chapter  3
22 Pages

From the land of the Bible to the Caucasus and beyond: the shifting ideas of the geographical origin of humankind

ByH.F. Augstein

The Russian province Chechnya came to sad prominence in 1994-6 when separatist

parts of the population attempted to break loose from Boris Yeltsin’s Russia.

Images of bloodshed and bombed sites were transported by the media into the

homes of the Western world. The inhabitants of the Caucasus have ever been

discontented with Russian dominion: the antagonism between Russia’s rulers and

the Caucasus peoples forms a continuous thread through the history of the region,

linking Boris Yeltsin to Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Located on the

unknown outskirts of that massive empire, little known and little noticed, the fate

of the petty Caucasian fiefdoms has been determined by their distance from Russia’s

political centre.