Appeal of the Georgian Professor
Merab Chukhua, a well-known Georgian professor from Tbilisi State University, appealed to the global community to recognize the 1944 Chechen-Ingush deportation as well as the ongoing Russian occupation in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as genocide.
Here is his appeal:
On February 23, 1944, the Soviet (Russian) Empire committed cruel and heinous crimes against humanity. On this terrible day, Chechen and Ingush people were deported from their homes in the Caucasus. This day was “Soviet Army Day”, thus Russian soldiers staged a visual feast everywhere including in the mountains, but in reality, they occupied the villages and towns of the local population; the men were arrested and the women ordered to prepare themselves within a few hours for the resettlement. Within 2 to 3 hours the Vainakh population was arrested. They crowed the Chechen and Ingush people into freight cars like cattle and moved over 650,000 people to Kazakhstan and other distant republics of Central Asia.
Due to the terrain and winter conditions, more than 6,000 Chechens were shot on the spot in the mountain villages, and drowned in Lake Galanch’ozh. In the village of Khaibakh, more than 700 people were locked in the stables and burned alive. In the mountain villages of Ingushetia: Tsori, Galashki, Dzhairakh, and Ezmi, besieged people were burned alive in their homes.
In the first years of resettlement, more than 200,000 people were killed and during the deportation 50% of the Vainakh population was destroyed. Soviet Russia had almost the same dream as the Tsarist Empire, the conquest of the Caucasus by force and the physical destruction of the people. The deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people in 1944 was a real genocide, even acknowledged by the European Parliament on February 26, 2004.
Today in Russia, Putin and Medvedev continue the policy of genocide against the Caucasian peoples. The crimes which are committed in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Ingushetia are confirmation of this. Since 1994, Russian invaders have completely destroyed the infrastructure of Chechnya. The towns and villages were pulled down; 300,000 people, including 42,000 children were killed and more than 70,000 adolescents were left disabled while thousands of children were orphaned. About 20,000 people are missing and more than 5,000 innocent people, including 500 women, suffer in Russian prisons.
Another notable fact is the ethnic cleansing in Ingushetia in 1992 when more than 80,000 Ingush were expelled from their native land (Ordzhonikidze city, Prigorodny district). These refugees still live in the worst circumstances and are unable to return to their homeland.
It is our duty not to forget, February 23 – the Day of Genocide of the Chechen and Ingush people and we must demand that international organizations and the governments of democratic countries recognize this act as genocide, the murder of the peoples of the Caucasus.
In the 21st century, Russia committed genocide against the Chechen and Ingush people and it is not the only pain of Caucasians. Everything about the genocide should be known. It is unacceptable that entire populations are being destroyed in front of our eyes in the third millennium. Modern society should not accept such a reality.
Russia’s political leadership must respond to humanity for its crimes under all international laws.
May God bless the souls of the Vainakh people who were tragically lost!
Professor of Tbilisi State University
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco