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ChechnyaLife in a War-Torn Society$
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Valery Tishkov

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238879

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238879.001.0001

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An Ideology of Extremes

An Ideology of Extremes

(p.196) Thirteen An Ideology of Extremes

Valery Tishkov

University of California Press

During and after the war, Chechen intellectual life became dominated by ideologies that focused on territorial expansionism and cultural mythmaking. This chapter explores ideological extremism in Chechnya and its propagation. Emerging in Chechen discourse were myths not only of the new nation's birth but also of a people chosen by God, myths which endowed Chechens with a sense of superiority over other peoples in the Caucasus, particularly the Orthodox Christian Ossetians. In addition, Chechnya's public discourse focused on Islam as grounding for political and cultural resistance. After the long period of Soviet atheism, followed by the pro-Western liberalization that characterized Gorbachev's period, Chechen periodicals sought to promote an Islamicization of the republic, publishing countless theoretical chapters on the theme of Islam. Traumatized by the war, many Chechens turned to crude ideological simplifications, and Chechen society became increasingly susceptible to a collective paranoia.

Keywords:   Chechen intellectual, ideologies, territorial expansionism, Caucasus, Orthodox Christian Ossetians

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