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Chechnya


The Chechen Republic (; Russian: Чече́нская Респу́блика, tr. Chechenskaya Respublika; IPA: ; , Noxçiyn Respublika), commonly referred to as Chechnya (; Russian: Чечня́; IPA: ; Chechen: Нохчийчоь, Noxçiyçö), also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria (lit land of minerals), is a federal subject (a republic) of Russia.

It is located in the North Caucasus, situated in the southernmost part of Eastern Europe, and within 100 kilometers of the Caspian Sea.[1] The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny. As of the 2010 Russian Census, the republic was reported to have a population of 1,268,989 people;[2] however, that number has been questioned by multiple demographers, who think such population growth after two deadly wars is highly implausible.[3][4]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR was split into two parts: the Republic of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic. The latter proclaimed the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which sought independence. Following the First Chechen War with Russia, Chechnya gained de facto independence as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Russian federal control was restored during the Second Chechen War. Since then there has been a systematic reconstruction and rebuilding process, though sporadic fighting continues in the mountains and southern regions of the republic.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Origin of Chechnya's population 1.1
    • Prehistory 1.2
    • Early history 1.3
    • Russo-Persian Wars and Caucasian Wars 1.4
    • Independent state 1.5
    • Soviet rule 1.6
    • Since 1990 1.7
      • First Chechen War 1.7.1
      • Inter-war period 1.7.2
      • Second Chechen War 1.7.3
  • Geography 2
    • Cities and towns with over 20,000 people 2.1
  • Administrative divisions 3
  • Demographics 4
    • Vital statistics 4.1
    • Ethnic groups 4.2
    • Religion 4.3
  • Politics 5
    • Regional government 5.1
    • Separatist government 5.2
  • Human rights 6
  • Economy 7
  • Notable people 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Sources 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

History

Origin of Chechnya's population

According to Vainakh ancestor Kavkas.[5]

According to Professor George Anchabadze of Ilia State University American linguist Dr. Johanna Nichols " has used language to connect the modern people of the Caucasus region to the ancient farmers of the Fertile Crescent" and her research suggests that "farmers of the region were proto-Nakh-Daghestanians." Nichols stated: "The Nakh–Dagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise to Western civilization." Dr. Henry Harpending, University of Utah, supports her claims.[8]

Prehistory

1855 Atlas Map of Turkey and the North Caucasus. Map of the American cartographer J.H.Colton. Top right corner, Chechnya is labeled as Gelia, with Chechen cities: Grosnaja (Grozny), Basdet and Leshistan cities: Andi, Metiro.
Pattern of migration of Nakh peoples (Ingush, Chechens) from the birthplace in the Fertile Crescent to the slopes of the Caucasus (red arrow points to the area of present day Azerbaijan from which the Nakh-Dagestanian tribes started the spread in the Caucasus)10,000 BC after they overused the land and created deserts. Bernice Wuethrich, Johanna Nichols (19 May 2000). "Peering Into the Past, With Words". Science 288 (5469): 1158

People living in prehistoric mountain cave settlements used tools, mastered fire, and used animal skin for warmth and other purposes.[9] Traces of human settlement that date back to 40,000 BC were found near Lake Kezanoi. Cave paintings, artifacts, and other archaeological evidence indicates continuous habitation for some 8,000 years.[9]

Early history

10,000–8000 BCE
Migration of Nakh peoples to the slopes of the Caucasus from the Fertile Crescent. Invention of agriculture, irrigation, and the domestication of animals.[10]
6000–4000 BCE
Neolithic era. Pottery is known to the region. Old settlements near Ali-Yurt and Magas, discovered in the modern times, revealed tools made out of stone: stone axes, polished stones, stone knives, stones with holes drilled in them, clay dishes etc. Settlements made out of clay bricks discovered in the plains. In the mountains there were discovered settlements made out of stone and surrounded by walls; some of them dated back to 8000 BC.[11]
4000–3000 BCE
Invention of the wheel (3000 BC), horseback riding, metal works (copper, gold, silver, iron), dishes, armor, daggers, knives, arrow tips. The artifacts were found near Nasare-Cort, Muzhichi, Ja-E-Bortz (also known as Surkha-khi), Abbey-Gove (also known as Nazran or Nasare)[11]
900–1200 AD
The kingdom in the center of the Caucasus splits into Alania and Noble Alania (known from Russian as Царственные Аланы). German scientist Peter Simon Pallas believed that Ingush people (Kist) were the direct descendants from Alania.[12]
1239 AD
Destruction of the Alania capital of Maghas (both names known solely from Muslim Arabs) and Alan confederacy of the Northern Caucasian highlanders, nations, and tribes by Batu Khan (a Mongol leader and a grandson of Genghis Khan) "Magas was destroyed in the beginning of 1239 by the hordes of Batu Khan. Historically Magas was located at approximately the same place on which the new capital of Ingushetia is now built" – D.V.Zayats[13]
1300–1400 AD
War between the Alans, Tamerlan, Tokhtamysh, and the Battle of the Terek River. The Alan tribes build fortresses, castles, and defense walls locking the mountains from the invaders. Part of the lowland tribes occupied by Mongols. The insurgency against Mongols begins. In 1991 the Jordanian historian Abdul-Ghani Khassan presented the photocopy from old Arabic scripts claiming that Alania was in Chechnya and Ingushetia, and the document from Alanian historian Azdin Vazzar (1395–1460) who claimed to be from Nokhcho (Chechen) tribe of Alania.[14][15]
1500 AD
First Russian involvement in the Caucasus. 1558 Temryuk of Kabarda sends his emissaries to Moscow requesting help against Vainakh tribes from Ivan the Terrible. Ivan the Terrible marries Temryuk's daughter Maria Temryukovna. Alliance formed to gain the ground in the central Caucasus for the expanding Tsardom of Russia against stubborn Vainakh defenders. Chechnya was a nation in the Northern Caucasus that fought against foreign rule continually since the 15th century. The Chechens converted over the next few centuries to Sunni Islam, as Islam was associated with resistance to Russian encroachment.[16][17]

