1- Earliest recorded history
2 -Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (17th/18th Century)
3- Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (19th Century)
4- Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (20th Century)
5- Deportation of Chechens and Ingushs on 23 February 1944
6- The First Russian-Chechen War (1994 – 1996)
7- Chronicle of Chechen Independence up to the end of First war
8- The Second Russian-Chechen War (1999 – ????)
9- Chronicle of Second Russian-Chechen War (1999 – ‚Ä¶.)
1- Earliest recorded history:
From the 7th century through the 16th century Chechens and Ingushes were mostly Christians and pagans but then the influence of Islam spread until Sufi Muslims became the majority. Later the conflicts intensified with their Christian neighbours such as Georgians and Cossacks, as well as with the Buddhist Kalmyks.
2- Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (17th/18th Century):
Russian influence started as early as the 16th century when Ivan the Terrible founded Tarki in 1559 where the first Cossack army was stationed. The Russian Terek Cossack Host was established in lowland Chechnya in 1577 by free Cossacks resettled from Volga River Valley to the Terek River Valley. In 1783 Russia and the eastern Georgian kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti (which had been devastated by Turkish and Persian invasions) signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, according to which Kartli-Kakheti was to receive Russian protection.
In order to secure communications with Georgia and other regions of the Transcaucasia the Russian Empire began spreading her influence into the Caucasus mountains; It soon met with fierce resistance from the mountain tribes.
When Russia aspired to become a colonial empire in the Western mould, it had no need of discovering lands to conquer overseas. They were right there on its northern, eastern and southern margins. Sights were increasingly set on the legendary Caucasus, contesting the rival claims of the Ottoman Empire and Persia. The most vehement resistance to Russian conquest was that of the Chechens, who lived in a tribal democracy and equated the loss of their freedom with the loss of their dignity.
Russia launched its earliest expeditions against the Chechens and Kumyks under Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. After the fortress at Terki was built in 1567 the first Russian colonies, such as Chervlonnaya, appeared on the left bank of the River Terek. However, Russia‚Äôs military campaigns, including those of 1604 and 1615, were repelled.
In 1707 Tsarist troops led by the Astrakhan prince Pyotr Apraxin set off once again for the Caucasus. They suffered a heavy defeat near the village of Chechen (Chechana). Thereupon the Kalmyks were given the task of hounding the Chechens. Under their Khan Ayuka they drove the Chechens from the north bank of the Terek in 1711, razing villages by fire. Cossack settlements were then installed, and subsequently it was above all the Cossacks who were used against the Chechens, receiving Chechen land in return. When Peter I marched on Persia with 160,000 men, seeking to conquer Chechnya and Dagestan en route, the resistance put up by the Chechens and the Dagestan princes of Enderi was so fierce that Peter sent a force of 6,000 soldiers and 400 Cossacks to subjugate the village. They suffered great losses. Peter then sent a penal expedition of 10,000 Kalmyks who murdered and set the landscape aflame, but even these were beaten back by the Chechens. Peter commented: ‚ÄúIf this people knew anything about the art of war, there would be no other capable of attacking it.‚ÄĚ
After the Pugachov Uprising (1773-75) and the conquest of the Crimea (1768-74) the Caucasian Line was built in the form of fortifications from Mozdok to Azov. The first stone was then laid to Vladikavkas (‚ÄúRule the Caucasus!‚ÄĚ) in 1784.
Empress Catherine II established a Caucasian Gouvernement for the Caucasus and Astrakhan in 1785. The governor was Prince Grigori Potemkin. The Chechens fought bitterly against Tsarist expeditions into their hinterland under Sheikh Mansur Ushurma. The campaigns led by Colonel De Pieri (1785) and Potemkin (1787) ended in Russian defeats. But the new commander in the Caucasus, General Tekkeli, managed to break the resistance in October 1787 with 12,000 men. Many villages were ravaged. Sheikh Mansur fled to the Turkish fortress of Sudzhuk-Kale (Novorossisk). Although Sheikh Mansur, who may have been the first person to preach Sufism as an ascetic form of Islam, succeeded in uniting peoples in a religious war or ghazavat against the infidel, it was as if David had challenged Goliath. In 1791 General Gudovich captured the Turkish fortress of Anapa. Sheikh Mansur was taken prisoner and died at the Schlusselburg Fortress in St Petersburg in 1794.
But this first joint campaign by people of the North Caucasus drive the Tsarist expansionists back to the Caucasian Line at Mozdok. Their garrisons ‚Äď Vladikavkas, Potomkinsoye and others ‚Äď were engulfed in flames. Sheikh Mansur became a legend symbolising anti-colonial resistance.
3- Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (19th Century):
‚ÄúThe slightest disobedience and your auls will be destroyed, your families sold to the mountains, the hostages hanged, the villages consigned to flames, women and children massacred!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI will not rest as long as a single Chechen remains alive!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI want the terror that my name inspires to protect our borders more effectively than the chain of fortresses, and the natives to accept my words as law, more absolute than death!‚ÄĚ A.Yermolov
When Georgia was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1801, work accelerated on constructing the Georgian military way as the main artery between Mother Russia and the new colony. Villages that obstruc-ted it were burnt down and their inhabitants were resettled. The Chechens enjoyed a brief respite in the early years of the century while Russia was engaged in its wars on Persia and Turkey and the Great Patriotic War against Napoleon.
A new wave of misfortune befell the region when infantry general Alexei Petrovich Yermolov was appointed supreme commander in the Caucasus. As new fortresses were built, the Chechens were driven out and the Caucasian Line was shifted from the left bank of the Terek to the River Sunzha. Towns appeared, among them Nazran, Slobniy okop (Angry Trench), Vnesapnaya (Sudden Attack) and in 1818 Grozny (The Terrible). Eight outlying villages were razed to the ground to make way for Grozny, including Chechana and Sunzha. Local inhabitants were used as forced building labour, a form of collective punishment for resistance.
