The Caucasus is a culture of polar opposites, jarring contrasts and occasionally unexpected juxtapositions. Russian author Viktor Pelevin was on to something when he wrote his noir novel Generation ‘P,’ a cult hit that portrayed an opiate-addicted Chechen racketeer who “usually lay on a mattress in a half-empty trailer … listening to Sufi music” (Pelevin, Generation ‘P,’ 1999). Sufism has long become the default setting for Muslim life in the northeastern Caucasus and an important vehicle for individualized spirituality. As Sufi brotherhoods proliferated in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, music, chants, recitations and ecstatic dances became part of the ritual. It is not surprising, therefore, that even a gangster should try to handle the blast radius from his drug-fueled and crime-ridden existence by listening to devotional music.
Ingushetia’s Embattled Sufi Order Seeks Refuge in Chechnya – Jamestown