Wolves in wolves' clothing : the role of the Chechen mafia in the formation of an independent Chechen Republic
Ross, Thomas M.
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The path to Chechen autonomy has been tumultuous. Over the past 200 years, internal and external forces have played significant roles in shaping the territory and identity of the Chechen nation. Fierce resistance by Chechens has led Russian officials to label the region's inhabitants as criminals. Chechen criminality was also affected by punishments for this resistance. Chechen resistance eventually let to the mass criminalization of the entire Chechen ethnicity. Mass criminalization exposed the Chechens to a wider Russian criminal world. Through illegal activities, Chechen criminals amassed significant resources. As the Soviet Union fell, Chechen organized crime groups were poised to support the bid for national independence led by former Soviet General Djohar Dudayev. This thesis contends that bottom-up and top-down forces were critical in forming a perception of Chechen criminality. The perception of criminality and its attendant punishments supported the rise of actual criminality, in a time where crime made possible the amassing of significant amounts of wealth and power. It was wealth and power that Dudayev's fledgling government needed, Chechen organized crime groups would provide but at a cost. While providing material support to Dudayev organized crime elements infiltrated government positions to further their own interests
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