Troubleshooting Chechnya, Chapter IV

A Feasibility Study

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.

-Winston Churchill

Every proposed solution to the Chechnya situation encompasses its own degree of varying feasibility and complications, particularly in regard to the practical implementation of those ideas. Despite understandable difficulties, each theory displays a high possibility of reasonable application. With that said, many of the proposed solutions are currently in affect at varying levels. And although each resolution conveys an ideal situation, many contain no realistic implementation. Also, given the complexity of the vastly intertwined and delicate issues, no single solution will encompass complete implementation. Every proposed solution contains a variable degree of flaws. Moreover, given the volatility of the region, the most beneficial solutions could possibly have unforeseen, devastating effects. Subsequently, every decision for the betterment of Chechnya must receive detailed scrutiny to identify flaws and to determine the most comprehensively efficient and realistic outcome.

Many solutions exist pertaining to the advancement of stability in Chechnya. Essentially, methods for improving peace and stability in the region can be condensed into these few categories: furthering acknowledgement of religious rights and identity, legitimate political reforms, reparations sought through unbiased international organizations and a bottom-op methodology to localize power, improve relations with the populace and eventually discredit the justification of extremists groups.

Of all the unifying traits among the Chechen people, none has more influence than religion. Religion is the sole factor that united hundreds of mountainous tribes in and around Chechnya. Subsequently, observance of Islam as an identifier of Chechen culture is the most feasible of all the aforementioned solutions. Although Ramzan Kadyrov observes this by stating that “we should set out as a united front to defend the interethnic and multi-religious stability of the country,” he is still a puppet of the more prominent government in Moscow.

If Putin deems Islam as too negatively influential on extremist motives, he could shift his outlook and completely crush the Chechen society. Furthermore, unlike the United States, which can easily function with either political party, the second biggest political party in Russia is communist, headed by Gennady Zyuganov. Coupled with that is Zyuganov’s recent threat to, “initiate government dissolution.” Additionally, given the Caucus region’s violent capacity, one well-placed bullet or bomb could completely reverse Russia’s political system and subsequently produce Stalinist consequences for Chechnya. Consequently, although roughly feasible, the modern volatility of the region could cause this solution to have devastating consequences. With the observance of religious identity comes a shift in political structuring.

Now that Chechnya has reached a viable level of peace, political reforms should be set in place to advance their national identity and further stability. Although this presents an ideal outcome, reforms show a low possibility of implementation in the near future. I believe that Putin and Kadyrov view their current procedures as the most effective solution to establishing political stability and combating extremist violence. Putin views Kadyrov as a Chechen extension of the Kremlin and likely believes that no one else is suitable for that position. Also, given Putin’s militaristic past, he presumably adores Kadyrov’s level of ferocity and dedication in dealing with separatists. Furthermore, political reforms are likely feasible in the near future only if terrorist violence in the region is contained on a more adequate level. Furthermore, an even less feasible option is that of international involvement in the dealing of reparations.

Involvement from an un-biased international organization would be necessary to effectively investigate and dole out reparations for past atrocities. Although equally ideal, this solution presents a lower feasibility than the above-mentioned proposal. The main reason for the low probability is the independent, almost stubborn mindset of Russians and even more so, Chechens. Though organizations such as the U.N. are equipped to efficiently handle such inquisitions, Putin’s individualistic nature will consistently influence the choosing of a domestic institution. Likewise, despite the devastation of two wars, Chechnya has slowly improved since the end of those conflicts. Furthermore, many international aid organizations contain detachments with high levels of corruption. This widespread dishonesty would motivate countries, especially those trying to recover from their own mass corruption, to decline help from international entities. Ultimately, unless Chechnya falls into another war-like conflict, international aid will never be sought for, or dispatched by, Russia. Of the three preceding recommendations, the solution that lacks the most feasibility is the bottom up methodology of building the Chechen society and dealing with terrorists.

To effectively combat further extremist violence, Putin needs to forego conventional methods and implement a bottom up policy. This policy would improve and expand upon local relations, which would in turn discredit and reduce the support of separatists. Again, despite the preference of this situation, it portrays a low feasibility.  Federal forces continue to use conventional, militaristic methods when dealing with known separatists. Raids are still conducted in an aggressive fashion, similar to operations used in war zones. Putin understands that the Chechnya situation contains no clear solution and that sometimes, conflict necessitates illegal or inhumane measures to reach a successful outcome, which in turn is counter-productive to establishing positive relations with the local populace. I think Putin’s and Kadyrov’s experience in combat greatly influences their decision on how to deal with extremist groups. They also believe in a brutal, militaristic response to separatist actions or in dealing with those who organize such actions. Unless a massive change in political thinking comes about, Russia and their puppet government in Chechnya will continue to deal with separatist groups in a combative, warlike manner, further diminishing the relationship between Russia and civilian Chechens.

Chechnya’s future contains vastly unpredictable possibilities, creating an intricately fragile geopolitical coexistence, which subsequently requires the utmost scrutiny and adaptation to successfully foster a reality filled with peace and stability. Russia’s brutal counter-terror operations also require a shift in focus to better local relations and to successfully compliment the increase of peace in Chechnya. Furthermore, the adaptation of identity must be effectively adapted to prevent any tribal separation and to foster unity. Without detailed analysis of proposed solutions, Chechnya’s societal and political standing could spiral violently out of control and possibly turn the region into a failed state.

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