The Russian Federation is a complex patchwork of republics, oblasts, territories and okrugs, varying in size, population, ethnic background and religious affiliation. Chechnya, part of the Southern Federal District, lies in the North Caucasus region, an area considered Europe’s least evangelised. It is one of seven republics, containing a medley of 50 to 60 ethnic groups of Caucasus, Turkic and Iranian origin.
Chechnya has long resisted Russian rule. The wars of the 1990s between the Russian military and Chechen rebels ended only in 2009 with Russian withdrawal and a pro-Moscow president installed. The conflicts were part of a wider strategy to form an Islamic Caucasus state (self-titled as Nokhchiyn).
The 1.4 million Chechen are almost entirely Muslim, and international Islamists have radicalized many of them. The Christian presence in Chechnya has been largely eliminated or expelled. A Baptist presence remains in Grozny. Most Christian organizations withdrew to work among refugees in North Ossetia and Ingushetia. Hatred of Russians (and thereby all Christians) and ruthless Islamist groups make ministry extremely sensitive work. ( The Voice of the Martyrs)