Policy Memos

Chechnya: 9/11, the Moscow Hostage Crisis, and Opportunity for Political Settlement

Policy Memo:


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Having enlisted Putin’s support in the global war on terrorism, the White House has not publicly protested the continuing zachistki (cleansing raids) and other systematic abuses of Chechen civilians by the Russian military and police special operation forces—the frequency and intensity of which, according to the Human Rights Watch, have increased since September 11, 2001. The Bush administration has not condemned or threatened the Kremlin with sanctions for brutal and sweeping attacks on predominantly civilian targets from 1994 to the present. The administration instead shifted its focus toward the international terrorist connections of the Chechen resistance. This shift tacitly endorses the erstwhile argument of hardliners in the Russian military and national security establishment—also implicit in the parallel Putin has drawn between the September 11 attacks and the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia—that banditry and terrorismhave all along been the primary cause of violent conflict in Chechnya. [...]

About the author

Professor of Political Science
San Diego State University