Largely unnoticed by the rest of the world, Russia has defeated an
Islamic terrorist movement in Chechnya. It took a while, and involved some
trial and error. When Chechnya first tried to separate itself from Russia
(after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991), Russia responded with an
inept military operation (1994-6) that killed over 35,000 people, and failed. Russia
withdrew and left the Chechens to their own devices. In effect, the Chechens
could pretend they were independent, while the Russians pretended they weren't.
Problem was, the Chechens could not agree on how to form a unified government,
and stumbled into a perpetual civil war. Along they way, some factions adopted
Islamic radicalism, and began moving into adjacent areas, that were still very
much under Russian control. Other, less religious, factions, used Chechnya as a
safe haven for smuggling and kidnapping operations throughout southern Russia.
In 1999, the Russians came back in, and the second pacification campaign made
greater use of Special Forces and better trained and led troops in general.
This campaign killed about 5,000 people, but succeeded. The main reason for the
success was the use of an ancient Russian technique. Basically, the Russians
sought out Chechens who would be willing to run Chechnya, under Russian
supervision, as long as they could keep the crime and terrorism under control.
The Russians didn't care how "their Chechens" did it, as long as there was not
a return to the 1994-9 era of rampant criminal activity. And no Islamic
terrorism either. Over the last few years, the violence, and Islamic terrorism
inside Chechnya, and Russia, declined.
has been periodically pacifying Chechnya for two centuries using these
techniques. While the mass media condemned Russia for its brutal tactics, the
Russians didn't care. They didn't care in the past, when criticized by foreign
governments and media. They don't care, because they know they'll have to do it
again in the future. Meanwhile, with the Chechnya problem "solved," Russia is
improving its relations with Moslem nations, as a way to immunize itself from
additional Islamic terrorism. Russias new Moslem friends are now less likely to
support Islamic radicals trying to gain a foothold among Russias growing Moslem
population. Russian diplomatic efforts were supported by offers to
sell weapons and providing diplomatic support in the UN, and in other
international venues. This has worked, and Russia is now much more popular in
Moslem nations, despite the defeat of the Moslem people in Chechnya. When
reminded of this, the Russians merely point out that, currently, it's Moslems
killing Moslems in Chechnya, and that sort of thing is accepted throughout the