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Henrique Ferreira

Subj: Re: A question about Chechnya.
Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 at 02:22:08 pm EST
Reply Subj: Re: A question about Chechnya.
Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 at 05:50:20 am EST

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> Just why do the Russians have such a huge obsession over this country? Why are they going to such lengths to try to annex (or keep?) it? (...) I've heard that historically Chechnya is a part of Russia but I've also heard that historically it was in fact not. So just why does Russia have this huge beef with Chechnya that they don't with anyone else?

Like BG said, oil pipelines, oil, geography, and a couple of other reasons for the next paragraphs. As you may have heard, Russia-Georgia relations are not that great at the moment (actually, Russia-anyone relations tend to be not that great). Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili moved them closer to China and away from Russian shadow, in his quest to make them less and less energy-dependent from Russia. Chechnya not only has an oil pipeline going through their territory, but is surrounded by Russia in all borders except the Southern one, which is, you guessed it, with Georgia. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so after achieving independence, the Chechens (who would hardly be friendly with the Russians) would definitely jump in bed with Georgia, and, consequently, China.

The other reasons? One of them is example. When the Soviet Union collapsed, all the Soviet States (Armenia, Azerbeijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan) declared independence and Russia could do nothing to stop them. Chechnya, however, is a part of the Russian Federation, so letting them go could open a huge can of worms. Letting go of the Soviet States was something they couldn't help, and they lost all of them. Letting go of a Russian territory? How many more would want to follow in? How many more would start bombings and waging guerilla wars to achieve what the Chechens did? That's one of the key issues when fighting separatism. Caving in encourages others to do the same.

The final reason, totalitarianism. As you may have noticed, Putin is kind of a despot, and the last thing totalitarians do is allow secession. Russia, which I once hoped was on a proud path to democracy, was just on a path to a dictatorship with a different kind of ideology. They won't allow Chechnya to be independent not just for the reasons above, but also for the same reason they barely let the opposition speak. Probably for the same reason that bothersome people, like Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko (poisoned, survived), investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya (shot) or former KGB Agent Alexander Litvinenko (poisoned, aledgedly while investigating Politkovskaya's death) keep getting murdered (or attempts of murder, in the "lucky" case of Yushchenko, who only got disfigured). *sigh*

> Especially considering that they're not going to such effort in order to retain anything in Eastern Europe and they don't have that kind of interest in places like Poland, Checkoslovakia (I probably spelled that wrong), the Czech Republic (if that country doesn't exist anymore then you'll have to let me off the hook, I don't keep up with Eastern European history very well), Transylvania (I know, I know, but I couldn't think of any other Eastern European places), etc.

Poland is a country since 1025. They annexed it after they "liberated" it from the Germans in WWII. A country would such a strong national identity would be one of the first to break free from a faltering foreign rule, even though they kept most of their national identity, they "just" had to deal with hand-picked communist rulers.

The same applies to Czechoslovakia (that split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 93), although they were not an old country. In fact, the same applies to most of the Eastern Bloc that cut their ties with communist dictatorships when the Soviet Union began its fall.

As for Transylvania, is part of Romania.

As for other European countries, here. Googled some maps for you, this one was the best I found.

Henrique Ferreira

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Wow, I had no idea that so much Russian territory consisted of semi-autonomous republics. For anyone who's curious, everything that's colored bright green on this map is a republic that could, presumably, follow Chechnya's lead:

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