Russia: January 2, 2004


Chechnya, and the war against terrorism, nationalism and Islamic radicalism there, has spilled over into southern Russia. Last year there were 14 terrorist attacks in the area, traced back to Chechens. Some 200 people were killed. While Russia tries to stop the violence, there is no easy solution. There are over a dozen different groups of Chechen rebels and many of them are fighting each other as well as the Russians and pro-Russian Chechens who run Chechnya. Some of the groups are Islamic radicals, and want all of the Caucasus (including Christian areas) made into an Islamic republic. Most other Chechen resistance groups are part of criminal gangs that want to protect their business (smuggling, kidnapping, extortion, etc). Russia is backing a coalition of Chechen groups that is willing to work with Russia (to keep Chechens from raiding into southern Russia) in return for some autonomy.  But this approach is slow and bloody approach that is taking down the rebels, but at a rate that might require years of additional fighting.


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