This is a short assignment from my university asking for an explanation of the cause of violence in the Russian/Chechen conflict. I analyzed it in light of greed vs. grievance. There has long been controversy over the factors that catalyze conflict. A new school of thought propounds that the cause of conflict can be defined either as greed or grievance. The greed argument contends that there is an inherent link between natural resources and conflictthe more natural resources there are that can provide benefit to a particular group, the more likely it is that there will be conflict over the ownership of those resources. Conversely, the grievance debate contends that conflicts take place as groups battle for justice and ideology, not economics. This framework elucidates an interesting fact in the conflict between the Russians and the Chechens. The Russians are motivated by greed, while the insurgent Chechens fight because of grievances. The source of violence in the Chechen-Russian conflict has been stereotyped as an inexplicable primordial hatred between the Orthodox Russians and Muslim Chechens. However, using the tenants of greed vs. grievance it can be argued that the centuries old conflict between these two parties was initially catalyzed by Russian greed. While there was some conflict between Russia and Chechnya in the sixteenth century, the first real clash came when Peter the Great took the Russian throne. Peter aspired to make Russia a major military and economic power, whose affluence rivaled that of Europeans. Peter believed that in order to have the affluence of his European neighbors, he must have colonies which he could economically exploit like the Europeans. He therefore decided to create a Russian equivalent to these colonies where he could exploit resources and labor to build the greatness of Russia. The Chechens resisted his efforts, and in 1722 fighting broke out as Russian forces marched into the region, due to Peters greed and desire to own the resources of the Caucasus. The Russians, motivated by greed contrasts with the Chechens, who are motivated by grievance. In the 1700s the Chechens were fighting a battle driven by socio-political motivations. They were bent on protecting their Islamic faith, their governing system and their way of life against the aggression of the Russians. This trend of fighting for survival continued as the Russians continued to inflict serious damage upon the Chechens. From the deportation of nearly the entire Chechen population under Stalin to the modern incarnation of the war that began in 1999, the Russians have deepened the resolve of the Chechens by giving them grievance after grievance as motivation. Chechen insurgents have subsequently launched a vicious campaign using techniques including hostage taking and suicide bombing against the Russians in an obvious effort not to enrich themselves, but instead to reclaim their autonomy. The theory of greed vs. grievance does a great deal to explain the source of violence in various conflicts. In the conflict between Russia and Chechnya it provides what appears to be an explanation of the motivations of both parties. The Russians were initially motivated by the desire to obtain economic strength, the exact definition of greed based conflict. Conversely, the Chechens are fighting a grievance based war caused by Russian infringement on their sovereignty. This new system of classification does make one facet of the conflict clear--while the conflagration between the Chechens and Russians has subsided, the two are fighting very different wars, and it is necessary for both the understand the motivations of the other to create a lasting peace.