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The Soviet Experience


Chechnya has never known independent statehood, and a Chechen republic has never existed as a state or an administrative unit. In 1922 the Bolsheviks created the Chechen autonomous province within Russia, and in 1934 they merged it with the Ingush autonomous oblast to form the Chechen-Ingush autonomous oblast. Two years later it was designated a republic.  


When the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the Chechen and Ingush of collaboration with the Germans during the Second World War, they were deported to exile in central Asia, and the republic of Checheno-Ingushetia was dissolved. The exiles were allowed to return to their homeland, and the republic was reestablished under Nikita Khrushchev in 1957.

The hardships of a life in exile had strengthened the habits of mutual support among the Chechens and the tenacity with which they clung to their ethnic traditions. Not all the Chechens, however, chose to return home. A big Chechen diaspora remained scattered across the Soviet Union, and some of its members used their entrepreneurial skills in the shadow economy or joined the criminal underworld as far back as the time of Khrushchev.

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The Chechen Problem

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