Gimry, Dagestan

Explosive quiet life

According to the opinion of the human rights organisations, this region is the most dangerous place for living in Europe. Armed incidents in Dagestan occur almost every day. Increasing Islamic radicalism, armed groups of the gunmen on one side and pressure of the security, defense and law enforcement agencies on the other. And then there are lives of common people, ordinary Muslims bound in vice between them. This confrontation brings more of a radicalization of the sects and makes the dialogue between the fighting sides impossible. A village Gimry is being a symbol of the independence and freedom of the mountaineers, a center of Islamic culture and a Mecca for the pilgrims. In the 19th century when the imperial Russia was conquering the Caucasus it was Gimry which became the battle line which the Russian troops were unsuccessfully trying to breakthrough. After the fierce assault when the Russians burst in Gimry, the first Imam of Dagestan Ghazi-Mohammed who was in control of the defense of the village, jumped out of the castle onto the bayonets of the Russians. This death became the symbol of the mountaineers’ rebellion to Imperial Russia. In the 30s on the 19th century the most famous and the most worshiped representative of Dagestan, the third Imam of Dagestan and Chechnya Shamil was born in Gimry. He was the head on the fight of the mountaineers with Russian army for 25 years. Since then Gimry is sacred for the Moslems of the republic. Today the village Gimry is on the battle line again. This line goes between the secular way of living and the Islamic traditions which are getting stronger. The security agencies are trying to suppress the blistering Islamisation of Dagestan. They are trying to impose the regime of the counter-terrorist operation. But these attempts are useless – the more Russia pressures the local Moslems, the more they oppose. For some years people in Gimry live not under Russian law but Sharia law. The border between Russian mentality and new Caucasus mentality passes just here.

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