One of the cruellest expeditions by Tsarist troops took place on 15 September 1819 in Dadi-Yurt. The village, one of the most prosperous in Chechnya, was surrounded and subjected to artillery fire. The inhabitants, many young boys and girls among them, defended their home, flinging themselves onto bayonets. All the men were killed. Of the 140 girls taken prisoner, 46 leaped from a high bridge into the raging Terek below, dragging their guards with them. The massacre of Dadi-Yurt came to symbolise the Yermolov‚Äôs merciless rule.
One Tsarist officer, General N.N. Rayevski, refused to take part in the crimes committed by Yermolov and wrote a letter to the War Minister: ‚ÄúI am the only man here to oppose the pointless acts of war in the Caucasus and therefore feel compelled to leave this area. Our methods remind me of the disastrous conquest of America by the Spaniards‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
In their struggle against the Russian occupation the Chechens joined the holy war waged by religious leaders from Dagestan: Mohammed of Yaraglar and Ghazi Mullah, the first Dagestani imam. However, it was only under Shamil, elected Imam of Dagestan and Chechnya, that the peoples of the North Caucasus were united between 1834 and 1859 on the basis of an efficiently organised religious state. The Russian forces were driven from their garrisons in Chechnya and Dagestan. In 1845, under Beisungur Benoyevski, the Chechens inflicted a crushing defeat in Voronzov‚Äôs army. But from 1847 Shamil‚Äôs strict regime provoked increasingly frequent rebellions. Although the Imamate received cannon and guns from England, France and Turkey during the Crimean War of 1853‚Äď56, its army could not withstand the new force of 240,000 men. In 1859 Shamil surrendered and was banished to Kaluga in Southern Russia. The fall of Kbaadas, the last bastion of the mountain dwellers, is regarded as the end of the war between Russia and the Caucasus. 750,000 North Caucasians took refuge in the Ottoman Empire, where their descendants still live today as ethnic minorities. Others were settled in their villages, mostly Cossacks and Armenians. Although the uprisings continued, by the end of the 19th century Chechnya was a Russian colony.
4- Chechen resistance to Russian conquest (20th Century):
The revolutionary mood festering in Russia, and in particular the 1905 Revolution, met with the harsh response of the Tsar‚Äôs police, and the effects were also felt in the Caucasus. 17 people were killed during a strike in Grozny when the police fired into the crowd. Hundreds of innocent people were banished. The abreke (lone resistance fighter) Zelimkhan took his revenge on the Russian governors, maintaining his personal campaign until 1913.
In 1920 General Denikin chose to attack Chechnya rather than Moscow and Petersburg, destroying countless villages. The Chechens fought him under Umar Khaji and Aslambek Sheripov. The Bolsheviks who appeared to offer assistance ended up occupying the country under Orjonokidze. They killed all the Chechen leaders, including Aslambek Sheripov, and founded the Soviet Mountain Republic. This was dissolved in 1924, and one by one the Soviet Republics of the North Caucasus were established: Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ossetia, Chechnya and others. The Chechens continued to rebel, and the Soviet powers reacted with cruel reprisals, especially under Beria. Until the late 1930s Stalin raged against the Chechen intelligentsia. Two reforms of the alphabet, with the introduction of Latin script in the twenties and Cyrillic script in the forties, broke the nation‚Äôs cultural backbone. The language and religion were massively suppressed. Although many Chechens earned the highest honours in the war against Germany, 550,000 Chechens were deported in Eastern Kazakhstan and Siberia on 23 February 1944, accused of collaborating with Hitler‚Äôs Nazis. 60% of the Chechen population perished during this ordeal. The ancient Chechen chronicles inscribed on parchment scrolls, the tyaptari, and thousands of Chechen books ‚Äď scientific and literary works alike ‚Äď went up in smoke on the central square of Grozny. After Khrushchev‚Äôs secret speech in 1956, the Chechens gradually returned, although for a long time they were not allowed back to their mountain villages.
During perestroika independence movements emerged, similar to those in Georgia and the Baltic Republics. In 1990 and 1991 the Chechen People‚Äôs Congress declared independence for Chechnya. The first statue of Lenin to be toppled was in Chechnya. The first KGB building to be occupied was in Chechnya. In 1991 General Dzhokhar Dudaev, the air force officer who refused to send in his men against demonstrators in Estonia, was to become the first President of a free Chechnya. All Russia‚Äôs attempts to oust him and replace him with puppet regimes were thwarted. Chechnya has been completely destroyed by two terrible wars, one from 1994 to 1996 and another which has continued since 1999. According to estimates by international human rights organisations, 200,000 civilians have died and as many again have been wounded, crippled, widowed and orphaned. Grozny with its population of 300,000 is in ruins. Museums, libraries, three theatres, valuable art collections, the university, the oil institute ‚Äď they are all gone. Refugees by their hundreds of thousands are suffering indescribably misery.
There may have been a chance between those two wars to bring peace to the country and begin reconstruction by recognising and supporting President Maskhadov, elected under the aegis of the OSCE and acknowledged at the time by Russia. Western governments did not seize that opportunity. The crimes of the second war have completely uprooted the people and deprived them of a chance to earn their livelihoods. The daily atrocities committed by the Russian army as it plunders, steals, tortures and kills Chechen civilians have provoked the emergence of unpredictable groups seeking revenge and prepared with radical Islamicist support to be deployed as human bombs, also against civilian targets. The new Chechen President Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev has continued Aslan Maskhadov‚Äôs policies and is prepared to negotiate peace. He has condemned terrorist attacks on women, children and the civil population in general, but will continue to resist Russian occupation. Russia cannot win this war, which is already escalating and will set the whole Caucasus alight.
