The Tragic Tale of the Chechen Independence Struggle
An abbreviated version of this review essay will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Iran and the Caucasus (Brill) in one of its issues this year; its editorial board has given permission for the current extended version to be published here in our own journal.
Ilyas Akhmadov’s book The Chechen Struggle: Independence Won and Lost—with co-author Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy—is an insightful, searing and moving account of the Chechen independence struggle in the Northern Caucasus against Russia. The same is true for Akhmadov’s more recent book Chechnya’s Secret Wartime Diplomacy: Aslan Maskhadov and the Quest for a Peaceful Resolution—with Nicholas Daniloff, a renowned journalist and former Director of the Northeastern University School of Journalism, as the co-author. The latter book presents in separate chapters the transcripts of twenty-four secretly sent audiotapes by Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov between 1999 and 2003 to Akhmadov as Foreign Minister of the separatist government abroad from 1999 to 2005. The last chapter presents a letter by Maskhadov to the European Union of 25 February 2005 shortly before his violent death on 8 March 2005. Each chapter ends with a commentary by Akhmadov of each translated audiotape or letter in question.