History and Government Faculty Publications

Title

Sovereignty Issues in the Caucasus: Contested Ethnic and National Identities in Chechnya, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Journal Title

Sprawy Narodowościowe (Issues of Nationality)

Volume

48

First Page

30

Last Page

47

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.11649/sn.2016.003

Abstract

The issue of sovereignty has been at the forefront of regional politics in the Caucasus since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. In particular, the Russian government has approached various—seemingly similar cases—in very different ways. Although each specific region examined—Chechnya, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia—is unique, the nature of ethnic and national identity has been framed differently by the Russian government. In Chechnya, the Putin administration has framed any outstanding separatist claims in conjunction with terrorism and national security issues. In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Putin administration has instead noted the need for “liberation.” The outcome has been to stifle secessionist desires in Chechnya, while supporting those same secessionist desires outside of Russia’s borders, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Keywords

Chechnya, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, secession, terrorism