5- Deportation of Chechens and Ingushs on 23 February 1944:
The official reason given by the Soviet Union for deporting Karachay, Ingush, Chechens and Balkars was the accusation that they had failed to support the Soviet Union sufficiently against Hitler‚Äôs troops and that they had even collaborated. The real reason was the existence of opposition groups consisting largely of deserters and conscientious objectors who destabilised the region by attacking Soviet institutions, military bases and collective farms in the region. Of altogether 1,667,000 deserters between 1941 and 1943, combined with those who refused to answer their call up, 62,751 originated from the North Caucasus. In 1944 there were about 10,000 more. In Karachay there was an illegal National Committee and an illegal military headquarters, and an illegal congress of Caucasian mountain peoples was held in Chechnya under Israilov and Terloyev. They commanded some 24,000 Chechens and maintained links with the commanders of two German parachute units operating behind the Soviet front.
The deportation of Ingush and Chechens was set for the 23 February 1944, Red Army Day. 100,000 soldiers and 19,000 officers were involved. Perfidiously they were garrisoned in all families and in every village under the pretence that they were carrying out a military exercise, and as guests they were treated to Chechen hospitality. Red Army Day was to be marked everywhere by festive rallies. All the men were obliged to take part and, as they had no suspicions of what was about to happen, they turned up unarmed in their Sunday best. They were loaded directly onto trucks and taken to the stations, while their families were chased from their homes. Anyone who resisted was shot. According to reports by the Russian secret police, the NKVD, they numbered 7,200. Many elderly and bed-ridden people were shot, too. The next morning the villages looked deserted, with cattle lowing helplessly in their byres.
People were herded into unheated cattle trucks for a journey that lasted many weeks. The train stopped every 24 hours and the dead, who are sacred to the Chechens, were thrown down the embankment. In Eastern Kazakhstan and Siberia, they had to build their own shelters and find their own food, constantly watched by the local authorities, who monitored very move. Of the 550,000 Chechens who were deported, NKVD reports suggest that 260,000 perished.
The empty farmsteads and gardens were filled with mouths to feed who could not contribute much to society, such as orphans from Moscow. Anatoly Pristavkin has described this in his novel ‚ÄúThe Inseparable Twins‚ÄĚ. The Chechno-Ingush Soviet Republic had ceased to exist. Many place names were altered by a decree of the Supreme Soviet and the land was divided up among neighbouring republics.
Like a thunderbolt, the deportation galvanised Soviet-Chechen conscious-ness. The mountain village of Khaibakh at the heart of Chechnya came to symbolise Russia‚Äôs policy of genocide. Its 700 or so inhabitants, including pregnant women, centenarians and toddlers, were driven into a large stable and burnt alive. Like an evil omen, the village kolkhoz had been named after Lavrenty Beria, the man who initiated the deportation. He received the following telegram:
‚ÄúTo the People ľs Commissar for Internal Affairs of the USSR Comrade L.P. Beria.
For your eyes only. Given the impossibility of transportation and in order to complete Operation Mountains on schedule I was obliged to liquidate the over 700 residents of the village Khaibakh.
Grozny, Dept. Internal Affairs,
The reply from Moscow read:
Following your resolute action while resettling Chechens in the Khaibakh area you have been proposed for a state distinction with promotion.
PC Internal Affairs USSR L.P. Beria.‚ÄĚ
After Khrushchev‚Äôs secret speech during the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, which identified some of Stalin‚Äôs crimes, the Chechens gradually returned home. In their suitcases they carried the bones of their dead. They re-erected the gravestones that had been used for building roads.
Except that much more time passed before they were allowed back to the mountain villages. The unspeakable suffering caused by deportation prompted Chechens to close ranks. This led to a renewal of Islam, led especially by the Sufi Qaddiri order, and to the emergence of a common Chechen national identity.
6- The First Russian-Chechen War (1994 – 1996):
‚ÄúThis war is the final solution to the Chechen problem!‚ÄĚ Boris Yeltsin
Under Gorbachev perestroika brought a thaw. In Chechnya, as in the Baltic countries and the South Caucasus, new parties and movements appeared, and in one objective they all concurred: liberation from colonial Russian rule. The most influential party at that time was the Green Movement of Chechnya, chaired by Dr Ramzan Goitemirov. In November 1990 and on 8 June 1991, at two Chechen National Congresses, more than 1,000 delegates elected in all regions decided that Chechnya should be independent. The Soviet air force general Dzhokhar Dudaev, who had refused to act against demonstrators in Estonia, was elected Speaker. On 1 September he dissolved the Supreme Soviet in Chechnya and had all strategically important nodes of power occupied by the National Guard. On 27 October 1991 Chechens elected a new parliament and a big majority elected Dudaev as their President. On 8 November 1991 Dudaev declared the sovereignty and independence of Chechnya. In 1992 Chechnya did not sign the Federation Treaty with Russia and was no longer part of Russia. In 1992 the first Chechen Constitution, drawn up with the help of Baltic lawyers, entered into force.
All Moscow‚Äôs attempts to topple Dudaev with military support from the Communist opposition (i.e. the former Communists), by imposing an economic blockade and by blocking transport routes remained unsuccessful. The ground was prepared for war with a great deal of invective the Russian media. The war began on 11 December 1994.
One of the most sophisticated armies in the world bombarded Chechen villages and the city of Grozny from the ground and air alike. Over 460,000 people fled to neighbouring republics, especially Ingushetia and Dagestan. Among the sad highlights were the massacre of Samashki, when 94 civilians were tortured and murdered, and the conquest of Bamut, when multiple-head missile launchers destroyed the entire village.
Mountain villages in the south of the country were shelled without any regard for the civilian population, and the weaponry used included arms banned under international law such as vacuum bombs, splinter bombs and defoliation agents. The air raids were stopped by two terrorist acts: the hostage-taking in Budyunnovsk in June 1995 and in Pervomaiskoye in January 1996. The ceasefire negotiations which began in 1995 were repeatedly torpedoed by Yeltsin, who broke an agreement with Dudaev and installed the former First Secretary of the Communist Party, Doku Zavgayev, as counter-President of Chechnya, imposed pseudo-elections and concluded an agreement about the status of Chechnya within the Russian Federation.
