The Importance Of Military Intervention In Chechnya

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A relatively small area within Russia, Chechnya lies in the southernmost part of Eastern Europe within the North Caucasus, a region with a variety of nationalities and languages that has repeatedly voiced discontent with central governments in Moscow. Given the low number of Russians in the region (less than 2% in the 2010 census), high opposition to federal rule, and rise of Islamic radicalism within the republic, it is puzzling as to why Russia has had extensive military intervention in Chechnya as to deny its secession. Why was Russia so adamant upon refusing Chechen independence? In this essay, I will try to identify the foremost reason for this intervention, primarily in regards to the First and Second Chechen War. Scholars have disputing …show more content…
Cornell (2003) finds that the region’s oil endowment created economic value, despite its low industrial output. Given the importance of oil rents to Russia’s economy, oil production in the North Caucasus warranted extensive action in order to keep the resources under Russian control. Therefore, regions like Chechnya could not be allowed to set an example by asserting independence, which could influence other regions to follow suit. The result of this spillover would be a large economic loss to the Russian state from its inability to extract resources from the area. Dzhokhar Dudayev, president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria during the brief inter-war period, had built his policies and garnered his support base upon an anti-Russian rhetoric that was proving to be extremely popular within the Caucasus. This occurred during Chechnya’s de facto independence following the Khasavyurt Accord, which further undermined the federal government. The influence of Dudayev and his policies “were foiling Russian plans of asserting control over the south Caucasus states of Azerbaijan and Georgia and particularly over the westward export of the Caspian Sea oil resources. The only existing pipeline carrying oil from Azerbaijan to world markets passed through Grozny, Chechnya 's capital, on its way to the Black Sea coast.” (Cornell, …show more content…
He claims that “public order in Chechnya broke down almost completely during the first war in the mid-1990s, and it has never been re-established in any meaningful way.” (Kramer, 210). The government of Maskhadov soon came under growing pressure from radical groups, and imposed Sharia law in 1999, a move that fortified and encouraged the extremists. This was followed by a wave of bombings within Russia in the summer of 1999 that killed over 300, and wounded more than 2,000. The blame was quickly placed upon Chechnya, and Russia was quick to mobilize against the guerilla fighters and the Chechen government. With the safety of Russian citizens at stake, Putin gained widespread popularity with his decision to invade Chechnya. It was with great support from the general population and the elites that Russia mobilized against Chechnya a final time, a decision they said was made due to increasing casualties from terrorism. The message of the invasion was broadcast clearly by Russian leadership; the safety of the Russian population was at stake. This was a shift from the first conflict, when the retention of Chechnya was foregrounded by separatists instead of religious extremists. Kramer argues that it was with this intention to protect the Russian people and gain popular support that Putin decided to mobilize a

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