In Terror in Chechnya, Gilligan challenges Russian claims that civilian casualties in Chechnya were an unavoidable consequence of civil war. She argues that racism and nationalism were substantial factors in Russia's second war against the Chechens and the resulting refugee crisis. She does not ignore the war crimes committed by Chechen separatists and pro-Moscow forces. Gilligan traces the radicalization of Chechen fighters and sheds light on the Dubrovka and Beslan hostage crises, demonstrating how they undermined the separatist movement and in turn contributed to racial hatred against Chechens in Moscow.
A haunting testament of modern-day crimes against humanity, Terror in Chechnya also looks at the international response to the conflict, focusing on Europe's humanitarian and human rights efforts inside Chechnya.
The story has been told many times, but Service's deep understanding of the period and his forensic examination of previously untapped sources, including the Tsar's diaries and recorded conversations, as well as the testimonies of the official inquiry, shed remarkable new light on his troubled reign, also revealing the kind of Russia that Nicholas wanted to emerge from the Great War.
The Last of the Tsars is a masterful study of a man who was almost entirely out of his depth, perhaps even willfully so. It is also a compelling account of the social, economic and political ferment in Russia that followed the February Revolution, the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917, and the beginnings of Lenin's Soviet socialist republic.