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Women, Tradition, and Power in North Caucasus

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.



Across North Caucasus, society is divided over the role of women. Why are the freedoms of women in Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan so constrained? Is Islam to blame? Is it a consequence of war in the region or of poverty? These questions form the basis of a new series on openDemocracy Russia, in which women tell their stories:

Hijab Wars: In Dagestan, where government forces are pitched against insurgents, and the official priesthood against the Salafites, the third front concerns women. Marina Akhmedova reports from the region on the totemic role of the hijab in these events.

Sex and Lies in Kabardino-Balkaria: Young women in Kabardino-Balkaria must resort to lies and stratagems to navigate a society governed by man-made rules and double standards. In this excerpt from an unpublished novel, Marina Marshenkulova reveals through fiction the reality she cannot describe as a journalist.

“Why Did I Tell You All This!”: Taisa wanted to be a singer, but ended up becoming a victim of one of Russia’s most patriarchal and violent societies. oDRussia continues its series of “stories you were not meant to hear” with a harrowing narrative from Chechnya.

Chechnya’s Fashion Dictator: In Chechnya, the warfare that rumbled on between 1994 and 2009 has been turned against the republic’s women. The most public aspect of this campaign is the progressive imposition of a so-called “Islamic” dress code. Lisa Kazbekova charts its course, enquires why it is happening, and how Chechnya’s men and women are responding.

“The Chechen Mentality”: Domestic violence is all too common in Chechnya. It is very rare for women to stand up for their rights, by recourse to the law. This is the story of one woman, Shoma Timagov, who did. Zura Khatueva reports.

Unprotected: Chechnya’s women face fresh constraints, new rules and increased violence sanctioned from above. At home, they are subject to unwritten codes that systematically disenfranchise them. They must brave all this to enforce their rights under the Russian constitution. Beyond that, there is only the European Court of Human Rights, Zalina Magomadova writes.



1 Comment

  1. […] answer could lie in the culture of the North Caucasus. Human rights are not necessarily well-protected anywhere in Russia, but the treatment of women in […]


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