(27) Now it's time to go to the Caucasus Mountains, where Tolstoy also walked! The majestic military road is overwhelming!

Impressions of the Summer Recounted in Autumn - Trip to Paris and Georgia

Travel in Georgia] (27) Now it's time to go to the Caucasus Mountains! Overwhelmed by the majestic military road!

After returning to Tbilisi after my stay in Armenia, I finally departed for the Caucasus Mountains, the main destination of this trip, after a day of rest.

The Caucasus Mountains are located in northern Georgia. The town of Stepanzminda, also known as Kazbeki, is the base for enjoying these mountains.

It takes about 3.5 hours from Tbilisi.

You will continue north on the highway. And from a certain point, you will be on a road called the military road.

I would like to talk a little about that military road here.

Military Roads in Georgia

The Georgian Military Road, a road built in 1799 by the Imperial Russian Army for military vehicles on an ancient road, connects the Russian Vladikavkas (meaning "Conquer the Caucasus") and Tbilisi, about 200 km across the Great Caucasus Mountains. It has played an important role in the history of the region, sometimes as a trade route and sometimes as an invader's road. At the same time, it is known for its scenic beauty and has attracted Russian poets such as Pushkin and Lermontov.

Such a military road has now become a tourist road, attracting visitors from all over the world. The entire route to Kazbegi is paved and comfortable. There are many hotels and guesthouses in Gudauri on the way and Kazbegi at the end of the road, so it is a good idea to stay overnight.

Incidentally, the name of the town of Kazbegi was recently changed back to the pre-revolutionary "Stepanzminda," but it is still more commonly referred to as Kazbegi, so we will do so here as well.

Diamond Big Publishing, "Globe-Trotter A31 Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Countries of the Caucasus 2018-2019 Edition," p. 422

To my surprise, the route that Tolstoy and Pushkin walked is now a popular tourist attraction! This is a blessing for me as well, as I want to see the Caucasus Mountains.

When Tolstoy visited the Caucasus in the 1850s, Russia and the Caucasus were already at war. The history that has continued since that time is connected to the present-day Chechen War. It is significant to know the history of the Caucasus in order to understand the history of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and modern Russia.

I would like to review its history here to learn more about the Kafkers that Tolstoy visited.

Kafkers problem

In order to explain the Chechen war, one has to explain the situation of the entire Caucasus, and to do so one has to preach from the history of the Caucasus. That is very much out of my hands, so a recently published bookKafkaesque."(Takashi Kimura et al. eds., Sairyusha, 2004).

Whenever you look into the historical literature of the Kafkaes, you will always find a huge nation-state peeking out from the pages. In the past, there were the Achaemenids and the Romans, then the Seljuks, the Mongols, the Timurids, the Safavids, the Russian Empire, and in the 20th century, the Soviet Union.

Geographically, this region, bordered by the Caspian Sea to the east and the Black Sea to the west, was a passageway between North Eurasia and the Middle East from north to south, and a route for goods transported by ship between the two seas from the east and west.

In addition, the mountainous terrain and the complex composition of the population have prevented the creation of a cohesive and powerful power in the region, resulting in a state of constant petty bifurcation of the country. It was only natural that the above-mentioned powers would attempt to exert control over a region of such geopolitical and trade importance, rich in natural and human resources, and without a strong local state. The Kafkaes were therefore constantly subjected to the advances of neighboring powers and often became the scene of power struggles among them" (This book was co-authored by several people. (This book was co-authored by several authors, the author of the quoted part is Mayudzumi Akitsu).
*some line breaks.

Written by Takashi Fujinuma, Dai-san Bunmeisha, Inc.Tolstoy."p145

This is why the Kafkers have historically been targeted by the major powers.

And the next part of the article talks about Russian moves to target such Kafkaes.

Kafkaesian expansion in Russia


Russia's expansion into the Caucasus dates back to the 16th century. Russia, which had established a centralized power in the 16th century with Moscow as its ally, soon developed into a great Eurasian empire that was no less powerful than the former Mongol Empire, and set out to conquer the Caucasus, a perfect location between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, as an outlet to the sea.

At first they used the power of the Cossacks (Cossacks), who were already settled on the Don and lower Volga rivers and were originally rebellious. In 1604, at the beginning of the 17th century, the regular army of the empire also made its first expedition to the Caucasus, but it failed. It was not an easy task, as they had to eliminate not only the resistance of the inhabitants of the Caucasus, but also the forces of the Turks, Persians, and other great powers.

It was Peter the Great who, despite the difficulties involved, began a full-scale invasion of the Caucasus. In 1720, he, too, organized the Cossacks in the region and used them as a base for the Russian Empire's advance into the Caucasus, establishing five stanissas.

