Russia and Chechnia: A Long History of Conflict, Resistance and Oppression
By Bülent Gökay
The intentional targeting of a school by Chechen hostage-takers and the cruelty and the brutality they employed against defenceless children has horrified the world. It is an atrocity and the Chechen insurgents and Islamist terrorists who carried it out are ruthless criminals. Absolutely nothing progressive can come of such barbarous terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. The terrorist methods employed by these groups are absolutely reactionary and entirely counter-productive, and can neither be supported nor defended. To recognise this political fact and state it openly in no way minimises the criminal repression carried out by Putin and the ruling elite of Russia against the Chechen people. Taking children hostage and other similar actions are the inevitable consequence of a war that has long since taken the form of state-organised terror. The brutal war carried out by the Russian army and security forces for over 10 years in Chechnia has altered the nature of the Chechen rebellion, fuelling the growth of separatist movements, hardening its fighters, and putting the extreme Islamists in the driving seat. All these increased the desperation of the local people and pushing layers of young people towards Islamic radicalism and suicide bombing.
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