The line between criminal and terrorist groups is often blurred, and Chechen groups are an excellent example of this new phenomenon. As the Soviet Union collapsed, groups began to fill the cracks offering services that the state could not. The Chechens were one group that outrivaled many groups, and they soon became synonymous throughout the Russian Federation with criminal. This work looks into the historical, social, and religious reasons behind the rise of militant Islam in the region. From there, it will discuss the historical difference between organized crime and terror, how the two have coalesced into the crime-terror nexus, and how the Chechens compare to two other groups that have gone through the same evolution: The Sicilian mafia, and the militant Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, or IMU. Though neither group are exactly the same, there are links that can help the reader understand the domestic and foreign problems that twenty-first century nation-states deal with throughout the world.
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