Why is Russia holding onto Chechnya for

Chechnya seems to be a really small, insignifgant land mass. And fighting over it has made Russia vulnerable to islamic terrorism and created a chronic war that the Russians can’t win. So why are they fighting instead of just letting Chechnya go?

To answer that question you have to ask yourself why the northern US spent 5 bloody years at war with the south just to prove it couldn’t leave, when everyone in the south was for it. In short, as a country you can’t permit the state to split just because some geographically localized proponents are in favor of doing their own thing. This would lead to a breakdown of the greater law that binds nations together and insists that we must act in agreement with our neighbor’s common beliefs.

Chechnya was never a Soviet satellite state, it had been a part of Russia since what we view as the nation of Russia was formed. It’s not like the US loosing Guam or Puerto Rico, it’s like Arkansas suddenly deciding that they want to be their own country with their own rules, which we need to abide by if we want to visit. Granted the world is in a post-Soviet nationalistic mindset of honoring the rights of eastern-Europeans to self-govern, however on some level you have to acknowledge the Russian’s right to prevent the splintering of their own home state by fundamental factionalists.

One caveat: US citizens have no problem condemning the actions of Russians acting out with force against the Chechnyian terrorist tactics by insisting that they have a right to self govern, yet close to the majority of Americans favor the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as a response to terrorism. The point is, how do you respond to people that level your trade centers, blow up your mid-western federal buildings, take hundreds of innocent theater-goers hostage, and (allegedly) downing two recent civilian flights out of ideology, except to prove that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Sorry to rant but the short answer is that Chechnya has been and is viewed by Russians as part of Russia, and those vocal extremists don’t represent any significant majority group compared with the local denizens to be viewed as anything other than vocal (if forceful) extremists. It’s like arguing that Al-Sadir should be given free reign to lead his Jihad militia to eventual coop over the Iraqi government because he “knows better as a local” The function of the civilized should be to protect the masses from these people.

Ah, I didn’t consider that the Chechnyans wanted to be a part of Russia. I assumed with all the human rights problems that the Chechnyans in general wanted to be freed of the Russians.


“With more than half the votes counted, electoral officials said 95.9 percent of voters had approved a text which would cement the separatist republic’s place in the Russian Federation.”

Plus the ‘revolt’ is an action being pushed by AlQueada. The Chechen people really are not all that behind the idea of being the next Afghanistan.

Ummmm, the Chechens never wanted to be part of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union in the first place. It’s not exactly the same as Arkansas deciding to secede from the Union that it voluntarily joined. The Chechens fought off the Russian Imperial Army for decades in the 19th century, and took years to be brought into the USSR proper after the Russian Revolution, and have engaged in various degrees of armed resistance at sporadic intervals ever since. They weren’t exactly led into the Russian/Soviet fold like obedient sheep.

The short answer why Russia doesn’t let Chechnya go? Geopolitics, especially now that Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are at least nominally independent states.

And would you do me the favor of acknowledging that a very small minority of Chechens has engaged in violence against Russian military forces, and an even smaller minority against Russian civilians? But even if the rest have remained nonviolent, that doesn’t mean they are tacitly accepting Russian central control; it just means they aren’t willing to blow people up over the issue.

Posted by Wesley Clark
“With more than half the votes counted, electoral officials said 95.9 percent of voters had approved a text which would cement the separatist republic’s place in the Russian Federation.”

Posted by Zebra
Plus the ‘revolt’ is an action being pushed by AlQueada. The Chechen people really are not all that behind the idea of being the next Afghanistan.

Well put both of you.

I hope that you don’t think that I condone this situation. I just wanted to make sure that you understood the Russian side of this. The greatest good that can come of this is that at least this won’t be ignored as was the Yugoslavian situation 10 years ago!

I will absolutely do you the favor. The scary part of all of this is that the ones who are doing the forcible speaking on behalf of the Checnhyians represent a minority of the people. I would imagine that the average Chechnyian would just want the opportunity to live out their life in a free and prosperous manner without the threat of mortar fire whether it be foe or friend. Personal allegiances between the Chechnyian separatists and the Russians are probably determined by familiar linage and the all too common who-killed-who retribution scenario, plus the all-to-common who do I need to pay to be allowed to practice my profession.

The intent of my earlier post was to posit the role of the nation-state as the deciding factor in 21st century politics. I am critical of the role that the US and Russian and other powers play in the world currently, however I cannot fault them for it as they are in acting in their best interest, as they are expected to.

Have you checked the military budgets of both countries? What makes you think the Russians can’t win it?

Money isn’t everything in a conflict like this one. What was the military budget of the Russian Imperial Army, in comparison to the North Caucasian one, in the 19th century? How long did it take the Russian Army to gain even nominal control over the North Caucasus?

Ah hello?

Chechnya has a lot of oil.

Ironically enough the Chechenya’s were promised help by Great Britan during the “great game” in the 1800’s. You can read about it here: http://www.polosbastards.com/bookreviewgreatgame150903.htm in Peter Hopkirk’s book. Chechenya’s were waiting around for the promised support against Imperial Russia (in vain it turned out).

My limited understanding of the region, Chechenya has never voluntarily joined the Russian empire, and has been in armed insurrection for most of it’s history with Russia.

Err…No. Russia was formed long ago and slowly extended his rule over neighboring states and areas. More often than not against the will of the locals. You could state that the USA did more or less the same over a shorter period, but the statement is still inaccurate.

