Chechen Scholars on Chechnya
Chechen scholars present their version of what has happened to Chechnya in a new NUPI Report, entitled "Chechen Scholars on Chechnya".
The purpose of this publication is, as the title indicates, to give Chechen scholars the opportunity to present to the English-speaking world their version of what has happened to Chechnya. Over the years, a great many books and articles dealing with this tiny republic in the Russian Federation have been published in Western academia, but we seldom hear from Chechen scholars. It is high time for them to take part in the discussion.
It might be easier to achieve a more ‘objective’ analysis of a conflict from the outside: however, those caught up in a conflict have not only the right to give their version; they also have a particular credibility when doing so. The three scholars presented here have tried to remain in place at the Chechen State University in Grozny through these past twenty years of upheaval and war. Surely they have been as close to the object of study as it is possible to come.
Associate Professor Abbas D. Osmayev presents, in his article, a broad outline of the second Chechen war from its beginning in 1999 until 2005. It traces the military operations, the so-called political settlement and the installation of the Kadyrov regime, with the subsequent ‘Chechenization’ of the conflict.
Tamara U. Elbuzdukayeva contributes an historical analysis of the economic development of the Chechen Republic since the beginning of Soviet rule and until the present. Elbuzdukayeva’s point of departure is the immense consequences of the civil war upon the Chechen economy at the beginning of the century. She then describes how the industry was repaired by the state, and how the early Soviet regime went about turning Chechnya into a developed, industrialized oil-producing republic.
Professor Vakhit Kh. Akayev makes in his chapter a case for ordinary Chechens as Sufi Muslims and not radical Islamists. After so many years of ‘terrorist talk’ framing Chechnya as a bastion of Wahhabism, such a comprehensive account of the various forms of Islam in the region is indeed pertinent. Akayev explains the Islamization of the peoples of the North Caucasus, and looks into the recent Islamic revival during perestroika and glasnost.
The report "Chechen Scholars on Chechnya" is edited by NUPI researchers Julie Wilhelmsen and Erika Fatland. The report is available in full-text version on our website.