On 22 April Chechnya‚Äôs first President Dzhokhar Dudaev was killed by a cruise missile and the Chechen writer Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was appointed as his successor. While Yandarbiyev and the former Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin were in the Kremlin signing a ceasefire agreement, Yeltsin flew to Grozny, declared victory over the Chechen rebels and announced parliamentary elections.
But these pseudo-elections for a puppet government were followed in August 1996 by a major Chechen offensive, notably on Grozny, where 1,000 Russian soldiers found themselves under siege. Air raids and shelling again prompted thousands of civilians to flee Grozny. But the Chechen advance could no longer be halted. General Lebed, the Commissioner for Chechnya, prevented the all-out defeat of the Russian Army and on 31 August he signed an agreement in Khassav-Yurt (Dagestan) on the basis for relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic. Russian troops withdrew. Although there were acts of sabotage, as when six International Red Cross workers were murdered in Novy Atagi, but on 27 January 1997 presidential and parliamentary elections were held under the aegis of the OSCE. As 72 election observers and 200 journalists watched, Aslan Maskhadov was elected with 59.3% of the vote. Yeltsin phoned to congratulate him.
On 12 May 1997 Presidents Maskhadov and Yeltsin signed a peace agreement in Moscow, thereby indirectly recognising Chechnya‚Äôs sovereignty.
But the country had been almost entirely destroyed and its population uprooted. About 100,000 civilians had lost their lives in the hostilities. The war left behind at last twice as many wounded, cripples, widows and orphans. The reconstruction of Chechnya provided for under the peace agreement did not take place. Similarly, over 70 other agreements signed with Russia were not implemented. Instead, the war continued, now as a cold war waged by the Russian secret service. The post-war situation overtaxed Maskhadov. His reputation suffered and he was soon confronted with a political and religious opposition that won the support of Moscow in spite of its terrorist potential. Without assistance from Russia and the international community, President Maskhadov was condemned to failure. A second Chechen War was waiting to begin.
7- Chronicle of Chechen Independence up to the end of First war:
23 ‚Äď 25 Nov 1st Chechen National Congress in Grozny. 1,000 delegates decide on independence for Chechnya.
8 Jun Full National Congress of the Chechen People; the former Soviet air force general Dzhokhar Dudaev is elected Speaker.
August Failed coup in Moscow, Dudaev supports Gorbachev and Yeltsin.
1 Sep Full National Congress dissolves the Supreme Soviet of Chechnya by decree; all key positions of power are occupied by Dudaev‚Äôs National Guard; the statue of Lenin is thrown in the river; a Provisional Committee of the Republic is established; the Islamic Path Party (Beslan Gantimirov) sends 7,000 fighters to support Dudaev; Yeltsin appoints the toppled Supreme Soviet as a Provisional Soviet.
5 Oct National Guard storms KGB headquarters in Grozny; Moscow calls for Dudaev‚Äôs National Guard to be disarmed.
27 Oct New parliament elected with Dudaev elected President
8 Nov Dudaev declares Chechnya‚Äôs sovereignty and independence
12 Mar New Constitution enters into force
31 Mar Failed coup by alternative government formed under Ruslan Khasbulatov in Moscow; Chechnya refuses to sign the Federation Treaty.
from May Economic blockade, all Chechen accounts are frozen, access roads and air traffic are blocked
June 12th Motorised Infantry Training Division leaves Chechnya.
Dec & Jan ‚Äô93 Dudaev proposes transferring certain rights of sovereignty to Russia and joining the CIS.
April Dudaev dissolves parliament
December Failed opposition coup
from May Russia openly supports the opposition but all armed attacks on the Dudaev government fail.
11 Dec Russian tank units invade Chechnya
19 Dec Shelling of Grozny begins, many civilian casualties, approx. 280,000 people flee
31 Dec Unsecured Russian tank attack on Grozny centre; hundreds of tanks are set on fire or captured by Chechens.
18 Feb Major Russian offensive launched against Gudermes, Argun and Shali
7/8 Apr Massacre of Samashki, use of vacuum bombs, splinter bombs and defoliation agents; 94 civilians tortured and killed
14 Apr Bamut attacked and taken, 400 soldiers killed; Dudaev begins guerrilla warfare
14-17 Jun Shamil Basayev takes about 1,000 hostages in the South Russian town Budyunnovsk and barricades himself in the hospital with them. The hostage-takers demand an end to the shelling of Chechen mountain villages. Two armed attempts at liberation fail and cost 123 lives. The ensuing peace process is above all torpedoed by Yeltsin.
1 Nov Yeltsin appoints the former First Secretary of the Communist Party, Doku Zavgayev, President of Chechnya.
20 Nov & 4 Dec Attacks on Zavgayev and the headquarters of Moscow‚Äôs puppet government
8 Dec Moscow and Doku Zavgayev agree on a treaty governing Chechnya‚Äôs status within the Russian federation, violating the agreement with Dudaev.
17 Dec Pseudo-parliamentary elections in Chechnya. Doku Zavgayev explained allegedly receives 65% of the votes and is elected as a President himself.
14 ‚Äď 25 Dec Heavy fighting around Gudermes
9 Jan Failed attack on a Russian airfield in Dagestan led by Salman Raduyev; 3,000 hostages then taken in Kizlyar and barricaded in hospital. Raduyev negotiates with Dagestan to withdraw his men in return for release of hostages.
15 ‚Äď 17 Jan Disregarding the hostages Russia deploys artillery, tanks, infantry, fighter helicopters, missile launchers and scatter bombs in Pervomaiskoye against Raduyev, who escapes to the mountains with 75 hostages.
21 Apr Chechnya‚Äôs first President Dzhokhar Dudaev is killed by a cruise missile; writer Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev is designated his successor.