Stanytsas, translated as "Cossack villages" in Russian-Japanese dictionaries and other sources, were comprehensive organizations that brought together a number of scattered Cossack settlements, the largest of which had a population of several tens of thousands. As a result, in 1722 they succeeded in occupying the entire coast of Dagestan, which bordered Chechnya to the east.

However, after the death of Peter the Great, Russia's offensive weakened, and Dagestan was once again recaptured by Persia. Thus, the endless war between the Russian Empire, its ethnic minorities, and the great powers behind them continued in the Caucasus.

The Russians then stepped up their offensive again and succeeded in annexing Georgia in 1801-10 and Azerbaijan in 2003-13. Many ethnic minorities in the Caucasus also returned to Russia or compromised in order to survive.
*some line breaks.

Daisan Bunmeisha, Tolstoy, by Takashi Fujinuma, p.146

The full-scale war between the Kafkers and the Russian Empire began with Peter the Great in 1720.

Peter the Great promoted the westernization of the Russian Empire and built St. Petersburg from scratch.

He had his sights set only on the Western countries, but he was also shrewdly aiming to expand his territory in the East.

Chechen problem

Under these circumstances, the Dagestan and Chechen tribes stubbornly resisted, and in Chechnya, an organized resistance led by Sheikh Mansur (real name: Ushulma) took place in 1785-87. This was the precursor of Mulidism, which became the backbone of resistance in the nineteenth century.

Mullidism is a branch of Islamic mysticism that spread among Chechens, Daghestanis, and other Kafkaesque mountain peoples. It is connected to classical Sufism, but while Sufism appeals to the inner man, Mulidism is extroverted and political, abhors submission to Christians, and fights against Christians, calling it "a religion of the heart" and "a religion of the mind.holy warjihadIt is a robust ideology that considers the

In the early 19th century, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Russia decided to launch a full-scale attack against Chechnya and Dagestan, and appointed Alexei Ermolov commander of the Independent Corps of the Caucasus in 1816.

The Kafkaesque wars have continued for several centuries, but the period from 1817 to 1994 was one of the climaxes of the centuries-long conflict, and the "Kafkaesque Wars" in the narrow sense of the term refers to this period.

It was during this period that stronghold fortresses were built with such unsettling names as Gloznaya (of threat), Vnesapnaya (of raid), and Bournaya (of storm), and the current capital of Chechnya, Glozny, is a remnant of the Gloznaya fortress. It would be rare in the world for a city to have such an explicit name as "Threat City."

Also, Tolstoy's worksDeforestation.The deforestation campaign that gave rise to the title of this report also began during this period. The purpose was to clear away the trees in the forests to improve visibility, prevent surprise attacks by the enemy, and facilitate the passage of troops. It reminds one of Operation Defoliation during the Vietnam War.

The leader (Imam) of the Chechen side in this Kafkaesque war was replaced by Kazi Mulla (Haji Mahomed) to Gamzat Bek, but resistance reached its peak during the reign of his successor, Shamir (34-59).

Meanwhile, Russia also stepped up its offensive, appointing General Vorontsov as its commander-in-chief, and finally forced Shamir to surrender in 1959, making Chechnya a Russian territory.

However, this was not the end of Chechen resistance. Even though Russia's political system underwent major changes from imperial Russia to the Soviet Union and from the Soviet Union to a capitalist state, Chechen resistance against Russia did not cease, and of course Russia's pressure policy toward Chechnya continued unabated. The struggle over the rights to the oil fields made the ethnic conflicts more intense and complicated.
*some line breaks.

Daisan Bunmeisha, Tolstoy, by Takashi Fujinuma, p.147-148

The Kafkaesque wars have continued for centuries, but the period from 1817 to 1994 was one of the climaxes of the centuries-long conflict, and the "Kafkaesque Wars" in the narrow sense of the term refers to this period."

It was during this very period that Tolstoy visited Kafkers.

The Soviet Union, Modern Russia and Chechnya

In 1942, at the height of World War II, Stalin forced about 500,000 people to emigrate to Siberia in order to contain the anti-government activities of the Chechens and Daghestanis, and tragedy struck when many of them died.

After the Perestroika, the All-Chechen Council unanimously adopted the idea of independence from the Soviet Union. After Gorbachev's ouster, Chechnya continued to push in that direction, adopting a referendum on secession from the Soviet Union and electing General Dudaev as the first president of an independent Chechen state.

President Yeltsin, however, refused to recognize this and sent troops to Chechnya in 1994 to suppress the independence movement. This was the first Chechen conflict.

The following year, Russian troops overran the Chechen capital of Grozny. Yeltsin declared a victorious truce and began withdrawing his troops.

Subsequently, the Chechen side's attacks became terrorized, with frequent bombings of houses and stores, sniping of specific persons, and kidnappings of civilians and children.

