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The Chechnya conflict: freedom fighters or terrorists?

Hughes, James (2007) The Chechnya conflict: freedom fighters or terrorists? Demokratizatsiya: the Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 15 (3). pp. 293-311. ISSN 1074-6846

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Identification Number: 10.3200/DEMO.15.3.293-311


The term terrorism is one of the most politicized and contested concepts in the modern era. Russia has consistently framed the conflict in Chechnya as an issue of terrorism and banditry. Western policy has been inconsistent, oscillating between criticism of Russia's excessive application of force and sympathy for Russia, in particular after 9/11 and the start of the war on terror. This article examines the debates over the nature of terrorism and explores whether terrorism is an analytically meaningful and useful concept to explain the conflict in Chechnya. It demonstrates that if we employ the most widely accepted and plausible definition of terrorism—the targeting of noncombatants—then the use of such tactics has been peripheral to the Chechen resistance, although it has gradually becoming more systematic in response to Russia's disproportionate brutality against Chechen civilians.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 Heldref Publications Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation
Divisions: Government
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2008 08:29
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:33

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