Chechnya is a region situated in the eastern part of the North Caucasus, partially in Eastern Europe, Chechnya is surrounded on nearly all sides by Russian Federal territory. In the west, it borders North Ossetia and Ingusheitia , in the north, Stavropol Krai, in the east, Dagestan, and the south, Georgia. Its capital is Grozny.
Chechnya has 1,103,686 inhabitants and an area of 17,300 km². Islam is the traditional Religion.
This mountainous region has important oil deposits, as well as natural gas, limestone,gypsum , sulphur and other minerals. Its mineral waters have made it a spa center.
Major production includes oil, petrochemicals, oil-field equipment, foods, wines, and fruits. For centuries, the Chechen people's history andrelationship with the regional power, Russia, has been full of turmoil.
History of this Conflict
Recognized as a distinct people since the 17th century, Chechens were active opponents of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus during the period 1818-1917. In 1858 Russia defeated leader Imam Shamil and his fighters who were aiming to establish an Islamic state. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, adeclaration of independence by the Chechens was met with occupation from the Bolsheviks who later established the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region in 1924. In the mid-1930s, it became an autonomous republic.
During World War II, Chechen and Ingush units collaborated with the invading German Nazis. As a result, in 1944 Stalin deported many residents to Central Asia and Siberia. The context of thedeportation and hostility towards the Chechens is important.
Since the Soviet's came to power, many Western competing imperial powers cooperated to try to overthrow the regime, including direct intervention in their revolution, a world trade embargo, and Hitler's attempt to destroy them, (as well as the Cold War that followed which, as is slowly being uncovered, included training and flying inassassins and saboteurs).
Perceiving a threat to their nation by “external powers manipulating internal ethnic groups”, Stalin's reaction was brutal.
Stalin believed Chechens would welcome Nazi-Germany in return for an independent Chechnya.
The mass deportation of Chechen people, among others, is estimated in the range of 400,000 to 800,000 with perhaps 100,000 or more of these people dying dueto the extreme conditions.
With the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, a number of regions managed to break away and gain independence. Ingushetia voted for separation from Chechnya in a referendum and became an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation the following year. General Dzhokhar Dudayev, seizing power in the capital Grozny in 1991, led Chechnya's drive for independence. Thepresident of the newly formed Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, refused Chechnya's declaration of independence, sending in troops instead, only to withdraw when confronted by armed Chechens.
The Stakes of this Conflict
The main priorities for most ordinary people from Chechnya want peace and stability. However, Russia never accepted Chechnya as a separate republic and was determined not to encourageother areas to secede. The resulting anarchy in Chechnya strengthened Russian belief that the region should not become independent and undermine its territorial integrity.
Furthermore, oil is a significant factor in this region. Indeed, a major oil pipeline carries oil from fields in Baku on the Caspian Sea and Chechnya toward the Ukraine.
Grozny's major oil refinery along this pipeline andRussia's interest to ensure their oil needs are also met has led them to be more concerned that pipeline discussions by major western oil companies have not involved them.
As long as Chechnya is a part of Russia, Moscow would have a say in the oil flowing through it.
Russian officials and Chechen rebels have been regularly and repeatedly accused of committing various war...