The diffusion of violence in the North Caucasus of Russia, 1999–2010
Despite an increase in attention to ‘geography’ in civil war research, local dynamics in violence remain poorly understood. To address this gap, we analyze disaggregated violent event data for the North Caucasus of Russia from the start of the second Chechen war, in August 1999, to July 2010. We employ a diffusion perspective to examine the spread of the conflict from its Chechen nucleus and we identify the tit-for-tat nature of the conflict between the rebels and the military/police forces as especially significant in understanding the conflict’s dynamics and spread to neighboring republics. A space–time analysis shows that violence is concentrated at short temporal intervals and geographic distances. As the insurgents in the violence have changed from dominantly nationalist to Islamist, the geography of the war has become more diffuse across the Muslim republics of the region, rendering the Russian counterinsurgency efforts more challenging. Keywords: disaggregated event data, civil war, conflict, space–time diffusion, spatial analysis, North Caucasus
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