Russo-Persian Wars and Caucasian Wars

Imam Shamil of Chechnya and Dagestan surrendering to Russian general Baryatinsky in 1859
Map of the Caucasian Isthmus
by J. Grassl, 1856

As Russia set off for the first time to increase its political influence in the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea at the expense of Safavid Persia, Peter I launched the Russo-Persian War (1722–1723), in which Russia succeeded in taking much of the Caucasian territories from Iran for several years. Notable in Chechen history, this particular Russo-Persian War marked the first military encounter between Imperial Russia and the Vainakh.[18]

As the Russians took control of the Caspian corridor and moved into Persian-ruled Dagestan, Peter's forces ran into mountain tribes. Peter sent a cavalry force to subdue them, but the Chechens routed them.[18] In 1732, after Russia already ceded back most of the Caucasus to Persia, now led by Nader Shah, following the Treaty of Resht, Russian troops clashed again with Chechens in a village called Chechen-aul along the Argun River.[18] The Russians were defeated again and withdrew, but this battle is responsible for the apocryphal story about how the Nokchi came to be known as "Chechens"-the people ostensibly named for the place the battle had taken place. The name Chechen was however already used since as early as 1692.[18]

Under intermittent Persian rule since 1555, in 1783 the eastern Georgians of Iran.[19] In order to increase its influence in the Caucasus and to secure communications with Kartli and other minority Christian regions of the Transcaucasia which it considered useful in its wars against Persia and Turkey, the Russian Empire began conquering the Northern Caucasus mountains. The Russian Empire used Christianity to justify its conquests, allowing Islam to spread widely because it positioned itself as the religion of liberation from tsardom, which viewed Nakh tribes as "bandits".[20] The rebellion was led by Mansur Ushurma, a Chechen Naqshbandi (Sufi) sheikh—with wavering military support from other North Caucasian tribes. Mansur hoped to establish a Transcaucasus Islamic state under shari'a law. He was unable to fully achieve this because in the course of the war he was betrayed by the Ottomans, handed over to Russians, and executed in 1794.[21]

Following the forced ceding of the current territories of Dagestan, most of Russo-Persian War (1804–1813) and its outcoming Treaty of Gulistan, Russia significantly widened its foothold in the Caucasus at the expense of Persia.[22] Another successful Caucasus war against Persia several years later, starting in 1826 and ending in 1828 with the Treaty of Turkmenchay, and a successful war against Ottoman Turkey in 1828, enabled Russia to use a much larger portion of its army in subduing the natives of the North Caucasus.

The resistance of the Nakh tribes never ended and was a fertile ground for a new Muslim-Avar commander, Imam Shamil, who fought against the Russians from 1834 to 1859 (see Murid War). In 1859, Shamil was captured by Russians at aul Gunib. Shamil left Boysangur Benoiski,[23] a Chechen with one arm, one eye, and one leg, in charge of command at Gunib. Benoiski broke through the siege and continued to fight Russia for another two years until he was captured and killed by Russians. The Russian tsar hoped that by sparing the life of Shamil, the resistance in the North Caucasus would stop, but it did not. Russia began to use a colonization tactic by destroying Nakh settlements and building Cossack defense lines in the lowlands. The Cossacks suffered defeat after defeat, and were constantly attacked by mountaineers, who were robbing them of food and weaponry.

The tsarists' regime used a different approach at the end of the 1860s. They offered Chechens and Ingush to leave the Caucasus for the Ottoman Empire (see Muhajir (Caucasus)). It is estimated that about 80% of Chechens and Ingush left the Caucasus during the deportation. It weakened the resistance which went from open warfare to insurgent warfare. One of the notable Chechen resistance fighters at the end of the 19th century was a Chechen abrek Zelimkhan Gushmazukaev and his comrade-in-arms Ingush abrek Sulom-Beck Sagopshinski. Together they built up small units which constantly harassed Russian military convoys, government mints, and government post-service, mainly in Ingushetia and Chechnya. Ingush aul Kek was completely burned when the Ingush refused to hand over Zelimkhan. Zelimkhan was killed in the beginning of the 20th century. The war between Nakh tribes and Russia resurfaced during the times of the Russian Revolution, which saw the Nakh struggle against Anton Denikin, and later against the Soviet Union.

