From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng (Original Message) Sent: 1/12/2006 2:02 AM
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Sheikh Shamil’s forces heroically resisted the
Russian armies and were the predecessors of the
Chechen resistance fighters of today.
Moscow’s Concerns Over a “United Caucasus”
Chechnya, which has been on the world’s agenda for the last decade, is a very small country of some 16,000 square kilometers. Within the Russian Federation, there are presently 19 autonomous republics in the same position as Chechnya. These republics make up 28 percent, over one-fourth, of Russian territory. Moscow still has a very strong influence on them, and is very keen that that influence should never be diminished. The loss of Chechnya would mean breaking the stranglehold of Russian power over the other republics, and would result in this nation setting an example to them. If the Chechens, whose total numbers are only that of the troops in the Russian army, break away from Russia, that could spark off independence movements in the other autonomous republics. The most noteworthy characteristic of the republics within the Russian Federation is the way they greatly influence one another, and how a change in one affects all the others.
Alongside all this, there is another element that makes Chechnya important for Russia. Moscow’s real fear, as in the examples of Bosnia and Kosovo, is the establishment of a Muslim state right on its borders. That is the most important reason for the inhuman war waged against Chechnya by the Russian administration, which has tried for years to eliminate the Chechens’ religious identity and so inflicted violent oppression on them, demolished mosques, banned worship and prohibited religious education.
The Chechen people are known for their loyalty to their religion, their determination to struggle to be allowed to live by that religion, and for their Islamic identity with its powerful effect on other Islamic states in the Caucasus. The idea of a “United Caucasus,” put forward by the aforementioned Imam Mansur in the 1780s, which aimed at uniting the whole of the Caucasus, greatly alarms Russia. That is because the outstanding feature of such a union would be its Islamic nature, and that represents a serious threat to Moscow’s interests.
These fears give rise to the Russian desire to see a “Chechnya without Chechens.” With its current policy, Russia wants to eliminate the Chechens to the last man, prevent any possible Islamic union, and bring the lands it has lost under its domination once again. Whereas even if a “United Caucasus” is established, there is no need to regard this as an anti-Russian development. If the Russian administration enters into good relations with the Muslim peoples of the Caucasus, then there will be no need for these peoples, whether independent or not, to adopt an attitude opposed to Moscow.
by Abdul Muhsin 10.01.2006