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Russia Confronts ChechnyaRoots of a Separatist Conflict

In this book John Dunlop provides an understanding of the back-ground to the Russian invasion of Chechnya in December 1994,tracing events from 4,000 BC to the time of the invasion. The historicencounter between Chechens and Russians, first during pre-Petrineand then with imperial Russia, is carefully examined. The genocideand oppression endured by the Chechens under the communists arediscussed in detail. The convulsive "Chechen Revolution" of 1991,which brought General Dzhokhar Dudaev to power, is described, asare developments within Chechnya during 1992-94. The authortraces the negotiation process between the Russian Federation andsecessionist Chechnya, elucidating the reasons for the breakdown ofthe quest for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

JOHN B. DUNLOP is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and amember of the Steering Committee of the Center for Russian and EastEuropean Studies at Stanford University. He is the author, editor, orco-editor of eight books, including The Rise of Russia and the Fall of theSoviet Union (1993).

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Russia Confronts Chechnya

Roots of a Separatist Conflict

John B. Dunlop


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PUBLISHED BY THE PRESS SYNDICATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGEThe Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RP, United Kingdom

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESSThe Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, United Kingdom West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011-4211, USA http://www.cup.org10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourne 3166, Australia

© John B. Dunlop 1998

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisionsof relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part maytake place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 1998

Typeset in Plantin [CE]

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication dataDunlop, John B.Russia confronts Chechnya : roots of a separatist conflict /John B. Dunlop.

p. cm.Includes index.ISBN 0 521 63184 X - ISBN 521636191 (pbk.)1. Chechnia (Russia) - History.2. Chechnia (Russia) - History - Civil War, 1994-1996 - Causes.I. Title.DK511.C37B86 1998947.5'2-dc21 97-51840 CIP

ISBN 0 521 63184 X hardbackISBN 0 521 63619 1 paperback

Transferred to digital printing 2002

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To Maria, John, Olga, Catherine, Bea,Jan-Nicholas, and Peter

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Preface page ix

Map 1 The Caucasus region xii

Map 2 Chechnya and Ingushetiya xiv

1 The Chechens' encounter with Russia 12 Soviet genocide 403 The eruption of the "Chechen Revolution" 854 Dudaev in power, 1992-1994 124

5 Russia confronts secessionist Chechnya, 1992-1994 164Conclusion 210

Index 224


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There is no more important question in Russia than that of Chechnya.It is an open bleeding wound. Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed'1

The Russian military invasion of Chechnya, which was launched on 11December 1994, triggered a harsh, 21-month-long war which consti-tuted, at the least, a serious setback for nascent Russian democracy.How did this bloody war come about, and could it have been avoided?And how did Russia come to find itself facing such a motivated andimplacable opponent? Finding answers to these questions will be amajor aim of this book.

Russia Confronts Chechnya - the first of two projected volumes on thewar - traces events from 4,000 BC, when the ancestors of present-dayChechens began to emerge in the North Caucasus region, to the end ofNovember 1994, when the Russian Federation, in the person of itspresident and his top advisers, set an irrevocable course toward war.Our focus in this study will, rather narrowly, be upon Russian-Chechenrelations; the larger geopolitical context of the encounter of these twopeoples will be touched upon only briefly.

My intention in this study, which is an essay in contemporary history,has been to cast as wide a net as possible in order to bring together theavailable source material concerning the decisions and the events whichled up to the war. I would have liked to have had greater access to pro-secessionist Chechen sources, but they were not available; interviewswith General Dudaev and other Chechen nationalist leaders appearingin the Russian press have been utilized, as have two detailed volumes ofmemoirs by Dudaev's acting vice president, Zelimkhan (Zelimkha)Yandarbiev. The present book necessarily represents a pioneering effort;I hope that, by taking a first cut through the available source material, Iwill attract other specialists into looking more closely at the multifacetedcauses of a bloody and unnecessary war.1 Press conference given by Aleksandr Lebed' in August 1996, in Discussion List about

Chechnya, [emailprotected], 13 August 1996.

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x PrefaceThe book's opening chapter treats the fate of the Chechens over the

course of their historic encounter first with pre-Petrine and then withimperial Russia, focusing especially upon the hundred years of contactextending from 1817 through 1917. Chapter 2 examines the oppressionand genocide endured by the Chechens during the communist periodup until the year 1989, in the middle of the Gorbachev years. Over thecourse of the lengthy Soviet era, the Chechens, as we shall see, lost aquarter of their population and suffered the shock of deportation as apeople to remote regions of Central Asia.

Chapter 3 looks at the convulsive "Chechen Revolution" of 1991,which brought the obdurate and intrepid General Dzhokhar Dudaev topower in Chechnya. Chapter 4, entitled "Dudaev in power," scrutinizeslargely internal events taking place in separatist Chechnya during theyears 1992-94. Dudaev's failed attempt to create a new "MountainRepublic" uniting the Muslim peoples of the North Caucasus is alsoanalyzed. The emergence of a significant political opposition withinChechnya, increasingly aided and abetted by the Russian Federation, istreated as well.

The closing fifth chapter takes a close look at the negotiation processbetween the Russian Federation and secessionist Chechnya during theyears 1992-94. I attempt to discern the key reasons for the breakdownin the quest for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The roles ofminister for nationalities and regional policy, Sergei Shakhrai, and ofPresident Boris Yeltsin with respect to the collapse of the negotiationsare examined both in this chapter and in the ensuing conclusion section.The conclusion attempts to identify salient lessons to be learned bothfrom the breakdown of the negotiation process and from the outbreak ofwar in December 1994.

From chapter 3 onwards, I cite and reflect upon the opinions of threeleading Moscow-based specialists on ethnic affairs: Valerii Tishkov,director of the Institute of Ethnology of the Russian Academy ofSciences, and, briefly, in 1992, chairman of the Russian State Commit-tee on Nationality Affairs (Goskomnats); Sergei Arutyunov (Arutiunov),professor of anthropology and director of the Caucasus Department atthe same Institute of Ethnology; and Emil' Pain (Payin), a member ofthe Russian Presidential Council, who, in September 1996, was ap-pointed Yeltsin's adviser on Chechnya. (A number of Pain's publicationswere coauthored with another specialist, Arkadii Popov.)

The views of these three scholars - arguably the best-informed special-ists in Russia working on the thorny and intractable issue of Russian-Chechen relations - are often cited in this book; in instances where theydisagree among themselves, I seek to determine which of them has the

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Preface xi

more persuasive arguments. Their criticisms of the views and actions ofNationalities Minister Shakhrai are also a subject of analysis. (It shouldbe noted that while Professor Arutyunov is a "pure scholar," Tishkovand Pain - and especially the latter - represent what might be called"scholar-politicians.")

I am indebted to two Bay Area colleagues who cheerfully undertookto read the manuscript in draft form. Norman Naimark, chairman of theStanford University History Department, took time away from hisimmensely busy schedule to read through a draft of chapters 1 and 2,and then offered trenchant and helpful comments. Edward ("Ned")Walker, director of the Berkeley Program in Soviet/Post-Soviet Studiesat the University of California at Berkeley, generously read through adraft of chapters 3 through 5, as well as the conclusion, and made anumber of pertinent suggestions.

I am also grateful to Fiona Hill, associate director of the Strength-ening Democratic Institutions Project at Harvard University's John F.Kennedy School of Government, and to a second reader who wished toremain anonymous, both of whom evaluated the manuscript for Cam-bridge University Press. It should be underlined that none of the fourspecialists mentioned should be held responsible for any failings re-maining in the text.

Warm thanks are also due to Lee Schwartz, chief of the Global IssuesDivision, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, Bureau ofIntelligence and Research, US Department of State, for granting meand the Press permission to use two excellent maps produced by theOffice of the Geographer and Global Issues: "The Caucasus Region,"2762 6-94 STATE (INR/GGI); and "Chechnya and Ingushetia," 32015-95 STATE (INR/GGI).

A debt of thanks is also owed to a number of colleagues at the HooverInstitution. First, I would like most warmly to single out and to thankJohn Raisian, director of the institution, for his unflagging support andfor his continued encouragement of this project. I would also like toacknowledge the unremitting assistance which I have received from mysecretary and de facto research assistant, Joyce Cerwin, whose fluentknowledge of Russian and administrative skills were important factorsenabling me to finish this study on schedule. I should like, further, toexpress my gratitude to the talented staff of the Hoover InstitutionLibrary for frequent assistance; special thanks, in this regard, are due toJoseph Dwyer, Molly Molloy, and Edward Jajko.

This book is dedicated to my children and to their spouses. A numberof them have had the temerity to embark upon teaching and academiccareers. May they all flourish, "rightly dividing the word of truth."

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Map 1 The Caucasus region (from 2762 6-94 STATE [INR/GGI]Bureau of Intelligence and Research,

produced by the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues,US Department of State)

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Map 2 Chechnya and Ingushetiya (3201 5-95 STATE [INR/GGI]produced by the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues,Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State)

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The Chechens5 encounter with Russia

[Everywhere there are mountains, everywhere forests, and theChechens are fierce and tireless fighters.

John F. Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus (1908)1

The sun had risen and its spreading rays were lighting up the dewygrass. Near by the Terek murmured in the awakening forest . . . TheCossacks, still and silent, stood round the dead [Chechen] . . . Thebrown body . . . was well-proportioned and comely. "He, too, were aman," [the Cossack who had killed him] muttered, evidently admiringthe corpse. Lev Tolstoi, The Cossacks (1863)2

The Caucasus, a chain of high mountains which extends across anisthmus separating the Caspian and Black Seas, have traditionally beenrecognized as a key natural frontier dividing Europe from Asia. Therange stretches a total of 650 miles, of which 400 miles constitute thetruly mountainous part; the chain's width averages about 100 miles,except in the middle, the site of the Daryal Pass and the GeorgianMilitary Highway, where it narrows significantly, and at the taperingextremities. The two natural routes for traversing the mountains arethrough the Daryal Pass and along the Caspian coast in the present-dayautonomous republic of Dagestan.3

The word "Chechen," which entered Russian from a Turkish tongue,is taken from the name of a lowland Chechen village where the Russiansfirst encountered them. The Chechens, it should be noted, do not referto themselves by this name; rather they call themselves "Nokhchii"(singular "Nokhchuo"). The Chechens have lived in or near theirpresent territory for at least 6,000 years. Their language belongs to theso-called Nakh branch of the Caucasian group of languages (the two

1 John F. Baddeley, TTie Russian Conquest of the Caucasus (London: Longmans, Green &Co., 1908), p. 268.

2 Leo Tolstoy, The Cossacks; The Death of Ivan Ilych; Happy Ever After (Harmondsworth,UK: Penguin, 1960), pp. 203-04.

3 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. xxii-xxiii.


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2 Russia confronts Chechnya

other Nakh languages are Ingush and Batsbi, a moribund languagefound in Georgia). The Nakh branch split off from the Caucasian familyof languages some 5,000-6,000 years ago, thus rendering it comparablein age to Indo-European, the language family ancestral to English,Russian, and many other modern languages. The Caucasian family oflanguages is entirely indigenous to the Caucasus mountains.4

The area which tsarist Russia named Chechnya - and which present-day Chechens refer to as "Checheniya" - constituted a quadranglelocated between the Terek and Sunzha Rivers in the west and north; theAndi mountain range in the east, separating it from adjacent Dagestan;and the main Caucasus range to the south.5 Most of Chechnya laywithin the forest zone of the Caucasus. Writing in 1908, before theenvironmental devastation of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, Britishauthor John Baddeley observed that Chechnya "was, and for the mostpart still is, covered with dense forests interspersed by numberlessstreams, deep-set and rapid, having their sources in the mountains thatrise range upon range, higher and ever higher, to the south."6 What theRussians called Chechnya was largely populated by ethnic Chechens,but the western and southwestern part of the region was inhabited bythe Ingush, the name a Russian ethnonym based on the place-nameAngusht; the Ingush, who refer to themselves as "Ghalghaaj," speak arelated but distinct Nakh language. The Chechens and Ingush togetherare said to speak "Vainakh" (or "Veinakh") languages - the word means"our people" - and the term "Vainakh" is frequently used to refer to thetwo peoples taken together.

4 See Johanna Nichols, "Chechen," and "Ingush," in Rieks Smeets, ed., The IndigenousLanguages of the Caucasus (Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1994), vol. IV, pp. 1-77,79-145; and Johanna Nichols, "Who Are the Chechen?," Discussion List aboutChechnya, [emailprotected], 15 January 1995, and the same author's"Ingush and Chechen," Discussion List about Chechnya, 7 November 1996. See alsoPaul B. Henze, Islam in the North Caucasus: The Example of Chechnya, P-7935 (SantaMonica, CA: RAND, 1995), pp. 1-7. On the unrecorded and early recorded history ofthe forebears of the Chechens, see Zaindi Shakhbiev, Sudba checheno-ingushskogo naroda(Moscow: Rossiya molodaya, 1996), pp. 7-63.

5 Moshe Gammer, Muslim Resistance to the Tsar: Shamil and the Conquest of Chechnia andDaghestan (London, UK: Frank Cass, 1994), p. 12. For an example of the use of theword "Checheniya," see the book by former Chechen acting president Zelimkhan(Zelimkha) Yandarbiev, Checheniya - bitva za svobodu (L'vov, Ukraine: Svoboda narodiv[sic] and Antibol'shevitskii blok narodov, 1996).

6 In Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. xxxv. On the geography of Chechnya, see Yu. A.Aidaev, ed., Chechentsy: istoriya i sovremennosi (Moscow: Mir domu tvoemu, 1996),pp. 71-110.

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 3

Chechnya before the RussiansFrom the seventh to the seventeenth centuries, there took place a slowpenetration of Sunni Islam into the Caucasus region. During the eighthcentury, the Arabs began actively to convert the peoples of the Caucasusto Islam. When their advance was checked by the Turks, they turnedinto the mountains, where they spread their religion among the ances-tors of the Chechens and of the Avars, who were centered in mountainDagestan. Many pagan beliefs, however, persisted among the forebearsof the Chechens, so the religion of their region before the nineteenthcentury is best described as mixed Islamic-animist.7 Orthodox Chris-tianity, it should be noted, had also begun to spread into the mountains,particularly in the area adjacent to the Daryal Pass; it was disseminatedfrom the territories that today compose the Republic of Georgia.8 Theconversion of the Golden Horde between the thirteenth and fourteenthcenturies sparked a second penetration of Islam into the North Cau-casus and halted the inroads being made into the area by OrthodoxChristianity.

In ancient times, the highland regions of the Caucasus had beenpopulous and self-sufficient. From the period of the late Middle Agesuntil the nineteenth century, however, a worldwide cooling phaseknown as the Little Ice Age ensued, which resulted in glacial advancesand in shortened growing seasons in the alpine areas of the Caucasus.This development had major repercussions for the Chechens, since itserved to weaken highland economies and virtually to force theirmigration down from the mountains into the lowlands; for manyChechens this economically forced descent from the mountains oc-curred just as the Cossacks were beginning to migrate into the region inlarge numbers. There was thus a likelihood attaching to the historicencounter of Chechens and Russians, which ensued in the second halfof the sixteenth century.9

The Russians move southThe ancestors of present-day Russians and Ukrainians had been makingperiodic appearances in the Caucasus region for a millennium. The7 Ronald Wixman, Language Aspects of Ethnic Patterns and Processes in the North Caucasus

(Chicago: University of Chicago Department of Geography Research Series, no. 191,1980), pp. 70-71.

8 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 263.9 Nichols, "Who Are the Chechen?," and V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V.

Marchenko, Chechenskii krizis (Moscow: Tsentr kompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii imarketinga, 1995), p. 6.

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4 Russia confronts Chechnya

"Rus'" or Varangians passed through the Caspian region en route toinvading Persia in the tenth century. Prince Mikhail of Tver' wasassassinated in the year 1319 near Derbent on the Caspian Sea in whatis today Dagestan.10 The first stage of concerted Russian penetrationinto the North Caucasus extends for over a century and a half, from the1550s to the early 1720s. In 1556, when Tsar Ivan the Terriblesucceeded in conquering the khanates of Kazan' and Astrakhan' andthus in entering into the Caspian orbit, the North Caucasus region -which had previously been a geopolitical backwater - became the objectof a competition involving Muscovy, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, theCrimean Khanate, and other lesser powers. The strategic importance ofthe region for trade and military routes became clear.

Ivan the Terrible's thrust southward coincided with a largely un-planned and elemental movement south by two discrete groups ofCossacks. These two groups had settled in the Terek delta and in thefoothills of Chechnya and subsequently became known as the Terekand Greben Cossacks. When the Chechens began to come down fromthe mountains in large numbers beginning in the sixteenth century,they found Greben Cossacks already residing in the Caucasus foot-hills.11 In the sixteenth century, the Cossacks represented free andlawless communities, who conducted plundering raids on their Muslimneighbors and, on occasion, on the states of Poland and Muscovy aswell. Many of them were by origin runaway serfs. While living afreebooting existence, the Cossacks clung tenaciously to the OrthodoxChristian religion. Ethnically, the Cossacks were of mixed race, many ofthem having taken native women as wives, some of them in raids. Anumber of the Cossack wives were ethnic Chechens, while others wereKumyks.12

The first Russian fort in the North Caucasus region was erected atTarki on the Sunzha River in 1559.13 Ivan the Terrible had agreed topardon the Greben Cossacks for various misdeeds in exchange for theiragreeing to build a fort on the Sunzha. Due to fierce and repeatedattacks by tribesmen, the fort had to be relocated four times.14

In the year 1559, emissaries from the Adygei, a people of the westernNorth Caucasus region, appeared in Moscow with a request that

10 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 1-2. ll Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 1.12 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 11. For a discussion of the Kumyks and the other

peoples of the North Caucasus region, see Ronald Wixman, The Peoples of the USSR:An Ethnographic Handbook (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1988).

13 Alexandre Bennigsen, "Un mouvement populaire au Caucase a XVTIIe siecle," Cahiersdu monde russe et sovietique, April-June (1964), 168.

14 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 7-8 .

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 5Orthodox priests be sent to them to baptize the populace.15 Russia,however, at the time lacked the will and the organizational strength toundertake a major missionary effort in the region. The triumph withinthe Russian Church of the ritualistic "Josephite" tendency, which leddirectly to the Old Believer schism of the following century, was a keyreason for this weakness. It would be another two hundred years, duringthe time of Empress Catherine the Great, before Russia would under-take such a proselytizing effort, but by then Islam would have begun tobe firmly rooted throughout most of the North Caucasus region.

As Muscovy slowly penetrated the North Caucasus, the rulers ofKakheti (a part of present-day Georgia) began increasingly to look totheir powerful Orthodox Christian neighbors to the north for assistanceagainst Muslim powers. The first contacts with Russia were made byKing Levan I in 1558, but it was during the reign of Levan's son,Alexandre II, that Moscow sent a number of embassies to Kakheti.Alexandre wanted Russia to assist him in his conflicts with Iran andagainst the powerful Shamkhal of Targhu in Dagestan. After anexchange of ambassadors in 1586-87, Tsar Fedor of Muscovy, in 1589,told envoys from Kakheti that he was prepared to take their king underhis protection, and he pledged to fight the Shamkhal.16

In 1594, Fedor sent a force of 7,000 men to Alexandre's aid. Theforce captured the Shamkhal's capital but was then annihilated on thebanks of the Sulak River in present-day Dagestan. In 1590, the Russianshad built a fortress on the lower Sunzha River and were thus poised forbreakthrough into the North Caucasus. By the following year, they hadreached the banks of the Sulak in Dagestan. In the year 1604, TsarBoris Godunov sent out a force from Kazan' and Astrakhan' to avengethe 1594 massacre suffered under Tsar Fedor, but his force was drivenback by Dagestanis, aided by Ottoman Turks.17

In 1615, the Georgian kings of Kakheti and Imereti sent a letter to thenewly enthroned Tsar Mikhail Romanov asking him for aid andinforming him of their opposition to the Persian shah. No assistance wasforthcoming. In 1624, the request was repeated, but "Russia, recovering

15 See Kavkazskaya voina: uroki istorii i sovremennosti (Krasnodar: Kubanskii gosudar-stvennyi universitet, 1995), p. 256. This volume contains papers presented at ascholarly conference held on 16-18 May 1994.

