Chechen demographic growth and resistance : reactions to the existential threat from Russia
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This thesis examines the phenomenon of Chechen population growth in the context of the protracted Russo-Chechen conflict. It argues that the conflict was the main causative reason for the growth of the Chechen population. This hypothesis was confirmed by fieldwork, which allowed for the detection of a positive correlation between the nation’s demographic growth and the perception of the own physical existence as endangered. The results of fieldwork demonstrated that the majority of the informants connected high Chechen birth rates with the necessity of physical survival, restoration of losses, and strengthening the nation numerically. The threat to Chechen ethnic identity did not show as strong correlation with demographic growth as did the threat to physical existence. Nevertheless, Chechen ethnic identity, which favours resistance to a foreign rule, was confirmed to be the crucial variable in determining the demographic dynamics of the nation. This in turn suggested an additional correlation: in the context of an existential threat salient ethnic identity would prompt a population growth. The latter, in such cases, is considered as a way of continuing the resistance in a non-violent way. The restoration of the losses experienced and the survival of the nation is seen as a victory and at the same time as a preparation for the next outbreak of violence. With all of this in mind, this thesis suggests considering Chechen demographic growth as the reaction (which itself was determined by ethnic identity) to the existential threat imposed by Russia.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-08-03
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 3rd August 2022
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