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Black Widows: Chechen Women Join the Fight for Independence--and Allah

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2005 Pages: 413-419
Anne Nivat
Date Published
September 2005
7 pages
This article analyzes the involvement of Chechen female rebels in the sieges at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow and the elementary school in Beslan, Russia.
The events of the hostage taking and siege at the Dubrovka Theater and the elementary school in Belsan are recalled, with a focus on the female rebels involved in the violent events. The author presents the findings of interviews with friends and relatives of Chechen female martyrs in an attempt to understand their motivation to participate in violent acts and their willingness lose their lives doing so. The relatives and friends spoke of the torment they endured from the Russian occupation of Chechnya and, in particular, of the difficulties of being a Chechen Muslim in Russia. They described their female martyr as loyal to her religion and way of life and, often, suffering from deep depression. The author concludes that as long as President Putin fails to develop a plan for the future of Chechnya, many more young women will be driven by despair to participate in terrorist operations and even in suicide missions.


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