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Russia-Chechnya Conflict

20 Feb 2017Government and Law Essays

World peace… This was what every beauty queen dreams of having. That should be every countries goal isn’t it? But why in this modern world of advanced knowledge and technology, the war never stops? The case of terrorism did not stop; instead, it grew and became famous. There was no single day that people have not heard about war and violence. There are many reasons to it, people fighting for their rights, countries wanting to conquer other countries, countries retaliating, and the list goes on. Why can’t this world use a more peaceful, less violent approach to get their desires? Why does some conflict lasts for so many years and many lives being sacrificed?

One of the most known issue of conflict that is still not resolved until now is the Russia-Chechnya conflict. The said conflict began in the mid 18th century when Russia wanted Chechnya to be its integral part while the latter is against it.

In 1722, the earliest fight between czarist Russian forces and Muslim tribes in the region was recorded. At first, the Russian troops succeeded conquering most of the area until the Chenchen tribes revolted, led by a Muslim cleric named Sheikh Mansur. They defeated the Russian and it was since then that the Chechnya people sustained their stand. In 1994, the build up pressure between the forces resulted in war. That time, President Dzhokhar Dudayev rejected to compromise on the Kremlin line and this infuriated the Russian troops. They made different techniques to obtain support from the local people including supplication of funds so they would go against their president. The Russian troops were able to stage a furtive attack on Grozny on the 26th of November that same year with the help of assembled support from some forces. Although, these schemes did not succeed, due to the deficiency of efficient planning on the part of the Russian forces. They eventually retreated as the Chenchen forces shocked them with facing their sudden attacks courageously and in effect captured around 20 Russian troops. After their victory, the Chenchens became braver and even when Russia’s president then, Boris Yeltsin gave an ultimatum that they should disarm and surrender, they took it for granted. When the Russian forces attacked them with massive aerial bombardments, they went underground so they were not entirely affected. Many civilians were harmed and it increased the tension between the two forces. The situation became more violent as President

Dudayev of Chechnya declared war.

The conflict resulted to a bloody war and many were killed because of the nonstop attacks with each other. As Russian forces used so much of their power to win, the Chenchens improvised and fought with what they have. Until, both parties were too damaged to fight, that they thought maybe peace talks are better, but no one made a way for it so they all suffered. More killings and battles occurred between the two forces and in the end, the Russian forces withdrew. But it did not stop there; the Russians planned to get back to the Chechnya and won this time. They pushed through with their formulation of new tactics and production of different machineries to be used for their revenge. Since they now know the ability of the opponent, they prepared hard and planned carefully. This resulted to never-ending battle between the two since the Chenchens still fought hard and did not accept defeat. They used their guerilla technique against the new strategy of the Russians. The world was alarmed by what was happening to the two forces and encouraged them to stop the incredibly increasing violence. Ceasefire was announced, but not to end the war but to have temporary rest so that the dead could be buried. The ceasefire did not succeed for long because although it was announced, there were still reinforcements that land in the battlefield. Until finally, this time, the Russians won, and was able to conquer most of the land. In that situation, still the Chenchen rebels did not surrender; they tried to make advances and fought with their own way. (Ambekar, 2004)

The effect of the war was depressing to the world; they referred to it as an unimaginable catastrophe. Countless number of dead people, enormous damage, and extreme violence left the mankind in terror. Until now, the conflict still exists and it would not stop until the two forces stop their desire to damage one another. Everyone is hoping for peace but only the two opposing parties have the power to decide on that. (The Eurasian Politician, 2002)
The question now is how to resolve this conflict that lasted for centuries and the violent war for more than a decade now. If only this conflict will be resolved, then what else would be the reason for war? Surely nobody would want to kill and risk their lives and even of their family just for nothing.

In this situation, it can be said that the Chechnya people just act on instinct, just like any living things on earth that develops natural defenses when they are put into danger, to protect themselves from the predators, to save their life, their family, and their territory. What the Chenchens want is to have their independence. They are fighting for their right and they want to attain peace and stability. In this case, if what they want will be given to them, if only the Russians would let them live in peace and stop harming them, they will also stop the violence and live in peace.

On the Russian’s side, their concern is also about peace and order. They are alarmed about the terrorism the freedom would give. There is a suspicion that Chechnya rebels are linked with Al-Qaeda and giving them their freedom would also give them more freedom to proceed with their terrorism. What Russians want is normalization. They want to take control of Chechnya to ensure that they will not be freely doing their terrorist acts. Russia wants Chechnya to have a president who is pro-Russia so they will still have a bit of control over the activities of the Republic. Only then will Russia withdraw their security forces and let Chechnya take control of their own peace and order. Russia even passed a new constitution earlier this year giving Chechnya more autonomy within the Russian Federation but unfortunately, the elected President failed to unite the Chechnya. The main reason for this is that his security forces are known for cruelty. He was eventually assassinated and this made the situation only worse. (Shah, 2004 www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Chechnya)

