2004 年 2004 巻 138 号 p. 142-156,L13
Between 1999 and 2004, the issue about Chechen and foreign fighters in and around the Pankisi Valley in one of the districts of the Eastern Georgia was a focus of political negotiations in the Georgia-Russia, Gerogia-USA, then Russia-USA relations.
The majority of the residents of the valley are the Chechens and the Ingushes, who are called as the Kists there. Using historical and ethnographic literatures by Margoshivili, Shavkhelishvili and others which describe the immigration process of the Chechens and the Ingushes to the Pankisi Valley in the 19th century, this paper underlines the importance of traditional and national homogeneity between the Chechens and the Kists, which keeps their mutual relation and fellow feeling in the both sides of the Great Caucasus. As the Kists had no right as ethnic minority in the Soviet era, they could have merged into the Georgian masses, if they had no relation with the Chechno-Ingush Republic and the people living there. This is how the valley still remains as a semi-independent enclave of Chechnia within Georgia.
The majority of the inhabitants of the valley are Sunni Muslims. Then the Pankisi Valley has a strategic value, as one of the Sunnite outputs from the Chechen and Daghestan into the South Caucasus. It is also witnessed there the re-islamization during and after the Perestroika era, the coming of the foreign missionaries and the rising in the popularity of the so called the Wahhabits among the local people.
Even after the violent death of a Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelayev and the end of the War against the Terrorism in Georgia, the Kists remain as the Chechens and their majority are the Muslims. Excepting the Kists, there are the Georgian Pshavs, the Tushes and the Ossets in the valley. Any ethnic or confessional clash would be reflected in a wilder arena. With potential cause of discontents to the Georgian government, the strategic importance of the valley in the process of integrity of Georgia's ethnics and regions into one single civil society is still existing, as well as in the regional security of the South Caucasus as a whole.