An Empire’s Fraying Edge

The strife in Chechnya has shown no signs of abating. Countless terrorist acts, mostly perpetrated by Islamic radicals, have made the Russian republic one of the most insecure regions in Europe. In response, Russia has cracked down, dispatching security services to track down and disarm the militants. Part of the trouble, however, is that many Chechnyans have a historical perception of Moscow as authoritarian and tyrannical, an idea perpetuated by the central government's sometimes draconian law enforcement tactics. This difficulty will become even more of an issue for Moscow as the trouble in Chechnya spreads to other republics in the Caucasus, especially in the north. Russia must be responsible for limiting the spread of unrest, by backing democratic local leadership to stop the violence. Whether it can do so without alienating those it intends to protect remains to be seen. – YaleGlobal

An Empire's Fraying Edge

The creeping destabilization of the north Caucasus, and what it means for the future of Russia
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

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Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2005. Reprinted from The Economist print edition, 12 February 2005 issue.