Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Chechnya Primer: A Brief History of the Political and Economic Battles in the Region

By

The Boston bombing suspects are connected to Chechnya, known as a warrior nation struggling for independence well back into Russia's history, but an attack on US soil for nationalistic reasons appears illogical.

PrintPRINT
Editor's note: As the US and the world watch events in Boston, many are also looking for information about Chechnya, a region of importance for Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers named as suspects behind this week's Boston Marathon attack. Here, Russia expert Craig Mellow describes the political and economic history of the area.

To the small minority of Americans who happen to have spent the 1990s living in Russia, the name of the holed-up Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, immediately rang a bell. He shares a first name with the late president of the breakaway republic of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev.

Wedged into the forbidding Caucasus Mountains on Russia's border with Georgia, Chechnya boasts a population of just 1.2 million, most of them Muslims. But it has played an outsized role in Russian history, recent and not so recent.

The Chechens were known as a fierce warrior nation well back into tsarist times. Imperial Russia fought for decades before finally subduing the mountain tribesmen in the mid-19th century. After World War II, Stalin decided that the entire Chechen nation had collaborated with the Nazis, and deported them en masse to Central Asia, killing uncounted thousands in the process.

This bitter history came home to roost after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Dudayev, who had been a general in the Soviet army, declared independence for Chechnya, prompting a ruthless but incompetent invasion from the Russian army. The onslaught, known as the "first Chechen war," failed, and a 1996 peace agreement granted Chechnya provisional autonomy – though not before Dudayev himself was killed by a Russian rocket targeted using a cell phone signal.
Source: Mikhail Evstafiev, Wikimedia Commons

Vladimir Putin did a more effective job of subduing Chechnya after taking over as prime minister of Russia in 1999. A series of terrorist attacks, including Moscow apartment bombings that skeptics have long suspected of being staged by Russian security services, prompted Putin to reinvade. His success in this "second Chechen war" underpinned his election as president in 2000 and bolstered his popularity during his early days in the Kremlin.

Chechnya has been quiet in recent years under pro-Moscow president Ramzan Kadyrov. The Kremlin has poured in rebuilding funds, and a successful diaspora business community within Russia transfers money informally. But the entire Caucasus region remains economically depressed, not least thanks to periodic incidents of terrorism and civil disturbance in neighboring territories like Dagestan.

Renegade Chechen separatists have meanwhile been held responsible for a series of terrorist attacks on Russian soil. The bloodiest of these were the 2002 takeover of a Moscow theater, which led to 130 hostage deaths, and a 2004 siege of a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan, where the death toll was put at 380.

The US was (gently) critical of Russia's actions during the two Chechen wars. So there is little logic to a Chechen attacking an American target based on nationalist grievances. As a result of its struggles with Russia and a large supply of battle-hardened guerrillas, however, Chechen elements have been known to intermingle with international "Islamist" forces fighting US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places.
No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

PrintPRINT
 
Featured Videos

WHAT'S POPULAR IN THE VILLE