16 Ronald Grigor Suny, The Making of the Georgian Nation, 2nd edn., (Bloomington, IN:Indiana University Press, 1994), p. 49.

17 See Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 1; Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 8-9; MarieBennigsen Broxup, "Introduction," in Marie Bennigsen Broxup, ed., The NorthCaucasus Barrier (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), p. 2.

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6 Russia confronts Chechnya

from its Time of Troubles, was not prepared to intervene in theCaucasian maelstrom."18

In hindsight, we can see that Muscovy of the late sixteenth and earlyseventeenth century had overreached. Expansionist elan, combined witha desire to help Orthodox co-religionists in proto-Georgia, had broughtthe Russians to the Mountain (as they were wont to refer to theCaucasus range). But Russia was revealed as militarily too weak tochallenge the Ottoman Turks, Persia, and the numerous Muslim princesof the region. For more than a century - from 1604 until 1722 - Russiawas forced to abandon its thrust into the Caucasus region. During theseventeenth century, Muscovy entered a period of great turmoil, whichwitnessed the Time of Troubles, the Old Believer Schism, and therebellion of Sten'ka Razin, among other travails.

Peter the Great"The conquest of the Caucasus, as distinct from the Cossack approach,"John Baddeley has observed, "begins with Peter the Great's [1722]campaign."19 Having succeeded in strengthening the institutions andmilitary prowess of the Russian state, and having recently defeatedSweden, Peter felt ready to head an expedition against much-weakenedPersia down the Caspian coast, during which he captured the strategi-cally located city of Derbent, as well as Baku, the capital of today'sRepublic of Azerbaijan. On his way back from Derbent, Peter foundedthe Holy Cross fort on the Sulak River. It should be noted that in thecourse of preparing for this campaign Peter had in essence integratedthe "hosts" (voiska) of the Terek and Greben Cossacks into the Russianstate. In 1721, the Terek Cossacks were withdrawn from the authority ofthe Foreign Office and put under the command of the War College.20

Henceforth the Cossacks would be seen by the Russian state as itsservants, required to provide military, courier, construction, and otherservices.21 Peter's 1722 campaign proved to be a major but temporarysuccess. In the Treaty of St. Petersburg (September 1723), Persia cededkey Caspian territories to Peter, and for the next ten years the Dagestanplain was placed under the direct administration of Russia.22

18 Suny, Making, p . 5 1 . 19 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p . 23 .20 T h o m a s M . Barrett , "Lives of Uncertainty: T h e Frontiers of the N o r t h Caucasus,"

Slavic Review, Fall (1995) , 5 9 1 .21 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 2; Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 10.22 Bennigsen, " U n mouvement populaire," 172.

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 7

First major clash with the ChechensIt was during the course of Peter's 1722 thrust into the Caucasus thatthe Russians had their first serious encounter with the Chechens.Earlier, in 1707, Chechens had joined with other tribes and withCossack Old Believers in destroying the Russian fort at Tarki.23 In 1722,Russian cavalry were sent by Peter to occupy the village of Enderi,located on the Aktash River in eastern Chechnya, and that force suffereda serious reversal at the hands of the local Chechens. "This was the firsttime that Russian regular troops had come in contact with that tribe intheir native forests, and the result was ominous."24 Ominous indeed.

Peter died in 1725, and his expansionist project was put on hold fornearly half a century. Empress Anna soon abandoned Peter's conquestsof Persian territory, and Russia withdrew to its old line on the TerekRiver. Under Empress Elizabeth, Russia's sole concern in the easternregions of the North Caucasus became to defend its line of forts nearthe Terek. In 1735, a new fort was founded at Kizlyar on the Terek, inpresent-day Dagestan, which until the year 1763 remained the Russiancapital of the Caucasus.25 (In January 1996, 160 years later, Kizlyarwould become the site of a bloody battle between Russians andChechens.)

Russia's military presence in the North Caucasus region was signifi-cantly weakened by the growth of the Old Believer schism among theCossacks. By 1768, fully half of the Greben Cossacks adhered to theSchism.26 Before the coming to power of Empress Catherine the Great,it appeared possible that Russia might settle on the Terek River as its"natural" southern boundary in the North Caucasus region.

Catherine the Great

It was under Catherine the Great (ruled 1762-96), like Peter I aprotean state-builder, that a major conflict between Russia and theMuslim peoples of the North Caucasus became increasingly likely. In1762, in an aggressive and portentous move, she constructed a fort atMozdok on the Terek, in what is today North Ossetiya. Mozdok hasaptly been called "the cornerstone of the Russian conquest" of theCaucasus.27 This fort brought Russia close to the Daryal Pass, thenatural passageway through the mountains to Georgia. The construc-tion of this fort sparked a fourteen-year struggle with the Kabardintsy23 Ibid., 171, n. 1. 24 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 25.25 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 2. 26 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 14.27 Ibid., p. 33.

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8 Russia confronts Chechnya

(1765-79), as well as a war with the Ottoman Empire (1768-74).During this latter conflict, in 1769, a Russian force of 400 men was sentthrough the Daryal Pass to Tbilisi.28 Mozdok also came to serve as acenter of Russian Orthodox missionary efforts in the region; in 1746,through a ruling of the Holy Synod, and with the participation of theRussian government, a decision was taken to reestablish Orthodoxy inthe North Caucasus, especially among the Ossetians, who played acentral role in controlling transit through the Daryal Pass.29

Catherine's political and military successes encouraged the embattledkings of Georgia to renew their pleas for protection and assistance. In1769, Solomon I of Imereti and Erekle II of Kartli-Kakheti requestedthat Russia send five regiments to the region. In 1773, Erekle's son,Levan, together with the Georgian catholicos, traveled to St. Petersburgto petition Catherine to take Kartli-Kakheti under her protection.Instead, however, the empress, not wishing to overextend her forces,withdrew her troops from Transcaucasia.30

In 1783, the town of Azaq fell to the Russians, and the Crimeankhanate was eliminated. The Crimea was then directly absorbed byRussia, whose boundaries were thus automatically pushed to the front-iers of the Mountain. This development significantly increased thelikelihood of an eventual confrontation between Orthodox Russia andthe Muslim peoples of the North Caucasus.

As in the second half of the sixteenth century, it was Georgia whichcontinued to beckon its powerful northern neighbor to come south. In1783 - the same year that the Crimea was absorbed by Russia - KingErekle of Kartli-Kakheti appealed for help to Russia. Catherine theGreat responded positively to this appeal, and by the Treaty of Georgi-evsk of 1783, a Russian protectorate was established over Kartli-Kakheti. The path through the Daryal Pass was transformed into amilitary road, and the construction of a major fort called Vladikavkaz("Ruler of the Caucasus") near the Pass was begun. These movesunderstandably concerned the Ottoman Turks, who, in 1782, hadbegun construction of a fort at Anapa on the Black Sea, north of thepresent-day Russian city of Novorossiisk.31 In 1787, however, during aRusso-Turkish war, and following Sheikh Mansur's insurrection (to bediscussed shortly), Catherine once again ordered her troops to evacuateGeorgia.

To dilute the impact of Islam in the region, the Russian Empiresettled Christian peoples from the Transcaucasus at key forts in the28 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, pp. 2 - 3 ; Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 19.29 In Kavkazskaya voina, pp. 256-58. 30 Suny, Making, p. 58.31 Bennigsen, "Un mouvement populaire," 173.

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North Caucasus. In 1796, there were 2,800 Armenians and only 1,000Russians at Kizlyar; in 1789, 55.6 percent of the population of Mozdokwas Armenian or Georgian.32

The rebellion of Sheikh MansurAt the time of the Russian invasion of Chechnya in December 1994, itwas observed by journalists that a painting of Sheikh Mansur, the son ofa Chechen shepherd who had led a major resistance movement againstthe Russian Empire from 1785 to 1791, hung in a prominent place inthe office of Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudaev.33 To return to theeighteenth century, as we have seen, given the rapidity and the perva-siveness of the Russian move into the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, acounterthrust by Muslim tribes had become a near certainty. Especiallyworrisome for the Muslims was the solidifying of Russian ties withKartli-Kakheti following the signing of the Treaty of Georgievsk in1783.

Mansur Ushurma hailed from the Chechen aul (i.e., Muslim village)of Aldi, located near the present-day capital of Groznyi, an area whichwas at the time coming under heavy Russian pressure. As AlexandreBennigsen has observed in an excellent study devoted to Mansur, therewere strong economic and social factors underlying the Mansur up-rising.34 The North Caucasus had been preserving its traditionaleconomic equilibrium with great difficulty. The poor soil of the regiondid not offer sufficient resources to support a relatively dense popu-lation. The local agriculture was primitive and, since the alpine pastureswere inadequate, flocks and herds had to be moved long distances in thewinter. By contrast, the adjacent lowlands (the Kuban', the Terek plains,and the steppes along the Caspian) represented fertile areas capable ofsustaining the needs not only of the local populace but of the mountain-eers (in Russian: gortsy) as well. An interchange between mountain andplain was thus necessary for the continued survival of the mountainpeoples of the North Caucasus. Unfortunately, with the arrival of theRussians to the region, access to the steppes had become "pre-carious."35

In the late eighteenth century, the mountaineers of the NorthCaucasus numbered about a million and a half persons, divided intosome twenty groups. With the exception of the Ossetians, who had beenconverted by the Russians to Orthodox Christianity, all of them were at32 Barren, "Lives of Uncertainty," 593 .33 See Moscow Times, 18 December 1994, pp. 2 2 - 2 3 .34 Bennigsen, "Un mouvement populaire," 167. 35 Ibid., 1 6 7 - 6 8 .

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least nominally Muslim, though some, such as the Chechens, were atthe time only superficially so. It would take perceived massive aggressionon the part of "infidel" Russians to transform them into observantMuslims.

Like the mountain Dagestani tribes, the Chechens were largelyisolated from the outside world and maintained rudimentary ethnic andsocial structures. The Chechens and the mountain Dagestanis hadpreserved the patriarchal structure of large extended families (teipy ortaipy) in which all members were both free and equal (uzderi).36

In their initial contacts with the indigenous peoples of the NorthCaucasus, the Russian authorities sought to deal, as much as possible,with the feudal nobility of the region. (The Ottoman Turks, too, choseto focus on the feudal nobility, and this was one reason that they refusedto take Mansur and his movement seriously.) But the Chechens and themountain Dagestanis completely lacked feudal structures, being group-ed in "free societies." The struggle against the Russians in these regionswas rooted in the very poorest areas of the eastern North Caucasus,those which had preserved the most archaic political, social, and eco-nomic forms. The most archaic of all of these peoples were the econo-mically destitute Chechens, who "first raised the banner of revolt."37

In 1784, Mansur proclaimed himself sheikh (i.e., elder) and then,more boldly, imam (i.e., chief of a Sufi Muslim order), and the followingyear he began his public preaching. In his sermons, Mansur called for areturn to an ascetical and purified Islam and vilified the use of tobaccoand alcohol (both of which had been introduced into the region by theRussians). He also criticized certain practices which were widespreadamong his semi-pagan fellow Chechens: theft, the cult of the dead, andthe practice of vendetta. Mansur fought for the replacement of corruptcustomary law (adat) by Islamic religious law (sharia). In the name ofIslamic unity, Mansur declared a three-day fast in the settlements ofChechnya. As he traveled about the villages of Chechnya, he demanded"faith in God" and "order."38 The gazavat, or holy war, he declared wasdirected first of all against corrupt Muslims, who held to the adat andallowed themselves to be assimilated by infidels. It seems wisest to seeMansur as a forerunner or precursor of the great religious revival led byNaqshbandi Sufi imams - the most renowned of whom was, of course,the legendary Shamir - in the following century.39

3 6 Ibid., 1 6 9 - 7 0 . O n the development of the clan system in Chechnya , see Aidaev,Chechentsy, pp. 1 8 5 - 9 0 .

3 7 Bennigsen, " U n mouvemen t populai re ," 171 .3 8 In M . M . Bliev and V. V. Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina (Moscow: Roset , 1994), p. 134.3 9 Bennigsen, " U n mouvemen t populai re ," 178.

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In March 1785, the Russians became aware of Mansur's activities,and a native spy was sent to his home base of Aldi, where he learned thatthe sheikh was planning a campaign against neighboring Kabarda to thewest in order to submit its populace to Islam, and that he hadestablished contact with the Avar khan in Dagestan. The Russiancommandant of the Vladikavkaz fortress reported that the fame of the"false prophet" had already penetrated to Kabarda and that the moun-taineers there were beginning to adopt a menacing attitude toward theRussians. Chechens, Dagestanis, Kumyks, and people from as far awayas Kabarda and the Kuban' were flocking to Mansur's banner. Duringthe course of 1785, Mansur also tried to enter into contact with theOttoman Turks, who rebuffed his advances.40

The Russian military leaders in the Caucasus appear to have seenMansur as a Chechen Emel'yan Pugachev, the leader of a great Cossackand peasant revolt which had broken out a few years earlier in Cathe-rine's reign. Mansur's destitute followers were dismissed contemptu-ously by the Russian military command as "scoundrels," "ignorantpeople," "ragamuffins," and "serfs."41 (President Yeltsin and his entou-rage would revive such demeaning language in late 1994, excoriatingtheir Chechen opponents as "bandits" and "terrorists.")

A Russian colonel, Pieri, received an order to lead a force intoChechnya and to occupy Mansur's home base of Aldi. Pieri accom-plished this mission - though the village was deserted when he arrived -and burned Aldi to the ground. On his way back from this successfulraid, however, Pieri and his men were trapped on the banks of theSunzha River by a force led by Mansur and annihilated. Colonel Pieri,seven other officers, and more than 600 men were killed; 200 soldierswere captured, and only 100 escaped the massacre.42 This major victoryby Mansur constituted "the worst-ever defeat inflicted on the armies ofCatherine II."43

From the summer until December 1785, the gazavat, originallyissued in Chechnya, spread throughout Dagestan and Kabarda andbecame more intense. Virtually the whole of the North Caucasusbecame embroiled in the revolt. Mansur's force grew to number 12,000men, most of them Chechens and Dagestanis. His decisive victory overthe Russians on the Sunzha led Mansur into overconfidence andprompted him to undertake certain ill-advised military actions. In July1785, Mansur came down from the mountains and marched upon theRussian fortress of Kizlyar near the Terek. Despite three days of furious4 0 Ibid., 184. 4 1 Ibid., 185.4 2 Ibid., 1 8 5 - 8 6 , and Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 49 .4 3 Broxup, "Introduction," p. 3 .

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assault, during 19-21 August, Mansur failed to capture the garrison,whose artillery was a decisive factor in repelling the invaders. On 22August, he was forced to retreat back into the mountains. This con-stituted one of the few attempts by the mountaineers in the eighteenthand nineteenth centuries to take the war to their enemy.44 (In 1995 and1996, however, it might be noted, the embattled Chechens revivedMansur's tactic, attacking the Russian city of Budennovsk in Stavropol'krai as well as the settlement of Kizlyar in Dagestan.) FollowingMansur's rising, the Russians were forced to regroup to their fortressesat Mozdok, Kizlyar, and Ekaterinodar, while troops were withdrawnfrom Georgia to the Terek Line. The fortress of Vladikavkaz, built in1784, had to be abandoned in 1786; it was not reconstructed until1803.45

In September 1785, Mansur marched on Kabarda, at that time "therichest and most populated" region of the Mountain.46 General PavelPotemkin led out a well-trained force of 5,700 men against Mansur and,in November, completely routed the mountaineers. It was a turningpoint in the conflict. After this defeat suffered by Mansur, feudal princesin Kabarda, Dagestan, and elsewhere began to withdraw their supportfor him. Eventually Mansur's fellow Chechens also turned cool towardhis costly gazavat. By the spring of 1786, his movement was very muchon the wane.

During the Russo-Turkish war of 1787-91, Mansur moved from hishome territory of Chechnya to that of the Adygei in the western NorthCaucasus. Here he had spectacular success in converting the Adygei,who had hitherto been only nominal Muslims, to a devout adherence toIslam. "The Islamization of the Northwest Caucasus is the most durablework of Sheikh Mansur."47 As a military leader, Mansur proved to bemuch less successful. In September 1787, he led a large force of Adygeiand Nogai against Russian positions but was repelled; the followingmonth he was repulsed once again. It seems clear that Mansur's gifts layprimarily in the sphere of religious preaching, not in politics or militaryleadership. He was no Shamir.

In June 1791, the Russians under General Gudovich seized theTurkish fortress of Anapa on the Black Sea. An unexpected prize wasthe capture by the invaders of the much-sought-after Mansur. Treatedas a dangerous rebel, he was sent to Petersburg and incarcerated for lifein the Schlusselburg Fortress "for having raised the people of the

4 4 Bennigsen, "Un mouvement populaire," 188.4 5 Barrett, "Lives of Uncertainty," 590.4 6 Bennigsen, "Un mouvement populaire," 1 8 8 - 8 9 . 4 7 Ibid., 195.

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Mountain against Russia and for having caused great harm to theEmpire."48 He died in captivity in 1794.

Russia absorbs GeorgiaFollowing the defeat of Mansur and the capture of Anapa on the BlackSea in 1791, Russia moved to solidify its ties with Georgia. As he laydying of dropsy in Tbilisi in December 1800, King Giorgi XII of Kartli-Kakheti saw no hope, except in the protecting hand of Russia, for thefuture of a country largely surrounded by Muslims. He sent an emissaryto St. Petersburg begging Emperor Paul to accept direct authority overhis country. Just days before the king's death, Paul signed a manifesto inwhich he declared Kartli-Kakheti annexed to the Russian Empire.Paul's successor, Alexander I, confirmed this action in a manifestoissued on 24 September 1801; Alexander declared the kingdom ofKartli-Kakheti abolished.

The annexation of Georgia by Russia had major geopolitical repercus-sions. The road through the Daryal Pass from Vladikavkaz to Tbilisi wasnow regarded as indefensible without further conquests. This meantfurther conflict with the Muslim tribes of the North Caucasus, as well aswith the Ottomans and Persia. By 1804, Russia was at war with Iranand, by 1807, with Turkey.49

As aptly described by John Baddeley, Russia's imperial strategy in theCaucasus had now become apparent: "Russia's task should now be clear- in the Caucasus proper, to subdue, on the one hand, the Westerntribes, who looked for support to Turkey; on the other, the peoples ofDagestan and Chechnya; in Transcaucasia, to reunite the Georgianrace, defend it against Persian and Turk, and enlarge and make safe itsboundaries at their expense."50

General YermolovThe effort by imperial Russia to subdue the Caucasus is associatedabove all with the name of General Aleksei Yermolov (1777-1861),who, in 1816, was appointed commander-in-chief in Georgia withjurisdiction over the entire Caucasus region. Even a century afterYermolov's death, his name is capable of eliciting strong passions amongMuslim mountaineers. In 1969, for example, during the early years of

4 8 Ibid.4 9 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp . 76 , 87 ; G a m m e r , Muslim Resistance, pp . 4 - 7 ; Suny,

Making, p. 59.5 0 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp . xxiii-xxiv.

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Brezhnev's reign, two attempts were made by Chechens to blow up astatue of Yermolov in Groznyi, the capital of Checheno-Ingushetiya, thesite of a fort founded in 1818 by the general.51

"Yermolov's central idea," John Baddeley has noted, "was that thewhole of the Caucasus must, and should, become an integral part of theRussian empire."52 Given these strongly held beliefs of Yermolov, it wascertain that there would be a clash with the freedom-minded Chechens.Compounding the conflict would be the general's militant and what wemight today call racist view of the mountaineers: "I desire," Yermolovaffirmed in an oft-cited statement, "that the terror of my name shouldguard our frontiers more potently than chains or fortresses, that myword should be for the natives a law more inevitable than death.Condescension in the eyes of Asiatics is a sign of weakness and out ofpure humanity I am inexorably severe."53

It was not long before Yermolov began to put these harsh convictionsinto effect. In November 1817 and again in May 1818, he sent EmperorAlexander I detailed plans for subduing the region. Significantly, hesingled out the Chechens, whom he termed "a bold and dangerouspeople," for special attention and animus. Yermolov's ire had beenraised by the unceasing raids conducted by the Chechens againstRussian and Cossack outposts and settlements and by their patentdetermination never to submit to Russian rule.

