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“With his exciting narratives and compelling analysis of the twentieth century's ‘Caucasian Wars,’ Zürcher brings events on the periphery of Europe into the mainstream of social science and comparative politics. Disputing existing explanations of internal wars, he shows that rather than mountainous terrain or poverty, a more powerful causal explanation of civil bloodletting can be located in state capacities and the abilities of combatants to finance their struggles. This book is sure to stir debate.”
-Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan
“Democracy is commonly paired with order while ethnic violence is paired with strife and chaos. The Post-Soviet Wars painstakingly documents that both violence and stability have institutional reasons and must be organized politically by specific human agencies. This lesson is obviously relevant to the contemporary discussion of democratization as well as ‘failing’ states, let alone the effects wrought by the American war on terror.”
-Georgi Derlugyan, author of Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography
The Post-Soviet Wars is a comparative account of the organized violence in the Caucusus region, looking at four key areas: Chechnya, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan. Zürcher’s goal is to understand the origin and nature of the violence in these regions, the response and suppression from the post-Soviet regime and the resulting outcomes, all with an eye toward understanding why some conflicts turned violent, whereas others not. Notably, in Dagestan actual violent conflict has not erupted, an exception of political stability for the region. The book provides a brief history of the region, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting changes that took place in the wake of this toppling. Zürcher carefully looks at the conditions within each region - economic, ethnic, religious, and political - to make sense of why some turned to violent conflict and some did not and what the future of the region might portend.
This important volume provides both an overview of the region that is both up-to-date and comprehensive as well as an accessible understanding of the current scholarship on mobilization and violence.