The Insurgency’s Influence on the North Caucasus Region

Key Estimative Question:

  • What is the current severity and effectiveness of the insurgency in the North and South Caucasus regions (in regards to the quantitative and geographic growth and spread of violence) and how is it likely to change between now and the 2008 Russian Presidential election?
  • What are the capabilities and effectiveness of Russian military and security forces to combat the insurgency?

Secondary Questions:

  • What is the capability of the Kremlin to control the security problems plaguing the North Caucasus?
  • What is the role and survivability of the Kadyrov regime?


  • Analysts will use open-source resources to construct a web-based Wiki, which will store all key findings, discussions, notes, resources, and interactive maps.

  • Methods for analysis include but are not limited to:
    • Structured Analysis of Competing Hypotheses
      • Permits the testing of multiple hypotheses over a wide range of questions such as determining whether the Chechen insurgency has spread throughout the North Caucasus
    • Geographic Analysis
      • Would graphically show the severity levels of violence in each country to show the proliferation of insurgent activities
      • Would map the different population/ethnic boundaries to illustrate the divisions among the people of the region (Clans, Islamists, Radical Islamists, Russians)
    • Link Analysis
      • Would be used to chart terrorist/insurgent organizations by pinpointing main actors, infrastructure, bases, areas of operation, targets, and main attacks


  • Inability to speak or read native languages limits the scope of open-source data collection
  • Non-funded, open-sourced analytical project
  • Inexperience with the web-based Wiki format
  • Time limited to the 10 week academic semester
  • Conflicting academic/work schedules hinders group interaction


  • Personal contacts- consult subject matter or regional experts
  • Mercyhurst resources- Hammermill Library (on-line journals, books, periodicals, academic journals), Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies (MCIIS) Library, computer lab, software (Microsoft Office, i2 Analyst Notebook), and proprietary resources (Jane’s and LexisNexis), as well as academic professionals on campus
  • Open-source resources- including on-line journals, proprietary journals, news media outlets, interactive maps, and prior academic research products

  • The final product will be in the form of a web-based Wiki delivered NLT 14 November 2007.
  • The final product key findings will be presented in the form of a teleconference with Matthew Herbert NLT 14 November 2007.
  • Contact Information:
    • Kristan Wheaton- Main Contact