General Yermolov's plan was to build a new fortified line along theLower Sunzha and then to settle Cossacks between that river and theTerek, thus bringing the Empire closer to Dagestan.54 In 1817,Yermolov had given orders to build a small fort in Chechnya atPregradnyi Stan, an action viewed with alarm by the local Chechens. On10 June 1818, he founded the major fortress of Groznaya (the namemeans "Menacing" or "Dread") on the banks of the Sunzha, a directchallenge to the Chechens. Other forts followed: Vnezapnaya("Sudden") in 1819, and Burnaya ("Stormy") in 1821 in Dagestan.55

The very names of these forts were intended to strike awe and fear in theimaginations of the natives.

A hard line toward the Chechens

Since Yermolov was convinced that the Chechens were implacableenemies of Russia, he advocated the harshest policies toward them.51 See Rober t Conques t , The Nation Killers, 2nd edn. (New York: Macmillan, 1970),

p. 158, n.52 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 99. 53 Ibid., p. 97.54 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 30. 55 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 107-08.

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 15According to his program, they were to be "constrained within theirmountains" and were also to lose the "agricultural land and pastures inwhich they shelter their flocks in winter from the severe cold in themountains."56 Reduced to semi-starvation and economic desperation,they would then have no choice other than to submit to Russian rule.Yermolov's chief-of-staff. General Veryaminov, held similarly rigidviews. It would, he wrote, take thirty years for an extension of forts andCossack settlements to subdue the North Caucasus. "The enemy,"Veryaminov wrote, "is absolutely dependent on his crops for the meansof sustaining life. Let the standing corn be destroyed each autumn as itripens, and in five years they would be starved into submission."57

Under General Yermolov, the previous tsarist system of offeringbribes and subsidies to the natives was replaced by one of severepunishments. Yermolov advocated economic warfare against thosemountaineers who would not submit - their crops were to be devastatedand their villages sacked. On occasion, his men carried out massacresand raped native women.58 Some native women were sold as slaves ordistributed as property to Russian officers.59

The Chechens fought back relentlessly against Russian expansion intotheir home territory and the accompanying depredations. While thefortress of Groznaya was being constructed, Chechen snipers wereactive every night. At the time that Fort Vnezapnaya was being built in1819 in eastern Chechnya, the Chechens succeeded in driving off anumber of horses belonging to the Russians. Yermolov vowed to teachthem an indelible lesson.

The prosperous lowland Chechen aul of Dadi-Yurt on the banks ofthe Terek was singled out for retribution. On 15 September 1819,Russian forces arrived and demanded that the village surrender; thisdemand was refused, and a fearful massacre ensued. Each house in thevillage was surrounded by a high stone wall and constituted a kind offortress which had to be first battered by artillery and then taken bystorm: "Some of the natives, seeing defeat to be inevitable, slaughteredtheir wives and children under the eyes of the [Russian] soldiers; manyof the women threw themselves on the latter knife in hand, or in despairleaped into the burning buildings and perished in the flames."60

When the aul was finally taken, only fourteen Chechen men remainedalive, all of them severely wounded. One hundred and forty women andchildren were taken prisoner, with many of the women and some of thechildren also being wounded. The exultant Russian soldiers proceeded56 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 30. 57 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 121-22.58 Ibid., p. 97. 59 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 34.60 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 131.

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to loot the village. Such were Yermolov's methods, which set the tonefor the Russian-Chechen conflict during the Caucasus War.

In similar fashion, under Yermolov, if it was established that anindividual Chechen had taken part in a raid on a Russian or Cossacksettlement, then the village where he lived was required to surrenderboth the culprit and his family. If the village community failed to do so,then the settlement was burned to the ground.61

The first deportation of the ChechensIn addition to conducting punitive expeditions and practicing economicwarfare, Yermolov sought aggressively to push the Chechens out of thepopulated zone lying between the Terek and Sunzha Rivers. Yermolovregarded it as a serious error of previous Russian administrations thatthey had permitted mountaineers and, especially, Chechens to movedown from the mountains to the plains.62 Yermolov's deportation policyreversed the natural migration pattern of Chechens from the mountainsto the lowlands and deprived them of a great deal of fertile land. In theirbook on the nineteenth-century Caucasus War, M. M. Bliev and V. V.Degoev, who generally tend to be pro-Russian in their views (Bliev is awell-known and controversial North Ossetian historian), label thedecision to deport the Chechens "one of [Yermolov's] greatest mis-takes."63

Yermolov's deportation policy, Bliev and Degoev argue, arrested twoprogressive economic tendencies prevalent among the Chechens,namely, "the transition from a livestock-raising to an agriculturaleconomy, and the decay of patrimonial relations and the formation offeudal ones."64 By forcing the Chechens back up into the inhospitablemountains, Yermolov returned them to an economically and sociallyprimitive state, thereby ensuring the existence of a fierce and dedicatedopponent for the Russian Empire over the next half century (andbeyond).

Another form of deportation practiced by Yermolov and his men wasto send captured Chechens off to Siberian exile. "They are seized andkept prisoners," one contemporary account reports, "till a significantnumber is collected, and then they are transported to the East forlife."65 No figures are provided for the number of Chechens so banishedfrom their homeland.

6 1 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p . 177.6 2 Ibid. , p . 153. 6 3 Ibid. 6 4 Ibid., p . 154.65 From Robert Lyall, Travels in Russia, the Krimea [sic] and the Caucasus and Georgia, 2

vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1825), vol. I, p. 459.

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Assessments of General Yermolov and his policiesWhile Yermolov's brutal methods were applauded by Russian imperial-ists among his contemporaries, thoughtful and educated Russians wereless enthusiastic. In a letter written in 1822 to P. A. Vyazemskii,Aleksandr Turgenev, for example, asked indignantly: "[W]hat kind of ahero is . . . Yermolov? . . . That sort of notoriety makes your blood runcold and your hair stand on end."66 In similar vein, Decembrist MikhailOrlov affirmed: "It is just as hard to subjugate the Chechens and otherpeoples of this region as to level the Caucasian range. This is somethingto achieve not with bayonets but with time and enlightenment."67

Western commentators past and present have tended to agree withthe sentiments expressed by Turgenev and Orlov. An English visitor tothe Caucasus during Yermolov's viceregency there, Robert Lyall, com-mented in 1825: "General Yermolov's severe policy may suit theambitious spirit of Russia but it is not calculated to unite the virtues ofhumanity and bravery, the highest meed of praise a warrior can receive.He may delude himself with the propriety of the most cruel measures tonarrow the range of the predatory excursions of the mountain tribes, buthe may rest assured that public opinion will brand his name with infamyfor his deeds, as well as that of the monarch who permits them, now thatthey are fully exposed."68

Almost a hundred years later, another English visitor to the Caucasus,John Baddeley, expressed himself in similar fashion: "[F]rom theChristian and moral point of view," he wrote, "there is no justification ofsuch a ruthless policy as Yermolov's."69 Elsewhere in his book, Baddeleyconcludes that the harsh policy advocated and implemented by Yer-molov in effect "aroused that fierce spirit of fanaticism and indepen-dence which alone made political union possible amongst the turbulenttribesmen of Dagestan and Chechnya."70 "[I]t may be argued," his-torian Hugh Seton-Watson has observed, "that [Yermolov's] methodswon Russia more bitter enemies than reliable subjects."71 Yermolov's"extreme brutality," Moshe Gammer has concluded, "achieved resultsopposite to his intentions."72

A more positive assessment of Yermolov is provided in the book byM. M. Bliev and V. V. Degoev. General Yermolov, they argue, was no66 In Susan Layton, Russian Literature and Empire: Conquest of the Caucasus from Pushkin to

Tolstoy (Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 107.67 Ibid., p . 108. 68 Lyall, Travels in Russia, vol. II, p . 5 1 .69 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. 163. 70 Ibid., p. 138.71 H u g h Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire, 1801-1917 (Oxford, U K : Clarendon Press,

1967), p. 183.72 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 37.

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conscious genocidist, and, while his actions in the Caucasus wereunquestionably cruel, they were no worse than, say, those of Persia andTurkey in that region. In the final analysis, Bliev and Degoev believethat Yermolov's methods actually worked, since they served to "weakenthe mass character of the raid system [of the mountaineers] ,"73 As hasbeen noted, Bliev and Degoev condemn Yermolov's deportation policyas a mistake.

Yermolov's work continuedIn 1827, General Yermolov was replaced as viceroy of the Caucasus byan order of the newly enthroned Emperor Nicholas I (ruled 1825-55).Though the general had been replaced, the "Yermolov system" vis-a-visthe Chechens and other mountaineers was largely retained. In 1829,immediately following the conclusion of war with Turkey, Nicholas Iwrote to Yermolov's successor, Field Marshal I. F. Paskevich: "Havingcompleted one glorious task, you are confronted with another . . . thesuppression once and for all of the mountaineers or the extermination ofthe recalcitrant."74 Writing in 1834, a Russian civil servant and specialiston the Caucasus, Platon Zubov, put it more bluntly: "The only way todeal with this ill-intentioned people [i.e., the Chechens] is to destroy itto the last."75 Words can become deeds; the brutal Caucasus War didindeed lead to the "extermination" of many.

If the Russian state and its servants had few apparent qualmsconcerning the proposed annihilation of the mountain tribes, Russia'sclassical literature, which began to glow brightly in the 1820s and1830s, expressed gnawings of conscience and a visceral rejection of thatcountry's imperial project in the Caucasus. A gifted young officer whoserved in the Caucasus, the poet Mikhail Lermontov, dealt repeatedly inhis poems and prose with the ambiguities of imperial expansion and thesuppression of the natives. Especially in his later works, Lermontov"conveyed a suspicion that the conquest [of the Caucasus] was aspiritually losing proposition for Russia."76 In his eyes, Russia hadbecome a kind of brutal "Roman" state whose goal was to subjugate aprimitive world of harmonious relation to nature.77 "To a greater extentthan any other Russian writer," literary critic Susan Layton has con-cluded, "Lermontov went to the heart of the paradox of genocidalwarfare as the route to terrestrial paradise."78

73 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p . 179. 74 Ci ted ibid., p . 264 .75 Cited by Broxup, " In t roduc t ion ," p . 10.76 Layton, Russian Literature and Empire, p. 212 .77 Ibid., p. 213. 78 Ibid., p. 230.

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Another major Russian writer who returned repeatedly to the themeof Russia's armed struggle with the recalcitrant mountaineers was LevTolstoi who, like Lermontov, had served as an officer in the Caucasusregion. In his earlier works, such as The Cossacks (1863), Tolstoi focusedupon the mutual relations of Russians, Cossacks, and the Chechens andother mountaineers. However, in his last great work of literature, theanti-imperialist Hadji Murat> Tolstoi vehemently rejected the hypocrisyand brutality behind Russia's supposed "civilizing mission" in the NorthCaucasus.

In a passage contained in a draft version of the work, the authorialvoice asserts that what occurred in the North Caucasus region was"what always happens when a state, having large-scale military strength,enters into relations with primitive, small peoples, living their ownindependent life. Under the pretext of self-defense (even though attacksare always provoked by the powerful neighbor), or the pretext ofcivilizing the ways of a savage people (even though the savage people isliving a life incomparably better and more peaceable than the civilizers'),or else under some other pretext, the servants of large military statescommit all sorts of villainy against small peoples, while maintaining thatone cannot deal with them otherwise."79 Classical Russian literature,the "conscience" of nineteenth-century Russia, expressed painfuldoubts concerning the Russian state's imperial project.

The Chechens on the eve of the Caucasus WarAt the time of the outbreak of the Caucasus War, for which theconventional dates are 1817-64, the Chechens lived chiefly in isolatedauls, which could number as many as hundreds of houses, all of themsingle-storied, flat-roofed structures built of sun-baked mud. Eachhouse had its own garden, or orchard, and, in a forest clearing nearby,there were cultivated fields sown with maize, oats, barley, rye, or millet,whichever best suited the locale. At the first indication of danger, theChechen women and children would seize all moveable wealth andconceal themselves in the surrounding forest, which consisted largely ofgiant beech trees.80 "As long as these forests stood, the Chechens wereunconquerable. The Russians made no permanent impression on themsave when and where they cut the beech trees down; and it is literally thefact that they were beaten in the long run not by the sword but by theaxe."81

Chechen males constituted a "martial race," raised from childhood to7 9 Ibid., pp. 284-85.8 0 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p . xxxv. 8 1 Ibid.

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be warriors.82 Each male claimed equality with his neighbor by birth-right, and there were no class distinctions among them. Household andagricultural work was left to the women or to slaves, the latter beingmainly prisoners of war. "In person the Chechens were tall, lithe, well(though slenderly) built, and often handsome; alert in mind, brave andcruel, treacherous and cunning; yet . . . honorable according to theirown peculiar code, to a degree little known to more civilized tribes.Hospitality [was] . . . a most sacred duty."83

General Vel'yaminov, Yermolov's chief-of-staff, who remained in theCaucasus until his death in 1838, wrote that as horsem*n the Chechens,like the other mountaineers, "are very superior in many ways both toour regular [Russian] cavalry and the Cossacks. They are all but born onhorseback." The nineteenth-century Cossack, Veryaminov noted, func-tioned "as an agriculturist as well as a soldier," putting him at adisadvantage compared to the mountaineers.84

Another Russian officer, Torneau, wrote in 1832: "As opponents theChechens merited the fullest respect, and amidst their forests andmountains no troops in the world could afford to despise them. Goodshots, fiercely brave, intelligent in military affairs, they, like otherinhabitants of the Caucasus, were quick to take advantage of localconditions."85 The mountaineers' moves in combat were invariablyswift, whether on foot or on horseback, and their military tactics werecharacterized by adaptability and flexibility.86

Clan and tribal identitiesThe Chechen population was divided along patrilineal lines into ex-tended families, clans, and tribes. These communities were "free," i.e.,fully independent of outside control. Important decisions in the com-munity were taken by a gathering of the elders or by a general assemblyof all the males.87

Tribal identities and loyalties were important among the Chechens,hindering the development of a larger ethnic identity. Among theChechen tribes there were, for example, the Ichkeri, a highland tribeafter which General Dudaev, in 1994, named his "independent re-public" of Chechnya; other tribes were the Aukh and the Kist. Unlike,say, the Kabardintsy, the Nogai, and Kumyks - all of them Muslimpeoples of the North Caucasus - the Chechens had not developed adifferentiated feudal system but had remained in a purely clannic state,82 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 21. 83 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. xxxvii.84 Ibid., pp. 114-15. 85 Ibid., p. 266.86 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, pp. 21-22. 87 Ibid., p. 20.

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like, say, the Ingush, Balkars, Karachai, and the mountain Dagestanis.88

As Ronald Wixman and other specialists have stressed, the Chechensdid not, in the nineteenth century, possess a national identity. Ratherthey had a sense of being "Caucasian," based on a geographical conceptof their home region, and on a culture, religion, and way of life whichthey shared with the other Muslim peoples of the North Caucasus.89

ReligionBefore the coming of General Yermolov to the Caucasus, the Chechenswere Muslims, but of a variety heavily admixed with paganism. Civiland criminal affairs were usually decided in the Chechen languageaccording to the adat, or customary law, which coexisted with andeffectively sanctioned an elaborate system of vendetta or blood-feud. Inthe principal villages, mullahs expounded the Koran, with Arabic beingthe only accepted language of religion and the only written tongue.90

As Bernard Lewis has observed, Western and Christian penetration ofthe world of Islam forced Muslims at various points on the globe tofocus concern upon "problems of the faith and of the communityoverwhelmed by infidels."91 Among Muslims in India in the seventeenthand eighteenth centuries, for example, there was a religious revivalsparked by the Naqshbandi order, a Sufi brotherhood of Central Asianorigin which became the vanguard of Islamic orthodoxy in an Indiathreatened by the return of Hinduism and by the militant Catholicismof the Portuguese. The revivalism promoted by the Naqshbandi orderlater spread from India to the Middle East.

The Naqshbandi tariqat (the word, usually translated as "brother-hood," means "the path") came to Chechnya from neighboring Dage-stan in the decade following Yermolov's appointment to the Caucasus.In a direct sense, Yermolov prepared the way for the triumph of thisorthodox Muslim tendency in Dagestan and Chechnya.

Beibulat's rebellionIn the 1780s, as has been noted, Chechnya already knew the first stageof what Russian specialists call "the ideology of Muridism."92 TheArabic word miurid means "one who desires," i.e., one who strives to

88 Wixman, Language Aspects, p. 105. 89 Ibid., pp. 101, 107.90 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, p. xxxvii.91 Bernard Lewis, The Middle East and, the West (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University

Press, 1964), pp. 9 5 - 9 6 .9 2 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p . 220 .

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find the way or the true path. Muridism and Sufism are in essence thesame thing.93

The military and economic blockade of Chechnya carried out byGeneral Yermolov had led gradually to a consolidation of Chechensociety, which previously had been separated into tribes and clans. Thekey figure in this initial consolidation process was Beibulat Taimazov.General Yermolov, it should be noted, was wont to behave haughtily andarrogantly in the presence of the mountaineers, terming them "scoun-drels" and "robbers," and this intolerant posture was often emulated byhis subordinates. One of them, General Grekov, mortally offendedBeibulat, a leading figure among the Chechens, when he refused toshake his hand and behaved contemptuously toward him. In 1822,Beibulat, who had earlier allied himself with the Russians, began toconduct raids against them.94

Beibulat began to cast about for an "ideology" to support his move-ment. At one point Abdul-Kadyr, a preacher of Islam, had supplied himwith such support, but Abdul soon died from wounds suffered in battle.In 1823, in northern Dagestan, Beibulat found what he was looking for.

Founded in the twelfth century, the Naqshbandiya is named afterMohammed Baha al-Din al-Naqshbandi (1318-89), who gave thebrotherhood its final structure. The tariqat took root in the Shirvankhanate in present-day Azerbaijan during the second decade of thenineteenth century. Following the annexation of this khanate in 1820,the Russian authorities began to persecute the brotherhood, which itregarded as seditious. From Shirvan it moved to Dagestan, whereMohammed Yaragskii emerged as its chief leader and spokesman. Thechief concern of Yaragskii and his followers was to enforce the sharia andto do away with the adat. Only after Muslims had cleansed themselvesand turned to the right path could gazavat be declared to free themfrom foreign rule. The knowledge of Arabic language and culture waspromoted by Yaragskii, and that knowledge spread from Dagestan toChechnya.95

The exasperation of the Chechens with the Russians began to acquirea religious dimension after the arrival in Chechnya of Mullah Mo-hammed Mayurtupi from Dagestan in 1824. Mohammed proclaimed acertain Avko from Germenchuk to be the long-awaited imam chosen byGod to lead the struggle against the Russians. The rebels' key militaryleader, however, was Beibulat. The revolt soon spread throughoutChechnya and to the Ingush lands as well. On the night of 20 July 1825,9 3 Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp . 2 3 1 - 3 3 .9 4 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, pp . 2 2 2 - 2 4 .9 5 G a m m e r , Muslim Resistance, pp . 3 9 - 4 0 .

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the mountaineers stormed and destroyed a Russian fort at Amir-Haji-Yurt. Ninety-eight defenders were killed and thirteen taken prisoner.Soon after this victory, however, the revolt collapsed from within due topoor leadership.

The three imamsThough they played a key role in the Caucasus War and suffered morefrom it than any other people of the North Caucasus, the Chechens didnot provide the inspiration or the leadership for the Muslim side in theconflict. That role was filled by three imams, all of them Avars fromDagestan: Kazi (Gazi) Mullah, Gamzat-Bek, and Shamir. As we shallsee, the Chechens did not even become deeply involved in the war until1839-40, and then only due to monumental errors committed by theRussian authorities.

