The demise of the Soviet Union and the resultant rush to establish claims over disputed areas and to assert ethnic identity led to a widespread call to arms. Nowhere was this more the case than in the Caucasus. T he former southern Caucasian "soviets" of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia have all asserted their independence from Russia and all have witnessed bloodshed resulting from inter-ethnic fighting. In the north Caucasus there has been fighting in Dagestan, lngushetia, North Ossetia and most notably in Chechnya. The virtual abandonment of former weapons stockpiles accompanied by some very definite mischief by the departing Russian troops has led to munitions, including mines falling into the hands of almost every potential warring faction. To no one's surprise the region has been troubled ever since Soviet domination ceased.



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