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In Dagestan, Life Goes On Despite Violence

Friday, Sept. 1, 2006

DAGESTAN, Russia -- The newlyweds sat at the front of the dim banquet hall here looking out at their guests. Three hundred people intermittently gathered around the long food-filled tables or hopped around the dance floor, sweating through their fancy clothes as they swished their arms back and forth doing the region's traditional dance, the lezginka.

After three hours of reveling in the southern Russian heat, the flawlessly coiffed bride descended to the floor in her corseted white dress while her groom danced around her holding a fluffy taffeta baton. As he passed it off to various male relatives and friends, each taking a turn dancing around the doll-like bride, guests gathered on the dance floor to throw 100-ruble bills on the dress's long train. Three little girls scampered around collecting the cash, while some of the guests filed out of the hall into their Russian-made cars. ...

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