Kazi Mullah, the first of the three Avar imams, was born in the villageof Gimri in the Dagestan highlands. During the 1820s he was initiatedinto the Naqshbandi brotherhood by the Sheikh MohammedYaragskii.96 With Yaragskii's blessing, Kazi was proclaimed imam inDagestan late in 1829, and he then proceeded to travel around thevillages "in order to return sinners to the right path."97 By April 1830,Kazi's influence had begun to spread throughout Chechnya. From thebeginning, Kazi enjoyed the support of the leaders of the earlier1824-26 revolt. In May 1830, Kazi sent one of his deputies, SheikhAbdallah of Ashilti, to Chechnya, and he proved to be an excellentorganizer. Later that same year, Kazi made a personal tour of Chechnya,where he learned of Ashilti's success in that region. One reason forAbdallah's success was General Vel'yaminov's winter campaigns, inwhich he destroyed some thirty or thirty-five Chechen villages. Theseharsh punitive actions drove many Chechens into the arms of the imam.The Russians also created enemies by demanding that Muslim villagesabandon the sharia.98

In October 1831, Kazi made a daring and successful raid on FortKizlyar on the Terek, and, in October-November, he threatened thefortress of Groznaya. In 1832, Kazi attempted to raise Kabarda (asMansur had tried to do in the late eighteenth century), besieged Nazran'- the capital of the present-day Ingush Republic - and threatened thefortress of Vladikavkaz. In August of that year, Kazi attacked FortVnezapnaya in eastern Chechnya and ambushed a 500-man Cossack96 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, pp. 2 4 0 - 4 1 ; Gammer , Muslim Resistance, p. 50.97 Gammer , Muslim Resistance, p. 50.98 Ibid., pp. 50-51.

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force, causing 155 casualties. The imam also threatened the key town ofDerbent along the Caspian Sea in Dagestan, as well as areas of proto-Georgia. Kazi's professed goal was to fuse the Muslim peoples of theNorth Caucasus into one potent force. At the height of his power, hereportedly commanded 6,000 footsoldiers and 2,000 cavalry."

Like Sheikh Mansur before him, Kazi soon found himself outgunnedand outmanned by superior Russian forces. During 1831-32, theRussians repeatedly attempted to arrange for Kazi's assassination. InAugust 1832, General Rosen led into Chechnya a force of15,000-20,000 men, who systematically pillaged and destroyedgardens, fields, and villages. In October, General Vel'yaminov invadedKazi's home territory in the highlands with 10,000 troops and succeededin capturing his mountain strongholds of Dargo in Chechnya and Gimriin Dagestan. On 29 October 1832, the Russians stormed Kazi's fortifiedposition at Gimri, and the imam was killed in battle; Kazi's eventualsuccessor, Shamir, was severely wounded in the fighting.100

Gamzat-BekFollowing Kazi's death in battle, he was succeeded by another Avarfrom Dagestan, Gamzat-Bek. Gamzat's rule lasted a mere two years, ashe was killed in September 1834 (while entering a mosque) as part of avendetta proclaimed against him by fellow Avars. During his brief rule,Gamzat had offered to reconcile with the Russians "on condition that itcauses no harm to our sharia"101 But the Russians had offered noresponse to this offer, and General Rosen had put pressure on the Avarruling house to arrest Gamzat and extradite him.

Imam Shamir

Perhaps the most outstanding political and military leader ever toemerge in the North Caucasus region, Shamir (1796/97-1871), also anAvar from Dagestan, is described as having been an exceptionally tall,strong, and athletic man, an unrivaled horseman, highly intelligent, andwell educated in the Arabic language and Muslim religious literature."Shamir," Moshe Gammer has written, "was a born leader, com-mander, diplomat, and politician. He repeatedly outmaneuvered the

99 Seton-Watson, Russian Empire, pp. 292-93; Baddeley, Russian Conquest, pp. 256-63;Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p. 296 , Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 56.

1 0 0 Se ton-Watson, Russian Empire, p . 2 9 3 ; Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p . 3 1 3 ;Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 56.

101 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 61.

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Russians in battles, intrigues, and negotiations. Contrary to Russianpropaganda, he was far from extremism or blind fanaticism."102 Shamirhad been introduced to religious instruction by Kazi Mullah, whoinitiated him into the Naqshbandiya.103 Following Gamzat's death in1834, Shamil' was selected imam.

Like Gamzat-Bek before him, Shamir sought initially to come to anarrangement with the powerful Russians; he formally accepted Russiansovereignty and undertook not to raid the lowlands. All of this, however,was conditional on the Russians agreeing to the "implementation of thesharia." General Rosen did not trust Shamil' and, instead of anagreement, in 1836 he demanded the imam's unconditional surrender.In the summer of 1836, Rosen resolved "once and for all" to eliminateShamil', Shamir's representative in Chechnya, Tashov Haji, and "Mur-idism" in general. Shamir was offered the choice of complete surrenderwillingly or by force.104

In 1839, the fortunes of Shamir and his movement looked bleak.During that year, he had even been forced to suffer the humiliation ofsurrendering his son, Jemaluddin, aged twelve, to the Russians as ahostage. (Like the mountaineers, the Russians adhered to the practice oftaking native hostages [amanaty] and of procuring ransom for them.)105

Also in 1839, the Russian General Pavel Grabbe expressed certaintythat the spirit of the mountaineers had finally been broken. Thesubjugation of the North Caucasus appeared to be imminent. But it wasat this juncture that the Russian authorities made a series of keyblunders involving the Chechens.

The Russian leadership resolved to introduce direct rule intoChechnya. So-called inspectors (pristavy), many of them natives fromthe region serving the Russians, were appointed to various communities.Under the pretext of collecting taxes and fines, these "inspectors" seizedthe best belongings of the Chechens and had innocent people arrested.Detainees and hostages were treated in inhumane fashion. Duringexpeditions into Chechnya by the Russian military, forced collections offood and seizure of livestock were permitted. These arbitrary acts servedto enrage the Chechens.106

These mistakes were serious ones, but the pivotal error occurredwhen the Russians began to attempt to confiscate the Chechens' fire-arms. As Timur Muzaev has written: "The mass participation of

1 0 2 Ibid., p. 292 .1 0 3 Seton-Watson, Russian Empire, pp. 2 9 2 - 9 3 ; Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 69.1 0 4 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, pp. 8 1 - 8 3 .1 0 5 Barrett, "Lives ofUncertainty," 588.1 0 6 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, pp. 1 1 3 - 1 4 .

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Chechens in Shamir's movement began from the winter of 1839-40,when the Russian troops attempted to disarm the Chechen people."107

For the Chechens, their daggers and muskets were regarded as familyheirlooms, handed down from generation to generation. Those moun-tain villages which could not be easily reached by the Russian armyrefused to accept the venal "inspectors." Lowland Chechen villages werethen forbidden by the Russians to have any contact with the rebellioushighlanders and were forbidden to sell them grain or to let them usetheir pastures; it was clearly an attempt to starve out those who wouldnot voluntarily surrender their weapons.108

Incensed by this treatment, the Chechens had become tinder awaitinga spark, and that spark was provided by Shamir, who arrived inIchkeriya, in mountain Chechnya, with a mere seven followers. He wasrepeatedly approached by delegations of Chechens, who asked him tobe their leader. Shamir "reluctantly" agreed to these requests and thenmoved from village to village, where he was uniformly welcomed withdelight. The imam's forces grew by leaps and bounds, and by 1840 hehad begun to think in terms of reviving the strategies of Sheikh Mansurand Imam Kazi before him, i.e., unifying all the mountain tribes in astruggle against the Russians.109 In 1841, the Russian general Golovinwarned solemnly: "We have never had in the Caucasus an enemy sosavage and dangerous as Shamir."110

Spreading Islam among the ChechensIn his activities in Chechnya, Shamir sought - like Mansur and Kazibefore him - to convert the Chechens from semi-paganism to a strictform of Muslim orthodoxy. The ideas of the sharia and gazavat weredisseminated by him throughout "clan Chechnya."111 Referring toShamir's work, Alexandre Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush haveconcluded: "The [Naqshbandiya] brotherhood achieved [a] deep andlong-lasting result: it transformed the half-pagan mountaineers intostrict Orthodox Muslims and introduced Islam into the animist areas ofupper Chechnya."112

Implementation and enforcement of the sharia was Shamir's primaryreligious goal in Chechnya, and he sought persistently to uproot theadat. Smoking and drinking were strictly prohibited by him, and women

107 T i m u r Muzaev , Chechenskaya respublika (Moscow: P a n o r a m a , 1995) , p . 1 5 1 .108 G a m m e r , Muslim Resistance, p . 114. 109 Ibid. , pp . 118, 163.110 Ibid. , p . 121 . U1 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, p . 372 .112 Alexandre Bennigsen and S. Enders W i m b u s h , Mystics and Commissars (Berkeley, CA:

University of California Press , 1985) , p . 19.

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were required to dress modestly. Dances and music were limited toweddings and circumcisions. Traditional Muslim schools were set up atthe mosques. Due to the high bride-money customary among theChechens, many young men and women were unable to marry; Shamirimposed a maximum bride-money limit of twenty silver rubles for avirgin (ten for a widow or divorcee). As early as 1842-43, even Russiansources began to attest to significant improvements which had takenplace in the morals of the mountaineers, particularly among theChechens.113

Shamir versus the "whole strength of the Empire"A detailed discussion of the Caucasus War, which raged in the easternNorth Caucasus from 1840 until 1859 - when Shamir surrendered toGeneral Baratynskii at the imam's mountain retreat of Mount Gunib inDagestan - lies beyond the scope of this study. Readers are directed tothe useful historical investigations by Baddeley and Gammer, as well asto the often-helpful book by Bliev and Degoev, all of which have beenfrequently cited in the notes.114

As Moshe Gammer has observed, the eventual defeat of Shamir wasdue to the "basic imbalance of power" between Shamir and his Russianenemy. In the final analysis, he concludes, neither "Russian mistakes"nor "the mountaineers' steadfastness and Shamir's talents" were suffi-cient to prevent the Russian conquest. However, as Gammer goes on tonote, "it should not be forgotten [that] it took the support of the 'wholestrength of the Empire' finally to subdue Chechnya and Dagestan."115

Following the Paris Peace Conference of 1856, which brought an end tothe Crimean War, the Russian military possessed a huge 200,000-manarmy in the Caucasus region, and a decision was taken to use it first tocrush Shamir's movement and then that of the Circassians in thewestern regions. By 1864, both goals had been accomplished.

A second deportation of the ChechensAs part of their strategy against Shamil', the Russian military authoritiesresurrected General Yermolov's policy of mass deportation of Chechens.In 1844, the Russians had erected Fort Vozdvizhenskoe ("Elevation [of113 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, pp. 232-35.114 Note that Bliev and Degoev tend to be pro-Russian. I have chosen not to utilize V. A.

Potto's five-volume "popular history," Kavkazskaya voina (Stavropol': Kavkazskii krai,1994), since this work contains neither footnotes nor scholarly apparatus, and hencecannot be cited with any degree of confidence.

115 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 293.

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the Cross]") near the Argun River, deep within Chechnya. A fortifiedline, dubbed "the Great Russian Highway," was then extended from thisnew fort to the settlement of Achkoi. Chechens living between this newline and the Sunzha River were then forcibly expelled from the region.Most of the Chechens migrated south toward the "Black Mountains"and beyond. A number of them, however, continued to attempt to slipback into the area between the Sunzha and the Great Russian Highway.On 13 October 1850, the Russian forces rounded up this populace andexpelled it beyond the Terek, i.e., to a territory not traditionally settledby Chechens. The struggle for the lowlands of western or LesserChechnya had been won.116

In 1856, following the end of the Crimean War, the Russian authori-ties began to contemplate expelling the Chechens from the Caucasusregion altogether, a kind of foreshadowing of Stalin's genocidal action of1944. At a council held in Stavropol', it was decided to deport all theChechens to the town of Manych. This information soon reached theears of the Chechen elders, and Shamir's flagging fortunes weretemporarily revived. "This is God's finger," Shamir angrily told thewavering Chechens, who had been contemplating coming to terms withthe Russians.117 The Russians soon abandoned the deportation plan.

Shamir and the ChechensShamil', a Dagestani Avar, never fully trusted the Chechens - thoughthey constituted an integral part of his military machine - and once inRussian captivity was to complain bitterly about their obdurate "disobe-dience." He considered them politically less reliable than his fellowDagestanis and religiously less orthodox. He resisted their persistentattempts to obtain more self-rule through the appointment of aChechen naib (deputy).118 Once his movement began to come underinsuperable Russian pressure following the Crimean War, and especiallyduring 1858 and 1859, Shamir saw one Chechen community afteranother approach the Russians with declarations of submission.119

Nevertheless, as Moshe Gammer has stressed, "the majority of themountaineers, and especially the Chechens, who suffered most, stayedwith their imam to the end, despite great deprivations and suffering."120

That the Chechens suffered the most from a Caucasus War which hadbeen sparked by Yermolov's policies seems incontestable. As TimurMuzaev has written: "During the time of this war, the territory of116 Ibid., pp. 1 7 9 - 8 1 . 117 Ibid., pp. 2 7 7 - 7 8 . 118 Ibid., p. 244.119 Bliev and Degoev, Kavkazskaya voina, pp. 5 1 5 - 1 6 .120 Gammer, Muslim Resistance, p. 245.

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Chechnya was a locus of de facto unceasing battles, as a result of whichthe economy was destroyed and almost half the populace was extermi-nated."121

Ethnic cleansing - the third deportationWhile Shamir was accorded the honors of a captured head of state andoffered residence, together with his two wives, in a "gilded cage," first inthe city of Kaluga and then in Kiev - and was eventually permitted tomake the hajj to Mecca - the rank-and-file mountaineers received lessgenerous treatment. At the conclusion of the Crimean War in 1856,Emperor Alexander II had made it clear that he believed that theCrimean Tatars had behaved disgracefully during the war and that theyprobably continued to constitute a security risk. He suggested that theymight be happier living in a Muslim-dominated state, i.e., in OttomanTurkey. In May 1856, Count Kiselev, minister of state domains,informed officials in the Crimea that Alexander was interested in"cleansing" (Kiselev used the verb ochishchai!) Crimea of as many Tatarsas possible.122

Following the defeat of the Chechens and Dagestanis in 1859, and ofthe Circassians in the western regions of the North Caucasus in 1864,the tsarist authorities decided that these recalcitrant mountaineers, too,should be "cleansed." "[T]he exodus of Crimean Tatars after 1856 andof Caucasians after 1859," Alan Fisher has written, "were two branchesof essentially the same phenomenon."123 In both instances, Fishernotes, "the Russian government, which had precipitated the exodus,achieved its objectives, that is, vast unpopulated areas in the southwhich it could fill with settlers more congenial to its interests."124

Among these "congenial" settlers were to be Russians, Ukrainians andCossacks, Georgians, and Armenians. "The tsarist government," his-torian Aleksandr Nekrich has written, "not only did not try to preventthis movement [to Turkey] but even encouraged it, hoping to use theMountaineers' lands as endowments for the Cossack villages it wasestablishing in the region."125

Between 1856 and 1864, approximately 600,000 Muslim peoples ofthe Caucasus quit that region for the Ottoman Empire.126 According tosome sources, the Circassian migration alone had reached one million121 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 152.122 Alan W. Fisher , "Emigra t ion of Mus l ims from the Russian Empi re in the Years After

the Crimean War," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, 35 , 3 (1987) , 359 .123 Ibid. , 3 6 1 . 124 Ibid . , 364 .125 Aleksandr M . Nekr ich , The Punished Peoples (New York: W. W. N o r t o n , 1978) , p . 107.126 Fisher, "Emigra t ion of Mus l ims , " 362 .

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by the end of 1866.127 In 1860, according to Soviet-era figures, 81,360Chechens left for Turkey; a second emigration took place in 1865, whenan additional 22,500 Chechens left.128 More than 100,000 Chechenswere thus ethnically "cleansed" during this process. This was perhaps amajority of their total population; more than thirty years later, in 1897,the Chechens were reported by the imperial census to have a totalpopulation of only 226,171.129

The fate of the participants in this mass exodus was singularly painful.The Ottoman Empire was in no position to cope with such a massiveinflux. Death from infectious diseases was widespread. Thus, forexample - as the Russian consul in Trabzon coldly observed - of 24,700Circassians who had arrived in that city, a total of 19,000 had died. An1864 report described the landing of 80,000 Circassians in Varna,"suffering from fever, smallpox, and dysentery."130 According to onesource, the peoples of the Caucasus who left for Turkey suffered a 33percent mortality rate over the course of migrating there.131 It was, asMarie Bennigsen Broxup, has put it, "genocide through forced exodus,a crude but efficient policy."132

The Chechens return from TurkeyThe tsarist Empire thought that it had rid itself once and for all of100,000 troublesome Chechens. But it was not long before many of theChechens who had emigrated to Turkey realized that they had made agrievous mistake. Many had died, and women and children had beensold into slavery; the Chechens yearned for their mountain homeland,where they had lived for millennia. They petitioned the tsarist govern-ment for permission to return and even offered "to accept the Orthodoxfaith as long as they could live in their homeland."133 It is interesting tocontemplate what might have occurred if the Russians had acquiescedto this offer. An Orthodox "wedge" would have been created among theChechens, who had at the time become disillusioned with the Naqsh-bandiya brand of Islam.

Whatever the case, the tsarist authorities spurned these advances, and

127 Paul B. Henze , "Circassian Resistance to Russia," in Broxup , North Caucasus Barrier,p. 103.

128 Fisher, "Emigra t ion of Mus l ims , " 3 6 3 .129 See Naselenie imperil po perepisi 28-go yanvarya 1897 goda: po uezdam, 1 and 7 (St.

Petersburg: S. P. Yakovlev, 1897 and 1905) . T h e overwhelming majority (202,273) ofChechens were repor ted as residing in Groznenski i okrug, Terskaya guberniya.

130 Fisher, "Emigra t ion of Mus l ims , " 367 .131 Henze , "Circassian Resistance, ' p . 104.132 Broxup, " In t roduc t ion ," p . 9. 133 Nekr ich , Punished Peoples, p . 107.

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the Chechens eventually returned anyway, after the Russo-Turkish warof 1877-78. "From then on, the tsarist administration promoted theimage of the Chechens not only as 'savages' (something constantlyreiterated even earlier by General Yermolov . . . ) but also as traitorswho had sold themselves to Turkey."134

The rise of the QadiriyaFollowing Russia's crushing victory over Shamir in 1859 and over theCircassians in 1864, the Empire appeared invincible to the demoralizedmountaineers. In their discouragement, they cast about for a newreligious orientation to replace the Naqshbandiya, which had broughtabout such widespread devastation in the region. The quest ended withthe appearance on the scene of a new Sufi order, the Qadiriya, broughtto the Caucasus by a Kumyk shepherd named Kunta Kishiev (betterknown as Kunta Haji), a native of northern Dagestan living in theChechen aw/of Eliskhan-Yurt.135

The Qadiriya tariqat had been founded by Abd Al-Qadir al-Ghilianiof Baghdad in the twelfth century AD. Following the defeat of theNaqshbandiya adepts in the Caucasus War, the Qadiriya came to enjoyspectacular success in the eastern North Caucasus region, especially inChechnya and in the Avar part of Dagestan. Kunta Haji had begun hismissionary activity in the region in 1849 but had been forced to leavethe Caucasus due to the Naqshbandiya hostility to his pacifist sermons.He returned in 1861 after Shamir's defeat and began preaching amystical asceticism and detachment from worldly affairs. Kunta'smessage of non-violence and "non-resistance to evil" found broadacceptance among the exhausted mountaineers.136 The Qadiriya orderpracticed the loud zikr, with ecstatic dances, songs, and music, allpractices strictly forbidden by the purist Naqshbandiya order.137

Soon, however, the Qadiriya was confronted with the same dilemmathat had faced the Naqshbandiya in the 1820s: what to do about theRussian infidels who dominated the Muslim lands of the North Cau-casus. In 1862 and 1863, unrest swept over Chechnya, and in 1864 theRussian authorities, frightened at the success of the Qadiriya and fearinga new uprising, arrested Kunta Haji and his followers. Kunta was nottried but, rather (in anticipation of Soviet practices under Brezhnev),134 Ibid.135 Broxup, " T h e Last Ghazawat : T h e 1 9 2 0 - 1 9 2 1 Upr is ing ," in Broxup , North Caucasus

Barrier, p. 118.136 Bennigsen and W i m b u s h , Mystics and Commissars, pp . 2 0 - 2 1 ; Broxup , " T h e Last

Ghazawat , " p . 118.137 Bennigsen and W i m b u s h , Mystics and Commissars, pp . 2 0 - 2 1 .

