18 May 2003, 19:55

Hadji Murat

Participant of the Caucasian highlanders' liberation struggle, one of the rulers of Avar khanate in 1834-1836, Shamil's naib.

Was born in late 1790s in the settlement of Khunzakh, now Republic of Dagestan. Was raised in a family of Avar khans. In 1834, participated in his brother Osman's conspiracy against imam Gamzat-bek; after his assassination, ruled Avar khanate together with the Russia's authorities' protege Akhmedkhan Mekhtulinsky. In 1836, was accused of secret ties with Shamil and arrested; escaped and settle in the village of Tselmes, Dagestan.

Since that time, Hadji Murat became one of Shamil's closest followers. Since 1843, when Avaria was included in Shamil's imamate, Hadji Murat became the naib of Avar tribes. Discords with Shamil on the military issues and the interior order in the imamate, Hadji Murat's ambition, and the fear of prosecution by Shamil for a number of military failures (especially the fiasco of Tabasaran campaign headed by Hadji Murat in 1851) led him to a breakaway from Shamil.

On November 23 (December 5), 1851, Hadji Murat fled to Chechnya and took the side of the Russians, who supposed to use Hadji Murat's popularity among the highlanders for attracting them to the Russian side. However, in April 1852, Hadji Murat escaped from the Russians into the mountains and was killed on April 23 (May 5), 1852, during the exchange of fire near the city of Nukhi (now, the city of Sheki, Azerbaijan).

The Caucasian folklore maintains a number of legends about Hadji Murat. L.N. Tolstoy's story Hadji Murat is dedicated to the last period of his life and his death.

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