After Ten Years of Destruction
Many Chechens left as a result of the conflict; there are now large diaspora communities in Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. For those who remained, the work of rebuilding their homes and lives is complicated by personal losses, regional poverty, and the toxic environment -- including land mines, deteriorating industrial plants, and a high rate of birth defects that have prompted some to charge the Russian army with having used chemical weapons. Long accustomed to an atmosphere of violence, an entire generation of Chechens has grown up without a sense of social stability. Their experience with the federal Russian government and often with ethnic Russians, the majority population of the country, has been through the military and in situations of violence. How they will lead Chechnya into a peaceful future remains a major question.
Slowly, reconstruction has been under way on Chechnya's devastated social and economic infrastructure. While progress has been made, President Ramzan Kadyrov maintains a personal militia which has been accused of human rights abuses. Accountability for crimes is virtually nonexistent, as the Russian and Chechen leadership fail to investigate most human rights violations.
Tensions throughout the North Caucasus
The conflict in Chechnya has affected stability and security through the North Caucasus region of Russia. In Ingushetia, beginning in summer 2007, rebel attacks on public officials, law enforcement and security personnel, and civilians rose sharply. Localized violence also occurs regularly in Dagestan. The conflict between Russia and Georgia over Southern Ossetia (2008) also marked a heightening of tensions between ethnic groups across the entire region by re-opening the question of changing borders and settling ethnic disputes through violence.