Conclusion: The use of nationalist discourse in the second Chechen War and the Russian violations of human rights have reconfigured Russian politics along a more nationalist direction. Certainly, this is a setback to Russia's democratic transition process, which has been already complicated by pragmatic politicians seeking to maximize their power and wealth at the expense of masses. In the initial stage of the post-Soviet transition in Russia, the rhetoric of the international community held that Russia needed to be transformed into a law-abiding state with a "civil society." However, the Chechen campaign undermines both the rule of law and the autonomy of civil society. The style of justification of the Chechen campaign suggests that Russia's problems in the post-Soviet transition are not diagnosed well by the Russian political elite. By seeking to raise the appeal of nationalism, the Chechen war has further inceased uncertainty over the political orientation of the post-Soviet Russia. However, it would be unfair to blame only on Moscow for all human fights abuses in Chechnya. In fact, radical and terrorist groups in Chechnya destabilized the region to the extent that Moscow found it both necessary and easier to resort to military force. In fact, at the root of the problems in Chechnya, one could identify the difficulty of the Chechens in developing a social, cultural and political foundation for stable political structures, a foundation which could bring together the Chechens around moderate political values, and marginalize radical groups. Unfortunately, it seems that innocent civilians, regardless of their ethnic origins, will suffer from human rights abuses until such political institutions develop. © 2001 Springer.