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Strategic Location

 

Chechnya is a republic in southwestern Russia, situated on the northern flank of the Greater Caucasus range. It is bordered by Russia proper on the north, the Dagestan republic on the east and southeast, Georgia on the southwest, and the Ingushetia republic on the west. Chechnyas main ethnic group is the Chechen, with minorities of Russians and Ingush. In the mid-1990s its population was about 850,000. 

The Chechen and Ingush are both Muslim. Their society is based on clan and tribal relations. Traditionally, the Chechens chief occupations were farming in the lowlands in the north of the republic and cattle raising in the mountain areas in the south. Oil drilling became increasingly important in Chechnya. It began around the 1890s, when Russias earlier industrialization drive was successfully launched under the tsarist government. Under the Soviets oil drilling and refining became the backbone of the Chechen economy. Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, became one of the largest oil-refining centers in Russia.

Of even greater economic significance than its industrial capacity is Chechnyas strategic geographical location as a transport junction and transit corridor, which accommodates the railway and highway connecting southern Russia with Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and the pipelines supplying oil and natural gas from the Caspian and central Asian regions to Europe.

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The Chechen Problem

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