Interwar Chechnya (1996-1999), Wahhabism and the Roots of the Dagestani Invasion

  • Emil Souleimanov
Keywords: Chechnya, the Caucasus, Islam, war, conflict, Wahhabism, Sufism, terrorism, insurgency, customary law


This study analyses the causes of the fall of the Chechen state after its de facto independence (1996-1999) following the so-called First Russian-Chechen War (1994-1996). The failed incursion of the (predominantly Wahhabi) Chechen-Dagestani guerillas in Dagestan (August 1999), designed to inflame a regional rebellion against Russia, resulted in the current Second Russian-Chechen War. The Chechen state's failure was mainly caused by internal factors, primarily the 'clanish' division of Chechen society and customary legal norms (e.g. blood feuds), but also the spread of political Islam and the expansion of North Caucasian Wahhabism. Considering recent attempts to extend the conflict over Chechnya's borders, this field continues to be of immense import. In Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and elsewhere, processes similar to those being studied may be better understood following this study.

Author Biography

Emil Souleimanov



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