Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 7 stigma of their violent actions remain, thus hampering the fight for independence for the Basques. Chechnya Chechens believe in a very strong, tight knit community dating back to the ideal of nokhchalla, described as the fear of infamy within Chechen society it also serves as a code of honor in the Chechen society. 6 Despite all the political hardship and autonomy challenges, the Chechen people have retained much of their culture and heritage, in a mix of old and new worlds. Located north of Georgia and South of Russia, Chechnya has benefited from the isolation of surrounding mountains. The Chechens call themselves Nokhchiin qam, simply translated means “the Chechen People” or the “the Chechen Consciousness.” 7 Chechen pride, or nationalism, fuels the culture and fervor of this population. Chechnya, in addition to its cultural pride and differences, also maintains a strong religious difference from Russia. Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim society. Most Chechens converted to Sunni Islam by the mid-19 th Century, around the same time as most of the Caucasus region. 8 Islam has been a strong influence in the Caucasus region for centuries before. Consequently, Islam intertwined into the ancient culture of the Chechens, creating a complex social amalgam. Russian Orthodox Tsars largely allowed Chechnya to act independently, while still maintaining allegiance as a territory of Russia, as well as accepting Islam under their rule. Communist Russia, however, actively suppressed Islam in addition to all religions, going as far as to execute many devout Muslims, and banning all Islamic religious texts. 9 By 1994, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Chechnya reopened four hundred mosques, along with ten churches and one 6 Amjad Jaimouka. The Chechens: A Handbook. RoutledgeCurzon, 2005, 123. 7 Ibid, 12. 8 Ibid, 106. 9 Ibid , 121.
Rutgers Model United Nations 8 synagogue. 10 The rapid reopening of religious buildings demonstrates the importance of religion to Chechens. Chechnya gained de facto independence during the transition from the Soviet Union into the Russian Federation. 11 Hostilities between Russia and Chechnya broke out in 1994, as Russia invaded Chechen territory. Since Russia invaded Chechnya, Chechens have continued to retaliate against Russia, resorting to guerilla warfare and terrorist attacks. Most of the population of Chechnya is spread out in tiny villages, although major urban centers exist, the most prominent being the capital Grozny. According to a 2002 Russian Census, there were 1,088,816 people living in Chechnya. 12 This statistic, however, includes many people who are not ethnically Chechen, including Cossacks and Ingush. Most of the fighting between Chechen rebels and Russian troops takes place in urban centers, particularly Grozny, yet Russian soldiers have in the past attacked and massacred small villages. Information flowing out of isolated Chechnya is very sparse, as Russia has made great efforts to drive out most media and international organizations. Reliable causality reports for Chechen rebel fighters do not exist, however Russia claimed that in 2002, 14,000 Chechen rebels had been killed whereas only 4,700 Russia soldiers had died. 13 Russian war tactics include the kidnapping of family members for imprisonment in work camps, and the massacring of villages like Samashki, in April 1995. The United Nations’ Human Rights Commission, in April 2001, adopted a resolution condemning the “disproportionate” use of force by Russia in Chechnya. 14 Kurdistan The Kurds have an ancient culture that relies on herding and farming. Kurdish culture is oral, seeing that many Kurds are illiterate. 15 For most of their history, Kurds have been largely ignored by conquering armies, and left to their own devices. Most 10 Ibid, 121. 11 Tracey C German,. Russia’s Chechen War. RoutledgeCurzon, 2003, 31 12 Jaimouka 15 13 Ibid, 74. 14 Ibid, 75. 15 Ed. Philip Kreyenbroek and Christine Allison. Kurdish Culture and Identity. Zed Books Ltd. New Jersey, 1996. 4