Hero and Devil
This chapter examines the role of Dzhokhar Dudayev as a mass leader in the Chechnyan revolution, and reveals how the post-Soviet populace perceived him. Dudayev, formerly a general in the army of the USSR, and president of the self-proclaimed republic, stands out as its preeminent hero. Russian political writers and academics think in the old Soviet categories of popular movements and revolution leaders. They believe that states are always built on an ethnic basis, that a forceful dismantling of an existing order is just, and that armed secession is moral when it is justified in terms of national (ethnic) self-determination. It is rarely admitted that a leader creates, or at the very least significantly affects, revolutionary movement. There is a deep-seated belief that tectonic societal shifts cannot be explained by small things such as individual or tiny group ambitions and interests. In reality, the picture was much more complicated. The middle-aged generation striving for limited resources and available power positions formulated the realizable, and Dudayev, with his military grooming, assisted in national liberation.
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