27/28 May Ceasefire agreement signed in the Kremlin by Yandarbiyev and Chernomyrdin. While this is happening Yeltsin flies to Grozny, designates Doku Zavgayev the only lawful President of Chechnya, declares victory over the Chechen rebels and announces parliamentary elections.
11 ‚Äď 16 Jun Pseudo-elections for the puppet regime
From 6 Aug Major Chechen offensive, especially on Grozny where 1,000 Russian soldiers are besieged. Grozny is bombarded from the air and ground. Thousands of civilians try to escape.
31 Aug An agreement on the basis for relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic is signed in Khassav-Yurt (Dagestan) by Maskhadov and Alexander Lebed in the presence of Tom Guildemann, head of the OSCE mission in Grozny.
17 Dec 6 ICRC workers are killed in Novy Atagi
27 Jan Presidential and parliamentary elections in Chechnya organised by the OSCE for $ 350,000. 72 observers and 200 journalists witness Aslan Maskhadov‚Äôs election as President with 59.3% of the vote.
12 May A peace treaty is signed in Moscow by Presidents Maskhadov and Yeltsin
8- The Second Russian-Chechen War (1999 – ????):
‚ÄúThey (the Chechens) must be destroyed like vermin!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWe will hunt them down in every corner of the globe and drown them in toilets if we must!‚ÄĚ V.Putin
There were four major reasons for the Second War waged by Russia in Chechnya. First, it was a direct response to the American air raids over Yugoslavia, when Russia was ignored as a world power. Second, it was revenge for the humiliating defeat the Russians had suffered in 1996. Third, many Russian generals liked to quote Putin‚Äôs idea that this war would mark the rebirth of the Russian Army and the Russian nation, and that it would boost a sense of Russian national identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And last but not least, it was this war that made for KGB/FSB agent Vladimir Putin President of Russia.
Whether or not the FSB helped, the Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev marched into Dagestan and provided a welcome excuse for launching military operations. There is not conclusive proof that the FSB was involved in the bomb attacks on Moscow and Volgadonsk, but there are lots of indications. There are neither indications nor evidence that Chechens were to blame.
The war began with air raids, and the whole of Chechnya came under artillery fire from a safe distance, with no regard for the civilian population.
On 10 October 1999 three ground-to-ground missiles raced towards Grozny. One hit the busy market, leaving 167 dead and countless people injured. The second hit the only maternity hospital in Grozny, with 27 deaths. The third landed in a suburb and hit several houses, all occupied. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled amid helicopter fire to the neighbouring republics of Ingushetia, Dagestan and ‚Äď via the mountains ‚Äď Georgia. Then tanks swarmed across the Chechen plains. The Chechen government elected a defence council and retreated in February 2000 to the mountains with almost all their troops. Hundreds perished as they crossed a minefield. The city of Grozny, in ruins since the first war, was now destroyed completely. Nothing remains of it. The same fate befell 15 major villages. The battle was waged above all from the air and it hit the old, the sick and the poor who lacked either the resources or the options to escape.
Unlike in he first war, the bombardment made no allowance for industrial sites. Highly toxic chemicals filtered through the groundwater into the Sunzha. Oil depots caught fire and belched rasping smoke.
Another difference to the first war was that observers and journalists were for the most part well removed from the proceedings. The propaganda machine has ensured that almost all Russians are in favour of this war against the Chechens.
After a series of battles ‚Äď for example Goichu (Komsomolskoye) in March 2000, where the entire village of 6,000 inhabitants was destroyed without trace and 1,100 Chechen soldiers killed ‚Äď the Chechen Defence Council decided to conduct a partisan war.
Today, occupied Chechnya is like a huge concentration camp. Military guards haunt crossroads and village access routes, venting their frustrations on people at will and trying to earn some extra cash. Sentry posts often bear the sign: ‚ÄúWe are sick of killing you. 50 roubles to pass.‚ÄĚ The Russian Army of 100,000 men or more is everywhere, but so amenable to bribery that it controls nothing, as recent terrorist attacks have shown.
The population live in constant fear of purges which are systematically decimating their numbers. At every purge up to 100 people are taken away, cruelly whipped and interrogated. Fifteen or twenty disappear into the notorious camps and can be ransomed if the village can collect enough money. Some are tortured over the next few days and found mutilated in unmarked graves. Many villages have experienced up to forty purges. International human rights organisations, who have no official access to Chechnya, have documented atrocities.
Skirmishes continue unabated between Russian troops and Chechen fighters, and yet Putin‚Äôs administration talks of normalisation. The West hopes that the conflict will die down so that trade with Russia can be stepped up. The partisans have demonstrated with their successful attacks on Russian military targets and command centres, even outside Chechnya, that there can be no peace without negotiations.
9- Chronicle of the Second Russian-Chechen War:
March Planning and preparations for the Second Chechen War (according to former Prime Minister Stepashin)
8 Aug Shamil Basayev and Amir al-Khattab enter Dagestan with 2,000 fighters and declare an independent Islamic state. President Maskhadov distances himself from this and condemns the invasion.
9 Aug Yeltsin dismisses Prime Minister Stepashin and replaces him wit Vladimir Putin, who orders a major Russian offensive against the Chechen warriors in Dagestan, which will spread to Chechnya.
9 ‚Äď 16 Sep Three explosions in residential blocks in Moscow and Volgadonsk in Southern Russia claim 240 dead and over 300 injured. Although there is no evidence of Chechen responsibility, a wave of persecution breaks out in Russia against Chechens and Caucasians. (Later it will be learn, FSB did these attacks)
From 21 Sep Chechnya is isolated with air raids over Grozny. By 26 Sep all oil depots and refineries have been set on fire. Columns of refugees create bottlenecks at the crossing-point to Ingushetia.
6 Oct A bus carrying refugees is shelled on the edge of Grozny. 28 die.
4 Nov The number of refugees arriving in Ingushetia reaches 200,000. 7,000 flee over the mountains to Georgia, approx. 100,000 to Dagestan, and 175,00 roam the country unprotected.
