Is Putin the New de Gaulle? A Comparison of the Chechen and Algerian Wars
This paper explores the prospects for Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve the Chechen conflict by following the methods attempted by Charles de Gaulle, one of the leaders whom he most admires. De Gaulle came to power vowing to resolve the crisis in Frances colony of Algeria, first settled in 1830, at about the same time the Russian Empire was expanding into the Caucasus. In both countries, the indigenous populations resisted occupation, first by peaceful means, and then with violence, including terrorism. Beyond such similarities the experience of France and Russia differ in crucial respects. Algeria attained its independence in the wave of decolonization of the 1950s and 1960s. Chechnya experienced an integration with Russia beyond anything the French had achieved in Algeria. Despite the difficulty of reintegrating war-torn Chechnya into the Russian Federation, the alternative of granting it independence, as de Gaulle did in Algeria, is unlikely.
Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies
Russia; Putin; Chechen; Algeria; Chechnya; France