Independent state

On December 21, 1917, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Dagestan declared independence from Russia and formed a single state: "United Mountain Dwellers of the North Caucasus" (also known as Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus) which was recognized by major world powers. The capital of the new state was moved to Temir-Khan-Shura (Dagestan).[24][25][26] Tapa Chermoyev, a prominent Chechen statesman, was elected the first prime minister of the state. The second prime minister elected was Vassan-Girey Dzhabagiev, an Ingush statesman, who also was the author of the constitution of the republic in 1917, and in 1920 he was re-elected for the third term. In 1921 the Russians attacked and occupied the country and forcefully absorbed it into the Soviet state. The Caucasian war for independence restarted, and the government went into exile.[27]

Soviet rule

The Mountain ASSR and the districts established after the Russian Civil War (Chechnya is located on the far right)

During the Soviet rule, Chechnya and Ingushetia were combined together to form Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1930s Chechnya was flooded with many Ukrainians fleeing the genocide known as Holodomor. Despite the threats from the Russian government not to provide food and shelter to starving Ukrainians the rebellious peoples did not follow Russian orders. As the result many of the Ukrainians settled in Chechen-Ingush ASSR on the permanent basis and were able to survive the famine.[28]

Despite the fact that over 50,000 Chechens and over 12,000 Ingush were fighting against Nazi Germany on the front line (including heroes of the USSR: Abukhadzhi Idrisov, Khanpasha Nuradilov, Movlid Visaitov), and despite the fact that Nazi German troops were stopped at two Chechen-Ingush ASSR cities Malgobek and Ordzhonikidze (renamed to Vladikavkaz) to a complete stop after capturing half of the Caucasus in less than a month; Chechens and Ingush were falsely accused as Nazi supporters and entire nations were deported during Operation Lentil to the Kazakh SSR (later Kazakhstan) in 1944 near the end of World War II where over 60% of Chechen and Ingush populations perished.[29][30] American historian Norman Naimark writes: The deportation was supposedly justified by the materials prepared by notorious NKVD officer Bogdan Kobulov accusing Chechens and Ingush in a mass conspiracy preparing rebellion and providing assistance to the German forces. Many of the materials were later proved to be fabricated.[32] Even distinguished Red Army officers who fought bravely against Germans (e.g. the commander of 255th Separate Chechen-Ingush regiment Movlid Visaitov, the first to contact American forces at Elbe river) were deported.[33] There is a theory that the real reason why Chechens and Ingush were deported is the desire of Russia to attack Turkey, a non-communist country, as Chechens and Ingush could impede such plans.[20] In 2004, European Parliament recognized deportation of Chechens and Ingush as an act of genocide.[34]

The territory of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was divided between Georgian SSR.

The Chechens and Ingush were allowed to return to their land after 1956 during de-Stalinization under Nikita Khrushchev[29] when Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was restored but both boundaries and ethnic composition of the territory significantly changed. There were many (predominantly Russian) migrants from other parts of the Soviet Union, who often settled in the abandoned family homes of Chechens and Ingushes. The republic lost its Prigorodny District which transferred to North Ossetian ASSR, but gained predominantly Russian Naursky District and Shelkovskoy District that is considered the homeland for Terek Cossacks.

The Russification policies towards Chechens continued after 1956, with Russian language proficiency required in many aspects of life, and for advancement in the Soviet system.[20]

Since 1990

On November 26, 1990, the Supreme Council of Chechen-Ingush ASSR adopted the "Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Chechen-Ingush Republic". This declaration was part of the reorganization of the Soviet Union. This new treaty would have been signed August 22, 1991, which would have transformed 15 republic states into more than 80. The August 19–21,

  • Official site of the Republic of Chechnya (Russian)
  • Chechnya at DMOZ
  • AlertNet Chechnya and the North Caucasus at the Wayback Machine (archived September 11, 2012)
  • (video)
  • Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to U.S. Homeland?: Joint Hearing before the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats and the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, April 26, 2013