9 Nov Bamut is destroyed
1 Feb President Maskhadov, parliament and a large section of the Chechen armed forces break out of Grozny. Over 3,000 soldiers die crossing a minefield near Alkhan-Kala. Shamil Bassayev loses a foot.
March Battle of Goichu (Komsomolskoye). 400 residents ‚Äď women, the sick and elderly ‚Äď are detained in a field of snow for days and witness the total destruction of their village. Over 1,000 men are killed. The village of Goichu, which once had a population of 6,000 no longer exists.
11 Feb Maskhadov declares partisan war. Russian troops are attacked throughout the country.
From February Filtration camps like Khankala, Chernokozovo, PAP-5 (near Grozny), Internat (near Urus Martan), Ptichnik (former chicken factory in Okhroy-Martan) and GUOSCH are used for regular torture and killing.
12 Jun Heavy fighting between Chechen and Russian troops
21 Jun Three Council of Europe human rights experts begin work in Grozny.
3 Jul Suicide attacks by the Mujahedin in Argun, Gudermes and Urus-Martan cause hundreds of deaths among Russian troops and officers.
26 Jul French philosopher Andr√© Glucksmann writes in the German weekly ‚ÄúDie Zeit‚ÄĚ about his secret journey through Chechnya and warns that Russia is one of the biggest rogue states of the 21st century.
25 Oct The human rights organisation Human Rights Watch presents a new study on the use of torture in Chernokozovo.
24 Feb Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya of ‚ÄúNovaya Gazeta‚ÄĚ accuses the Russian government of serious human rights violations.
25 Feb A mass grave by the military base at Khankala (by Grozny military airport) is exhumed in the presence of members of the Russian human rights group Memorial. The bodies of 48 murdered Chechens are discovered, including three women. Almost all are civilians. Many corpses show signs of serious torture: burns, amputated ears, scalping.
14 Mar Three Chechens hijack a Russian plane with 162 passengers en route to Saudi Arabia and demand an end to the Chechen War.
10 Apr A second mass grave is found in the cellar of a Russian police station. The 17 corpses display signs of torture.
12 Apr The pro-Russian administrator Adam Deniev, an FSB officer who had preached Wahhabism in Chechnya in the early nineties, is killed by a bomb in Grozny.
5 Sep Chechen fighters under Galyev cross Georgia with the consent of the Georgian government and engage in battle in the Kodori Valley until mid-October against Abkhaz troops who have support from the Russian air force.
25 Sep Talks in Grozny between Akhmed Sakayev and Kazantsev
18 Nov Meeting between Akhmed Zakayev and Kazantsev at an airport in Moscow ends without agreement
28 Nov Russian air attack on Georgian villages in the Pankissi Valley where several thousand Chechen refugees are living
30 Dec Ingushetian President Ruslan Auschev resigns, to be succeeded in April 2002 by FSB officer Zyazikov.
27 Jan Russian military helicopter shot down. The 14 dead include two generals and three colonels. By February the Russians have lost three helicopters.
23 Oct A Chechen suicide commando including many women take some 400 hostages in a Moscow musical theatre and demand a sign that the Chechen War will be ended. About 13 hostages die when the theatre is gassed. The hostage-takers are shot. Shamil Bassayev claims responsibility for the incident. Maskhadov condemns his action.
28/29 Oct Chechen World Congress in Copenhagen. After the Congress Akhmed Zakayev, Chechen Minister and Maskhadov‚Äôs special envoy, is arrested.
30 Nov Assassination of Malika Umadzhieva. mayor of Alkhan-Yurt.
27 Dec Attack on the headquarters of the Russian administration
2 Jan Russia does not extend the OSCE mandate in Chechnya
23 Mar Forced referendum in Chechnya on a new constitution and new laws for electing the pro-Moscow President and parliament. In spite of a wide boycott Putin comments on the falsified result with ‚ÄúNow Chechnya is part of Russia again.‚ÄĚ
20 Apr Human rights activist Sura Betieva and her family are murdered
1 Aug Attack on a military hospital in Mosdok (North Ossetia)
5 Oct Pseudo-election of Akhmed Kadyrov as ‚ÄúPresident‚ÄĚ of the Russian occupation regime in Chechnya
10 Jan Murder of Aslan Davletukayev of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society
13 Feb Assassination of the Chechen poet and ex-President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Qatar; two FSB agents are convicted of the crime, sentenced in June to life-long imprisonment, then handed over to Russia.
9 May Lethal bomb attack on the Russian-imposed Chechen President Akhmed Kadyrov at a stadium
21 Jun Attack in Nazran on the Interior Ministry, FSB headquarters, police stations and barracks. At least 98 police officers and officials are killed, including the Ministers of the Interior and Health, the Public Prosecutor of Nazran and the district prosecutor.
30 Aug Pseudo-election of the pro-Russian police general Alu Alkhanov as ‚ÄúPresident‚ÄĚ of the Russian occupation regime in Chechnya
1 Sep Bloody hostage-taking in Beslan/North Ossetia. The school is then stormed with fire bombs. 330 people die, most of them children. FSB was behind the hostage crisis and murders. (Later truth learned with the report of Yuri Savalyev)
2 Feb Unilateral declaration of a one-month ceasefire by Aslan Maskhadov. Compliance demonstrates that Maskhadov has the authority to negotiate.
24/25 Feb London Memorandum signed at a meeting between Akhmed Zakayev and the Soldiers‚Äô Mothers of Russia on behalf of the European Parliament
8 Mar Assassination of the Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, allegedly in Tolstoy-Yurt. Pictures of his mutilated corpse circle the world. His family are refused the body for burial. Under the Constitution his successor is Abdulkhalim Sadullayev.
23 Aug The government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is restructured by Abdulkhalim Sadullayev.
13 Oct Attack on 15 military targets and command centres in Nalchik/Kabardino-Balkaria involving 217 fighters from Kabardino-Balkaria and other North Caucasian republics.
