STRUCTURE OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TERROR IN THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS IN THE 1990S-2000S

Evgeny POLYAKOV


Evgeny Polyakov, Ph.D. (Political Science), Associate Professor, Chair of Sociology and Political Science, Voronezh State University (Voronezh, Russia)


ABSTRACT

The author relies on the structural violence concept to analyze political violence and terror in the Northern Caucasus throughout the 1990s-2000s, which brought him to the conclusion that direct armed violence, or even terror, are less dangerous than structural violence. The dynamics of their manifestations, however, is interconnected.

Applied to the armed conflict in the Northern Caucasus, his tridimensional model reveals the inner logic of the conflicts development and its cyclical nature. Indeed, outbursts of clandestine activities and terror alternate with relative lulls, while the conflicts intensity gradually subsides.

Each stage corresponds to an institutional structure of violence, which outcrops in the form of armed confrontation (either a classical frontal war or network terror) and its ideological frills (ranging from secular nationalism to radical international Islamism).

Keywords: the Northern Caucasus, Chechnia, structural violence, terror and political violence, the Caucasus Emirate.

Introduction

Forty-five years ago, Johan Galtung put the structural violence concept into academic circulation. Two years later, he and Tord Høivik showed how structural violence could be measured with the help of potential life expectancy statistics. In 1976, Gernot Köhler and Norman Alcock offered a basic model for measuring the magnitude of structural violence accompanied by a basic definition of the concept: Whenever persons are harmed, maimed, or killed by poverty and


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