External links

  • Anderson, Scott. The Man Who Tried to Save the World. ISBN 0-385-48666-9
  • Babchenko, Arkady "One Soldier's War In Chechnya" Portobello, London ISBN 978-1-84627-039-0
  • Baiev, Khassan. The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire. ISBN 0-8027-1404-8
  • Bennigsen-Broxup, Marie. The North Caucasus Barrier: The Russian Advance Towards the Muslim World. ISBN 1-85065-069-1
  • Bird, Chris. "To Catch a Tartar: Notes from the Caucasus" ISBN 0-7195-6506-5
  • Bornstein, Yvonne and Ribowsky, Mark. "Eleven Days of Hell: My True Story Of Kidnapping, Terror, Torture And Historic FBI & KGB Rescue" AuthorHouse, 2004. ISBN 1-4184-9302-3.
  • Conrad, Roy. Roy Conrad. Grozny. A few days...
  • Dunlop, John B. Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict ISBN 0-521-63619-1
  • Evangelista, Mathew. The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?. ISBN 0-8157-2499-3.
  • Gall, Charlotta & de Waal, Thomas. Chechnya: A Small Victorious War. ISBN 0-330-35075-7
  • Gall, Carlotta, and de Waal,Thomas Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus ISBN 0-8147-3132-5
  • Goltz, Thomas. Chechnya Diary : A War Correspondent's Story of Surviving the War in Chechnya. M E Sharpe (2003). ISBN 0-312-268-74-2
  • Hasanov, Zaur. The Man of the Mountains. ISBN 099304445X (facts based novel on growing influence of the radical Islam during 1st and 2nd Chechnya wars)
  • Khan, Ali. The Chechen Terror: The Play within the Play
  • Khlebnikov, Paul. Razgovor s varvarom (Interview with a barbarian). ISBN 5-89935-057-1.
  • Lieven, Anatol. Chechnya : Tombstone of Russian Power ISBN 0-300-07881-1
  • Mironov, Vyacheslav. Ya byl na etoy voyne. (I was in this war) Biblion – Russkaya Kniga, 2001. Partial translation available online [1].
  • Mironov, Vyacheslav. Vyacheslav Mironov. Assault on Grozny Downtown
  • Mironov, Vyacheslav. .I was in that warVyacheslav Mironov.
  • Murphy, Paul J. The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror. ISBN 1-57488-830-7
  • Oliker, Olga Russia's Chechen Wars 1994–2000: Lessons from Urban Combat. ISBN 0-8330-2998-3. (A strategic and tactical analysis of the Chechen Wars.)
  • Pelton, Robert Young. Hunter Hammer and Heaven, Journeys to Three World's Gone Mad (ISBN 1-58574-416-6)
  • Politkovskaya, Anna. A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya ISBN 0-226-67432-0
  • Seirstad, Asne. The Angel of Grozny. ISBN 978-1-84408-395-4
  • Wood, Tony. Chechnya: The Case For Independence Book review in The Independent, 2007

Further reading

  • Президент Чеченской Республики. Указ №164 от 15 июля 2004 г. «О государственном гимне Чеченской Республики». Вступил в силу после одобрения Государственным Советом Чеченской Республики и официального опубликования. Опубликован: БД "Консультант-Плюс". (President of the Chechen Republic. Decree #164 of July 15, 2004 On the State Anthem of the Chechen Republic. Effective as of after the ratification by the State Council of the Chechen Republic and subsequent official publication.).
  • Президент Российской Федерации. Закон №4071-1 от 10 декабря 1992 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 71 Конституции (Основного Закона) Российской Федерации – России». Вступил в силу 10 января 1993 г.. Опубликован: "Ведомости СНД и ВС РФ", №52, ст. 3051, 31 декабря 1992 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Law #4071-1 of December 10, 1992 On Amending Article 71 of the Constitution (Basic Law) of the Russian Federation–Russia. Effective as of January 10, 1993.).

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  32. ^ Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev Time of darkness, Moscow, 2003, ISBN 5-85646-097-9, pages 205–206 (Russian: Яковлев А. Сумерки. Москва: Материк 2003 г.)
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  35. ^ James Hughes. "The Peace Process in Chechnya", contained in Richard Sakwa's Chechnya: From Past to Future. Page 271.
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  37. ^ Chechnya, reference article by Freedom House publications.
  38. ^ Leon Aron. Chechnya, New Dimensions of the Old Crisis. AEI, 1 February 2003
  39. ^ a b Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko. "Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB." Free Press, New York, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4165-5165-2.
  40. ^ Tishkov, Valery. Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, p. 114.
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  42. ^ Moscow again plans wider war in Dagestan CNN Retrieved on April 23, 2013
  43. ^ Context of 'September 13, 1999: Second Moscow Apartment Bombing Kills 118; Chechen Rebels Blamed' Retrieved on April 23, 2013
  44. ^ Second Chechnya War – 1999–2006 Retrieved on April 23, 2013
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  49. ^ August 31, 2006: Beslan – Two Years On at the Wayback Machine (archived April 4, 2009) Retrieved on April 24, 2013
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  76. ^ Are Chechens in Afghanistan? – By Nabi Abdullaev, Dec 14, 2001 Moscow Times
  77. ^ a b Kullberg, Anssi. "The Background of Chechen Independence Movement III: The Secular Movement". The Eurasian politician. 1 October 2003
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  79. ^ Kuzio, Taras. "The Chechen crisis and the 'near abroad'". Central Asian Survey, Volume 14, Issue 4 1995, pages 553–572
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  81. ^ Human Rights Watch:Chechnya: Research Shows Widespread and Systematic Use of Torture
  82. ^ Chechnya Holds Parliamentary Vote, Morning Edition, NPR, November 28, 2005.
  83. ^ Government efforts help only some IDPs rebuild their lives, IDMC, August 13, 2007 Archived August 21, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  84. ^ Amnesty International:Amnesty International working against laws punishing sexual relations between men, September 1, 1997.
  85. ^
  86. ^ Amnesty International:Russian Federation Rule Without Law: Human Rights violations in the North Caucasus, July 1, 2009.
  87. ^ Human Rights Watch:“You Dress According to Their Rules” Enforcement of an Islamic Dress Code for Women in Chechnya, March 10, 2011
  88. ^ Interview with Ramzan Kadyrov, Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 24, 2008, http://www.kp.ru/daily/24169/380743/ (accessed December 7, 2010)
  89. ^ Chechen President Kadyrov Defends Honor Killings St. Petersburg Times March 3, 2009
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  91. ^

