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Chechens: Culture and Society by Katherine S. Layton

By Katherine S. Layton

Chechens: tradition and Society is an ethnography that elaborates the lived stories of Chechens, focusing totally on relationships and socio-cultural norms in the context of the present clash within the Chechen Republic.

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Chechens: Culture and Society

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Few speak of him in terms normally reserved for the best Chechen. They talk about what Kadyrov is doing, not who he is. Many Chechens simply view Kadyrov largely as a vehicle, for a range of motives. Chechens rarely legitimize central leaders. They may strongly admire and respect a man based on particular Chechen standards, norms, and behaviors. Kadyrov is a figurehead of opportunity and purpose, not character. His historical legacy will reveal the things accomplished under his regime, including both rebuilding and brutal repression.

Persons’ names are not included, and the author purposely excludes any and other details that could potentially identify specific persons, such as age, region of birth, family links, and other affiliations. NOTE For ten years, this author was a guest of Chechens, and a colleague. In Ingushetia, the author worked together with Chechen (and Ingush) staff, to coordinate and develop a range of programs to ensure that Chechen children continued their school studies, to provide vocational training for youth and young adults, and to support the capacity of Chechens to develop their lives, neighborhoods and nation, in a time of extraordinary turmoil.

The Chechen conflict has evolved from armed resistance and independence drive, to internal skirmishes for reins of power, to current guerilla warfare against an illegitimate Chechen state. Particular verbal tactics parallel this evolution. Self-defense is only part of the justification for taking up arms; the point of resistance, and aggression, is to obtain the right to make policy, to dictate the direction of Chechnya and Chechens. Chechens are aware that the ruling ideology will determine the conditions under which Chechens will live, will determine what the future will be—for individuals, families, regions, for the nation.

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