Clearly most of the nations of the world have a right to self-determination. The article makes clear that the Chechen people never assented to being conquered by the Russians, never really surrendered, and kept fighting periodically every chance they got after conquest in 1864.
Recent polls show that a slim majority of Chechens support full independence. The rest presumably support the largely autonomous government of the Chechen Republic. However, this government is widely considered to be a Russian puppet regime.
Commenter AJ says that the vast majority of Chechens support Russia. This is probably not true. Most of them are probably filled with rage and hatred towards Russia for the genocide the Russians have committed against the Chechen people. However, about half the population probably feels that independence is hopeless and instead opts for the extreme autonomy that has been granted the puppet state.
The war is not exactly winding down in the region. There are military incidents every single day in Chechnya and nearly every day in Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria. The Caucasus region is frankly on fire and the war is probably going to go on definitely.
Frighteningly, there are also now attacks in the Perm region and in Kalmykia deep inside Russia proper. Recently terrorists have carried out attacks against Cossack communities in Russia proper to the north of the Caucasus.
There are a number of theories about why Russia will not let the Chechens go, which would seem to be the only rational thing to do. The article gives the best theory, that independence cannot be allowed because of the precedent it would set in that other regions might want to break away too.
True, much of the Caucasus may indeed break off if self-determination was allowed to Russian republics.
But there are few, if any, other regions in Russia which would break away, so the argument appears to be moot, and Putin increasingly just looks like some kind of a fascist.
There is a fascist-like youth group called “Nashi” that encourages Russians to breed large families for the Fatherland. Pro-natalism is characteristic of all fascist regimes and in general is anathema to all progressive regimes. As a radical environmentalist and zero population growth advocate, I am quite happy that Russia’s population is declining. They serve as a great shining example for all of us.
Fanatical nationalism and extreme racism seem to be overwhelming Russian society lately. Although not particularly racist, commenter AJ is a good example of this fanatical Russian nationalism. If you want to know what these folks are like, read his comments.