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Chechnya, formally the Chechen Republic, is a republic in south west Russia, bordering Georgia. Its capital is Grozny and it has a population of just under 1,300,000 people, with Islam being the dominant religion in the area. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly established Chechen Republic of Ichkeria fought for independence from Russia in the First Chechen War of 1994- 1996. The Russians were unable to gain effective control and a peace treaty was signed, giving the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria de facto independence. However in 1999, a Chechen Islamist separatist group invaded the Russian republic of Dagestan, prompting a Russian response leading to the Second Chechen War. This time, Russia was successful and the Ichkerian regime fell apart, allowing Russia to regain control over Chechnya. Today, Chechnya is a reasonably stable federal republic, although there are still some active separatist factions. Despite the state of relative peace, Chechnya has been widely criticized for its record of human rights abuses and corruption within the government.

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