Russia Chechnya Relationship Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1889 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Russia/Chechnya Relationship

Terrorism has become perhaps the most important threat facing the international security system at the moment. The most visible events to mark such an assessment are indeed the 9/11 attacks on the United States. However, the influence and impact of terrorism are felt throughout the world and often represent the trademarks of separatist groups and independent seeking rebels in countries such as Turkey or Russia.

The present paper asserts that the situation in Russia and the Chechen separatist region represents a one of the main environments in which the Chechens are viewed as being terrorists. Yet, the paper underlines that the actions taken by the fighters are more related to their state as freedom fighters and independence seekers as for centuries the Chechens have been tormented by the Russian dominance. At the moment, the Chechen freedom fighters are placed on the terrorist list of the United States; still the paper assesses that despite the challenges, the Chechens are merely seeking their independence from Russia.

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The war between Russia and Chechnya is an ongoing conflict of traditional causes and goals between the center and the periphery. More precisely, the conflict constitutes a common confrontation with roots in the Cold War and the stalinist and communist rule in this part of the world. The sources of the argument offer on the one hand a historical background on the conflict. Thus, John Dunlop's "Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict" is comprehensive for pointing out the history old conflict between the two sides. On the other hand, Olga Oliker's "Russia Chechen Wars 1994-2000; Lessons from Urban Combat" offers a perspective on the way in which the wars between the two sides have been going on, with the underlining factors determining the constant tension moments between the belligerents. These two sources also offer the direction of the assertion; more precisely, a historical background is identified and an analysis on the wars is taken into account.

Historical background

Term Paper on Russia Chechnya Relationship Assignment

It is beyond the scope of the present paper to determine the historical roots of the Chechens as an independent nation from the Russian side. However, it must be pointed out that even prior to the Russian influence, the Chechens were a type of people with various European, Ukrainian, and even Islamic influences (Dunlop, 1998).

There have been numerous clashes between the dwellers of the current Chechnya and the Russians throughout time. These included first and foremost the need for the Russian Empire to extend its rule over as many territories and peoples as possible. The need for expansion was a clear characteristic of the Russian empire especially from the point-of-view of the religious and military dominance. In this sense, especially during the great attempts to spread the beliefs of the orthodox church (as Russia was the most important promotor of the Orthodox Church, as opposed to the Western empires and states which promoted through the Crusades and other confrontations taken throughout the world the influence of the Catholic Church) the Russian Empire made constant incursions in the territory now determined as Chechnya and its surroundings (current Georgian territories). Thus, during Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, wars for submission and for conversion to the Orthodox creed tried eventually to determine the Russian rule in the area (Dunlop, 1998).

There have been numerous attempts to reduce the influence of the Russian state towards the provinces, but given the strength and overwhelming capacity of the Russian Empire the region was eventually subdued and the Russian rule became obvious starting from the 18th century (Dunlop, 1998). However, it must be pointed out that there have been numerous occasions in which the Chechens rebelled and tried to oppose a fierce resistance to the Russification of the region. In this sense, starting from the 18th century, numerous accounts of rebellion and distress are present in the annals of history, underlining the emerging conflicting nature of the relations between the Chechens and the Russian state. It is rather difficult to consider the rebellion of Beibulat in the 1780s as actions with a terrorist nature as the idea of state was hardly a well defined concept. However, the violent history between the Chechens and the Russians spreads for centuries and the oppressive measures taken since the rule of General Yermolov in the region determined a need for creating a specific identity in the hearts and minds of the Chechen population.

The way in which the Russians aimed and succeeded to place their influence in the region is yet again another reason for creating a negative perception on the power from the center. In this sense, the deportation of the population and the replacement of this population with a Russian subdued one was a traditional technique used by the Empire to extend its influence over the territories of interest. However, for the Chechens this represented an important point because the Russians did not replace only the individuals but also the actual identity of the region entangling religious and cultural aspects. Even so, as stated above, the sheer nature of the power and capabilities of the Russian empire provided no means for success. This is a crucial aspect to consider in the light of terrorist paradigms which pin point the sides as having unequal capabilities and resources. The terrorism means often follow these line of inequality.

One of the most important events that marked the 20th century in the relation between Russia and the Chechens was the communist regime set in Russia with great impact during the rule of Josef Stalin. The communist dogma offered a comprehensive view on the idea of state unity which eventually led to massive acts of deportation against rebellious populations. One case in this sense was the Chechen deportation. The main official justification was related to the war conditions at the time. More precisely "mass treason and collaboration with the German Wehrmacht were given as the official reasons for the deportation of the entire population. Although the German Wehrmacht barely reached the North Caucasus, its approach in 1942 stirred renewed resistance among Chechens against the soviet power. According to NKVD, the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (the predecessor of the KGB, the Committee for State Security) up to 6,000 fighters were active in Chechnya waiting for an occasion to join forces with the German army against soviet power" (Zurcher, 2007). The deportation often led to the killing of the population or to forced labor which eventually led to death as a result of exhaustion. Even so, these aspects are controversial and at the same time, similar claims have been made in connection to other populations as well. In Romania, similar acts of deportation to Siberia took place as a means of excluding potential subversive forces. Similarly the Chechens were viewed as potentially dangerous for the security of the state and were therefore accused, tried, and sentenced.

The Cold War period was difficult for the Chechens and for the cultural and regional identity. However, once the glasnost and perestroika, the changing plans of Russian president Gorbachev took effect, the end of the U.S.S.R. determined the events after the 1990s. Thus, "in November, 1990, an All National Congress of the Chechen People was convened in Grozny. THere 1,000 delegates, each representing 1,000 Chechens living in the Soviet Union met to debate the cultural and national concerns of the Chechen people, its future, and its past. This was an unprecedented event, made possible by the spirit of glasnost and perestroika that led to national mobilization throughout most capitals and most borderlines of the Soviet Empire" (Zurcher, 2007) Therefore the separatist ideas and the context became possible as the U.S.S.R. disintegrated. However, the 1994 events proved the lack of power and capabilities of the Chechen freedom fighters.

The 1994 events doubled by the 1999 invasion of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen region, represented some of the most terrible fights that took place for the recognition of Chechnya as a true identity in the region. The Russian troops, in their attempt to stop the subversive nature of the actions taking place as well as to reduce the damages that were being caused a the center of the Russian state, were faced with a true sense guerrilla warfare. From a strategic point-of-view, the Chechens' only chance was to fight an unequal war with a teasing type of attack as they had the advantage of the known territory and the possibility to be extremely mobile in small groups.

Similar tactics have been used in many parts of the world especially during the Cold War. Significant examples are those of Korea in the 50s, the Vietnam and Cambodian war in the 70s. However, in the Chechen case, the techniques were also connected to serious attacks at the central power in Moscow. In this sense, throughout the period between 1994 and 1999 there have been countless numbers of small terrorist attacks to prove a constant pressure on the Moscow rule. Even more, the use of terrorism as a means of state insurgency was a worrisome… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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