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was declared insane and incarcerated in a prison hospital, where he diedin 1867. His associates were accused of planning rebellion and deportedto hard-labor camps in Siberia.138

The Qadiriya was not outlawed, but some of its practices, such as theloud zikr, were forbidden, and the Russian authorities strongly encour-aged its adherents among the Chechens and Ingush to emigrate to theOttoman Empire. (This explains the 22,500 Chechens who left theregion for Turkey in 1865.) Tsarist repressive measures and harassmentfailed to impede the growth of the tariqat, and the order continued tomake new converts among the still pagan Ingush.139

The rebellion of 1877In 1877, there took place a major rebellion in Chechnya and Dagestanwhich lasted for a year into 1878. The leader of the uprising in Dagestanwas a certain Haji Mohammed and, in Chechnya, Ali-Bek Haji. InChechnya, most of the insurgents were Qadiri, who on this occasionfully cooperated with the Naqshbandi. The tsarist regime cracked downharshly on the rebellion, with overwhelming force. Under the commandof General Svistunov, the tsarist military force numbered some fifteensoldiers for every inhabitant of Chechnya.140

Those leaders of the rebellion who were not killed in battle werenearly all hanged - twenty-three out of twenty-eight - and thousands ofparticipants in the revolt were deported to Siberia. In his address to acourt-martial prior to his execution, the young leader of the Chechens,Ali-Bek Haji, aged twenty-three, is reported to have declared: "It is onlybefore God and the Chechen people that we consider ourselves guiltybecause, in spite of all the sacrifices, we were not able to reconquer thefreedom that God gave us!"141 The failure of this attempted rebellionmarked a key turning point in the tactics of the Sufi brotherhoods.Henceforward, until the February and October Revolutions of 1917,they would eschew the tactic of gazavat^ given the imbalance of forcesbetween the mountaineers and the Empire. During this period of1877-1917, however, it may safely be said that virtually the entirepopulation of Chechnya and Ingushetiya belonged to either the Naqsh-bandi or Qadiri brotherhood.142

Following the bloody suppression of the 1877-78 revolt, the tsaristadministration generally behaved with outward tolerance toward both

138 Broxup, " T h e Last Ghazawat," p. 118. 139 Ibid.140 Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, " T h e Chechens and Ingush Dur ing the Soviet Period

and Its Antecedents" in Broxup, ed., North Caucasus Barrier•, pp. 1 5 0 - 5 1 .141 Ibid., p . 151. 142 Broxup, " T h e Last Ghazawat," p. 119.

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 33

national schools and the Islamic religion in Chechnya; the OrthodoxChurch was even forbidden to proselytize in Chechnya and in Dagestan.(Attempts were, however, made to counter the spread of the Arabiclanguage in the region.) In 1913, it was reported that in Chechnya alonethere were 806 mosques and 427 medressehs (religious schools).143

This spirit of religious tolerance exhibited by the tsarist authorities,however circ*mscribed, is still recalled with favor by present-dayChechens.

To cite one example of such sentiment, when, in early 1996, anAmerican journalist had occasion to talk with Shirvani Basaev, com-mander of the Chechen forces in Vedeno district and brother of aleading Chechen guerrilla fighter, Shirvani commented: "Russia wouldbe a different and better country today if the Romanov dynasty were stillin power." "[T]he Romanovs," he explained to an intrigued listener,were religious people and "therefore Russia under their rule included a'divine factor' which is now absent." "People without faith," Shirvaniconcluded, "are more dangerous than those who accept God as a higherpower."144 For the Chechens of 1996, Boris Yeltsin and the leadershipof the Russian Federation were regarded as atheists, people far worsethan the Romanov dynasty.

The "land question" and the military courtsDuring the period separating the suppression of Shamir in 1859 and theBolshevik Revolution of 1917, the "land question" served to putperhaps the most strain on relations between Russia and the mountain-eers. The commander-in-chief of Russian military forces in the Cau-casus for 1863-65 issued a report in which he noted that "there wereseven Cossacks per square verst of land and 12.6 mountaineers - in fact600,000 Cossacks had nearly twice as much land per head as 948,000mountaineers."145 By 1912, this imbalance had worsened further: "TheIngush and the Chechens, with average land allotments of 5.8 and 3.0desiatinas, were the poorest people in the [North Caucasus] area. Theirhatred was concentrated on the Cossacks."146 By 1912, the TerekCossacks already possessed more than twice as much land per person

143 Wixman, Language Aspects, p. 119, n. 1.144 Lawrence A. Uzzell, Keston N e w s Service Report, [emailprotected], 5 February

1996.145 Seton-Watson, Russian Empire, p. 2 9 1 , n. 1. A verst is 0.66 miles.146 Richard Pipes, The Formation of the Soviet Union: Communism and Nationalism,

1917-1923 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957), p. 96. A desiatina is2.7 acres.

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(13.57 desiatinas) as did the native peoples of the mountains (6.05desiatinas).147

Hundreds and thousands of hectares of fertile land and also the bestwooded land had been given to the Cossacks by the tsarist authorities.Retired Russian soldiers and peasant settlers - some of whom hadthemselves renamed "Cossacks" and were treated as such - were alsobeneficiaries of this tsarist largesse, at the expense of the mountaineers.In 1864, Emperor Alexander II had issued a decree concerning the"inviolability of their [i.e., the mountaineers'] religion, adats, lands, andwoods," which were to be "preserved unshakably and in perpetuity forthe peoples of the North Caucasus."148 This solemn pledge by theemperor was, however, soon violated and "hundreds of thousands ofhectares of fine land and vast stretches of untouched forest were eithergiven to 'highly placed persons' and settlers or declared to be stateproperty. Consequently, all the North Caucasian tribes lacked arableland."149

A second perceived injustice which rankled the Chechens and othermountaineers during the period 1859-1917 was the trial system. If aRussian or Cossack was accused of a crime, he or she would normally behanded over to the civil authorities. For identical or similar crimes,however, the Chechens "came under the sole jurisdiction of the militaryauthorities and were judged by the military district courts."150 Often theChechens who stood before these courts were sentenced to death. Thus,a dual system of justice prevailed - one system for the Russians andCossacks, and another for the Chechens and other mountaineers.

Economic development

The discovery of oil in Chechnya served as a powerful stimulus foreconomic development, and during the 1880s and 1890s the regionexperienced an economic boom connected with the expansion of the oilindustry in the vicinity of the principal city, Groznyi. That city alsobecame a major industrial and transport center, and a railroad and oilpipeline began to be constructed. The opening of the New Groznyipetroleum industries in 1913 sparked "oil fever" in the region. Thestrong development of industry, trade, and transport in the last years oftsarist Russia led to the formation of a national bourgeoisie in

147 Ibid. , p . 94 .148 P. Kosok, "Revolut ion and Sovietization in the N o r t h Caucasus , " Caucasian Review, 1

(1955) , 49 .149 Ibid. 1 5° Ibid. , 4 8 .

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The Chechens' encounter with Russia 35

Chechnya; there also emerged a national intelligentsia, relatively few innumber, consisting largely of military officers and teachers.151

The Chechens under the tsars - a summarySumming up the painful fate of the Chechens and Ingush under thetsarist system, Russian ethnographer Galina Soldatova has written: "Inthe process of association with Russia, these nationalities received aseries of powerful Vaccinations' against any potential Russification. Thestart of their close mutual relations with Russia coincided with thebeginning of the Caucasus war, which lasted nearly half a century andwas fought under the banner of gazavat on the part of indigenousMuslim nationalities of the Caucasus. This was followed by anotherhalf-century of colonization of the Caucasus by tsarist Russia and by thetroubled times of revolution . . . It hardly needs stating that the Sovietperiod is associated with Russian rule."152 The "vaccinations" to whichSoldatova refers explain, to a degree, the upsurge of Chechen secessio-nist sentiment in 1990 and 1991, though the deportation of 1944undoubtedly served as a significantly stronger factor.

As Soldatova has rightly noted, the historical encounter of Chechenswith Russians was scarcely a felicitous one. During the nineteenth-century Caucasus War, the Chechens lost close to half of their popula-tion and saw their economy uprooted and destroyed. They wereincorporated against their will and by naked force into the RussianEmpire. Despite explicit pledges made to them by Emperor AlexanderII and by other high-ranking Russian officials following the surrender ofShamir in 1859, they did not come to receive equal treatment withother peoples of the Empire but were instead reduced to a condition ofharsh poverty and of "land hunger" and, in contrast with ethnicRussians, saw justice meted out to them by military rather than civiliancourts.

Particularly galling to the Chechens was the Russian government'svisible preference for and lavish treatment of the Cossacks, their historicneighbors and frequent rivals. Traditional Chechen lands were takenaway from them and awarded in large swaths to the Cossacks. Despitebeing the victims of clear-cut discrimination under the tsars, theChechens, as we have seen, remain to a degree ambivalent about theimperial period, recalling with favor the religious liberties they came to

1 5 1 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p . 152.1 5 2 Gal ina U. Soldatova, " T h e Fo rmer Checheno-Ingushet iya ," in Leokadia Drobizheva,

Rose Gottemoeller , Cather ine McArdle Kelleher, and Lee Walker, eds. , Ethnic Conflictin the Post-Soviet World (Armonk, NY: M . E. Sharpe , 1996) , pp. 2 2 4 - 2 5 .

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enjoy in the years after 1859. They also recall, to take one otherexample, that they were permitted to form their own national units aspart of the so-called Wild Division of the imperial army at the time ofthe First World War.153

Moving from the realm of perceptions to that of objective processes,we can see that, beginning with General Aleksei Yermolov, the tsaristmilitary and political leadership were unwittingly engaged in acceler-ating the national formation and religious self-identification of theChechen people. In response to the aggressive policies and depredationsof Yermolov and his successors in the North Caucasus, the variousChechen tribes and clans, frequently feuding among themselves, under-went the beginnings of a slow process of national consolidation, thoughin the main they continued to conceive of themselves as gortsy, part of alarger supra-ethnic Caucasus-wide Muslim entity.

Similarly, in the religious sphere, the aggression of Yermolov and hissuccessors effectively forced the Chechens into the arms of NaqshbandiSufi imams from neighboring Dagestan, who provided the ideologicalunderpinning for the long Caucasus War. Following their devastatingdefeat in this war, some Chechens sought, with heavy-handed tsaristencouragement, to emigrate to Ottoman Turkey, with catastrophicresults for those who left. Others turned to the Qadiriya, the Sufibrotherhood which today remains one of the two most influentialMuslim tariqats among Chechens (the other being the Naqshbandiya).

Revolution and civil warThe period which began with the February ("bourgeois") Revolution of1917 and concluded with the Red Army's investing of Chechnya in thesummer of 1920 saw the Chechens, like all the peoples of the Empire,pitched into chaos and tumult. Exploiting the loosening of controlsbrought about by the February Revolution, a group of educatedmountaineers meeting in May 1917 in Vladikavkaz convoked a "FirstNorth Caucasus Congress" and established a "Central Committee ofthe North Caucasus and Dagestan." This new Central Committee wasto act as a provisional government for an independent North Caucasusstate.

In September 1917, the organization's Second Congress ratified aprovisional constitution for the newly formed state. At first, the leader-ship behind this initiative, who were political moderates, appear to haveseen their state as being autonomous within Russia. And when, in153 On the "Wild Division," see Shakhbiev, Sud'ba checheno-ingushskogo naroda, pp.


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October 1917, the new Military Government of the Terek Cossacksoffered the mountaineers an alliance, they proved receptive. Theseovertures, however, were soon brought to nothing by the Chechens andIngush who, having waited for nearly a year to regain the lands whichthey had lost to the Russians, "in December 1917 . . . swooped downfrom the mountains and attacked the cities and Cossack settlements,"rendering further cooperation among Cossacks and mountaineers im-possible. The cities of Vladikavkaz, Groznyi, and the entire CossackLine along the Sunzha were attacked.154 Clashes between the Chechensand Ingush and the Cossacks over the land question continued into1918.155

On 11 May 1918, after the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia, theNorth Caucasus state declared itself to be fully independent of theRussian Federation. Its independence was recognized by the CentralPowers - Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey - and Turkey alsoconcluded a formal treaty with the new state in June 1918. The leadingfigures in the North Caucasus state were Tapa Chermoev, a Chechenentrepreneur and social activist, who became president, and Vassan-Giray Jabagi, who was chosen head of parliament.156 With the establish-ment of this Mountain Republic (Gorskaya Respublika), as it becameknown, in 1918, an educational system was put in place under whichArabic and Turkish became the chief languages of instruction, thoughlocal languages, such as Chechen, were also employed. Turkish wasrecognized as one of the official languages of the republic.157

The Naqshbandiya revivesIn addition to sparking the emergence of an independent MountainRepublic, headed by educated moderates, the political tumult of 1917and 1918 also activated the Sufi Muslim leadership throughout theeastern North Caucasus. In August 1917, a congress of religious leadersmeeting in the mountain aul of Andi in the Avar region of Dagestandecided to revive the tradition of the imamate which had been aban-doned in 1859 following the capture of Shamir. The Naqshbandi sheikhNajmuddin of Hotso (Gotsinskii) was chosen imam of Dagestan andChechnya. The goals pursued by the revived tariqat were the restorationof a theocracy governed by the sharia; the expulsion of the Russians

154 Pipes, Formation, p. 97. 155 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 153.156 Avtorkhanov, " C h e c h e n s and I n g u s h / ' p . 152; Muzaev , Chechenskaya respublika,

p. 153.157 W i x m a n , Language Aspects, pp . 1 1 9 - 2 0 .

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from the region; and the liquidation of Muslims who were supporting"infidel" rulers.158

Another key Naqshbandi leader to emerge at this time was SheikhUzun Haji, a gifted military leader, learned Arabist, and strict adherentof the sharia, who had spent fifteen years in a Siberian labor camp beforeFebruary 1917. By 1918, Najmuddin and Uzun had at their commandan army of 10,000 men, "the best fighting force in the North Cauca-sus."159 The military prowess of this army proved to be a near-fatalsurprise for General Denikin and his White Army.

In May and June 1919, the White regiments under Denikin hadbegun to move into the North Caucasus region occupying Dagestan andthen the Terek. Denikin flatly refused to recognize the strong pro-independence sentiment among the mountaineers and held firmly to theslogan "Great Russia, One and Indivisible." At first, he placed theadministration of the region in the hands of officers of native origin whoserved in his army, and made no attempt to interfere in local life. InAugust 1919, however, while making an all-out effort to captureMoscow, Denikin issued an order drafting the natives into militaryservice. Traditionally exempt from the draft, the mountaineers refusedto obey these orders, and Denikin then sent punitive detachments toteach them a lesson.

Having encountered and overcome serious resistance in Kabarda andNorth Ossetiya, Denikin then entered the territory of the Chechens andIngush. With the aim of breaking down their opposition to the Whites,he burned down dozens of the largest cities of the region: Chechen-Aul,Alkhan-Yurt, Gudermes, Staryi-Yurt, and many others. This under-standably elicited a strong desire for revenge on the part of the Chechensand Ingush. Denikin himself soon came to term the region a "seethingvolcano."160

By October-November 1919, "the White forces were engaged in afull-scale war with the natives of the Northern Caucasus . . . occurringat a decisive moment of the civil war when the fate of Moscow itselfhung in the balance."161 Led by Sheikh Uzun Haji, the combined forcesof the mountaineers methodically liberated the mountains of Dagestan,Chechnya, Ossetiya, and Kabarda. Uzun then proclaimed the indepen-dence of the North Caucasus and announced the founding of a "NorthCaucasus Emirate."

By February 1920, Denikin had been forced to evacuate the territoryof the Emirate, now a theocratic state modeled on Shamir's earlier

158 Bennigsen and Wimbush, Mystics and Commissars, p. 24. 159 Ibid., p. 25.160 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 153. 161 Pipes, Formation, p. 215.

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imamate. The Emirate was placed under the nominal rule of theOttoman sultan. In March 1920, Uzun died at the age of ninety, andseveral months after this the Red Army - which had been offeringlimited support to the mountaineers in their struggle against the Whites- moved in to occupy the region.162 While the Chechens' fate over thefirst six millennia of their existence had scarcely been a carefree one,their severest ordeal as a people had now arrived.162 Broxup, "The Last Ghazawat," pp. 114-15. Paul Henze has noted that, today, "The

most celebrated holy place in Chechnya is the tomb of Uzun Haji in the aul of Dyshnein Vedeno district. It is visited by Muslims from all parts of the Caucasus, for he hasbecome the 'patron saint' of all mountaineers after the manner of Sheikh Mansurnearly two centuries ago." (See Henze, Islam in the North Caucasus, p. 25, n. 37.)

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Soviet genocide

In 1944 the Chechen-Ingush ASSR was liquidated.From the Large Soviet Encyclopedia1

Stalin faithfully executed the orders of Nicholas I to exterminate theMountaineers, albeit after a delay of more than a century.

Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov2

In the spring of 1920, the Eleventh Red Army - "a purely Russian armyled by Russian commanders and Russian political cadres"3 - moved inand occupied the lowlands of Dagestan. This army was feeling close toinvincible, inasmuch as communist forces had just defeated the WhiteArmy in European Russia and had conquered Azerbaijan almostwithout firing a shot. Georgia and Armenia had also been subduedwithin a few short weeks. As a result of Denikin's intransigence andmistaken policies, the mountaineers looked with sympathy on the Redforces; in Dagestan, their arrival was even compared to a column ofpilgrims on their way to Mecca.4

By August 1920, however, many mountaineers had formed a contraryview of the Reds. Ignorant of and indifferent to local conditions, theReds, like the Whites before them, committed a series of mistakes whichinflamed the peoples of the North Caucasus. Chauvinistic cadres fromthe Narkomnats (People's Commissariat of Nationalities) based inRostov-on-Don applied the harsh methods of "War Communism" tothe prickly mountaineers. Patriarchal traditions were attacked, as wasthe Islamic religion, and repeated indignities were visited upon thenatives, such as punitive raids, police denunciations, and blackmail.5

In August, a rebellion broke out which had all the traditional1 In Robert Conquest, The Nation Killers, 2nd edn. (New York: Macmillan, 1970), p. 170.2 Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, "The Chechens and Ingush During the Soviet Period and

Its Antecedents," in Marie Bennigsen Broxup, ed., The North Caucasus Barrier (NewYork: St. Martin's Press, 1992), p. 184.

3 Broxup, "The Last Ghazawat: The 1920-1921 Uprising," in Broxup, North CaucasusBarrier, p. 112.

4 Ibid., p. 122. 5 Ibid.

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Soviet genocide 41

characteristics of a Muslim gazavat. The nominal leader of the revoltwas Said-Bek, a great-grandson of Imam Shamir. The political andspiritual leader of the revolt was an Avar, Najmuddin of Hotso (Got-sinskii), who, as we saw in chapter 1 (pp. 37-39), had been electedimam of Dagestan and Chechnya in August 1917. The militarycommand of the uprising was divided between Naqshbandi sheikhsloyal to the late Uzun Haji's theocratic ideal and a group of formertsarist military officers led by Colonel Kaitmas Alikhanov, an Avarnobleman.6

The war between the Reds and the mountaineers lasted for about ayear, but the rebellion was finally quelled only in 1925, when, as we shallsee, the Bolsheviks succeeded in capturing Najmuddin and othersurviving Naqshbandi sheikhs who had taken refuge in Chechnya. Therevolt, which took place under the slogan "National Liberation and theShariat State," began in the southern districts of Dagestan bordering onGeorgia, but it soon spread throughout Dagestan and Chechnya.