The problem can be summed up to the need of the Chechnya republic to have their independence and Russians rejection of it. And because of this main problem, other problems arouse causing alarming casualties. The whole world is alarmed and having problems as well. They are afraid for their own welfare since, there might be a risk that other countries around the two opposing forces will be affected. Most of the countries around the world are against violence and they are definitely not comfortable with what is happening between Russia and Chechnya, especially some of the countries which are members of the United Nations, whose primary concern is to promote peace and friendship among countries. Actually, in April 2001, a resolution on Chechnya that condemned serious human rights violations by Russia’s forces was adopted by the UN commission on Human Rights. They also raised concern about forced disappearances, torture, and summary executions. There were also appeals for the UN committee against Torture to get commitments from Russia to stop torture (Geneva, Nov.13, 2006). According to the director of Europe and central Asia division (Cartner, 2006 www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Chechnya), the Russian government must act swiftly to conduct meaningful investigation and should accept the judgment of the European court; this was when the European court held Russia responsible for the summary execution of five people in February 2000. (Lindsey Hilsum, 2004) Aside from the above mentioned, there are many countries that would agree that it is better for both countries to negotiate and have peace talks.

So now, how can this overwhelming conflict and violence between Russia and Chechnya be stopped? The easiest and simplest solution that we can offer is to just let the Chechnya have what they want which is freedom and for Russia to just leave them alone. But it may not be that easy, there are many things that Russia is considering that is why it is not that easy for them to just let the Chechnya go on with their lives peacefully. This may be the reason why even if it is also very hard for Russia to continue with the war since they also risk lives of their people and they spend great amount for their war machineries, they can’t just stop the war.

So, the first step that must be taken is for other countries involved in the United Nations to mediate between Russia and Chechnya. It is important for other countries to stand in between so the problem may be seen in different light. Russia and Chechnya are both closed-minded about the situation so they would definitely not listen to each other. Both are harmed by the endless fight between them so it is difficult to compromise for each other, so a third party may help. They must request for both parties to have a ceasefire. After both parties agreed, then it may be a start for negotiations. The third party would still be the mediator for the negotiations; they will organize and discuss the conditions of Chechnya with Russia and the conditions of Russia to Chechnya. They have to work this out until both parties come into a compromise.

One solution that could be compromised is to give Chechnya a chance to have their freedom. If Russia would be insistent in their concern that this will pose extreme international terrorism, it could be proposed that the freedom from Russia be temporary, just for Chechnya to recuperate with the damage brought by the many years of war. By this time, Chechnya should prove that they could stand on their own and would not be a threat to security.
However, it would not be easy for Chechnya to recover alone. Their resources became scarce and they have a lot to recover that is why it would be necessary to help them with their recovery. Assistance for the first years of their independence should be given. There would be a need to give or lend them fund. It would also help to give them suggestions on how they can make their territory better. They also need some help on the procedures of becoming effective democratic country. The Chenchens should be trained in different departments to acquire the skill of running their territory.

Careful demilitarization should also be exercised, if it is possible to get their trust. For years, Chenchen found solace and security with their weapons so it would be a little hard to get it from them, they might think that this is just a trap for them, so trust in the guiding organization is extremely significant. Amenities and incentives should also be given in exchange of the surrender of the firearms. This will increase the possibility of peace and recovery.

Some of the Chechnya people migrated to Russia in the times of war, they could be offered to go back to Chechnya if they want to or they could stay in Russia if they want to as long as they would not be threats. Those who will opt to stay in Russia should be ensured security and fair treatment.

These solutions would be beneficial to all parties involved. At the same time, it has also its risks and disadvantages. The solutions given will benefit the Chechnya people greatly, they would finally get what they’ve been striving for, their freedom. They will also have the chance to make their country a stable and improved one, less killings, less damage, and less violence. The Russians on the other hand will also benefit greatly. The Chechnya problem will be out of their hands now, they could use the money they are spending in war in more important things for their countries and they could save their people from violence. The bonus of this solution is the benefit that could be attained by the third party, the organization or country that will be Chechnya’s guide as it goes through the process of recovery. The guiding country will have strong allies, Russia and Chechnya, if it will succeed in being the mediator. They will also have a great reputation if this would become successful which will open for more opportunities of different kind of help.

The disadvantages would be that the Russians may be right in their fear that Chechnya’s freedom will pose as an international threat. Another disadvantage would be if the guiding organization do not succeed with the task and instead of getting the trust will only contribute to the problem and in the end, only more violence will be produced.

In the end, all the solution presented above will be more of an advantage than disadvantage. All things have its positive and negative side, but it is worth the risk if it will eliminate the violence that does not help but only destroys the world. So, why have violence, if we could find solution by compromising in a peaceful way.

References:

  • Ambekar, Yogesh “The Russian-Chechen Conflict”
  • Cartner, Holly Europe and Central Asia director
  • Hilsum, Lindsey “The Conflict the West Always Ignores” New Statesman, January 26, 2004
  • Khalilov, Roman Feb. 2002 
  • Shah, Anup September 04, 2004 
  • The Eurasian Politician, November 2002.

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