Bravehearts: The Real Story of the Chechens' Unending Fight for Independence (#Connexions speaker series)

November 15th, 2023 · 55 mins 26 secs

About this Episode

On this episode, Dr. Michael Dennis, a leading expert on the Chechen Republic, tells the multifaceted story of the Chechen fight for independence, including the consequences of the Chechen Wars, the rise of the Kadyrov family, lessons learned by the Russian Army, impacts on the Putin regime's decision-making in crises, and Chechnya's role in Ukraine. Dr. Dennis also talks about the future of the North Caucasus and the different actors' stakes in this fraught region. Thanks for listening!

This event was part of the #Connexions Experts speaker series which is dedicated to spreading nuanced knowledge about conflict areas in the greater Eurasian region. The Experts series is in lead up to the #Connexions 2024 conference which will take place from March 18-20 at The University of Texas at Austin.

Watch the event here:

Dr. Michael Dennis is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a leading expert on Chechnya, the North Caucasus insurgency, and the Russo-Chechen Wars. In addition to over twenty years of research in the region, Dr. Dennis spent over five years living with Chechen rebels and refugees in the Pankisi Gorge along the Chechen border with the Republic of Georgia, and displaced Chechen communities in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Poland, and Turkey, exploring the conditions under which displaced populations attitudinally support political violence. His post-doctoral research focused on Chechen attitudes towards foreign fighters in Ukraine and Syria. During the Second Russo-Chechen War (1999 to 2009), he served as a volunteer aid-worker the International Rescue Committee (IRC) tasked with leading a team to help re-build water, sanitation, and education infrastructure in war-torn Chechnya and provide subsistence support to tens of thousands of Chechen refugees living in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia. From 2004 to 2011, he co-directed the Chechnya Advocacy Network, an international humanitarian non-government organization created to improve human rights and security in Chechnya, provide legal and asylum procedure assistance for Chechen refugees, conduct research on issues related to the Russo-Chechen Wars, and raise awareness and funds to improve infrastructure, physical and psychological rehabilitation, and education in the Republic of Chechnya. Dr. Dennis’s research has been published in Security Studies and referenced in Foreign Affairs, and he recently completed an academic book manuscript based on his decades-long work with Chechen refugees. He holds a Ph.D. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Political Science from Miami University (Ohio), and studied at Novgorod State University in Russia, and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and speaks Chechen and Russian.

PRODUCER'S NOTE: This episode was recorded on November 3, 2023 at The University of Texas at Austin.

If you have questions, comments, or would like to be a guest on the show, please email and we will be in touch!

Host/Supervising Producer: Nicholas Pierce
Assistant EP: Misha Simanovskyy (@MSimanovskyy)
Associate Producer: Cullan Bendig (@cullanwithana)
Associate Producer: Sergio Glajar
Assistant Producer: Taylor Helmcamp
Production Assistant: Faith VanVleet
Production Assistant: Eliza Fisher
SlavX Editorial Director: Sam Parrish

Main Theme by Charlie Harper and additional background music by AKMV, Ketsa, Mindseye, Shaolin Dub)

Executive Producer & Creator: Michelle Daniel (@M_S_Daniel)

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