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Chechnya

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Chechnya is one of 21 autonomous republics located in the caucuses along Russia’s southern border. Islam first came to the region in the 17th century with the advent of Ottoman turks. Despite these relatively shallow roots, the entirety of the ethnic population of Chechens practices Islam, with only a 23% Russian minority practicing Orthodox Christianity. This religious dichotomy has provided The people of Chechnya have endured what Chechen President Jokhar Dudayev called “three hundred years of struggle with Russia”. While somewhat of an exaggeration, it is not entirely inaccurate. The recent conflicts in the 1990s were only the most recent chapter in a much longer history of violence. A republic located in western Asia, for many years, Chechnya existed as an island of Islam inside the sea of Russian Orthodoxy. The advent of industrialization in the early 20th century brought many changes to the region. First, the discovery of oil near the capital Grozny brought a whole new level of economic development. Second, the spread of Marxism in Russia provided a new ally for the Chechen separatist movement. Yet the fall of Czarist Russia brought no end to totalitarian rule. The oppression of Joseph Stalin finally culminated in the deportation of the Chechen population. Even though the Chechen resistance to Soviet Rule provided the context for future nationalist movements, which in turn catalyzed a surge in radical Islam in the region, the spread of radical Islam in the caucuses was inevitable due to a combination of socio economic factors previous separatist movements.

The first contact between Chechen and Russian peoples occurred on the 27th of July in 1722 when and expedition lead by Peter the great landed in Dagestan, in the northern Caucuses.[1] The site of this landing would later become the capitol of the Islamic republic of Dagestan. When a detachment of Russian troops attempted to explore further into the mountains, they encountered fierce local...

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