Widespread media interest into the Chechen conflict reflects an ongoing concern about the evolution of federal Russia. Why did the Russian leadership initiate military action against Chechnya in December 1994 but against no other constituent part of the Federation? This study demonstrates that the Russian invasion represented the culmination of a crisis that was perceived to have become an increasing threat not only to the stability of the North Caucasus region, but also to the very foundations of Russian security. It looks closely at the Russian Federation in transition, following the collapse of the communist Soviet Union, and the implications of the 1991 Chechen Declaration of Independence in the context of Russia's democratisation project.

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