Russia’s Strategy in Chechnya

March 8, 2016 Moscow has relied on its alliance with the local Chechen leadership to maintain control over the region.

Briefing

|March 8, 2016

By Lili Bayer

At Geopolitical Futures, we often refer to Russia as a weak state. Moscow’s primary strategic challenge is maintaining Russia as a united entity, a difficult feat in a vast yet relatively sparsely populated country historically surrounded by rival powers. One of the regions where this challenge is most evident is Chechnya. On Feb. 27, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Kremlin ally, announced that he intends to resign. His announcement, however, was a political ploy: Kadyrov will likely serve another term as head of Chechnya. Yet, this development highlights a critical underlying challenge for Russia: the North Caucasus is a highly strategic and vulnerable region that Russian rulers for over 200 years have spent countless resources to subdue and defend. As Russia struggles with significant financial problems under the pressure of the exporters’ crisis, and as it remains involved in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the country cannot afford a renewed crisis in the Nort

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