A long history of conflict in regions such as Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Russia shows that these conflicts often grow, and eventually draw in other armies or countries.
With all eyes on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, there are serious concerns that the powder keg could soon blow for nearby Chechnya. Augusta University’s Dr. Craig Albert is director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies program and sees what could be next for the region.
“Chechnya has units fighting on both sides of the conflict. There is a large contingent of independence fighters, rebels and militants fighting for Ukraine, as they have historical grievances with Putin and Russia dating to the Russo-Chechen wars beginning in the early ‘90s,” Albert said.
“The official stance of Chechnya, however, under the dictatorship of Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov, is pro-Putin, and has sent upwards of 10,000 troops to fight against Ukraine. Thus, we have the potential for an ethnic civil war breaking out within Chechnya, as they dispute their differences on the battlefield.”
Albert added this could be an opportunity for Chechnya to break free from Russia.
“There are many Chechens that may think this is the perfect strategic opportunity to break away from Russia and claim independence. Others within Chechnya see this as a perfect opportunity to carry out the deeds of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate, officially a part of ISIS, and claim more space for ISIS to operate. It should be noted, most of the civilians just want to live in peace and have economic opportunities, as they are still recovering from decades of war in the ‘90s-2000s.”
Chechnya is Albert’s main area of expertise and he has several publications on the subject.