Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 27

Is Russia laying the groundwork for the future destabilization of Ukraine? Russian nationalists will find ample justification in a July 17 article in Izvestia, which claims that the Crimea has become a stronghold of Chechen rebels and Islamic extremists.

The article by Yanina Sokolovskaya consists entirely of an interview with Leonid Grach, former speaker of the Crimean parliament. He insists that rebel guerrillas from Chechnya are settling in his province and are using it for rest and recuperation and for medical care of their wounded–and are even buying land there and “preaching Wahhabism.” According to Grach, the Chechens have formed links with local Muslims, who wish to turn the peninsula into an independent Muslim state.