Like Shamir's forces in the period following the Crimean War, therebels were massively outmanned and outgunned. The commander ofthe Eleventh Red Army, Todorskii, estimated in January 1921 that therebels numbered slightly fewer than 10,000 fighters and were poorlyarmed, with antique rifles and swords along with some forty machineguns which they had captured in battle.7 The mountaineer forces wereuzdens, free men with loyalties to their clan and to their Sufi tariqat.They came from the same Chechen and Dagestani mountain settle-ments that had led the resistance to the tsarist advance over the previouscentury.

The Reds, as has been noted, massively outnumbered the lightlyarmed mountaineers. They had two full armies at their disposal: theEleventh (the "Terek-Dagestan Army") and the Ninth (the "Kuban'Army"). The combined forces boasted twenty-seven rifle regiments, sixcavalry regiments, six artillery groups, and two battalions of InnerSecurity, plus a number of special formations such as aviation, armoredcars, technical units, and detachments of local and Moscow-based cheka(secret police). The total number of heavily armed Red fighters was35,000-40,000.8

Of course, the mountaineers had no chance against such over-whelming numerical superiority and such advantages in firepower.Using military tactics modeled on the tsarist conquest of the region -but applied far more ruthlessly - the Reds moved from one valley toanother, slaughtering and deporting the local population. The rebels

6 Ibid., pp. 114-15. 7 Ibid., p. 116. 8 Ibid., pp. 116-17.

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fought with their customary courage, and there were almost no survivorsfrom among their 10,000-man force.9 On occasion, they inflicted majorcasualties on the Reds; thus, for example, on 21 January 1921, theysurrounded the elite Cavalry Regiment of the Moscow Cadet Brigadenear Alleroy and killed ten officers and eighty-three cadets from theunit. The Red Army is reported to have lost 5,000 men in Dagestanalone.10 The rebels also exhibited their usual tenacity: numerous up-risings broke out in supposedly pacified aw/s, and there were frequentassassinations of occupation Red forces.

In May 1921, following the storming of the Dido-Avar fortress ofGidatl in Dagestan, the struggle, which had commenced in August1920, came to a bloody end. "[T]he backward Dagestani and Chechenmasses," the victorious Bolsheviks trumpeted, " [have been] freed fromthe cabal of the White Guard officer class, and the lies and deceptions ofparasitic sheikhs and mullahs." The Red Army, "the friend and mightydefender of the poor," was now in charge.11 In 1923, approximately10,000 mountaineers - the sources do not say how many of them wereChechens - were expelled from the mountains to the lowland regions.12

Stalin pledges his wordOn 20 January 1921, at a time when the Said-Bek rebellion was still verymuch in progress, the Bolshevik people's commissar for nationalities,Iosif Stalin, met in Vladikavkaz with political moderates who hadfounded the Mountain Republic in 1917-18. The occasion was aperiodic congress of that new republic. Stalin explained to the assem-bled delegates the policy of the Ail-Union Central Executive Committee(the Bolshevik government) regarding nationalities and proclaimed anamnesty for all those who had participated in the Said-Bek revolt, oncondition that the uprising cease and the authority of the Sovietgovernment be recognized. Stalin solemnly declared that the Sovietgovernment acknowledged the internal sovereignty and independence ofthe mountaineers.13

In the name of the Bolshevik government, Stalin recommended thecreation of a new "Soviet Mountain Republic," which would be granteda large degree of autonomy "so that the old dreams of the Mountainpeople might come true and their own independent government becomea reality."14 The assembled congress made its recognition of the Sovietgovernment conditional upon the sharia being officially accepted as thebasic constitutional law of the Mountain Republic. It also stipulated that

9 Ibid., p. 117. 10 Ibid., pp. 135-41. " Ibid., pp. 139-40.12 Ibid., p. 143. 13 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 154. 14 Ibid.

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Soviet genocide 43

the central government should pledge not to intervene in the republic'sinternal affairs, and that the lands of the mountaineers - which had beentaken away from them under the tsars - should be returned. Stalinformally accepted these conditions, and the congress then officiallyrecognized the Soviet government.

Thus there came into (temporary) existence a Soviet MountainRepublic consisting of six administrative oblasts: Chechnya, Ingushe-tiya, Ossetiya, Kabarda, Balkariya, and Karachai. Dagestan was notincluded in this new entity; rather it was made an independent republic- the Soviet Socialist Republic of Dagestan. The new MountainRepublic bizarrely combined Bolshevik and Islamic symbols: there was aSoviet emblem on its banner but it had a shariat constitution. Portraitsof Shamir and his naibs replaced those of Lenin and other Politburomembers in all administrative institutions, schools, and public places inthe republic.

The Bolsheviks even took action on the key land question: severalCossack settlements were moved into the Russian interior on the ordersof Stalin and Sergo Ordzhonikidze, and their lands were then returnedto the Chechens and Ingush.15 The leaders of the Mountain Republicwere intellectuals who had supported the Bolsheviks from 1917 on andwho had been attracted by the Bolshevik promise to give the nations ofthe North Caucasus the right to self-determination and secession. Theynaively believed that the Bolsheviks would respect the autonomy of theirnew republic.

The Bolsheviks renegeThat the concessions made by the Bolsheviks had been purely tactical innature began to become apparent a year and a half after Stalin's pledgeof January 1921. The Bolsheviks had not forgotten the Said-Bekuprising of 1920-21 and were determined to "pacify" and disarmChechnya, the site of some of the heaviest fighting. In the summer of1922, the regime moved a large force into Chechnya, which seizedseveral hundred rifles and three machine guns; several homes of"bandits" were burned down.16 (This abusive term would be revived byYeltsin and his entourage some seventy-two years later.)

By late 1922, following a self-evident strategy of "divide and rule," theBolsheviks began to break up the Mountain Republic, which they hadsolemnly recognized the previous year. On 30 November 1922, they15 Ibid.16 V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V. Marchenko, Chechenskii krizis (Moscow:

Tsentr kompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii i marketinga, 1995), p. 8.

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created a Chechen Autonomous Oblast', thereby severing Chechnyafrom the remainder of the Mountain Republic. In July 1924, theremaining five oblasts of the republic were liquidated, and the formerconstituent parts of the republic became provinces of a capacious NorthCaucasian krai, an administrative entity with no religious or ethnicsignificance.17

Once Chechnya had been formally detached from the MountainRepublic in November 1922, the Bolsheviks initiated serious efforts toconduct a general disarming of the population. Not only did theyconfiscate existing personal weapons, but they also imposed an obli-gation on each household to surrender at least one firearm to theauthorities. This forced disarmament was, of course, deeply resented bythe Chechen populace, who saw it as preparation for forthcomingrepressions and as an attempt to deprive them of rights guaranteed bythe shariat constitution, to which Stalin and the Soviet government hadjust agreed.18

The Bolsheviks exact revengeBy the summer of 1925, the Bolsheviks felt themselves ready to make aserious attempt to "pacify" obstreperous Chechnya. Key archival docu-ments relating to this sanguinary operation have recently been publishedin the journal Istochnik.19 According to a communication from A. I.Mikoyan, secretary of the North Caucasus party kraikom, "Stalin gavehis personal assent to the necessity of this operation."20

The operation itself was conducted from 23 August until 12 Sep-tember. In a report to the Politburo, dated 5 September, I. S. Unshlikht,deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR,wrote with satisfaction: "An operation has been carried out in accordwith the decision of the Politburo to disarm the Chechen AutonomousOblast' and to remove the chiefs of counter-revolution and banditry."The operation, Unshlikht noted, had been conducted by combinedforces of the North Caucasus Military District and the OGPU (secretpolice); the military contingent had numbered 6,857 troops, armed with130 heavy-caliber machine guns, while the OGPU detachment had

17 Ronald Wixman, Language Aspects of Ethnic Patterns and Processes in the North Caucasus(Chicago: University of Chicago Department of Geography Research Series, no. 191,1980) , pp. 1 3 6 - 3 7 ; Ol'ga Vasil'eva, "North Caucasus," in Klaus Segbers and Stephande Spiegeleire, eds., Post-Soviet Puzzles (Baden Baden, Germany: N o m o s , 1995) , vol.II, p. 427.

18 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 156.19 "Stalin dal lichnoe soglasie," Istochnik, no. 5 (1995) , 1 4 0 - 5 1 .2 0 Ibid., 142. All the quotations in this section are taken from this article.

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consisted of 341 persons. Eight bombers and artillery were alsoemployed in the course of the operation.

Unshlikht's reports stress that the key to the success of the operationwas a combination of deceit and blinding speed. "The concentration oftroops on the territory of the oblast'," he wrote, "was conducted underthe guise of participating in forthcoming maneuvers." These troops hadbeen concentrated on the northern, eastern, and western borders ofChechnya, so that they could simultaneously thrust toward the center ofthe oblast' and "carry out the disarming of the populace and the removalof bandit elements." The southern border had been sealed off by specialdetachments of the Caucasus Red Banner Army.

In his report of 17 September, Unshlikht noted contentedly that theoperation had given "a rather complete result." The "suddenness[vnezapnost']" of the assault, he underlined, was a major reason why theChechens had not had time to take countermeasures. Nonetheless,Unshlikht was required to admit that the Red forces had encounteredfierce resistance. The attempts to capture "especially important chiefs ofbanditry in Chechnya" such as Sheikh Najmuddin of Hotso (Gotsinskii)and Sheikh Amin of Ansalta (Ansalatinskii), Unshlikht reported on 8September, had provoked fierce resistance.

When, for example, Najmuddin's surrender was demanded of theChechen settlement where he had taken refuge, this demand wasrefused. The Bolsheviks then took "respected old men" of the com-munity as hostages; this ploy also failed. Finally, they had to resort to"artillery fire and bombing from the air (twenty-two poods of bombswere dropped)"21 to force his surrender on 5 September. Three dayspreviously. Sheikh Amin had likewise given himself up after artilleryshelling and bombing of the settlement where he had concealed himself.

In addition to being aimed at arresting (and later executing) im-portant leaders of the 1920-21 rebellion, the operation also had the goalof seizing weapons. According to Unshlikht's report of 12 September,some 21,000 rifles and 3,000 revolvers were taken from the Chechens.

Simultaneously with the military operation, Unshlikht noted, a purgeof "bandit elements" in the soviet apparatus was being carried out, andthe revolutionary committees (revkomy) were being organized fromrepresentatives of the populace in sympathy with the Bolsheviks. Thereremained, however, he cautioned, a need to "sovietize the region, tostrengthen the soviet and party apparatuses with reliable workers, and toprovide economic assistance to the populace."

During the mass deportation of the Chechens in 1944, the regime,

21 A pood is 16.38 kilograms.

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one presumes, made use of the principal lessons of the 1925 operation:namely, the need for blinding speed and for deceit. These lessons had,however, apparently been forgotten at the time of the Russian militaryinvasion of Chechnya in December 1994.

"Divide and rule" policy applied to MuslimsIn addition to the use of overwhelming military and police force, theBolsheviks were also politically successful in the North Caucasus regionin the early to mid 1920s due to their astute "divide and rule" policies.This approach was successfully applied even in the religious sphere.Thus, between 1918 and 1926, in Dagestan, they succeeded in dividingthe powerful Naqshbandiya tariqat by opposing the influential SheikhAli of Akusha to Najmuddin of Hotso. Similarly, in the Chechen-Ingushterritory, they attracted Ali Mitaev, the head of the powerful BammatGiray brotherhood, to their side; in 1920, Ali had been the head of theChechen Revolutionary Committee. The Bolshevik regime's co-operation with these two men was temporary and tactical; in 1925, AliMitaev was executed, while Ali of Akusha was dispatched the followingyear.22

RussificationA key element in the Bolshevik strategy vis-a-vis the mountaineers wasto create a small number of inclusive national groups through encourag-ing the assimilation of smaller peoples. The aim behind this approachwas "to create ethnic groups large enough to maintain their individualidentities, but too small to resist Russianization and Russification."23

Toward this end, on 15 January 1934, the Chechen AutonomousOblast' and the Ingush Autonomous Oblast' were combined into oneautonomous oblast'. In December 1936, in accord with the new "StalinConstitution," it was organized into a Chechen-Ingush ASSR situatedwithin the larger Russian Federation. By fusing Chechens and Ingushtogether, the communists sought to create a combined "Vainakh"identity which would result in the assimilation of the Ingush and wouldleave both peoples vulnerable to Russianization and Russification.

Another way in which the regime carried out Russification was in thecritical language sphere. When in January 1921, the Bolsheviks agreedto the formation of the Soviet Mountain Republic, they recognizedArabic as the official language of education in the new republic. In so22 Broxup, "Introduct ion," in Broxup, North Caucasus Barrier, p. 6.23 Wixman, Language Aspects, p. 152.

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doing, they acceded to the wishes of the populace of the region; Arabicwas to serve as a written lingua franca for the republic and, of course, tofacilitate the instruction of religion in Muslim schools. The Koran wasnot supposed to be translated into the vernacular, and a knowledge ofArabic was thus a necessary conduit to the religion and its literature.

The regime soon undertook, through deceit and trickery, to detachthe mountaineers from the Arabic language. During the years 1923-25,Latinized alphabets were constructed for all of the North Caucasianlanguages. An orthography in the Latin alphabet had been devised forChechen as early as 1923.24 In 1928-29, it was mandated that alllanguages previously written in Arabic script now had to be transcribedinto the Latin alphabet.25 The clear-cut aim behind this move was toremove Arabic as a lingua franca and an entree to Islam while avoidingthe stigma of too obvious Russification, which would have resulted froma decision immediately to shift over from Arabic to Cyrillic.

That latter move was put off until 1938, when the Kremlin "advised"the peoples of the North Caucasus to give up the Latin for the Cyrillicalphabet.26 The following year, 1939, the Soviet government also madethe study of Russian as a second language obligatory in all schools of theUSSR.27

Adjusting bordersAnother means by which the Bolsheviks carried out Russification wasthe constant alteration of the borders of the autonomous regions. Whena combined Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic was created in1936, for example, it included territory and populace which had notpreviously been part of the Chechen oblast' or the Ingush oblast'. Thereason for this action was clearly to dilute the ethnic "weight" ofChechens and Ingush in the new combined oblast'. In 1926, the IngushAutonomous Oblast', with a total population of 75,133, had consistedof 93 percent Ingush and only 1 percent (900 persons) Russians.Similarly, in the same year, the Chechen Autonomous Oblast', with atotal population of 309,860, had consisted of 94 percent Chechens and2.9 percent Russians.28

In 1934, new Russian-dominated territories were added to theprevious Chechen and Ingush Autonomous Oblasts. Groznyi Autono-24 See Johanna Nichols, "Chechen , " in Rieks Smeets, ed., The Indigenous Languages of the

Caucasus (Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1994), vol. IV, p. 3.25 Wixman, Language Aspects, p . 146.26 R. Karcha, "Genocide in the N o r t h e r n Caucasus ," Caucasian Review, 2 (1956) , 77;

Nichols, "Chechen ," p. 3 .27 Wixman, Language Aspects, p. 148. 28 Ibid., p. 139.

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mous City (whose population of 98,000 included 68,152 Russians andonly 1,931 Chechens and 24 Ingush), Sunzha okrug (whose totalpopulation of 34,900 included 31,202 Russians and 2,522 Ukrainiansbut only 230 Chechens and 301 Ingush), and the southwestern part ofTerskii okrug (also predominantly Russian) were combined with ancientChechen and Ingush territories to create a more Slavic populationmix.29 By altering the administrative status of the Chechens and otherMuslim peoples of the North Caucasus, the Soviets sought to break up aunited sense of "mountaineer" identity. They also wanted to weaken theethnic clout of each of these peoples by combining their lands withRussian-dominated territories. Russification was a common goal behindthese practices.

In seeking to uproot a sense of united "mountaineer" identity,however, the regime unwittingly prepared the eventual emergence of avigorous nationalism among the ethnie of the North Caucasus, peopleswhich, until the late 1930s, had not manifested a strong national self-awareness. As Jane Ormrod has observed: "Indifference on the part ofthe North Caucasian groups - both peasants and intelligentsia - toparticipate in the development of their 'national' cultures suggests thatthese cultures were not, at least in the 1920s and early 1930s, animportant part of their identity. N. G. Volkova and L. I. Lavrov havecharacterized North Caucasian national consciousness in this period asa local, clan consciousness, together with a 'parallel consciousness' of a'huge ethnic society' of North Caucasian gortsy. Initially, the NorthCaucasian peoples exhibited little consciousness of themselves asmembers of their officially recognized national groups. Only aftertwenty years of Soviet power did official national identity begin toemerge."30 It was a strong separatist nationalism which was fifty yearslater to fuel the "Chechen Revolution" of 1991.

Anti-religious persecutionThe major Bolshevik anti-Islamic drive coincided with the inception offorced collectivization in 1929, but, even before that time, the regimehad moved to curtail the influence of Islam. Thus, in 1924, allmedressehs were ordered shut down throughout the North Caucasus,except in Dagestan, where they remained open until 1926-27.31 In

29 Ibid.30 Jane Ormrod, " T h e Nor th Caucasus: Confederation in Conflict," in Ian Bremmer and

Ray Taras, eds., New States, New Politics: Building the Post-Soviet Nations (Cambridge,UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 98.

31 Wixman, Language Aspects, pp. 142-44.

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similar vein, all pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca andMedina were strictly prohibited.32

CollectivizationIn the autumn of 1929, the Chechen party obkom received a telegramfrom Politburo member Andrei Andreev informing its members that theNorth Caucasus had been selected as the first territory in the USSRwhere "complete collectivization" would be introduced and where therich peasantry (kulachestvd) would be liquidated as a class. Followingthis official announcement, representatives of the party Central Com-mittee and other high-ranking party officials arrived in the auls> wherethey proceeded to confiscate real estate and personal property fromsome peasants, who were then arrested as kulaks and sent off with theirfamilies to Siberia. Other peasants had their possessions seized andturned over to the new kolkhozes (collective farms).33

As historian Alexander Nekrich has noted, this crude attempt to"collectivize" Chechnya represented a logical absurdity: "Chechnya didnot have private ownership of land. Only in the mountain khutory didfamilies own a certain amount of property individually. In the lowlandseverything was held in common - the land, the water, and the forests.Therefore, the term 'kulak,' applied to the concrete conditions inChecheno-Ingushetiya, loses all meaning."34

Despite the illogicality of their program, the collectivizers aggressivelypressed ahead with their plan. Between January and March 1930, thenumber of farms combined into kolkhozes increased six to seven timesin Chechnya. While it was relatively easy to collectivize the lowlandfarming areas, where the population as a rule lived in compact commu-nities, it was a different matter altogether to collectivize the highlanddistricts, where distant pasture livestock farming remained the mainoccupation. Such migratory farming was viewed by the regime as"totally reactionary."35

Faced with a far-reaching and mindless assault on their economiclivelihood and traditional way of life, the Chechens "rose as one." Themost significant revolts occurred in Goiti, Shali, Benoi, Cheberloevskoe,Artury, and Nozhai-Yurtovskoe. The insurgents occupied all rural andregional institutions, burned official archives, and arrested the staff of32 Karcha, "Genocide," 76.33 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 157.34 Alexander M. Nekrich, The Punished People* ( N e w York: W. W. Norton, 1978) , p. 44 .35 Nikolai Fedorovich Bugai, "The Truth About the Deportation of the Chechen and

Ingush Peoples," Soviet Studies in History, Fall (1991) , 6 8 - 6 9 . The original Russianversion of this article was published in Voprosy istorii, 7 (1990) , 3 2 - 4 4 .

