12 January 2004, 01:40

Foreword

Dear reader,

This book is about the Chechens and Ingushes - the kindred nations of the North Caucasus. The Chechens and Ingushes have common origin and similar language and culture, but owing to the force of historical coincidence of circumstances they have developed into the separate nations who, nevertheless, are fully aware of their unity, and apart from their national self-names - Nokhchi (Chechens) and Galgai (Ingushes), have their common name - Vainakhs, i.e., "our people". In recent years, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, having been under the shade of vast Russia for a long time, a small country of the Vainakhs, Chechen-Ingushetia, has become world-famed thanks to the dramatic events taking place there. Information sources, commenting on the full-scale military actions, humanitarian disaster and mass violation of human rights in the North Caucasus, can not pass by mentioning the names of Vainakh peoples, especially that of the Chechens. These regrettable moments of present situation have undoubtedly excited certain interest of many people for the Vainakhs, their history, culture and current reality, and especially under existing conditions of relative scarcity of the generalized literature popularly dealing with the rich and colourful history of Vainakhs since olden times to our days. Only after having learnt moments from the history of the Chechen and Ingush peoples, and from their recent past in particular, one can comprehend the reasons of political radicalism of the Chechens, as well as the motive of resolute and unprecedented steadfastness they are manifesting when subjected to severe trials.

The present book does not have a claim on wide coverage of the subject, but sets itself a more modest task. It is a scientific-popular work which gives a characteristic of the land of Vainakhs and in a condensed form describes the past and present of the Chechens and Ingushes, the history of their culture and the nature of their relationship with Russia. The work also contains an introduction presenting a brief historico-geographical description of the Caucasus and the peoples, inhabiting this land. The author considers it necessary to give the reader a general idea of the Caucasus in order to facilitate the comprehension of the history and current situation of one of its regions.

The book is intended for the general public taking an interest in Chechnya and Ingushetia.

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