The independent resource on global security

3. Russia: separatism and conflicts in the North Caucasus



Full text (PDF)



The contemporary separatist movements are
one of the most dangerous threats to Russian national security
and territorial integrity. This is particularly the case in the
North Caucasus, where separatist forces often act under the guise
of ethnic or religious movements. Although the Russian federal
authorities attempt to fight separatism by political means, in
Dagestan and Chechnya they resorted to the use of force in 1999
in order to defeat the Chechen-led armed rebellion. By the end
of the year the federal forces had re-established their control
over most parts of Chechnya lost in the previous war, in 1994–96,
but they failed to achieve a decisive military victory over the
separatists. Nor was there any political resolution of the conflict.

As the conflict in Chechnya caused numerous casualties and a
massive refugee problem among its civilian population, the Russian
Government came under strong criticism from the West on humanitarian
grounds. These disagreements, although a major irritant in relations
between Russia and the West, are unlikely to affect the central
issues of their relationship, such as their interaction on global
security issues.