all their strength. As wc said above, after
Shamyl had been overcome they had been able to
concentrate their forces against the Circassians and
Abkhasians, whose great weakness was that their
many tribes never felt themselves to be united as
a national whole, and could never combine for any
length of time against the common foe. The
improvement in the Russian firearms, moreover,
gave them a great advantage against the mountain
peoples. These heroic peoples, however, defended
themselves for another five years, until at length
they had to yield in 1864, after a fight for freedom
that had lasted, with breaks, for nearly a century.
But so strong was the urge towards freedom of the
Circassians that nearly 400,000 of them, together
with some ofthe Abkhasians and Chechens, left their
beloved mountain valleys and migrated to Turkey
rather than bow their heads under the Russian
yoke. The lot of many of them was a hard one : so
bad were the arrangements to receive them in
Turkish Asia that many sank altogether under
through want; some did settle, but others became
dreaded bands of robbers in the mountains there.
Even before the 191 7 revolutions there had been
a Socialist movement among the peoples in Dagh
estan, and when the February revolution of 191 7
came, they at once joined in. Kerensky sent new
representatives there, but now a Communist move
ment against him was started, led by Makhach

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