Chechnya: Moving Beyond Radical Islam to Historical Subtleties

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The 2004 Beslan school crisis, which killed at least 334 people, solidified Moscow’s demonizing narrative of Chechnya as “evil” and Russia as “defensiveness victim.” Chechen “wolves” have mutated into “Islamic terrorists” and, as evidenced by Beslan, are “barely human.”

This reporting neglects the complexities and historical trauma inherent in the conflict’s origins and only compounds Chechen radicalism. The world has largely forgotten such tragedies as the 1944 Stalinist deportations, which killed between one-half and one-quarter of the Chechen population, but its lingering traumatic effects strongly inform Chechen collective memory and amplify its commitment to independence at any cost.

(Source)

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