Russian Mountain Range 4 Letters
Russian Mountain Range 4 Letters – After reaching the snowfield, a four-hour hike into the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia at about 11,000 feet, it started to rain, and in the afternoon fog rolled in, soon to cover the rocks. I continued to climb, kicking the toes of my sneakers into the June debris and swinging my hands and knees over the rocks in the steep places. At the top of the pass leading to Juta, the highest village of the Hevsureti people, I watched three hikers emerge from the mist, looking down and exhausted. They were Slovakian. “We are lost,” said one of them. “Now we’re going down. We are looking for a vacation in the village. “
They’re skinny and in their 20s with the common sense to invest in hard-soled, snow-ready boots. It showed how thin my own preparation was. Did I really want to die in a half-baked scheme to conquer the Caucasus? I started that morning among the dirt roads and small stone houses of the sparsely populated Hevsureti region of Georgia. it was time to go back. So now I began to slide down after the Slovaks, and on the endless banks of the valley below, I swear, I heard a man’s serpentine voice, his voice a joyful taunt as it rose from the rock.
Russian Mountain Range 4 Letters
The Russian poet and novelist Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41) was in the Georgian Caucasus before me. These Mountains was his signature work, the 1840 novel A Hero of Our Time, and I was convinced that Michael and I hated each other.
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Lermontov was a short, stocky man with premature hair, a stooped back, and a bad demeanor. After her mother died young, she was raised in Moscow by her grandmother, a society groom who allowed little Mishenko to run amok and destroy her manicured bushes. He was angry to death. The day before, his friend was related to Lermontov’s young wife. Lermontov engaged him in a gun duel. Lermontov disappeared. We can call it the dumbest death in the history of literature.
Or we can remember it through his eyes. They were stunning and coal black and mounted in black sockets. They were simple and sad. Looking at the old oil paintings, you can’t forget that this dyspeptic brat was a sensitive Romantic artist. His eyes saw things. They saw beauty, even as Lermontov himself was destroyed by arrogant nihilism. Most critically, they saw the Caucasus Mountains marching across Russia and Georgia, 900 miles from Moscow salons.
When Lermontov was 3 years old and suffering from rheumatic diseases, his grandmother took him, along with a French teacher and a German ruler, on a horse-drawn carriage to the healing air of the mountains. Lermontov returned at the age of 5 and 10, and again in his 20s and an officer in Tsar Nicholas I’s army. Russia conquered Georgia and engaged in a century-long campaign of conquest of the Caucasian peoples: the Chechens and Ossetians, and the largest group, the Circassians. Lermontov spent the main year gathering material for his novel.
“The Hero” is a subtle, ironic autobiographical tale that follows Pechorin, a young Army officer, as he travels along the Georgian Military Highway, northeast of the capital Tbilisi and through the Caucasus to present-day Chechnya, Russia. It is filled with large stones. Lermontov writes, “Black-blue mountain tops, covered with furrows, covered with layers of snow, are silhouetted against the pink horizon.” A Georgian girl was “beautiful: tall, thin, with dark eyes. She looked like a mountain gazelle.”
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In 1958, after Vladimir Nabokov and his son Dmitri produced the definitive English translation of The Hero, Lermontov said that Lermontov’s language was “the instrument of an energetic, brilliantly gifted, bitterly honest, but certainly inexperienced young man.”
Lermontov had almost no sympathy. For him, Caucasians were harmful if not exotic. “What miserable people,” said Pechorin.
I was in Georgia partly to see that Lermontov had been neglected in vain. But I also paid respect there, because I liked the excitement in Lermontov’s voice. I wanted to know this bright young man who gave up all his talents but grew up in the Caucasus, everyone remembers him, some mock him, and for his region, Nathaniel Hawthorne is important to Americans. To this day, most Georgian and Russian schoolchildren read Lermontov.
I finally got off the snow. The mountain softened, the sky cleared, and I began to descend towards the village of Rocha, along goat tracks through clover. The valley widened and widened for half a mile—a vast, magnificent rocky green against a distant mountain range. An hour later I saw several herds of sheep.
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The first house in Rocha was a quaint bed and breakfast with a wooded backyard and a cowshed with a TV satellite dish. As I lay in my room, resting, I heard a man writhing on the grass below me. I went outside and found a big, muscular athlete throwing 50-pound stones. – so they gently stuck the mushroom to the peat.
Zviadi Gogochuri competes for the Georgian national judo team in the 90 kg weight category. He forgot about me and joined in some exercises involving pulling a thick rubber chord. The boy stood beside him in admiration. “He’s practicing,” 16-year-old Uturga Tsiklauri said in English. “He comes to the mountains for fresh air. This is very important. “
Uturga lives in a bed and breakfast with her parents. His father was away at night, so his mother entrusted him with all the manly duties—like turning on the hot water heater while I bathed in a stall. His demeanor was alert and serious. He knew things. When he took the pieces of food to the chickens, he did so with great respect. And while we were eating – the judoka, Uturga and I – Uturga worked his angles so that when I got out in a taxi the next morning, he and his mother would have a free ride.
The cab arrived at 7:30. The road to Korsha, the next town, was more of a road, cut steeply into the mountains and sprawled with basketball-sized slats. We dropped to seven miles an hour. One day, Uturga saw a rooster fluttering through the grass near the drop of a tree. He jumped up and started chasing the bird into the forest, throwing small stones at it. His mother jumped up, and (why not?) I joined the fray. By now the bird was flying at top speed. Ahead of me was a high point where a rooster was running. But Uturga stopped me by raising his hand. Then he followed the rooster until it turned to the top of the cliff. He grabbed her by the legs, then lifted her up, flapping her wings, back into the cabin. We continued to roll with a live, useful farm animal on board. Sitting in the back seat, Uturga’s mother laughed with pride and pleasure.
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Half the size of Rhode Island and separated from Chechnya only by the Caucasus Mountains, the Khevsureti region is 50 miles from Tbilisi, but the route there is steep. The place has always felt remote, and its people—nature-worshiping Christians descended from Europe’s last crusaders—are fiercely independent. As early as 1915, the men of Khevsureti wore chain mail armor when they rode their horses into Tbilisi.
Today, delicate medieval stone watchtowers still dot the hills, with small windows, and in the town of Shatili, on the Chechen border, there is an ancient stone fortress.
Although old Khevsureti is crumbling and struggling with the prosperity and urbanization of Georgia, the people of Khevsureti pride themselves on preserving their culture. I was there in Korsha and one of them is a visual artist called Shota Arabuli who runs Korsha Guest House.
One of my guests, Otari Laliashvili, 62, is an artist and night watchman at a museum outside Tbilisi. A shaggy chain-smoker with a playful laugh, he studied Georgian history deeply and honed a worldview that was at once hypernationalist and slightly surreal. “Georgians,” he told me, “are the first people.” Everyone spoke Georgian in front of the Tower of Babel. ” Laliashvili read all of Lermontov, and his conclusion was: “Lermontov was an unfortunate genius-fool. He knew nothing about the Caucasus. “
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Laliashvili arrived with three friends and five liters of red wine bought at a gas station. After sitting in the air-conditioned dining room, we sampled this wine and participated in a Circassian battle. In 100 years, the Russians killed an estimated 400,000 Circassians, and in 1864 Tsar Alexander II officially expelled 500,000. Islamic leaders today