Russia’s Chechen campaign has not done much to improve the region’s well being. On the contrary, renewed fighting has heightened tensions and created the risk of conflict spilling over into neighbouring areas – although conditions could improve once combat subsides.
The many difficulties faced by regional countries will not be overcome by a restoration of Russia’s political control over Chechnya. In any event, the chance of total Russian victory remains slim. The more likely scenario seems to be a prolonged low-intensity guerrilla campaign. But even sporadic fighting with the area largely under Russian control might be a better outcome than a semi-independent, highly unstable and deeply criminalised Chechen regime.