This groundbreaking work examines the complex dynamics of Russia’s relations with the Caucasus, revealing the profound effects that Caucasian forces have had upon Russia’s development.Essays show how Georgian sparks ignited conflagrations in South Ossetia (1991-1992) and Abkhazia (1992-1993), spreading northward to conflicts in Ossetia and Ingushetia (1992) and Chechnya (1994-1996)
Combined with jihadist influences that entered from the South and East by way of Dagestan, these events culminated in the second Russo-Chechen war (1999-2009). Chechnya transformed both the Russian military and the presidency of Vladimir Putin. Beginning in 2000, Putin’s Chechenization strategy had unforeseen and controversial results for the entire Russian Federation. These ironies are elucidated in case studies of the Stavropol region, the Sochi Olympics, the Pussy Riot conviction, and Russia’s efforts to reintegrate religion with politics against the backdrop of an emerging Islamic “inner abroad.” Neither Russia nor the Caucasus can be understood without an appreciation of their uneasy interconnection and its explosive consequences.