Transgressive Sanctity: The Abrek in Chechen Culture
Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 271-306, Spring 2007
36 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2010 Last revised: 11 Jan 2015
Date Written: March 29, 2010
The ancient tradition of the abrek (bandit) was developed into a political institution during the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century by Chechen and other Muslim peoples of the Caucasus as a strategy for dealing with the overwhelming military force of Russia's imperial army. During the Soviet period, the abrek became a locus for oppositional politics and arguably influenced the representations of violence and anti-colonial resistance during the recent Chechen Wars (1994-indefinite). This article is one of the first works of English-language scholarship to historicize this institution.
Keywords: Chechnya, Islam, Violence, Banditry, Criminality, Colonialism, Post-Soviet, Rebellion, Literature, Law
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