The Chechen post-war diaspora in Norway and their visions of legal models

Academic article
Russia and Eurasia  Migration
Written by

Julie Wilhelmsen

Research Professor, Head of the Research group on Russia, Asia and International Trade



This article examines how understandings of the rule of law are
shaped in the Chechen diaspora in Norway. Taking as our point
of departure studies of legal pluralism and the co-existence of
traditional Adat, religious Sharia and Russian secular law in
Chechnya, we examine the effect of living in a host country by
asking: How do members of the Chechen diaspora, here defined
as conflict-generated diaspora, view and internalize legal models
in Norway? What type of state governance do they see as ideal
for themselves and for Chechnya in the future? Further: what
might the underlying explanation for their choices be? We
assume that just as different waves of violence in Chechnya
created different diaspora communities that today exhibit specific
social, cultural and political traits, the latest wave of forced
emigration to Europe after the post-Soviet Russo–Chechen wars
may have made specific imprints on the legal preferences of this
diaspora. The picture that emerges from our in-depth individual
interviews and surveys is one of gradual adaptation and
adjustment to Norwegian state governance and rule of law,
demonstrating the complex and co-constitutive relationships
between changing identities and legal preferences.