The conflict in Chechnya constitutes one of the most burning issues of the post Cold War Russian federation politics. Actually, the two wars, that took place under Yeltsine's and Putin's presidencies, from 1994 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2001, and even to nowadays, have been the most important domestic political question in Russia.
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is one of the twenty Russian Federation republics and is located in the North Caucasus. This republic has always been the most separatist one, refusing to officially enter the Federation. The history of its conflicts with the Russian states goes back to the eighteen century and the Chechen people is well known for its violent nationalist character and its hatred toward Russia, many things separating it from the Russian people, such as the fact that it is a Muslim people.
The question is here to understand the causes of the conflict and to know how and why the situation has never improved. It is here important to underline that the two Chechen wars are parts of the same process. Actually, the second Chechen war is the consequence of the failure of the Russian military against the Chechen guerrilla and of the deterioration of the situation in the region. Consequently, we can argue that the main causes of the first conflict are almost the same than the one of the second one and we are going to insist on it.
In a first part, we will see that the history of the relations of Russia and Chechnya is one of the main causes of the existence of the Chechen nationalism, which has led to the secession and has deeply conditioned the escalation to the conflict.
[...] From 1991 to 1994, when Russian troops finally attacked his regime, he governed Chechnya in an authoritarian way, with the Charia as supreme law, hostility towards Russia and he allowed it to become a “gangster paradise” run by clans and mafia. In conclusion, we can say that the history of the relations of Russia and Chechnya has deeply conditioned the situation leading to the conflict in 1994. Actually, centuries of tensions and confrontations have shaped the Chechen nationalism and hatred towards Russia. [...]
[...] Taras, Nation and Politics in the soviet successor states, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press p.456. R. Seely, Russo-Chechen conflict, 1800-2000, a deadly embrace, London, Frank Cass p.175. A. Brown, Contemporary Russian Politics, New York, Oxford University Press p Ibid A. Lieven, Chechnya, Tombstone of a Russian Power, Bolton, Yale University Press p.84. 10) http://www.ciaonet.org/wps/watson/hag01.pdf 11) Oleg Olobov in A. Lieven, Chechnya, Tombstone of a Russian Power, Bolton, Yale University Press p.87. 12) R. Seely, Russo-Chechen conflict, 1800-2000, a deadly embrace, London, Frank Cass p.190. [...]
[...] Consequently, we can here argue that history and the strength of the Chechen nationalism are some of the chief causes of the conflict in Chechnya. Besides, the importance of “defending Russia unity” and strengthening the political leadership in Moscow also triggered the conflict. Indeed, most obvious cause for the war was the reluctance of Russian political leadership to allow a lawless part of the federation to secede” Widespread and continuing anxieties about the potential for separatism on the part of the Russia's ethnic republics fuelled by Chechnya have actually constituted an important factor in the trigger of the war. [...]
[...] Consequently, we can see that many practical reasons can be found to explain the escalation to the war in Chechnya which, in spite of its smallness, constitutes an essential issue for the Russian state. As a word of conclusion, we can assert the Chechen conflict originates in many factors and is a highly complicated issue. The history of the Russo-Chechen relations, the rise of the legendary Chechen pride and will for freedom, the need for the Federation to be strong and united around a cause, the rise of the Russian nationalism, the questions of oil, terrorism, Islamism and corruption are all factors having led to the launching of two of the worst wars the post cold war world have experienced. [...]
[...] Consequently, we can say that Russian nationalism itself constitutes one on the chief causes of the conflict in Chechnya. Actually Russian nationalism is based on the image of an idealised community which achieves harmony through its national and religious symbols and aspirations. This implies a great fear of fundamentalist Islam, of a disintegration of the community, that is to say the Federation, and consequently a focus on Chechnya. In order to respect this new and popular “ideology” and to consolidate the Russian civil society, the conflict with Chechnya was inevitable. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee