Czechoslovakia Isn’t Chechnya
April 20, 2013
I didn’t post a story to 52 Weeks in Slovakia yesterday, I didn’t send an email out, I posted nothing to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network yet traffic was massively up and newsletter signups surged. That happens sometimes when an article from 52 Weeks in Slovakia gets noticed and posted in a prominent location, sent out to a big list, or picked up by the traditional media.
This traffic surge was a little different, however. All day I was wondering what the heck the deal was and at about 11 pm I figured it out. On Facebook, I found this – a link to a list if tweets that in some way confused Czechoslovakia and Chechnya.
Traffic was spiking so heavily because people were confusing the ethnically Chechen Boston bombing suspects with the no longer existent country of Czechoslovakia.
To help clear up any confusion, below is a little bit about Chechnya, Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic.
- Muslim, largely Sunni to be specific
- a part of Russia – something that causes a great deal of strife for Russians and Chechens, since Chechnya has a very active separatist movement.
- 6,680 sq mi in size and was established in its current form January 11, 1991.
- located in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe. The Caucasus Mountains form a borderland, with Europe to the North and Asia to the south. This region is at the northern edges of Turkey and Iran and the southern edge of Russia. Many languages and cultures converge there and there is frequent conflict.
- 1,268,989 people strong (as of 2010) with Grozny as a capital city
- is overwhelmingly ethnically Chechen by population, with a few Russians, Armenians, and others hanging around
- is oil-rich, mineral wealthy, and important in Russia’s energy infrastructure. Also of tremendous importance is that Chechnya is significant in holding together Russia’s southern border. If Chechnya seceded from Russia, so goes a commonly held theory stated by the Kremlin, perhaps others in the Caucasus would follow. It cannot be overstated that Chechnya is constantly in a state of conflict with Moscow – sometimes legal, sometimes political, sometimes military.
The Czech Republic is…
- largely Atheist or non-religious
- geographically located at the very heart of Europe
- a country that came into being on January 1, 1993
- a country that in 1991 had a population of 10,302,215 and in 2011 a population of 10,436,560, which is not that impressive of a growth rate.
- 30,450 sq mi in size and despite being the birthplace of Semtex plastic explosives it is a peaceful place that knows little of war and the most dramatic conflicts to have happened over the last 20 years involve two 50 year olds arguing about literature over beer in a bar at 11 pm.
- The Czech capital city of Prague, incorrectly considered by many to be “Eastern Europe,”
is far to the West of the German capital of Berlin.
- a state that came into existence 28 October 1918 and ceased existing the night of 31 Dec 1992.
- located in the very heart of Europe.
- made up largely of Czechs and Germans as well as Slovaks, Roma, Hungarians, Ruthenians, Jews, Poles, Vietnamese (a later addition to the mix), in addition to other ethnic minorities.
- a country with a tradition of notable Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and atheist/non-religious influence along with other religious groups.
- after 1948, under monopoly political control of the Communist party, who essentially ran the country as a satellite of the Kremlin.
- in Central Europe, with Prague as a capital city, which is several hours by car or train to the north and west of Vienna, Austria.
- 13,607,385 strong in 1921 and in 1993, at the time of dissolution was estimated to be 15,600,000 strong (12 times the size of present-day Chechnya)
- 54,227 sq mi in size in 1921 which was whittled away at over the years until in 1993 it was 49,382 sq mi (7 times the size of present-day Chechnya)
As a final note, I would like to reaffirm the important statement that there has been no such place as Czechoslovakia for over two decades. Maybe we need to better challenge a few trends in our society if we are calling authoritatively for the bombing of countries that don’t even exist.
Any thoughts? Please feel free to share this link with friends who might be interested in the topic, yet might be confused about the Czechoslovakia as opposed to Chechnya.
Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time travelling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.