I found an outstanding lecture from 2004 by Georgi Derluguian, given at the U of C. He discusses Chechnya and the origins of the conflict there. There are a lot of ideas here on how the physical realities of living in a mountain range affect society (multiple languages, isolation) as well as specific details (didn't convert to Islam until late 17th century, the population was built by people fleeing the great invasions crossing the plains to the north, one of the early Chechen leaders was the former Soviet chief of the Air Force responsible for the bombing campaigns in Afghanistan). There is also an idea that the whole region of the Soviet Union went through a reversion, a demodernization process. "Look at the hats!"
Here is his book.