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Chechnya: genocide for strategic interests?

Chechnya is a small region in the Northern Caucasus rich in oil and natural gas reserves and inhabited by different ethnic groups, largely followers of the Sunni Muslim religion. But perhaps what makes it most attractive to foreign power is its geo-strategic position and the fact that some of the most important gas and crude oil pipelines running from Asia to Europe transit beneath its ground.

In 1991, Chechnya self-proclaimed its independence from the Soviet Union. However, the Russian Federation (heir to the USSR) refused to accept its secession and invaded Chechen territory with its army in 1994. Although the first war was won by Chechnya in 1996, the Russia presided by Vladimir Putin re-launched the struggle in 1999, declaring it to be unilaterally over in 2002.

Violence has been continuous ever since. The Russian Army has been accused of torture, pillaging, rape, forced disappearances... causing thousands of deaths described by some sources as genocide. Chechen resistance, on the other hand, is labelled by Russia as terrorist.