Tolstoy was fascinated by complex and untidy details, what he called the 'anecdotes of history'. Colm Tóibín hails his late masterpiece, Hadji. Hadji Murat was an ethnic Avar, one of Dagestan's more than 30 nationalities. He was a complex figure, both in real life and in Tolstoy's novel. Nicholas Lezard is struck by the uncanny resonances which Leo Tolstoy's Hadji Murat has with current affairs.


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Realizing his position neither trusted by the Russians to lead an army against Shamil, nor able to return to Shamil because he will be killedHadji Hadji murat tolstoy decides to flee the fortress to gather men to save his family.

Campaign for return of Tolstoy hero Hadji Murat’s head

At this point the narrative jumps forward in time, to the hadji murat tolstoy of a group of soldiers at the fortress bearing Murat's severed head. Maria Dimitriyevna—the companion of one of the officers and a friend of Murat—comments on the cruelty of men during hadji murat tolstoy of war, calling them 'butchers'.

The soldiers then tell the story of Murat's death. He had escaped the fortress and shook off his usual Russian escort with the help of his five lieutenants.


After they escape they come upon a marsh that they are unable to cross, and hide amongst some bushes until the morning. It is a work based on the facts of the life and death of the eponymous Chechen separatist guerrilla, who terrorised the Russian army in the hadji murat tolstoy century but surrendered hadji murat tolstoy to the tsar's forces after falling out with his own commander.

Two things are particularly striking about this story. The first is Tolstoy's admiration for the man. This hadji murat tolstoy actually a matter of historical record: His lieutenant succeeds in making contact with the Russians, who promise to meet Murat.

He eventually arrives at the fortress hadji murat tolstoy Vozdvizhenskaya to join the Russian forces, in hopes of drawing their support in order to overthrow Shamil and save his family.

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Hadji murat tolstoy his arrival, a small skirmish occurs with some Chechen and Dagestani mountaineers outside the fortress, and Petrukha Avdeyev, a young Russian soldier, dies in a local military hospital after being shot.

Tolstoy makes a chapter-length aside about Petrukha: Petrukha's father regrets this because he was a dutiful worker compared to his complacent brother. While at Vozdvizhenskaya, Murat befriends Prince Semyon Vorontsov, the Viceroy's son, his wife Maria and his son, and hadji murat tolstoy over the good will of the soldiers stationed there.

They are at once in awe of his physique and reputation, and enjoy his company and find him honest and upright.

The Vorontsovs give him a present of a watch which fascinates him. On the fifth day of Murat's stay, the governor-general's adjutant, Mikhail Loris-Melikov arrives with orders to write down Murat's story, and the reader learns some of his history: When he was fifteen some followers of Muridism came into his village calling for a hadji murat tolstoy war ghazavat against Russia.

Murat declines at first but after a learned man is sent to explain how it will be run, he tentatively agrees.

Review: Hadji Murat by Leo Tolstoy | Books | The Guardian

However, in their first confrontation, Shamil—then a lieutenant for the Muslims hostile to the Russians—embarrasses Murat when he goes to hadji murat tolstoy with the leader Gamzat. Gamzat eventually launches an attack on the capital of Khunzakh and kills the pro-Russian khans, taking control of this part of Dagestan.

The slaughter of the khans throws Hadji murat tolstoy and his brother against Gamzat, and they eventually succeed in tricking and killing him, causing his followers to flee. Unfortunately, Murat's brother is killed in the attempt and Shamil replaces Gazmat as leader.

Hadji Murad by Leo Tolstoy |

He calls on Murat to join his struggle, but Murat refuses because the blood of his brother and the khans are on Shamil. Neither could he resist drawing a portrait of the military that showed hadji murat tolstoy officers awash with petty jealousy and boastfulness.

And while Hadji Murad's story is one of loyalty and bravery in the face of treachery, the tsar Nicholas I is merely venal and lecherous and obsessed with his own greatness. The pleasure Tolstoy must have felt at depicting the infidel warlord as full of love for his family and the tsar as one-dimensional and moody and cruel is palpable.

Tolstoy's Hadji murat tolstoy I in Hadji Murad is a feline creature whose arbitrary cruelties equal his vanity.