Thomas de Waal



Average rating: 4.09 · 1,211 ratings · 135 reviews · 12 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Caucasus: An Introduction

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Black Garden: Armenia and A...

4.19 avg rating — 492 ratings — published 2003 — 12 editions
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Great Catastrophe: Armenian...

4.15 avg rating — 94 ratings — published 2015 — 7 editions
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სტალინის თავსატეხი: პოსტსაბ...

3.80 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2013
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Uncertain Ground: Engaging ...

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معمای استالین

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Beyond Frozen Conflict: Sce...

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The Dirty War

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4.23 avg rating — 445 ratings — published 2000 — 17 editions
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Chechnya: Calamity in the C...

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4.05 avg rating — 80 ratings — published 1997 — 3 editions
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The National Interest - May...

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2.67 avg rating — 3 ratings — published 2010
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“The tour of the South Caucasus in 2018 ends where the book began, in the mountains. The extraordinary natural features of the Caucasus cross all political boundaries, and its extraordinary landscape and outstanding biodiversity are its often-hidden glory. Foreign visitors are awestruck by these landscapes, still far less developed than the alpine zones of western Europe. The World Wildlife Fund has named the wider Caucasus region—stretching into Russia and Turkey—one of thirty-five “biodiversity hotspots” on the planet, with over 1,650 indigenous plants and animals in nine climate zones. To name but three examples of this biodiversity: the mountains of Georgia and Azerbaijan contain more species of oak than western Europe, as they survived the last Ice Age; a few mountain leopards still prowl the highlands of Armenia; and less than 200 “goitered gazelles” are to be found on the borders of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Some natural spectacles draw visitors from all over the world. From late August to early October, birdwatchers come to the Black Sea coast of Georgia to see the annual migration southwards of millions of birds of prey through a 10-kilometer-wide corridor between the sea and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains known as the “Batumi bottleneck.” On October 2, 2014, after days of rain kept the gates of the corridor closed, an astonishing 271,000 birds were counted flying through and darkening the skies.”
Thomas de Waal, The Caucasus: An Introduction

“But the Dashnak Hairenik Weekly was merciless. Quoting the accounts of a few escapees, it depicted Soviet Armenian as a locus not just of economic misery, but moral degradation:     Godlessness, Atheism, Immorality, Robbery and perpetual spying on one another! There is not a trace of our family sanctities left there. Having repudiated the idea of the existence of a God, the Bolshevik ignores every conception of family standards, every moral principle, every social order. Aram’s wife or watch equally can belong to Hagop, Ali, or Stalin. There is no conception of nationality. A Kurd, a Caucasian, a Georgian, or a Turk have the right to become your son-in-law when they wish it. They have the right to divorce the very next day.26”
Thomas de Waal, Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

“On the previous day, four Armenian witnesses told the Congressmen how the Bolsheviks had overthrown the Armenian First Republic in 1920. All of them were affiliated with the ARF, and two, Reuben Darbinian and General Dro Kanayan, had served in the government of the First Republic. The Armenian testimonies also appear to have been choreographed with the aim of throwing all possible blame on the Bolsheviks and suppressing the role of other culprits in the fate of the Armenians—in this case, the Turks. So Beglar Navassardian, executive secretary of the still-extant American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (and son of the ARF leader in Egypt), gave a brief excursion through the history of Armenia that surely would have caused apoplexy in his predecessors in that committee in the 1920s.     Navassardian barely mentioned the 1915 Genocide in his testimony. He managed only to say, “Finally during the First World War, the Armenian people made the final and supreme sacrifice. They firmly and squarely sided with the Allies, gave volunteer forces under the Allied Command in the Middle East, on the eastern front and elsewhere. For a people whose numbers had been decimated to less than 4 million, they gave a participation of 250,000, fighting against the Axis Powers.”34     General Dro spoke through an interpreter. The awkward issue of his wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany was not mentioned. The general reminisced about a luncheon in 1921 hosted for him by Stalin, whom he described as an old comrade from the revolution of 1905, at which promises were made and then broken. Dro, a veteran of the Russian-Ottoman war, also conspicuously failed to mention Turkey or 1915. He only spoke about atrocities committed by the Bolsheviks, who, he said, “took over Armenia with a brutality and persecution characteristic of the Middle Ages.”35     A certain kind of Armenia—one that had lost its independence, bravely fighting Soviet Russia—was required by the Cold War American political imagination. Concluding the hearings, the chairman, Representative Michael Feighan, praised General Dro, saying, “Our committee appreciates very much this first-hand testimony from you who have fought so vigorously for the freedom and independence of Armenia.”36”
Thomas de Waal, Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

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