Leo Tolstoy is one of the world’s most famous novelists. He is known especially for the 19th century classic war and peace.  Even though he was born into nobility, Leo spent much of his life as a champion of Russia’s peasant class. He began his literacy career in the 1850s, he wrote about his own life.  Born on a family estate at Yasnaya Polyana, 100 miles south of Moscow, Leo dropped out of Kazan University at the age of 19. At such tender age, he possessed vast physical strength and liveliness. With great appetite for vodka and women, he couldn’t stay in school any longer.

 At his youth, Leo joined the Russian army, in 1854; he was commissioned and sent to Sevastopol for the Crimean War. During his service as a soldier, he witnessed the French attack of the Malakoff redoubt.  He also wrote a book Sevastopol Sketches which was greatly welcome in literacy circles and commended for its realistic depiction of the war. After wandering widely throughout Europe, Leo returned to the family and committed himself to raising a family and writing his marvellous psychological views. His writing, he mostly focused on ethics, morals, and his own Christian conversion.

In 1910, Leo left his home in company of his youngest daughter, Alexandria. He fell ill on his way while in a train, and ended up dying a few days later in the house of a railroad stationmaster, in Astapovo. He died at the age of 82 years. In the 2009 movie- The Last Station, Leo Tolstoy was played by Christopher Plummer, with Helen Mirren as Sonya, Leo’s wife. Leo spent his last years writing religious tracts and criticizing the Russo-Japanese war.

Hadji Murad is Leo Tolstoy best seller book. The novel is based on a true tragic history of 1851 and 1852. The book depicts the cruelty of a Russian emperor who is focused to conquer Chechnya, and the intrigue, incompetence and arrogance of the Russian government officials and its army. It denounces the power of Russia in ferocious and intolerant manner. It gives insights into the modern war between Islamic terrorists and the rest of the world. The novel opens and closes with the description of a plant, a red wild thistle, which was trodden by a passing carriage, but still arose, cut, bent, but up. This plant is emblematic of Hadji Murad, the hero of his tale.

The main character is a collaborator named Hadji Murad. As the tale begins, he was fleeing over a resistance controlled area intending to offer his amenities to the Russians. Which he afterwards did, on his way to Russia, he spend several nights with the family of an old friend called Sado. Late that night, a Butler (Russian leader) ordered the soldiers to burn corn and hay and houses too. As smoke spread over the village, the soldiers picked and carried off what they found in houses. They also run after chicken shooting them

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 As the killing and the destruction was being conducted by the soldiers, the officers sat down away from the smoke, they had meals and something to drink. After some time, the officers withdrew the order. They moved, but soon, the Chechens reappeared and followed, firing parting shots towards the soldiers.

Sado, with whom he had taken his family away to the mountains when the Russians loomed the village, came back and found that his house had been broken into. Besides them was a woman who had been waiting for Hadji, she was wailing without break. Sado picked the shovel; he went alongside his kinsmen and dug a grave for his son. This is a clear indication on suppression that the innocent citizens passed through.

It’s also clear that a lot of loses were incurred. At some point, the author tells of burnt cherry trees, burnt beehives, scorched young trees and ruined houses. Mothers wailed with their young children, the young animals moaned, too, and there was nothing to give them. There was a state of fear, even the grown-up children played no games and looked at their elder ones with scared eyes. The village elders assembled in the squire to discuss the situation. No one amongst them spoke a word of hatred to the Russians, the emotion felt by every Chechen, young and old were alike, and it was stronger than loathing.

 At a different incidence, Hadji was beaten and trashed by the absolutism of the wild Muslim religion leader Shamil. Shamil had always attempted to unite his people against Russia. On the other side, Nicholas-the Russian depot had more interest in his own affairs than what was good for his people. Shamil like the obsessive Muslim today, affirms to the Muslims that it is better to die in hatred with Russians than to live with the Unbelievers. He promises that before long, he would come with a Koran and the sword and he would lead the Muslim religion into war. These same words are shouted by Muslims today. The misfortune of Shamil’s country, and for Hadji and for the future of the area of the United States and for Russia is that the radicals destroy both their enemies and their people with their hatred.                                        

As the tale comes to an end, the theme of collaboration and resistance comes up where the villagers are faced with a choice: either to remain as before and by difficult means restore all that had been produced with such labour and so mindlessly smashed, or could act against the law of their religion and, despite the distaste and the disrespect they felt for the Russians, submit to them.

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