Russia's Post-Communist Transformation: A Gendered Analysis of the Chechen Wars


Eichler, Maya. 2006. "Russia's Post-Communist Transformation: A Gendered Analysis of the Chechen Wars." International Feminist Journal of Politics 8 (4): 486-511.

Author: Maya Eichler


This article develops a gendered analysis of the Chechen wars (1994-6, 1999-present) in the context of Russia's post-communist transformation. I argue that the leadership used the first war to associate itself with a notion of militarized, ordered, patriotic Russian masculinity in juxtaposition to a notion of destabilizing, aggressive, criminal Chechen masculinity. Justification for the second war additionally relied on constructed differences between civilized, modern Russian masculinity and terrorist, fundamentalist Chechen masculinity. However, men's evasion of conscription as well as women's anti-conscription and anti-war organizing as soldiers' mothers have undermined the Russian state's ability to wage war and use it as a strategy of legitimation. While the second war initially had considerably more popular support than the first, the crisis in militarized masculinity has not been resolved and soldiers' mothers continue to challenge notions of patriotic motherhood. The article demonstrates that a gendered analysis improves our understanding of the state's decision to go to war, its justifications for war and citizens' responses to war.


Keywords: conscription, militarization, militarized masculinity, patriotic motherhood, russia, soldiers' mothers





Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis Regions: Asia, Europe Countries: Russian Federation

Year: 2006

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