Behind the Veil: A Study of Chechen Black Widows' Web

  • Caitlin Toto
Keywords: social science, terrorism, Chechnya, political science, Spring 2015


Why is the proportion of female terrorist attacks in Chechnya high compared to the rest of the world? Chechnya has undergone years of trauma, and a number of Chechen females, labeled “black widows,” have attempted to enact social justice through terrorism. however, why is it that fewer females are engaged in terrorist attacks in other war-stricken parts of the world? To explain why Chechnya is an outlier in this respect, this article will analyze Chechen terrorism on the individual, organizational, and strategic levels and then compare these findings to the terrorist dynamics of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This comparison will allow the reader to gain a better understanding of the types of environments that are more likely to foster female participation in terrorist attacks.

Author Biography

Caitlin Toto
Caitlin Toto is a senior in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Economics. While at Boston College, Caitlin has been an active member of 4Boston and is currently the Co-President of Americans for Informed Democracy. Additionally, she is an Undergraduate Research Fellow for Professor Lindsey O’Rourke, researching CIA covert operations during the Cold War. Caitlin’s article was written for Professor Krause’s “Terrorism and Political Violence” class in the summer of 2014 and was inspired by her interest in female terrorism and Muslim minorities in Europe and Asia. She will be attending law school in the fall with a focus on either international or healthcare law.
How to Cite
Toto, C. (2015). Behind the Veil: A Study of Chechen Black Widows’ Web. Elements, 11(1).