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the obkom government, chiefs of the GPU included. In the town ofBenoi, they seized the petroleum refineries.36 According to Sovietarchival documents, sixty-nine acts of "terrorism" were recorded inChechnya in 1931-33, the victims being leading party and governmentworkers, secret police agents, and so forth. The archives notably fail toexplain the motivation behind these "terrorist" acts.37

What in fact did the rebels want? In the Chechen settlement of Benoi,the leaders of the uprising founded a provisional government and thenpresented the following demands to the Soviet authorities: " 1 . Illegalconfiscation of peasant property, i.e., 'collectivization,' must be stopped;2. Arbitrary arrests of peasants . . . must cease; 3. The GPU chiefs mustbe recalled from Chechnya and replaced by civil officers of Chechenorigin . . . ; 4. The 'popular' courts imposed from above must beliquidated and the institution of shariat courts . . . reinstated; 5. Theintervention of regional and central authorities in the internal affairs ofthe 'Chechen Autonomous [Oblast']' [must] be stopped and all theeconomic and political decisions taken by the [1917-18] ChechenCongress [enacted]."38 As can be seen, the rebels wanted the Sovietgovernment to honor the pledges made by Stalin to the new MountainRepublic in January 1921.

When confronted with firm and united opposition, the communistswere prepared to take several strategic steps backwards. On this occa-sion, a government delegation, which included Central Committeemember K. Nikolaev, arrived in Groznyi from Moscow to end theinsurrection peacefully. A local "peace commission" was set up whichincluded three Chechen religious leaders and the chairman and secre-tary of the oblast' party committee. This commission solemnly pro-claimed: "Chechnya's internal matters will be settled in the future bythe Chechen people."39 The insurgents expressed satisfaction with thework of the commission and agreed to return to their homes.

As usual, the regime's concessions had been tactical and temporary.Four days after the commission's statement, at one o'clock in themorning, a GPU detachment surrounded the home of one of the chiefinsurgents, sh*ta Istamulov, who had led the revolt in Shali. Incredibly,the heavily armed sh*ta and his brother, Hassan, managed to hold offthe GPU in a firefight lasting until dawn (Hassan was badly wounded).At daybreak, approximately a hundred Chechen horsem*n arrived onthe scene and cut the GPU unit to ribbons.

36 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," pp. 157-58; Bugai, "The Truth," 69.37 Nekr ich , Punished Peoples, p . 4 3 .38 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 158. 39 Ibid.

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Vexed at this act of betrayal on the part of the authorities, sh*taappealed to all Chechens to join with him in a gazavat to reestablishShamir's imamate and to evict the Soviet "infidels" from the Caucasus.The towns of Shali, Goiti, and Benoi rose up, and the rebellion spreadto Dagestan, North Ossetiya, Kabarda, Balkariya, and Karachai. Thisdevelopment, however, served to convince the communists that harshpunitive action had to be taken to pacify the region.

The Red Army moves in againIn the middle of December 1929, regular detachments of the Red Armybegan to arrive at the borders of Chechnya. Toward the end of thatmonth, General Belov, commander of the North Caucasus MilitaryDistrict, sent a huge force against the insurgents: four infantry divisions;the 28th Combat Division from Vladikavkaz; the Vladikavkaz InfantrySchool; the Krasnodar Cavalry School; three artillery divisions; and tworegiments of border guards. In addition, the attacking force includedthree GPU squadrons, commanded by Kurskii, vice chairman of theregional GPU.

This vast force soon began to overwhelm the rebels, and, by mid-January 1930, it had captured the insurgent centers of Shali and Benoi;in doing so, however, the Reds suffered heavy losses - practically theentire 82nd Infantry Regiment, for example, was wiped out in thebattles for Goiti, and Belov lost an entire division near Shali. In April1930, Belov triumphantly entered Benoi, only to find the town com-pletely empty.40

Having taught the rebels an indelible lesson, the communists onceagain decided to change course. A special decree issued by the partyCentral Committee condemned "leftist deviationists" who had beenresponsible for collectivization. In Chechnya, collective farms werebanned outright as having been premature. Leaders of the ChechenCommunist Party were dismissed from their posts as "deviationists,"and the Red Army was withdrawn from Chechen territory. A largequantity of commercial goods was made available to the populace at lowprices, and an official government amnesty was proclaimed for theleaders and participants in the 1929-30 insurrection. The rebel leader,sh*ta Istamulov, returned to Shali and was appointed chairman of theRural Consumers' Cooperative.

Ibid., pp. 159-60.

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GPU perfidyThis spasm of liberalization proved, however, to be of brief duration. Inthe autumn of 1931, Baklanov, chief of the Chechen oblast' GPU,invited sh*ta Istamulov to his office to receive an official amnestydocument, which had been sent from Moscow. Foolishly, Istamulovagreed to come. At their meeting, Baklanov presented Istamulov withthe document with one hand "while firing the entire charge of a Mauserpistol [into him] with the other."41 The severely wounded Istamulovhad time to stab the treacherous Baklanov to death before being finishedoff by the GPU guard stationed outside. Understandably envenomed,Istamulov's brother, Hassan, organized a partisan band which hunteddown and killed GPU officers to avenge sh*ta's death; the bandremained active until 1935.

The assassination of Istamulov marked the beginning of a broad-scaleoperation to eliminate "kulak counter-revolutionary elements andmullah-nationalist ideologists."42 Arrest lists were drawn up by theGPU regional offices in Groznyi and Rostov-on-Don and then con-firmed by the Soviet government. Some 35,000 persons were thenarrested according to these lists and subsequently tried and convicted byan "Extraordinary Commission of Three" of the GPU, presided over byG. Kraft. Many of those who were arrested were also executed; few livedto regain their freedom.

In their campaign against the populace of Chechnya the chekists -virtually none of whom were ethnic Chechens - revived the tsaristsystem of taking amanaty (hostages) in order to induce Chechen"bandits" to surrender. The tsarist administration had been wont to freea hostage once a bandit gave himself up, "whereas there is not a singlecase in the history of Soviet Checheno-Ingushetiya of an amanat beingfreed after the surrender of the 'bandit.'" When a bandit would givehimself up, "he was shot despite solemn promises to spare his life. As tothe hostages they were all - men, women, and children - sent toSiberia."43 Due to such behavior by the regime, the Chechens ceasedbelieving the assurances of the Soviet government and coined a sayingthat can be translated as "lying like the Soviets."

Despite all obstacles, the collectivization campaign moved ahead, andby 1938, there were 490 collective farms on the territory of theAutonomous Republic of Checheno-Ingushetiya covering three-quarters of the arable land in the republic (308,800 hectares out of401,200). Most of this arable land (246,900 hectares) was located in the

41 Ibid., p. 160. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid., pp. 165-66.

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lowland areas. Fifteen machine-tractor stations were also established inthe lowlands.44

Despite the apparent success of the collectivization effort, the Che-chens and Ingush practiced a form of what might be called passiveresistance to it. The number of collective farmers in the lowland areaswho did not work a single day on a kolkhoz over a given year amountedto 17.4 percent, and 46.3 percent worked only fifty days a year. Somesmall kolkhozes, consisting of twenty to thirty households, were actuallyclans (teipy) which had merely changed labels. In the highland areas,despite the fact that 99.8 percent of households had nominally beencollectivized, individual farming remained the de facto norm. Part of thereason for the regime's lack of control in the highlands was the poorlevel of education of the Communist Party cadres there. Out of 824communists in the highlands, 50 were completely illiterate, 265 had noprimary school education, and 275 had only a primary education; 153had not completed secondary school.45

In addition to passive resistance, a number of Chechens continued topractice active physical resistance to the regime. According to docu-ments in the archives of the Groznyi Regional Ministry of InternalAffairs (MVD), insurgent gangs over the course of just eleven months in1938 "committed ninety-eight daring raids in which forty-nine Sovietofficials were killed, livestock and horses were taken, and property wortha total of 617,000 rubles was stolen."46

The "beheading" of Checheno-IngushetiyaAs has been noted, elements among the educated strata of the mountain-eers had originally supported the Bolsheviks in the period following the1917 Revolution, believing that they would grant the peoples of theNorth Caucasus autonomy and also the right to self-determination andeven secession. These so-called national communists composed animportant segment of educated Chechens, but they soon fell intodisfavor with the regime because they did not approve of its attitudestoward the Muslim clergy, the local bourgeoisie, or the old nationalintelligentsia. They also disagreed with the USSR's heavy-handed statelanguage policy and its actions in the spheres of national culture andeconomic policy, especially forced collectivization and breakneckindustrialization. Following the bloody crackdown of 1929-30, many

44 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 46. 45 Ibid., pp. 47-49.46 Bugai, "The Truth," 70.

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national communists in the region came to the conclusion that Sovietcommunism was nothing more than a form of colonialism.47

Scholarly research institutes located in Checheno-Ingushetiya cameunder heavy fire. Members of these institutes were accused of havingconducted sabotage in their work on national languages, in theircompiling of dictionaries of terminology and other lexicographicalresearch, and in their historical studies. The various North Caucasusunions of writers were accused of having engaged in anti-Soviet andanti-Russian activities. After being "exposed" in the press, some of thesenational communists were expelled from the party. One prominentChechen intellectual, Khalit Oshaev, director of research for the Insti-tute for Research on the Culture of the People of the North Caucasus,was removed from his post.

By the year 1937, the campaign against the North Caucasus intellec-tuals had reached a kind of crescendo: the Chechen-Ingush PartyCommittee vilified them for using in their writings bourgeois nationalistterms and concepts such as "Turkish" and "Arabic." Creative writerswere accused of being concerned in their work only with "the past oftheir people," while ignoring the building of socialism.48

Following the assassination of sh*ta Istamulov by the GPU in 1931,the regime initiated a wide-ranging crackdown against educated Che-chens. The secret police, led by G. Kraft, the head of its local section,conjured up a "counter-revolutionary center" of Chechens, allegedlyheaded by Tapa Chermoev and Vassan-Giray Jabagi (the original leadersof the 1917-18 Mountain Republic). Widespread surveillance of emigreChechens - and especially of Chermoev - was initiated.

In 1932, the secret police sprang its trap and arrested the wholealleged "counter-revolutionary center." Mass arrests followed in theregions of Gudermes and Nozhai-Yurt, and 3,000 persons in all weredetained. Those arrested were accused of having organized a "counter-revolutionary national center of Chechnya in preparation for an armeduprising."49 In 1934, while assailing this mythical "center," a secretaryof the Chechen-Ingush Party Committee, Evdokimov, quoted at lengthfrom the "letters of the millionaire Chermoev." But today it is knownthat Chermoev's letters - the principal material evidence in the trial ofthis "center" - were in fact directly fabricated by the NKVD. For

47 R. Karcha, " T h e Struggle Against Nationalism in the Nor thern Caucasus," CaucasianReview, 9 (1959), 2 5 - 3 8 .

48 Ibid.49 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush,'* pp. 1 6 6 - 6 8 . O n this 1937 purge, see also

Aleksandr N . Yakovlev, Po moshcham ielei (Moscow: Evraziya, 1995), pp. 1 2 0 - 2 1 .

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discovering this non-existent "center," NKVD heads Kraft and Kurskiiwere given the prestigious Red Banner of Labor award.

The great purge strikes ChechnyaA "General Operation for the Removal of Anti-Soviet Elements"commenced in Checheno-Ingushetiya on the night of 31 July-1 August1937. Individuals whose names appeared on NKVD arrest lists wereseized and then transported in trucks to the republican capital ofGroznyi. During that night and over the ensuing months, nearly 14,000Chechens were arrested, representing 3 percent of the republic's totalpopulation. A single arrest order was signed for all the accused, and theywere tried by an NKVD special troika. Some of those arrested wereexecuted while others were sent to concentration camps. "[E]very nightthere were mass executions in the cellars of the NKVD to the accom-paniment of the roar of motor-cars outside."50 The bodies of those whohad been shot were spirited off in trucks under cover of darkness andtaken to mass graves in the forest.

Stalin's Great Terror continued to strike hard at Chechnya andIngushetiya. At the beginning of October 1937, Shkiryatov, a candidatemember of the Politburo, arrived in the republic accompanied by a largeNKVD staff. A plenum of the republican party committee was sum-moned for 7 October. "In the course of this plenum Shkiryatov orderedthe arrest of all Chechen and Ingush members of the regional partycommittee, and they were arrested immediately in the plenum hall itself.Shkiryatov's orders were then extended to all Chechen-Ingush officialworkers from the [chairman] of the Republic down to the [chairman] ofthe selsoviets (village councils)."51

The purge continued its mayhem. Throughout October and Nov-ember 1937, all secretaries of the republican party committee werearrested, as were all chairmen of the twenty-eight executive committeesof Checheno-Ingushetiya. Civil servants working for government,urban, regional, and rural institutions were seized, as were prominentChechens and Ingush living outside the republic, such as the scholarKhalit Oshaev. "In Checheno-Ingushetiya in 1938 all the directors ofdistrict land departments, fourteen out of eighteen machine-tractorstation directors, nineteen chairmen of district executive committees,and twenty-two secretaries of district party committees were removed.In 1939, twenty-one chairmen of district executive committees and

50 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," pp. 174-75. 51 Ibid., pp. 175-76.

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twenty-three directors of district land departments were ousted. Most ofthem were arrested."52

In 1938, the case against 137 arrested leaders of the "bourgeois-nationalist center of Checheno-Ingushetiya" was ready. The accusedwere mostly young men - 82 of the 137 were under thirty years of age -who had risen to responsible positions in the republic; in a direct sensethey represented the "future" of the region. The investigations of theaccused were conducted under torture, and seventeen died before theywere able to stand trial. Of the 120 survivors, only one pleaded guilty atthe court-martial held at the North Caucasus Military District; theothers declared that the crimes of which they were accused were afabrication and that the confessions that had been extracted from themwere false. "They displayed their scars, their broken teeth, and theirinjuries (one of them had been castrated during the interrogation)."53

Nonetheless, all 120 were found guilty by the court-martial.The overall effect of this sweeping purge of the republican leadership

and intelligentsia was, as a leading Chechen emigre scholar, Abdur-akhman Avtorkhanov, has concluded, that "the link that existed betweenthe people and the authorities was broken when the intelligentsia wasdestroyed."54 Specialist Timur Muzaev has expressed it similarly:"[T]he whole leadership . . . and the whole national intelligentsia weredestroyed."55 As the dark days of the Second World War approached,the republic found itself rudderless, deprived of an educated leadership.

As for the effect of the purge on the broader populace, the all-unioncensus figures for 1937 and 1939 hint at a demographic tragedy. In1937, the figure given for Chechens living in the USSR was 435,922; by1939 - just two years later - that figure had diminished to 400,344.56

The insurrections of Izrailov and Sheripov

The Chechens, as was their custom, hit back at a regime perceived asseeking to destroy their livelihood and their very national existence. As aresult of the communists' "General Operation for the Removal of Anti-Soviet Elements" of mid-1937, for example, thousands of Chechens (aswell as many Ingush) joined guerrilla groups. In the areas of Galan-chozh, Gudermes, and Kurchaloi, these groups assassinated the chiefsof local NKVD sections.57

5 2 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 50.5 3 Avtorkhanov, " C h e c h e n s and Ingush," p . 178. 5 4 Ibid., p . 179.5 5 T i m u r Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika (Moscow: Panorama , 1995), p . 154.5 6 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p . 10.5 7 Avtorkhanov, " C h e c h e n s and Ingush," p . 175.

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In 1939, a new struggle against the communists broke out in theNorth Caucasus regions of Karachai and Balkariya, and soon it hadspread to Checheno-Ingushetiya, where, in the winter and spring of1940, it became particularly intense. It should be underlined that, atthis juncture, Stalin and Hitler were officially still allies. The leader ofthe 1940 rebellion was Hassan Izrailov, who had born in Galanchozh in1910. In 1929, Izrailov completed secondary school in Rostov-on-Donand, during the same year, joined the Communist Party - this wasunusual background for a future leader of a Chechen insurrection.Izrailov became a permanent correspondent for the Moscow newspaper,Krest'yanskaya gazeta, in which he published articles highlighting oneprincipal issue: "the plundering of Chechnya by the local soviet andparty leadership."58

In the spring of 1931, Izrailov was arrested and sentenced to tenyears' imprisonment for "counter-revolutionary slander" and "connec-tions with a gang." Released from prison three years later, he, togetherwith other Chechen and Ingush intellectuals, sent a declaration ofwarning to the Soviet authorities predicting a "general popular uprising"if the government persisted in its repressive policies. Once again, Izrailovwas arrested and sentenced to prison.

In January 1940, following a second release from prison, Izrailov sentthe new first secretary of the Chechen-Ingush party, Bykov, a letter inwhich he declared: "For twenty years now, the Soviet authorities havebeen fighting my people, aiming to destroy them group by group: firstthe kulaks, then the mullahs and the 'bandits,' then the bourgeois-nationalists. I am sure now that the real object of this war is theannihilation of our nation as a whole. That is why I have decided toassume the leadership of my people in their struggle for liberation."59

The Chechen nationalist tone of this letter is noteworthy.Izrailov's insurrection spread rapidly, and by early February 1940 he

controlled Galanchozh, Sayasan, Cheberlo, and part of Shatoi region.Most of his unit's weapons had been captured from punitive detach-ments sent against them. A national congress was convened in Galan-chozh which proclaimed the establishment of a "Provisional PopularRevolutionary Government of Chechnya-Ingushetiya" with HassanIzrailov as its head. What is especially interesting about Izrailov is thathe was an intellectual with a party background - indeed, the regimeappeared to try to cultivate him at times - and he had no connectionwith a Sufi tariqat. His case, therefore, suggests the emergence during

5 8 Ibid., p. 181. 5 9 Ibid., p. 182.

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this period of a potentially modern variant of Chechen (or perhaps"Vainakh") nationalism.

In February 1942, at a time when the German invaders were still 500kilometers away from the territory of Checheno-Ingushetiya, MairbekSheripov, the brother of a well-known Chechen revolutionary, led aninsurrection in Shatoi and Itumkala and soon joined together withIzrailov, uniting the general staffs of the two rebel groups. Both guerrillagroups conducted repeated raids on Soviet government offices andkolkhozes. In June 1942, Izrailov and Sheripov issued a joint "Appeal tothe Chechen-Ingush People" in which they stated that the Germanswould be welcomed in the Caucasus as guests only on condition thatthey officially recognized Caucasian independence.60

During 1941-42, at a time when Soviet military aircraft were gen-erally inactive on the German front, the regime pulled out all the stopsin an effort to suppress the Izrailov-Sheripov uprising, which it appearsto have seen as a treasonous effort to ensure a Nazi victory in theCaucasus. In the spring of 1942, devastating Soviet air raids were twicedirected against Chechen-Ingush auls in the mountains (for example, atShatoi, Itumkala, and Galanchozh), and, after the saturation bombinghad concluded, there remained more dead than alive in the charredvillages. Large numbers of elderly and children were killed in thebombing.61

The Chechens and the war against GermanyThe Stalin regime's justification for the subsequent mass deportation ofthe Chechens in 1944 was that, "as an entire people," they hadsupported the Nazi invaders against the Soviet government. Certainly,the Chechens and other mountaineers had reason enough to detest theSoviet regime, and the Germans cunningly targeted these resentments,promising the mountaineers, for example, full religious freedom and theopening of mosques, the abolition of collective farms, and the openingof schools conducted in the native languages of the mountain peoples.Despite such overtures, the Chechens remained generally cool to theNazi advances. As Alexander Nekrich has written: "It is undoubtedlytrue that a section of the native population [of Checheno-Ingushetiya],especially in the upland areas, was hostile toward Soviet rule. This,however, is not the same as saying that they took a friendly attitude

60 Ibid., p. 183.61 Ibid.; Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 155; R. Karcha, "Soviet Propaganda

Concerning the Rehabilitated People of the Nor thern Caucasus," Caucasian Review, 8(1959), 7.

