EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

How Russia Created Its Own Islamic Terrorism Problem

Posted by Info on 31/01/2011

“Moscow faces a brutal Islamic terrorist movement, bent on jihad, unwilling to compromise and determined to inflict pain on Russians almost as an end in itself.” That’s the view presented by Russian officials and accepted by Western leaders…by quickly condemning them and describing them as instances of Islamic terrorism, tied to al-Qaeda and its fanatical vision. This unthinking acceptance of the Russian narrative allowed Moscow to respond with brutal violence, often against innocent civilians and without prompting international criticism.

A little history provides a different perspective. Chechnya’s struggle against Russia, at root, has nothing to do with Islam. About 200 years ago, the Russian empire began a war of colonial expansion in the tiny area called Chechnya. After resisting for several bloody decades, the Chechens were forcibly incorporated into the empire in 1859. As soon as the Czar’s rule ended in Moscow, the Chechens began clamoring for independence, which they were granted in 1918….
In 1990, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, a national convention of all Chechen political groups united in a call for immediate independence from Moscow. In response, the Russian government invaded Chechnya. Over the course of the past two decades killed tens of thousands of Chechen civilians.
Even today Russia maintains a brutal reign of terror there and in its surrounding regions. Any signs of religious behavior are viewed with hostility.
At this point, it is fair to describe the Chechen rebellion as dominated and defined by Islamic extremism. But it did not start out as such, and it didn’t have to turn out that way.

“Retribution is inevitable”
was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comment on the Moscow airport attack, setting up the next stage in this cycle of violence and extremism. WHY?

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