Russia: June 25, 2004


The June 21st Chechen raid into Ingushetia is a continuation of marauding by Chechens that has been going on for centuries. While most of the dozens of ethnic groups in the Caucasus have indulged in this sort of thing, the Chechens have always been the most active. The current guerilla war in Chechnya is a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the ruthless secret police that had kept the Chechens under control. After the Soviet Union fell apart, the communist leadership in places like Chechnya quickly transformed themselves into warlords and undertook a number of legal, and illegal, enterprises. When Russia tried to intervene in 1993, the warlords united and successfully resisted. So the Russians pulled out and pretended Chechnya was still part of Russia, while the Chechens pretended they were independent. But the Chechen warlords could not agree on how to run Chechnya. As a result, the province fell into anarchy during the 1990s. When Chechen kidnapping gangs began to operate throughout southern Russia and Islamic radicals invaded areas adjacent to Chechenya, the Russian army came back in 1999, and stayed. The June 21st raid was apparently by Islamic radicals, the same bunch that triggered the 1999 Russian invasion by trying to invade Dagestan.  Chechenya is like  Somalia and Afghanistan; lots of heavily armed factions that are unwilling to submit to any central authority, or give up their lawless ways. Russia announced that it will send more troops to Chechnya, and bordering provinces.


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