The Chechen post-war diaspora in Norway and their visions of legal models

In: Caucasus Survey
Maryam Sugaipova Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, Norway

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Julie Wilhelmsen Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, Norway

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This article examines how understandings of the rule of law are shaped in the Chechen diaspora in Norway. Taking as our point of departure studies of legal pluralism and the co-existence of traditional Adat, religious Sharia and Russian secular law in Chechnya, we examine the effect of living in a host country by asking: How do members of the Chechen diaspora, here defined as conflict-generated diaspora, view and internalize legal models in Norway? What type of state governance do they see as ideal for themselves and for Chechnya in the future? Further: what might the underlying explanation for their choices be? We assume that just as different waves of violence in Chechnya created different diaspora communities that today exhibit specific social, cultural and political traits, the latest wave of forced emigration to Europe after the post-Soviet Russo–Chechen wars may have made specific imprints on the legal preferences of this diaspora. The picture that emerges from our in-depth individual interviews and surveys is one of gradual adaptation and adjustment to Norwegian state governance and rule of law, demonstrating the complex and co-constitutive relationships between changing identities and legal preferences.

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