17 Jun Assasination of President Abdulkhalim Sadullayev. His mutilated corpse is presented on television and he is refused burial; as the Constitution provides, Abdulkhalim Sadullayev‚Äôs successor is his deputy, Dokka Umarov. Dokka Umarov is the Director of the Chechen security service and Commander of the Western Front.
10 Jul Death of Shamil Basayev in an accident.
7 Oct Russian journalist Anna Poltikovskaya killed in front of her apartment on Moscow by FSB.
26 Nov Ex-KGB spy and human rights activist Alexander Litvinenko dead in London hospital becasue he had poisoned with radioactive polonium-210¬† by FSB in 1st of November.
5 Feb Pro-Moscow Government‚Äôs President Alu Alkhanov declared he is worrying about his life and fled to Moscow (He was thinking his Prime Minister Ramzan Kadirov will kim him)
15 Feb Putin appointed to Ramzan Kadyrov as a new President of Pro-Moscow Chechen Government
31 Oct President Dokka Umarov declared himself as an Amir of Caucasus Emirates and claimed that he abolished the ChRI.
6 Nov Chechen Republic Ichkeria Parlament dismissed to Dokka Umarov according to ChRI Constitution article 69 and started to work about creating a governmet cabinet according to ChRI Constitution article 88-89.
10 Nov Chechen National Information Service was abolished by ChRI Parlament and Movladi Udugov dismissed from his chairman.
23 Nov Zhaloudi Saralyapov and Akhmed Zakayev created the Chechen government and Akhmad Zakayev was appointed as¬† the “ChRI Government”s Chairman of Ministery Cabinet.
3 Aug The Chairwoman of Belgium Chechen Refugees Association Tina Ismailova dead.
16 Apr Russia declared to over of anti-terrorism operations in Chechnya but operations going on.
15 July Natalya Estemirova, Chechen human rights defender, head Grozny branch of Russian human rights organization “Memorial” was kidnapped in front of her apartment in Grozny and killed.
24 July In Oslo, Akhmad Zakayev, the Prime Minister of ChRI, met with Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, representative of puppet Kadirov regime, for so-called negotiations with puppet regime
10 Aug Zarema Sadulayeva, the leader of ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs Save the Generation‚ÄĚ which is a local non-governmental youth organization, and her husband Umar (Alik) Lechayevich Dzhabrailov were arrested at their office in Grozny and kidnapped.
11 Aug Zarema Sadulayeva, the leader of ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs Save the Generation‚ÄĚ which is a local non-governmental youth organization, and her husband Umar (Alik) Lechayevich Dzhabrailov were found dead in Grozny
12 Aug Akhmad Zakayev and Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov met for second round of their so-called negotiations and declared to convene a “World Chechen Congress” somewhere in Europe before the end of 2009
30 Oct The U.N. Human Rights Committee published their report on Russia after their 97th Session during 12-30 October 2009 in Geneva.¬† The most severe critism of the report for Russia is on Chechnya and other North Caucasus republics
31 Oct Zarema Gaysanova, 40 years old, a ngo (Danish Refugee Council) staff member, was kidnapped from her house in Grozny by unknown armed people
20 Nov Viskhan Abdurakhmanov, a Chechen refugee in Azerbaijan, was found dead in a street of Baku.
20 Nov 43rd session UN Committee against Torture was held in Geneva during November 2-20. As a result of the session, UN Committe against Torture confirmes that deportee Chechen refugees may face a real risk of torture
24 Nov The report of Thomas Hammarberg , Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe on following his visit to the Russia, Chechnya and Ingushetia on 2 -11 September 2009, was published. As a conclusion, ‚ÄúStability in the North Caucasus region has not been achieved. Increased activity against Russia by fighters of Caucasus front, the lack of effective investigations into disappearances and killings, and murders of human rights activists are of particular concern‚ÄĚ said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg in his report.
23 Feb Chechen field commander Amir Mansur (Arbi Yovmurzayev) became a shaheed (insaAllah)
17 Mar The UK Foreign Secretary launched the 2009 Annual Report on Human Rights, in which Chechnya and Russia are listed under “Countries of Concern”
12 Apr Dubai court has sentenced Iranian Mehdi Taqi Dahuria (or Lorniya – the horse groom of Ramzan Kadyrov) (37 years old) and Tajik Makhsood Jan Asmatov (37 years old), were charged with aiding and abetting in the murder of Sulim Yamadayev who was shot dead with a Russian-made handgun on March 28th 2009 in Dubai
29 Apr The Eleven Annual Report of the U.S. Government Commission on International Religious Freedom released. The report describes puppet regime in Chechnya as criminal and recommends institute a visa ban and freeze the assets of ringleader Ramzan Kadyrov
3 May Due to the “World Press Freedom Day”, “Reporters Without Borders” (RSF) named the world‚Äôs 40 worst “predators of the press freedom” that includes Vladimir Putin and his puppet Ramzan Kadyrov
31 May The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) came together due to approve a report by Dick Marty on “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region”
16-18 Sept The “World Chechen Congress” gathered in Pultusk,¬† Poland. The Congress was under by the former Foreign Minister of ChRI, Akhmad Zakayev. The gathering has been strongly condemned by the representatives of the Chechen Diaspora in various countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia, Finland, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Poland, as well as non-governmental Chechen organizations and public figures
29 Sept Chechen mujahedeen and their leadership left Dokka Umarov, who is the self-declared ‚ÄúEmir‚ÄĚ of the virtual “Caucasus Emirate”, and published a public appeal
16 Nov A trial in Vienna, Austria in connection with the murder of Chechen refugee, Umar Israilov, in 2009¬† has started. Three Kadyrovites, Turpal Ali Yesherkayev (31-years old), Suleiman Dadayev (36-years old) and Otto Kaltenbrunner (Ramzan Edilov; 42-years old), viewed as the operation‚Äôs mastermind, are charged with complicity to murder, associating with criminals, and attempted delivery of an individual to a foreign power
25 Jan Norway expelled more than 50 Chechen asylum seekers (15-16 families) into Russian Federation
7 Feb Berlin Interior Senator, Ehrhart K√∂rting from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands ‚Äď SDP) held secret meetings in Berlin with representatives of the puppet regime from the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
8 Mar The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) published a report in response to concerns about the situation facing Chechen asylum seekers in Europe
