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The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?
Russia's brutal suppression of the Chechen revolts of the 1990s raised many questions about the nature of the Soviet Union's primary successor state. Both Russian presidents, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, have justified their invasions of Chechnya as necessary to prevent a breakup of the Russian Federation. In the wake of September 11th 2001, Moscow...
Russia's brutal suppression of the Chechen revolts of the 1990s raised many questions about the nature of the Soviet Union's primary successor state. Both Russian presidents, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, have justified their invasions of Chechnya as necessary to prevent a breakup of the Russian Federation. In the wake of September 11th 2001, Moscow has emphasized its characterization of the war as an "anti-terrorist operation" in an effort to deflect criticisms of the widespread human rights abuses and atrocities that have accompanied its military occupation. In this text, Evangelista challenges Moscow's justifications for the Chechen invasions by exploring the sources of both wars and the implications for Russia's internal coherence and international standing. Evangelista draws on a wide range of sources to reconstruct the complicated origins of Chechnya's conflicts with Moscow and trace the courses of action that led to all-out Russian invasions in 1994 and 1999. He identifies the complex struggles over political power and strategic resources as the sources of both wars, not the threat that Chechen separatism would lead to Soviet-style disintegration of the country.
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