In October 1999, Yeltsin again dispatched troops to Chechnya "to eradicate terrorism," and the second Chechen conflict began. Putin, who assumed the presidency shortly thereafter, continued the policies of his predecessor, Yeltsin, and the majority of the population supported his policies.

One of the reasons for Putin's high approval ratings was his hard-line stance toward Chechnya. It is unlikely that Russia's policy toward Chechnya will change easily in the future. To describe this long, complex, and tragic conflict in any detail would take several books.

In addition to Tolstoy, there are many Russian writers involved in Chechnya, including Griboedov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Marlinsky (Bestuzhev), Chernyshevsky, and others, and a book on the subject of "Russian Literature and Chechnya" could easily be a volume.
*some line breaks.

Daisan Bunmeisha, Tolstoy, by Takashi Fujinuma, p.148-149

The war between the Russian Empire and Chechnya is connected to the present day.

In particular, the Chechen policy of the Putin regime is very important in the context of the invasion of Ukraine.

President Putin's foreign policy strategy is discussed in considerable detail in this book, but the Kafkaesque and Chechens from the perspective of Russian literature, this time Tolstoy, were also interesting issues.

It was against this complicated backdrop that Tolstoy went to the Kafkaes. There, Tolstoy had an experience that could be called the starting point of his life as a writer.

I am on my way to that Kafkers from now on.

Beautiful Lake of Ananuri

After about an hour of driving from Tbilisi, you will arrive at a place called Ananuri.

It is famous for its beautiful lake and most of the tourist buses heading to Kazbeki stop here.

The church standing by the lake is also wonderful.

Although it was cloudy, the green of the trees reflected on the surface of the lake was beautiful.

Military roads are in the books. Now it's time to go to the Caucasus Mountains.

From here on, the scenery finally changes.

The scale of the mountainous terrain had been running in the past, but the scale of the mountains began to grow rapidly.

It was as if the surface of the mountain surged up from in front of the road I was running on and loomed over me as a wall.

The absence of trees gives it its craggy ruggedness. The landscape is strong.

Russian-Georgian Friendship Monument

Soon after, we arrived at a monument called the Russian-Georgian Friendship Monument.

This monument was built by the Soviet Union in 1983 to commemorate 200 years of friendship with Georgia.

Military roads were built to conquer the Kafkers and Georgia as a whole. Moreover, the relationship between the Soviet Union and Georgia at that time could not be called that of equal friendship. The Soviet Union dared to build a "friendship monument" on a military road, a symbol of its conquest of Georgia. This may be a Soviet way of thinking.

At any rate, it is now used as a tourist attraction in this way.

Still, it is built in an extraordinary place.

As someone who is afraid of heights, it was a chilling experience for me.

At this point, the feeling that I am finally at Kafkaes becomes stronger.

This is the kind of place Tolstoy was walking in.

To Kazbeki, a stronghold of the Caucasus Mountains

The road passes through a valley just between the mountains.

Oh! Isn't this exactly the same view we saw in the picture?

This space was created between mountains. This must have been an exquisite route, as it was the only way to cross the mountains.

But still, everything is huge!

This feeling is probably due not only to the mountains themselves, but also to the flat ground that stretches from this road to both sides. This is a rare sight.

Mount Kazbeki, a famous peak in the Caucasus Mountains, came into view in front of us. This mountain is known as the Bride of Kazbeki because of its snow-capped red mountain surface.

Now, finally, we are approaching Kazbeki, a stronghold in the Caucasus Mountains.

The official name of this town is Stepanzminda, but the old name, Kazbeki, is still more familiar to people, so I will call it Kazbeki from now on.

And the Caucasus Mountains, which I would like to call the Caucasus Mountains from now on, the name they had when Tolstoy once visited them.

We arrived at the town of Kazbeki. The town is spread out at the foot of the very wall-like mountain in front of it. This is now the center of Georgia's mountain resorts and used to be crowded with people before Corona.

There is a small convenience store and restaurants in the center of town, so it does not seem to be inconvenient to stay there.

And from this town, you can see Mount Kazbeki right in front of you. What a wonderful location! I was fortunate to have good weather during my stay and was able to enjoy this beautiful peak every day. It would have been nice if it had been covered with clouds, but it is human nature to want to see it in its full glory. It was a rare chance to see this mountain every day. Our guide laughed and said that Mt. Kazbeki is shy and often hides its face.

And look at the upper left corner of the photo on the right. Do you see a building standing alone on top of the mountain?

This building is the famous Tuminda Sameva Church, known as "the church as close to heaven as possible.

That is exactly where I am headed next.

The idea was to go from the town at the foot of the mountain to the top of the mountain. It's simple, really. It's like a pilgrimage. Fans of "Wednesday Night Live" will no doubt be amused by this.

The following article will introduce this Tuminda Sameva church and the Elia Monastery, a monastery with a spectacular view for those in the know.

be unbroken

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