Chechnya: On the Side of Might

By taking hundreds of hostages, the Chechens have made it less likely that their demand for an end to the war will be met any time soon. Russians are again painfully aware of the conflict, which will still be regarded by the west as an internal affair for the Kremlin.

The World Today
Published 1 December 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

John Russell

Head of Languages and European Studies, University of Bradford

On October 17, just one week before the hostage-taking drama unfolded in a Moscow theatre, the Russian daily Izvestiya ran a full page feature entitled ‘Can’t we deport the Chechens to the moon?’ Both title and content expressed the ordinary citizen’s frustration with the apparent impasse into which the Chechen policy of successive Russian leaders has led. By coincidence, as the hostage crisis was being brought to its controversial conclusion in Moscow, on the other side of Europe delegates were gathering in Copenhagen for the World Chechen Congress – the most serious international attempt yet to find a political solution for Chechnya.

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