In 1994 a war broke out between Russia and Chechnya, and the purpose of this thesis is to investigate the following: Was the democratization process a cause of the war? The analysis applies a theory developed by Jack Snyder and colleagues. This theory claims that the democratization process can contribute to the outbreak of war, given certain circumstances. The problem, according to the theory, is that a weak institutional framework not only prevents the institutions from functioning properly, but that they also allow for different elites to take advantage of the weak institutions. If elites feel sufficiently threatened by the democratization process, they will be prone to resort to nationalist rhetoric. This can mobilize the population in a violent direction, and a conflict can be the outcome. The analysis is thus focused on three main aspects of the democratization processes in Russia and Chechnya. First; the institutional development, second; the elite competition and third; the nationalist mobilization. This is a case study in which mainly secondary sources are used to trace the impacts of, and relationships between, historical events in the processes leading up to the war. The findings suggest that the democratization process in fact had a significant influence on the decision to go to war on both sides. Weak institutions and elite competition led to a dangerous environment in both Russia and Chechnya, and in both places the use of nationalist rhetoric played a role in the immediate period before the war. A finding, which somehow challenges Snyder’s theory, is that the difference to which the national identities were developed in Russia and Chechnya prior to the onset of democratization also mattered for the likelihood of the use of nationalist rhetoric by the elites. Thus, not every assumption made in the theory fits with this case. It is nevertheless necessary to include the democratization process when analyzing what led to the outbreak of the Russo-Chechen war.