Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Post-Soviet Wars

This morning before work I finished reading Christoph Zürcher's The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus. This short book attempts to apply conflict theory to three Post-Soviet conflicts (Chechnya, Abkhazia/South Ossetia, and Armenia/Azerbaijan). In the introduction Zürcher explains what modern conflict theory is. This was helpful to me as this is definitely one course in college I didn't take, but a bit dry as one can imagine. He next applies this theory to three conflicts that occurred and two that didn't (Dagestan, Ajaria). Each of these chapters have a good summary of the preconditions for the war, a very brief synopsis of the war and then a conclusion. I enjoyed reading about the the two wars that didn't happen the most because I know the least about these areas of the former Soviet Union. The book's conclusion examines how these conflicts support or don't support conflict theory. I found this part of the book the most unconvincing. I'm not sure general theories about war can be made. For every part of the theory that applied to two conflicts it did not apply to the third. Perhaps no general conflict theory really exists, even for wars as similar as these, and it is only the attempt to apply such a theory that is an interesting and worthwhile exercise. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, but if one's read a lot about such conflicts Zürcher's book could be an enjoyable start to a deeper understanding of the period.

1 comment:

  1. Good review- it convinced me to order a copy.