Nope. It would be more like the Philippines, conquered by force and undertaking various revolts, deciding they still want to be their own country with their own rules. It would be like Arkansas if Arkansas was currently mostly populated by native americans who never accepted to be ruled from Washington and revolted from time to time.

I don’t acknoledge such a right of ruling people who don’t wan’t to be ruled by you. Besides, the fundamentalists took over the plain nationalists only very recently, and as a result of the russian policies in Chechnya. Russia has ample oportunities to negociate a settlement with Chechen non-fundamentalists authorities. Actually, they did. And jumped on the most flimpsy pretext to betray their word and forcefully submit Chechnya into obedience again. Then only, the fundamentalists became the major adversary to deal with.

Except that I don’t remember the US sending troops in Afghanistan and leveling Kabul to the ground before the attack on the WTC. It’s the other way around. And they didn’t even level Kabul (nor did they use torture, executions, terror, etc…on a wide scale in Afghanistan).

That’s fine. Algeria has been viewed by the French as part of France, too.

I don’t have a link to a pool taken in Chechnya. Do you? My feeling is that the overwhelming majority of the population is opposed to the russian rule. Actually, the difference between Chechnya and neighboring states which did become independant is only an admnistrative one. Chechnya didn’t have the same legal status in the former USSR. There’s objectively no other reason why Azerbaidjan, for instance, should be independant and not Chechnya.

There isn’t a single leader “knowing better than the locals” and trying to take over. Actually, the most well known one, Maskhadov, former president, and elected (so apparently a majority of the population agreed with his independantist stance, contrarily to what you seem to think) isn’t a fundamentalist by any stretch of the imagination. Actually, he actively tried to fight fundamentlism in Chechnya. That is, until the russians invaded again, ousting him and fueling the fire oif fundamentalism in the process.

My feeling is that the moon is made up of over 95% green cheese. That is not relavent and neither are your feelings when we are talking factual answers.

If you have something to refute this cite other than your feelings please share it. I have nothing to add myself, I am just interested in the topic and I want to hear all the facts.

From The Economist, which I generally find doesn’t make things up (I can’t link to the article as it’s paid subscription-only, I think the amount quoted is within limits for fair use):

In other (also unlinkable) articles, they describe the election of the recently-assassinated Kadyrov as “blatantly rigged”. Make of it what you will, but Russian-mediated polls hardly seem reliable within their undisputed borders, let alone in highly contentious areas over which they are seeking to legitimise their control.

More Chechnya election analysis:

"Will Moscow’s Man Be Elected Chechnya’s Leader?


Short summary: probably. How long will he remain alive after that? Anybody’s guess.

Think about it in terms of a parallel. Why is the U.S.A. hanging onto the Cherokee and Navajo lands?

Quite simply, because they lie in the middle of U.S. national territory, are inhabited by a small group of unassimilated people, and in some important ways require the presence of the larger nation to maintain their way of life.

The analogy is not perfect, but speaks to how the Russian people see the smaller nationalities that are included within the boundaries of Russia – very much as we see the Indian nations within the U.S.

It also has to be remembered that many of these states lie athwart the connections to Russian places of economic or strategic importance. The oil reserves left to Russia, for example, are on the other side of Chechnya from the main body of Russia. The Mordvins, the Chuvash, the Mari, the Udmurts, the Tatars, and a few other groups are between European Russia and the West Siberian industrial complex that is an important part of Russia – it would be something like having the Iroquois holding the Finger Lakes and the Pennsylvania Dutch as unassimilated Plattdeutsch in Pennsylvania and the Eastern Sioux in West Virginia, smack dab between the Boswash megalopolis and the Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Gary-Chicago Midwestern industrial complex. And what they do with the Chechens will set a precedent that the other minority nationalities are watching carefully.

Too, “Russia” historically included a lot more territory than remains to the present republic – and there’s a very strong dislike of surrendering even one inch of the land left to the Rodina. This was brought out a few years ago with the Kurile Islands – about 20 islands most of which are inhabited only by Russian naval personnel and weathermen, but with the southernmost three, just off Hokkaido, having relatively large Japanese populations. An effort on Japan’s part to get back even those three islands was completely stonewalled by Moscow – not because they were being unreasonable or imperialistic, but because popular sentiment refused to consider surrendering one square centimeter of what was left to Russia.

Including the slaves?

Or do only rich, white males count in your version of everyone?

You could look at the 1997 elections results. From a random page about these elections :

Note that the counting has been watched by observers of the OSCE

Note also that not only Maskhadov was the military leader of the first war against Russia, but the second candidate with the most votes, Basayev, was also an independantist and a military commander during this war. The former president, Yandarbiev (who got only 10%) is AFAIK prosecuted by the russian authorities for his involvment in the Chechen independantist movement. The main opposition to Maskhadov during his rule (interrupted by the second war) were the fundamentalist muslims, who were too, you guessed it, independantists.
Now, I don’t know from where the 95% figure comes, but let’s look at some mentions about the elections were the former pro-russian president was voted in, after/during the second war (random pages, by googling “chechnya” and “president” or “kadyrov”)




You see, no need to search hard, every reference to Kadyrov election mentions that this election was a joke.

Ah, well, if a Russian run election in a potential break-away state says it, then it must be true. :dubious:

I knew it was coming. :smack: