Russia And Chechnya: The Reasons
The conflict between Russia and Chechnya, which had been discussed very often since the first Chechen war in 1994 has existed for the last two centuries. The conflict started with the event that Georgia entered a union with Moscow in 1783.Later on in WW2 the entire Chechen nation were sent to exile by Stalin who accused the Chechens of helping the Germans in the WW2.In contrast to genocidal act of Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev allowed the Chechen and Ingush people to return their homeland and reestablish their state. There were no demands for independence under the Soviet rule, however after the disintegration of the Soviet Union Chechen-Ingush Republic split into two and Ingushetia decided to join Russian federation while Chechnya declared full independence in 1993.Russia has been using force since to suppress the Chechen fighters who are willing to die for the sake of establishing a free state since the declaration of independence. The aim why I am writing this essay is, to address the people to the reasons of the war, which are expressed from different sources , such as the Russian and Chechen point of view, in very different ways. For instance Russia considers the war as establishing the order in its own territory (Mikhael Margelow, a Russian government spokesman*) while Chechens argue that it is a war for their independence.. I will argue that Russia sacrificed a lot of lives and money on the grounds of the facts that Chechnya has importance in geopolitical and economical terms, Russian governments has political aims such as discouraging other ethnic minorities to demand freedom, and conserving the prestige of Russia.’
Nationalism of defeat’, the nationalist ideas in Russia played an efficient role in the process of the continuing wars because Russia could not stand another defeat after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, besides the demands for independence of Chechens are led by the idea of Chechen nationalism. After the split of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous republic in 1992, Chechnya gained the oil reserves that are the engine of the Russian industry, several pipelines connecting Grozny with Caspian, Black Sea and the industrial centers in the north. Given this evidence it seems natural that Chechnya is important for Russia in economical terms. Besides, Chechnya is lies in the path of transportation and communication of Russia with the Middle East which is likely to make Chechnya important in geopolitical terms. Therefore, Russian government simply “establishes the order in its own territory” (Mikhael margelow, a Russian government spokesman*) The possible victory of Chechens is likely to make the spirit of freedom spread to the other ethnic minorities that did not gain their freedom after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and still living in the territory of the Russian Federation, and the “domino theory” will possibly come true, moreover Russian prestige will decrease after a defeat in Chechnya. The thought of this scenario coming true, might have made Chechnya important for Russia in political terms.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the foundation of the Russian Federation the, feeling of defeat and disappointment among the people of Russia, which was caused by such events that the crushing defeat in the cold war, the failure of the communist ideology and the disintegration of the Soviet Union formed the idea described as nationalism of defeat, which demanded national and social revenge consciously and unconsciously. (**Narochnikaya et al, 200-201) This kind of nationalism may have led Russia to a legitimacy of use of force in Chechnya claiming that “Chechnya is in the territory of Russia and it is war for the territorial integrity of Russian Federation”. These facts strongly suggest that Russia can not stand another defeat in Chechnya and the possible independence of Chechens will possibly remind the Russians the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which means disappointment and failure.
The idea of nationalism in Chechnya that replaced the ideological emptiness after the disintegration of the Soviet Union (**Narochnikaya et al, 202) might have led the Chechens to a war for independence. The genocidal deeds of Stalin who accused the Chechens of collaborating with Germans in the WW2 and sent the entire nation to exile(***), the wars in the Caucasus during the last two centuries except during the Soviet regime, must have increased the growth of the nationalism in Chechnya. Besides the independence of the other former Soviet Union republics is likely to have encouraged the Chechen nationalism to demand freedom. As a result the engine of the fight carried out by the Chechen warriors seems to be the Chechen nationalism.
This paper’s argument can be summarized as follows; Russia sacrificed a lot of money and lives in order to succeed in economical, geopolitical goals and to prevent the other ethnic minorities from fighting for independence and to save the prestige of the country in the international point of view. The Russians could not stand another defeat after the failure of the Soviet Union. Therefore nationalism of Russia led the Russian governments to use force in Chechnya while the Chechens fought for independence having the idea of Chechen nationalism. As it can be observed from these facts that the war in the Caucasus will not probably end in near future.
**Quelling nationalism is necessary, Narochnikaya et al