The Chechen Wars

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From Western audiences, Chechnya—whether as an autonomous oblast, a sovereign state, or a war zone—has never received much consideration. Just one of dozens of ethnic groups within Russia who have declared since the end of the Soviet Union their right to self-rule and self-determination, the Chechens’ struggle for independence was drowned out in the cacophony of calls for independence during the 1990s. However, in a world so greatly affected by the events of September 11, 2001 and given the role of Chechen separatist groups in bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999 (which killed more than 300) and the hostage-taking of a Russian theater in 2002 (which resulted in the deaths of 130 Russians and 30 rebels), the rhetoric of Islamic fundamentalism and the terminology of terrorism has brought the Chechen people to the forefront of international concern (Trenin & Malashenko, 2004, p. 45). Yet the roots of the conflict in Chechnya, which have spurned two wars with the Russian Federation over the past two decades, are defined neither by terrorist activities or the Islamists who have recently come to typify the most virulent of the separatist rebels; rather, the origin is in the centuries long forging of a group that has faced common persecution from the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation. Ethnicity compounded with a new emphasis on fundamentalist religious ideology has greatly complicated a struggle that has benefited the economic and political interests of groups as disparate as elected officials, crime bosses, business leaders, and international governments (Politkovskaya, 2003). War has wrought the economic and social collapse of Chechnya and simultaneously embarrassed a Russia giant whose parti... ... middle of paper ... ...thcaucasus.pdf Jaimoukha, A. (2005) The Chechens: A Handbook. New York: Routledge. Meier, A. (2005). Chechnya: To the Heart of a Conflict. New York: W. E. Norton & Company. Nikolaev. Y. V., Ed. (2013). The Chechen Tragedy: Who is to Blame? Cormack, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (March 19, 2013) Oliker, O. (2001). Russia’s Chechen Wars: 1994-2000. Washington: RAND. Politkovskaya, A. (2003). A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya. University of Chicago Press Tishkov, V. (2004). Chechnya: Life in a War Torn society. Berkeley, California: The University of California Press. Trenin, D. V. & Malashenko, A. V. (2004). Russia’s Restless Frontier: The Chechnya Factor in Post-Soviet Russia. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

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