References

See also

Notable people

According to estimates, the number of Chechnya's unemployed will fall to 170,000 people by January 1, 2013, while the number in 2008 was 298,500.[91]

The economic situation in Chechnya has improved considerably since 2000. According to the New York Times, major efforts to rebuild Grozny have been made, and improvements in the political situation have led some officials to consider setting up a tourism industry, though there are claims that construction workers are being irregularly paid and that poor people have been displaced.[90]

During the war, the Chechen economy fell apart. Gross domestic product, if reliably calculable, would be only a fraction of the prewar level. In 1994, the separatists planned to introduce a new currency, but that did not happen due to Russian troops re-taking Chechnya in the Second Chechen War. As an effect of the war, approximately 80% of the economic potential of Chechnya was destroyed.

Economy

On March 10, 2011, Human Rights Watch reported that since Chechenization, the government has pushed for enforced Islamic dress code and other traditions which violently repress women.[87] The president Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as saying "I have the right to criticize my wife. She doesn’t. With us [in Chechen society], a wife is a housewife. A woman should know her place. A woman should give her love to us [men]... She would be [man’s] property. And the man is the owner. Here, if a woman does not behave properly, her husband, father, and brother are responsible. According to our tradition, if a woman fools around, her family members kill her... That’s how it happens, a brother kills his sister or a husband kills his wife... As a president, I cannot allow for them to kill. So, let women not wear shorts...".[88] He has also openly defended honor killings on several occasions.[89]

On July 1, 2009, Amnesty International released a detailed report covering the human rights violations committed by the Russian Federation against Chechen citizens. Among the most prominent features was that those abused had no method of redress against assaults, ranging from kidnapping to torture, while those responsible were never held accountable. This led to the conclusion that Chechnya was being ruled without law, being run into further devastating destabilization.[86]

On February 1, 2009, the New York Times released extensive evidence to support allegations of consistent torture and executions under the Kadyrov government. The accusations were sparked by the assassination in Austria of a former Chechen rebel who had gained access to Kadyrov's inner circle, 27-year-old Umar Israilov.[85]

On September 1, 1997, Criminal Code reportedly being implemented in the Chechen Republic-Ichkeriya, Article 148 punishes "anal sexual intercourse between a man and a woman or a man and a man". For first- and second-time offenders, the punishment is caning. A third conviction leads to the death penalty, which can be carried out in a number of ways including stoning or beheading.[84]

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that after hundreds of thousands of ethnic Russians and Chechens fled their homes following inter-ethnic and separatist conflicts in Chechnya in 1994 and 1999, more than 150,000 people still remain displaced in Russia today.[83]

Human rights groups criticized the conduct of the 2005 parliamentary elections as unfairly influenced by the central Russian government and military.[82]

In 2006 Human Rights Watch reported that pro-Moscow Chechen forces under the command, in effect, of chapter of republic Ramzan Kadyrov, as well as federal police personnel, used torture to get information about separatist forces. "If you are detained in Chechnya, you face a real and immediate risk of torture. And there is little chance that your torturer will be held accountable", said Holly Cartner, Director Europe and Central Asia division of HRW.[81]

Human rights

The successor of Saidullayev became Doku Umarov. On October 31, 2007 Umarov abolished the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and its presidency and in its place proclaimed the Caucasian Emirate with himself as its Emir.[80] This change of status has been rejected by many Chechen politicians and military leaders who continue to support the existence of the republic.

The president of this government was Aslan Maskhadov, the Foreign Minister was Ilyas Akhmadov, who was the spokesman for Maskhadov. Aslan Maskhadov had been elected in an internationally monitored election in 1997 for 4 years, which took place after signing a peace agreement with Russia. In 2001 he issued a decree prolonging his office for one additional year; he was unable to participate in the 2003 presidential election, since separatist parties were barred by the Russian government, and Maskhadov faced accusations of terrorist offences in Russia. Maskhadov left Grozny and moved to the separatist-controlled areas of the south at the onset of the Second Chechen War. Maskhadov was unable to influence a number of warlords who retain effective control over Chechen territory, and his power was diminished as a result. Russian forces killed Maskhadov on March 8, 2005, and the assassination of Maskhadov was widely criticized since it left no legitimate Chechen separatist leader with whom to conduct peace talks. Akhmed Zakayev, Deputy Prime Minister and a Foreign Minister under Maskhadov, was appointed shortly after the 1997 election and is currently living under asylum in England. He and others chose Abdul Khalim Saidullayev, a relatively unknown Islamic judge who was previously the host of an Islamic program on Chechen television, to replace Maskhadov following his death. On June 17, 2006, it was reported that Russian special forces killed Abdul Khalim Saidullayev in a raid in a Chechen town Argun.

