November 01, 2004

Chechnya: A Gordian Knot

Among Moscow’s political elite, and indeed amongst Russian society as a whole, there seem to be few who believe that the Chechen conflict can ever be resolved, much less in the near future.

And while it would be wrong to conclude from this that the Kremlin has given up on Chechnya, it is not clear what the Powers That Be plan to do about it.

Over a year ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin set out on a course of “Chechenization” – transforming the conflict from one between Moscow and Chechnya into one that pitted Chechens against one another. Akhmad Kadyrov was elected president of Chechnya and given wide-ranging powers. The republic was given billions of rubles to revive the economy and social sector. Federal forces were to remain in Chechnya to assist Kadyrov’s government in its fight against the rebels.

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