20 Mar The Germany based international NGO and human rights organization, the Society for Threatened Peoples (Gesellschaft f√ľr bedrohte V√∂lker ‚Äď GfbV) has published a report about the current situation facing Chechen refugees in Poland
6 May Abdulla Erzanukayev, a Chechen refugee and former businessman, was shot dead in France and the police arrested a Georgian man as a suspect
29 April The annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has published. The commission demands from the U.S. authorities have to impose a ban on issuing a U.S. visa and to freeze all assets of Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the pro-Russian regime in Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
8 May A mass grave has been found in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. The mass grave containing people who were apparently victims of extrajudicial executions by Russian soldiers is located on the outskirts of the village of Chervlennaya, within the Shelkovskaya district. In total, more than 20 people were buried there
2 June After a six and a half month trial on the murder of Chechen refugee Umar Israilov, the Vienna Criminal Court (Landesgericht f√ľr Strafsachen) in Austria returned three guilty verdicts. the court imposed life imprisonment for the first defendant, Otto Kaltenbrunner; 19 years in prison for the second defendant, Suleyman Dadayev; and 16 years for the third defendant, Turpal Ali Yesherkayev. The defendants were also ordered to pay damages to the victim‚Äôs relatives
7 June During a police operation, a Chechen man (Aslan Dashlakayev) died and seven other Chechens were detained in Nice, France by agents from the French intelligence service. After the operation it was learned that all of the detainees were released due to their innocence. It was an unjustified aggression against the Chechen refugees
21-22 June Twenty two civilians were abducted by thugs from the pro-Russian regime in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
24 June The human rights organization, “the Committee Against Torture” organized a demonstration in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria‚Äôs capital, Grozny in honor of ‚Äúthe United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture‚ÄĚ. However, armed thugs from the pro-Russian regime broke the protest up
27 June “The Committee Against Torture” has published a press-release about direct threats from pro-Russian regime‚Äôs armed thugs in Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria against their right defenders after the eventful protest in Grozny on June 24
20-21 July Seven male civilians were abducted by armed thugs from the pro-Russian regime in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
21 July About 50 Chechen prisoners were beaten by armed Russian riot police in FBU KP3, a concentration camp in the Volgograd region of the Russian Federation
30 August Two suicide bombers conducted attacks in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria‚Äôs capital Grozny. The attacks resulted in the deaths of at least 9 Kadyrovites, while more than 20 Kadyrovites were injured
16 September Three Chechen asylum seekers were assasinated in Istanbul, Turkey. The victims were identified as Berg-Khazh Musaev, Rustam Altemirov and Zaurbek Amriev. It was learned that all the victims participated in the Russian-Chechen war against Russian invaders, and they left injured as refugees sometime earlier in Turkey with their families
11 October An assasination attempt against the former head of the Shari‚Äôa Courts in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Shamsuddin Batukayev in Istanbul, Turkey. A 26 year old Chechen man, Barhram Batumaev was handed over the police as a suspect
8 February The Russian prosecutor from the Stavropol region declared that Chechen activist Rubati Mitsaeva‚Äôs speech at the European Parliament on March 17, 2009 during a conference dedicated to Chechnya
7 April The annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has published. The commission demands from the U.S. authorities have to impose a ban on issuing a U.S. visa and to freeze all assets of Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the pro-Russian regime in Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, like the year before
24 April Human Rights Center ‚ÄúMemorial‚ÄĚ has reported that pro-Russian regime‚Äôs armed members burned down a house of the killed Chechen mujahed’s relatives in Komsomolskoe village of Gudermes district in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
29 April Khadizhat Gataeva, known as ‚ÄúThe Angel of Grozny‚ÄĚ, and his husband Malik Gataev have been granted asylum in Finland
01 May The U.S. Department of State has updated its travel alerts list and suggested that their citizens not visit the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria due to ongoing security concerns
01 June Human rights NGO ‚ÄúMaterinskaya Trevoga‚ÄĚ (Mother‚Äôs Anxiety) organized a picket devoted to the problem of enforced disappearance of Chechen residents together with the victim’s relatives. The human rights defenders was invited a meeting together with Ramzan Kadyrov and they were threatened publicly by the pro-Russian regime’s high ranking officers
9 July Radio Marsho has reported, it is the third time that the pro-Russian regime‚Äôs armed bandits have forced some civilians to go the mountains for their relatives who continue the armed struggle against Russian invaders and their local collaborators
16 July Famous Chechen singer and song-maker, Liza Umarova, has applied for asylum in Finland
18 July Unofficial Chechen refugee camps in the cities of Istanbul and Yalova were closed by the decision of Turkish government. Chechen families were relocated in the town of Korfez, which is within the city of Kocaeli
3 August Issa Adayev, former director of the National Museum of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, has passed away in Poland
27 September Zelimkhan Isakov, a Chechen asylum seeker, was found dead in his prison cell in Austria while he was waiting his deportation to Russia
18 October Emruddin Edelgeriyev, deputy President of the pro-Russian Chechen government and Ramzan Kadyrov‚Äôs relative, and his friend Khasan Khakimov are arrested in Antalya Airport in Turkey. Both were accused with gold smuggling, however they were released due to their diplomatic Russian passports
6 November The pro-Kremlin regime‚Äôs so-called Islamic administration in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria has confirmed their ban on the burial of Chechen mujahedeen in local cemeteries
7 November France deported the Chechen asylum seeker Aslan Dangayev to Russia