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Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


Chapter six in Issues of the Post-Communist Transition: Structure, Culture, and Justice. Edited by Stephen R. Bowers and Marion T. Doss, Jr., 2001. Monograph of the Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies Monograph Series number 29. For the William R. Nelson Institute for Public Affairs. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.


Sufism is one of the most important religious movements in Chechnya. It is significant because it is a popular rallying point and, to the external world, it is not obvious who is or is not a member of these clandestine brotherhoods. Sufism gives its adherents an organizational basis that is somewhat like that of the early communist party. There are twenty-seven religious movements operating in Chechnya today. Kunta Hadji is one of the most important of these and is associated with the Qadiriya brotherhood, generally regarded as the second most important of the Soviet-era brotherhoods.

Following the first Chechen war, much of Chechen society was mobilized by Vakhabism. The Kunta-Hadjists, whose values were declared heretical by the Vakhabits, found themselves in competition and sometime combat with this more militant and anti-Russian group.

The Kunta-Hadjists support the restoration of the Shari’s Islamic laws have criticized president A.Maskhadov for his ambiguous stand towards the issue of Vakhabism.