[79][78][77] Ichkeria also received vocal support from the Baltic countries, a group of Ukrainian nationalists and Poland; Estonia once voted to recognize, but the act never was followed through due to pressure applied by both Russia and the EU.[77] However, despite Taliban recognition, there were no friendly relations between the Taliban and Ichkeria—Maskhadov rejected their recognition, stating that the Taliban were illegitimate.[76] government on January 16, 2000. This recognition ceased with the fall of the Taliban in 2001.Taliban under the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Diplomatic relations with Ichkeria were also established by the partially recognized [75] Ichkeria is/was a member of the

In addition to the Russian regional government, there was a separatist Ichkeria government that was not recognized by any state (although members have been given political asylum in European and Arab countries, as well as the United States).

Russian President Putin and Akhmad Kadyrov, former separatist and head of the Chechen Republic
Shamil Basayev, Chechen militant Islamist and a leader of the Chechen rebel movement

Separatist government

In 2009, the American organization Freedom House included Chechnya in the "Worst of the Worst" list of most repressive societies in the world, together with Burma, North Korea, Tibet, and others.[74]

The former separatist religious leader (mufti) Human Rights Watch.

Chechnya and Caucasus map

Regional government

Since 1990, the Chechen Republic has had many legal, military, and civil conflicts involving separatist movements and pro-Russian authorities. Today, Chechnya is a relatively stable federal republic, although there is still some separatist movement activity. Its regional constitution entered into effect on April 2, 2003 after an all-Chechen referendum was held on March 23, 2003. Some Chechens were controlled by regional teips, or clans, despite the existence of pro- and anti-Russian political structures.

Politics

On 19 January 2015 a march took place in Grozny against the publication of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.[72] Chechen Ministry of Interior reported that more than a million people participated, while according to the sources of Caucasian Knot the number was between 350 and 500 thousand.[73]

The once-strong Russian minority in Chechnya, mostly Terek Cossacks and estimated as numbering approximately 25,000 in 2012, are predominately Russian Orthodox, although presently only one church exists in Grozny. In August 2011, Archbishop Zosima of Vladikavkaz and Makhachkala performed the first mass baptism ceremony in the history of Chechen republic in the Terek River of Naursky District in which 35 citizens of Naursky and Shelkovsky districts were converted to Orthodoxy.[71]

Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to the Shafi'i Madhhab of Sunni Islam,[67] the republic having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries. Due to historical importance, many Chechens are Sufis, of either the Qadiri or Naqshbandi orders. Most of the population follows either the Shafi'i or the Hanafi,[68] schools of jurisprudence, fiqh. The Shafi'i school of jurisprudence has a long tradition among the Chechens,[69] and thus it remains the most practiced.[70]

Religion

Ethnic
group
1926 Census 1939 Census 1959 Census 1970 Census 1979 Census 1989 Census 2002 Census 2010 Census1
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Chechens 293,298 67.3% 360,889 58.0% 238,331 39.7% 499,962 54.7% 602,223 60.1% 715,306 66.0% 1,031,647 93.5% 1,206,551 95.3%
Russians 103,271 23.5% 213,354 34.3% 296,794 49.4% 327,701 35.8% 307,079 30.6% 269,130 24.8% 40,645 3.7% 24,382 1.9%
Kumyks 2,217 0.5% 3,575 0,6% 6,865 0.8% 7,808 0.8% 9,591 0.9% 8,883 0.8% 12,221 1.0%
Avars 830 0.2% 2,906 0.5% 4,196 0.5% 4,793 0.5% 6,035 0.6% 4,133 0.4% 4,864 0.4%
Nogays 162 0.0% 1,302 0.2% 5,503 0.6% 6,079 0.6% 6,885 0.6% 3,572 0.3% 3,444 0.3%
Ingushes 798 0.2% 4,338 0.7% 3,639 0.6% 14,543 1.6% 20,855 2.1% 25,136 2.3% 2,914 0.3% 1,296 0.1%
Ukrainians 11,474 2.6% 8,614 1.4% 11,947 2.0% 11,608 1.3% 11,334 1.1% 11,884 1.1% 829 0.1% 13,716 1.1%
Armenians 5,978 1.4% 8,396 1.3% 12,136 2.0% 13,948 1.5% 14,438 1.4% 14,666 1.4% 424 0.0%
Others 18,840 4.13% 18,646 3.0% 37,550 6.3% 30,057 3.3% 27,621 2.8% 25,800 2.4% 10,639 1.0%
1 2,515 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.[66]

(in the territory of modern Chechnya)[65]

Ethnic groups

Note: TFR 2009-12 source.[64]

Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rate
2003 1,117 27,774 7,194 20 580 24.9 6.4 18.4
2004 1,133 28,496 6,347 22,149 25.2 5.6 19.5
2005 1,150 28,652 5,857 22,795 24.9 5.1 19.8
2006 1,167 27,989 5,889 22,100 24.0 5.0 18.9
2007 1,187 32,449 5,630 26,819 27.3 4.7 22.6
2008 1,210 35,897 5,447 30,450 29.7 4.5 25.2
2009 1,235 36,523 6,620 29,903 29.6 5.4 24.2 3.43
2010 1,260 37,753 7,042 30,711 30.0 5.6 24.4 3.45
2011 1,289 37,335 6,810 30,525 28.9 5.3 23.6 3.36
2012 1,314 34,385 7,192 27,193 26.2 5.5 20.7 3.08
2013 1,336 32,963 6,581 26,382 24.7 4.9 19.8 2.93
2014 1,358 32,894 6,815 26,079 24.2 5.0 19.2 2.89(e)
Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service

Vital statistics

Ethnolinguistic groups in the Caucasus region

Chechnya has one of the youngest populations in the generally aging Russian Federation; in the early 1990s, it was among the few regions experiencing natural population growth. Since 2002, Chechnya has experienced a classic post-conflict baby-boom.[3] Chechen demographers in 2008 termed highly implausible the reported overall population growth as infant mortality in Chechnya was said to be 60 percent higher than the Russian average in 2007 and to have risen by 3.9 percent compared with 2006.[3] Many experts have expressed doubts about the increase from 1.1 million in the 1990 to an estimated nearly 1.3 million in 2010 following two devastating wars that displaced hundreds of thousands people and virtually eliminated the large ethnic Russian minority in the republic.[4] According to Russian demographer Dmitry Bogoyavlensky, the 2002 census results were clearly manipulated in the North Caucasus: an estimated 800,000 to 1 million non-existent people were added to the actual population of the region.[4] Another Russian demographer, Anatoly Vishnevsky, pointed out that according to the 2002 census, some age groups, like those born in 1950, appeared to be larger in 2002 than in 1989.[4] With the 2002 census, Moscow wanted to show there were not too many casualties and that the refugees had returned to Chechnya, while the local authorities wanted to receive more funds and thus needed a higher population to justify their demands.[4] Also, in the multiethnic republics of North Caucasus normally unlike in other parts of Russia, government positions are distributed among the ethnicities according to their ratio in the general population.[4] So ethnicities are zealously guarding their numbers in order not to be outnumbered by others and thereby left with less representation in the government and the local economy.[4] Some 40 percent of newborns had some kind of genetic defect.[3]

The languages used in the Republic are Chechen and Russian. Chechen belongs to the Vaynakh or North-central Caucasian language family, which also includes Ingush and Batsb. Some scholars place it in a wider Iberian-Caucasian super-family.

The Chechen authorities are regularly accused of crimes against the population, especially the Russian-speaking people. However, before the current war the emigration of the Russian-speaking population from Chechnya was no more intense than that from Kalmykia, Tuva and Sakha-Yakutia. In Grozny itself there remained a 200,000 strong Russian-speaking population which did not hasten to leave it.[62][63]

However, regarding this exodus, there is an alternative view. According to the Russian economists Boris Lvin and Andrei Iliaronov,

According to some Russian sources, from 1991 to 1994 tens of thousands of people of non-Chechen ethnicity (mostly Russians, Ukrainians and Armenians) left the republic amidst reports of violence and discrimination against the non-Chechen population, as well as widespread lawlessness and ethnic cleansing under the government of Dzhokhar Dudayev.[60][61]

At the end of the Soviet era, ethnic Russians (including Cossacks) comprised about 23% of the population (269,000 in 1989).

According to the 2010 Census, the population of the republic is 1,268,989,[2] up from 1,103,686 recorded in the 2002 Census.[57] As of the 2010 Census,[2] Chechens at 1,206,551 make up 95.3% of the republic's population. Other groups include Russians (24,382, or 1.9%), Kumyks (12,221, or 1%), Ingush (1,296 or 0.1%) and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. The Armenian community, which used to number around 15,000 in Grozny alone, has dwindled to a few families.[58] The Armenian church of Grozny was demolished in 1930. Birth rate was 25.41 in 2004. (25.7 in Achkhoi Martan, 19.8 in Groznyy, 17.5 in Kurchaloi, 28.3 in Urus Martan and 11.1 in Vedeno). According to the Chechen State Statistical Committee, Chechnya's population had grown to 1.205 million in January 2006.[59]

Chechen World War II veterans during celebrations on the 66th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War

Demographics

Administrative divisions

Map of Chechen Republic (Chechnya)

Cities and towns with over 20,000 people

Rivers:

Situated in the eastern part of the Georgia. Its capital is Grozny.

