First, Chechens aren't even Chechen (they are Nohchi, or sons of Noah); they speak a unique language- Nohchi Mott; they are Muslim; they are more entrepreneurial than Donald Trump and tougher than a hung over hockey team. More importantly they have kept their national identity intact. Chechen loyalties are to one of the more than 100 teips, or clans, that constitute Chechen society, not to the fat-bottomed thieves in the Kremlin. Think of teips as similar to the city states of Athens. Warring in peacetime, peaceful in war. Left to their own devices and sitting on the nexus of the east and west, the Chechens thought and acted just like the lone wolf that has become their national symbol.
The Russians considered the Chechens the toughest, baddest people in the former Soviet Union.