The mountains in the area Sharoi

Geography

Insurgency in the North Caucasus continued even after this date. The Caucasus Emirate has fully adopted the tenets of being a Salafist-takfiri jihadist group through its strict adherence to upholding tawhid, its obedience to the literal interpretation of the Quran and the Sunnah, and its complete rejection of bid‘ah, taqlid, and ijtihad.[56]

In April 2009, Russia ended its counter-terrorism operation and pulled out the bulk of its army.[54] Three months later, the leader of the separatist government, Akhmed Zakayev, called for a halt to armed resistance against the Chechen police force starting on August 1, 2009.[55]

In response to the increasing terrorism, Russia tightened its grip on Chechnya and expanded its anti-terrorist operations throughout the region. Russia installed a pro-Russian Chechen regime. In 2003, a referendum was held on a constitution that reintegrated Chechnya within Russia, but provided limited autonomy. According to the Chechen government, the referendum passed with 95.5% of the votes and almost 80% turnout.[52] The Economist was skeptical of the results, arguing that "few outside the Kremlin regard the referendum as fair".[53] After the 2004 school siege, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced sweeping security and political reforms, sealing borders in the Caucasus region and revealing plans to give the central government more power. He also vowed to take tougher action against domestic terrorism, including preemptive strikes against Chechen separatists.[29] In 2005 and 2006, prominent separatist leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev were killed.

Postage stamp issued in 2009 by the Russian Post dedicated to Chechnya

In September 2004, separatist rebels occupied a school in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, demanding recognition of the independence of Chechnya and a Russian withdrawal. 1,100 people (including 777 children) were taken hostage. The attack lasted three days, resulting in the deaths of over 331 people, including 186 children.[29][49][50][51]

Chechen rebels continued to fight Russian troops and conduct terrorist attacks.[45] In October 2002, 40–50 Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theater and took about 900 civilians hostage.[29] The crisis ended with a large death toll mostly due to an unknown aerosol pumped throughout the building by Russian special forces to incapacitate the people inside.[46][47][48]

The Grozny in February 2000, the Ichkerian regime fell apart.[44]

Second Chechen War

In lieu of the devastated economic structure, kidnapping emerged as the principal source of income countrywide, procuring over US$200 million during the three-year independence of the chaotic fledgling state,[40] although victims were rarely killed.[41] In 1998, 176 people were kidnapped, 90 of whom were released, according to official accounts. President Maskhadov started a major campaign against hostage-takers, and on October 25, 1998, Shadid Bargishev, Chechnya's top anti-kidnapping official, was killed in a remote-controlled car bombing. Bargishev's colleagues then insisted they would not be intimidated by the attack and would go ahead with their offensive. Political violence and religious extremism, blamed on "Wahhabism", was rife. In 1998, Grozny authorities declared a state of emergency. Tensions led to open clashes between the Chechen National Guard and Islamist militants, such as the July 1998 confrontation in Gudermes.

After the war, parliamentary and presidential elections took place in January 1997 in Chechnya and brought to power new President Aslan Maskhadov, chief of staff and prime minister in the Chechen coalition government, for a five-year term. Maskhadov sought to maintain Chechen sovereignty while pressing the Russian government to help rebuild the republic, whose formal economy and infrastructure were virtually destroyed.[37] Russia continued to send money for the rehabilitation of the republic; it also provided pensions and funds for schools and hospitals. Most of these funds were taken by Chechen authorities and divided between favoured warlords.[38] Nearly half a million people (40% of Chechnya's prewar population) had been internally displaced and lived in refugee camps or overcrowded villages.[39] There was an economic downturn. Two Russian brigades were permanently stationed in Chechnya.[39]

Inter-war period

The widespread demoralization of the Russian forces in the area and a successful offensive to re-take Grozny by Chechen resistance forces led by Aslan Maskhadov prompted Russian President Boris Yeltsin to declare a ceasefire in 1996, and sign a peace treaty a year later that saw a withdrawal of Russian forces.

In April 1996 the first democratically elected president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was killed by two laser guided missiles fired from a warplane which had an equipment of voice recognition and triangulation on Dudayev's position.

The First Chechen War took place over a two-year period that lasted from 1994 to 1996, when Russian forces attempted to regain control over Chechnya, which had declared independence in November 1991. Despite overwhelming numerical superiority in men, weaponry, and air support, the Russian forces were unable to establish effective permanent control over the mountainous area due to numerous successful full-scale battles and insurgency raids. In three months, Russia lost more tanks (over 1,997 tanks) in Grozny than during the Battle of Berlin in 1945.[36] The Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis in 1995 shocked the Russian public and led to international condemnation of the Chechen rebels.

First Chechen War

In the ensuing decade, the territory was locked in an ongoing struggle between various factions, usually fighting unconventionally and forgoing the position held by the several successive Russian governments through the current administration.

With the impending dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, an independence movement, the Chechen National Congress, was formed, led by ex-Soviet Air Force general and new Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev. It campaigned for the recognition of Chechnya as a separate nation. This movement was opposed by Boris Yeltsin's Russian Federation, which argued that Chechnya had not been an independent entity within the Soviet Union—as the Baltic, Central Asian, and other Caucasian States had—but was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and hence did not have a right under the Soviet constitution to secede. It also argued that other republics of Russia, such as Tatarstan, would consider seceding from the Russian Federation if Chechnya were granted that right. Finally, it argued that Chechnya was a major hub in the oil infrastructure of the federation and hence its secession would hurt the country's economy and energy access.

[35]

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