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toward the Nazi army."62 This was because, as Nekrich has noted, therace-based ideas of the Nazis generally proved "alien and unattractive tothe Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus."63

It is important also to stress that the Germans were in fact stoppedbefore they could establish political control over Checheno-Ingushetiya.The only part of the republic which they occupied was the westernborder town of Malgobek, "where the population was Russian."64 Otherthan in that locale, the sole Germans to set foot in Chechnya were ahandful of saboteurs parachuted into the republic. Making use ofSoviet-era archives, historian Nikolai Bugai has written, for example, of"one group made up of nine men under the command of Abwehr[German intelligence] agent O. Gube [the pseudonym of an Avar fromDagestan], which landed in the vicinity of the village of Berezhki,Galashkinskii district, on the night of August 25, 1942."65

This group of saboteurs succeeded in recruiting thirteen Chechensfor their cause. Three more parachute drops totaling forty men in alltook place during August and September 1942. Among those para-chuted into the republic were two Chechens, Sh. Gaziev and K.Ganizhev. (They were among the few dozen Chechens and Ingush whohad been captured by the German army and who had then agreed tojoin the German-sponsored North Caucasus Legion.) After the arrest ofO. Gube and other members of his group by the Soviets, the remainingsaboteurs eventually linked up with the insurgents under HassanIzrailov. Many Chechens and Ingush, it should be noted, volunteered tofight against the Izrailov-Sheripov partisans and the small number ofGerman-trained spies who had joined up with them. The advance of theGermans into the Caucasus was halted in late 1942, and on 24December the Red Army went on the offensive; the Chechen bordertown of Malgobek was liberated from German occupation on 3 January1943.66

If perhaps less than a hundred Chechens chose actively to assist theGermans - the partisan groups of Izrailov and Sheripov had, as we haveseen, been formed due to domestic concerns before the advent of theGermans into the Caucasus region and therefore should not be consid-ered actively pro-Nazi - there were thousands of Chechens who soughtto join the Red Army. Before the Bolshevik Revolution, there had beenno obligatory military service for Chechens, but voluntary service in theimperial army had been welcomed, and seven Ingush and two Chechenshad in fact risen to the rank of general. During the First World War, the6 2 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 52. 6 3 Ibid., p. 38.6 4 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 147.6 5 Bugai, "The Truth," 7 0 - 7 1 . 6 6 Ibid., 7 1 - 7 2 .

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Chechens and Ingush had each supplied a regiment of volunteers to theso-called Wild Division (Dikaya diviziya) of the imperial army.

Following the German invasion of the USSR, the Soviet governmentdid not permit the creation of such native formations. Instead, Chechensand Ingush were drafted and incorporated as individuals into Russiandetachments of the Red Army. This caused much suffering for themountaineers, since many of them could not speak Russian, andbecause their commanding officers forced them to eat pork, a staple ofthe army diet which, of course, violated the dietary laws of observantMuslims.

On the advice of General S. Mollaev, a Chechen, the Soviet militaryfinally permitted the Chechen-Ingush Republic to incorporate volun-teers into two military divisions, but these divisions were not acceptedinto the regular Red Army. The two divisions were poorly equipped, andmany of the soldiers went about barefoot. In early August 1942, one ofthese divisions found itself - lacking tanks or artillery support -confronting the German army as it advanced toward Stalingrad. "On 4August 1942 German tanks rolled over the bodies of many soldiers fromthis division."67

In October 1942, Chechens joined the thousands of volunteers whopoured out to help erect defensive barriers around the city of Groznyi,which was directly threatened by the German advance. The defenseeffort was led by V. I. Ivanov, first secretary of the republican partycommittee.68 Between early December 1942 and early March 1943,Chechens and Ingush contributed 12 million rubles to the Soviet wareffort.69

Because they could not speak Russian and were forced to eat pork, aswell as suffering other indignities, many Chechens chose to desert fromthe Red Army. In March 1942, the drafting of Chechens and Ingushinto the military was discontinued. Five months later, however, inAugust 1942, a decision was made to mobilize them on a voluntarybasis. A second mobilization was carried out in January-February 1943and a third in March of that year.70

According to archival documents of the USSR NKVD, 17,413 menjoined the Red Army as a result of these three voluntary mobilizations.They served with distinction until they were ordered withdrawn fromtheir units in February 1944, and were then sent off as special deportees,mostly to Central Asia.71 During the time that they were permitted toserve in the Red Army, a number of Chechens distinguished themselves67 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," pp. 1 7 9 - 8 0 .68 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 56. 69 Conquest, Nation Killers, p. 46.70 Ibid., pp. 56-57. 71 Bugai, "The Truth," 67, 77.

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by their bravery: "By 5 October 1942, the Chechens had won forty-fourdecorations in the Red Army - more than several larger nations."72

The fourth deportation of the Chechens - genocideSome two years and four months after the mass deportation of allChechens from their native land in February 1944, the government ofthe Russian Federation finally got around to publishing a "Law Con-cerning the Abolition of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous SovietSocialist Republic," dated 25 June 1946; the law was signed by thechairman and the secretary of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet. "During theGreat Patriotic War," the law read, "when the peoples of the USSR wereheroically defending the honor and independence of the Fatherland . . .many Chechens . . . at the instigation of German agents, joinedvolunteer units organized by the Germans and, together with Germantroops, engaged in armed struggle against units of the Red Army."73

This statement by the Russian republican government was, of course,a flagrant misrepresentation of what had occurred. It passed overdevelopments and factors which have been noted in the precedingsection of this chapter (pp. 56-61). The RSFSR law then proceeded toindict all Chechens and Ingush in blanket fashion: "[T]he main mass ofthe population of the Chechen-Ingush . . . ASSR," the law declared,"took no counter-action against these betrayers of the Fatherland." Andthe law concluded: "In connection with this, the Chechens . . . wereresettled in other regions of the USSR." As for the Chechen-IngushASSR, it had been "abolished."74

Deportation had been a staple element of Soviet domestic policy sincethe advent of forced collectivization. From the 1930s through the 1950s,some 3.2 million Soviet citizens (3.4 million according to other data)had become victims of this policy.75 Among the reasons for the deporta-tion policy cited in party and NKVD archives are: "the desire to defuseethnic tensions"; the goal of "stabilizing] the political situation"; themeting out of punishment for "acts against Soviet authorities, and toliquidate banditry"; and "punishment for collaboration with the fas-cists."76

7 2 Conquest, Nation Killers, p. 46 .7 3 Ibid., p. 47. On the forced deportation of Chechens and other "punished peoples"

under Stalin, see Svetlana Alieva, ed., Tak eto bylo, 3 vols. (Moscow: Insan, 1993), andN . F. Bugai, ed., L. Beriya-I. Stalinu: "Soglasno vashemu ukasaniyu . . . " (Moscow:AIRO-XX, 1995).

7 4 The law was published in both Pravdd and Izvestiya on 26 June 1946.7 5 Bugai, "The Truth," 81 ; Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 98.7 6 Bugai, "The Truth," 67.

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One suspects that it was "punishment for acts against Soviet authori-ties" extending throughout the communist period from 1917 to 1944,and especially the Izrailov and Sheripov insurrections, which motivatedStalin and his followers to deport the Chechens. As Nikita Khrushchevadmitted in the course of his "secret speech" of 1956, there were nomilitary considerations necessitating the deportation of the Chechensand other mountaineers in 1944, "because the enemy was being rolledback everywhere under the blows of the Red Army."77

The genesis of the deportation planOn the basis of research conducted in the party and the NKVD archives,former Politburo member Aleksandr N. Yakovlev - a leading reformer inthe Gorbachev leadership - has noted that the plan to deport theChechens and Ingush from their historic homeland began to take shapeduring the autumn of 1943. This brutal operation was given thecodename "Lentil" (chechevitsa> presumably a play on the word"Chechen") by the NKVD. In October 1943, a brigade of NKVDofficials headed by deputy people's commissar B. Kobulov traveled toChecheno-Ingushetiya, where they compiled material on "anti-Sovietactions" which had occurred there from the first days of Soviet power inthe North Caucasus to the time of their visit. A written report con-cerning the situation in the republic was then submitted to LavrentiiBeriya. On 13 November, Beriya wrote in his own hand: "To ComradeKobulov. A very good report."78

In Kobulov's report, it was remarked that there were thirty-eightreligious sects active in the republic and that the leaders of these sectswere considered by the local populace to be saints. More than 20,000persons were said to belong to these sects, which were alleged to engagein anti-Soviet activity. The sects were said to be aiding both local"bandits" and the Germans, and they were accused of summoning thepopulace to an armed struggle with Soviet power. As can be seen, thedeportation operation was to be aimed in particular at the Sufi Muslimbrotherhoods of Checheno-Ingushetiya. Four of Beriya's deputies -Serov, Appolonov, Kruglov, and Kobulov - were placed in charge ofcarrying out Operation Lentil, and, on 18 November, Beriya confirmedtheir plan.79

At first, the regime apparently intended to deport the Chechens,Ingush, Balkars, and Karachai - those peoples of the North Caucasusselected for severe retribution - to areas of western Siberia. In Nov-77 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp. 9 3 - 9 4 .78 Yakovlev, Po moshcham ielei, pp . 1 2 1 - 2 2 . 79 Ibid., pp . 1 2 2 - 2 3 .

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ember 1943, an expanded meeting of the NKVD administrations ofAltai and Krasnoyarsk territories and of Omsk and Novosibirsk oblastswas held, at which plans were made to deport approximately235,000-240,000 persons to those regions. This plan was finalized inmid-December 1943, but by then it had been decided to deport thebulk of those arrested to Central Asia.80

At the end of 1943, NKVD and NKGB (another section of the secretpolice) forces entered the Karachai autonomous region and the Balkarpart of the Kabarda-Balkariya Autonomous Republic and deported thepopulation of these two areas.81 Astonishingly, the Chechens appear notto have been informed of these operations and to have been caught offguard.82 The breakdown of communications and the general chaosobtaining during the war were probably the reasons for this.

On 31 January 1944, the State Defense Committee approved a decreeon the deportation of all Chechens and Ingush to the Kazakh and KirgizSSRs. The overall direction of the operation was put in the hands ofLavrentii Beriya, Politburo member and NKVD chieftain. His principaldeputies were to be B. Kobulov and I. Serov. In his report to the StateDefense Committee of 7 March 1944, Beriya noted that 19,000operatives of the NKVD-NKGB and SMERSh (Death to Spies) and upto 100,000 officers and soldiers of the troops of the NKVD hadparticipated in the deportation of the Chechens, Ingush, Kalmyks, andKarachai, 650,000 persons in all.83 According to historian AlexanderNekrich, in addition to the huge number of NKVD troops, "threearmies, one of them a tank army, were deployed in Checheno-Ingush-etiya a few months before the deportations." Convoy guards and borderguards also took part in the operation.84

As in the 1925 campaign to disarm Chechnya, the Soviet leadershipchose to combine massive, overwhelming force with trickery andblinding speed. During the second half of January and the first half ofFebruary 1944, special detachments of the NKVD began to arrive inChecheno-Ingushetiya in American Studebaker trucks. The mountainswere occupied de facto and each aul was supplied with its own garrison.Why were the troops there? Local newspapers explained that they hadarrived to help repair roads and bridges and to carry out mountainmaneuvers.85 The populace was apparently fooled.

On 20 February, Lavrentii Beriya and his top NKVD lieutenants80 Bugai, " T h e Truth ," 73 . 81 Karcha, "Genocide ," 74.82 Conquest , Nation Killers, p . 102.83 Iosif Stalin-Lavrentiyu Berii: "Ikh nado deponirovat!" (Moscow: Druzhba narodov,

1992), p. 106; Bugai, " T h e Truth ," 74.84 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp. 1 0 8 - 0 9 .85 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," pp. 1 8 4 - 8 5 .

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arrived in Groznyi to take personal charge of the deportation. In hisreport of 22 February to the State Defense Committee, Beriya notedthat the operation would begin at dawn on 23 February. "[I]t isproposed," he wrote, "to encircle the districts and to prevent the exit ofpopulace to the territory of inhabited points. The populace will beinvited to a gathering." Given the specific features of the mountaindistricts, Beriya thought that a total of eight days should be allotted forthe deportation of all Chechens and Ingush. Over the first three days, heforesaw, "the operation will be completed in the plains and foothilldistricts and, partially, in certain settlements of the mountain districtscontaining more than 300,000 people." The next five days would betaken up with getting at and then deporting 150,000 persons living inthe less accessible mountain regions.86

The "special operation" beginsFebruary the 23rd dawned - "a fine, clear day"87 - and in the city ofGroznyi and throughout the republic the populace were summoned tohelp celebrate the twenty-sixth anniversary of the founding of theWorkers' and Peasants' Army. In Groznyi, according to an eyewitnessaccount: "[T]he deputy commander of the [Red Army] regimentappeared on the tribune. In a brief and dry speech he announced to theinhabitants the sentence of the Communist Party and the Soviet govern-ment." Since the populace of the republic had given aid to the Naziarmies, he said, the Communist Party and the Soviet government haddecided to carry out a resettlement of all Chechens and Ingush. "[Y]ourresistance," he warned, "is futile, as the regional center is surrounded byarmed troops."88

The stunned and terrified crowd, headed by local officials, was thenmarched in fours to assembly points, where they were loaded ontotrucks lacking seats or heating and taken to railroad stations. In someinstances, women were allowed to go home to fetch a few small items forthe journey. The local officials who had led the procession to theassembly points were themselves to be sent off with the others.89

In some settlements, the men had been invited to observe demonstra-tions of skill in horseback riding.90 Instead, they were packed into trucksand taken off. Settlements in which the arrests were scheduled for theevening saw Red Army soldiers build blazing fires in the village squares,where singing and dancing then ensued. Once everyone had assembledin the squares, the men were immediately placed under arrest. "Some of86 In lost/Stalin, pp. 101-02. 87 Karcha, "Genocide," 80. 88 Ibid.89 Ibid., 81-82; lost/Stalin, pp. 105-06. 90 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 109.

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the Chechens had weapons, and there was some shooting. But resistancewas rapidly eliminated. The men were locked up in barns . . . Thewhole operation was effected in two or three hours. Women were notarrested but were told to pack their belongings and get ready to leave thenext day with their children."91

In some regions, the populace was directly murdered. Thus the entirepopulation of the village of Khaibakh - more than 700 persons - wasburned alive on the orders of NKVD colonel Gveshiani. The correspon-dence between Beriya and Gveshiani has been preserved; the secretpolice chieftain warmly congratulated his subordinate for having com-mitted the atrocity.92 In other villages, people were drowned, shot, orkilled with hand grenades.93 The inhabitants of remote mountainvillages were required to traipse for nearly two days along frozenmountain paths under NKVD escort. All the sick and the elderly wereordered left behind and were then put to death; those who laggedbehind on the mountain paths were beaten with rifle butts, whilepersons too weak to continue were shot and their bodies left behind inthe snow.94

All resistance by the Chechens was easily overcome. On the first dayof the operation, 23 February, Beriya reported to the State DefenseCommittee that there had been "six attempts at resistance" and that94,741 persons had been carted off by 11 a.m. On 1 March, he notedthat 2,016 anti-Soviet elements had been arrested and that 20,072firearms had been confiscated.95

A total of 6,000 motor vehicles were used in the vast North Caucasusdeportation operation.96 Trucks were filled with men who had beenarrested the previous day and with women and children, and they werethen transferred to freight cars at Groznyi and other rail centers. Onlywomen were allowed to take some hand-luggage with them.97

The NKVD arrest order applied not only to all Chechens and Ingushliving in the republic but also to all those dwelling within the borders ofthe USSR. About 30,000 Chechens living in northwestern Dagestan,for example, were rounded up and deported.98 Similarly, Chechens andIngush living in the city of Vladikavkaz in North Ossetiya were roundedup. Even those Chechens and Ingush incarcerated in NKVD-run

91 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," pp. 184-85 .92 For the Beriya-Gveshiani correspondence, see Zaindi Shakhbiev, Sud'ba checheno-

ingushskogo naroda (Moscow: Rossiya molodaya, 1996), p. 251.9 3 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 155.94 Yakovlev, Po moshcham i elei, pp. 128-29. 95 Iosif Stalin, pp. 102-06 .96 Bugai, "The Truth," 74. 97 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 185.98 N. F. Bugai, "K voprosu o deportatsii narodov SSSR v 30-40kh godakh," Istoriya

SSSR, 6 (1989) , 140.

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concentration camps were ordered to be deported." Interestingly,Beriya decided to make use of the deportation operation to rid theregion of some bothersome ethnic Russians as well: "village activistsfrom among Russians in those districts which have a Russian popula-tion" were also to be sent away with the Chechens and Ingush.100

Exempted from deportation were Chechen and Ingush womenmarried to representatives of non-punished peoples. Women of Russiannationality who were married to Chechens and Ingush were, on theother hand, ordered to be deported unless they agreed to divorce theirhusbands. In the latter case, they were permitted to remain behind inChecheno-Ingushetiya.101

The hunt for Chechens and the other peoples chosen for punishmentproceeded relentlessly. In May 1944, Beriya issued a directive orderingthe NKVD to scour the Caucasus region for representatives of thesepeoples, "not leaving out a single one." A total of 4,146 Chechens,Ingush, and others were unearthed in Dagestan, Azerbaijan, Georgia,Krasnodar krai, and Rostov and Astrakhan' oblasts. In April 1945,Beriya was informed that "2,741 Chechens had been deported from theGeorgian SSR, 21 from the Azerbaijan SSR, and 121 from Krasnodarterritory."102 In Moscow, two Chechens managed to avoid deporta-tion.103

All Chechens serving in the Red Army were ordered removed fromtheir units, discharged from the military, and sent off to Central Asia.An order signed by I. Pavlov, NKVD troop commander for the ThirdUkrainian Front, for example, commanded that all Chechens, Ingush,and so forth be turned over to the special settlement departments of theKazakh SSR in Alma-Ata. Many Chechens and other deported peopleswho had been serving in the military were first assembled in Murom andin Novosibirsk before being sent south. Some Chechen military per-sonnel were kept in the Russian Federation to do forced labor, forexample, to cut timber in Kostroma oblast'.104

The leaders of Operation Lentil - NKVD generals Appolonov,Kobulov, Kruglov, and Serov, plus People's Commissar of State Secur-ity Merkulov, and Abakumov, the head of SMERSh - were all awardedthe order of Suvorov First Class for successfully carrying out the massarrest of the Chechens and Ingush.105

99 Bugai, "The Truth," 77. 10° Iosif Stalin, pp. 101-02.101 Yakovlev, Po moshcham ielei, p. 123. 102 Bugai, "The Truth," 77-78.103 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 60. 104 Bugai, "The Truth," 77.105 Yakovlev, Po moshcham ielei, p. 126.

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Loading the freight carsA vast number of freight cars were needed in order to deport theChechens and Ingush to their various destinations in Central Asia. TheTransportation Department of the USSR NKVD prepared the neces-sary special trains on schedule. From 23 January to 13 March, theUSSR People's Commissariat of Railways was directed to deliver 350freight cars a day; from 24 to 28 February, the figure was 400 cars a day.In all, 152 trains were formed, consisting of 100 cars each, for an overalltotal of 14,200 freight cars and 1,000 flat cars. Officially each deportedfamily was permitted to take 500 kilograms of belongings with them, butin fact many seem to have been able just to grab a few small items.106

The belongings that the Chechens were unable to take with them"were appropriated by those who carried out the deportation - Beriya's[NKVD] agents and the soldiers assigned to the deportation opera-tion."107 In his report of 1 March to the State Defense Committee,Beriya noted that in Checheno-Ingushetiya 478,479 persons - almosthalf a million persons - had been loaded onto 180 special trains, ofwhich 159 had already been sent off to their destinations.108

According to a report of People's Commissar Mil'shtein, commanderof the NKVD Third Administration, about forty to forty-five personswere loaded into each freight car, with 40-50 percent of them beingchildren. Due to the heavy percentage of small children, this degree of"compactness," Mil'shtein concluded smugly, was "fully expedient." Inhis report of 18 March, Mil'shtein noted that 194 special trains haddeparted, containing 521,247 Chechens, Ingush, and Balkars, and thata total of 12,525 freight cars had been used in the operation.109

A few Chechens elude the netSome highland Chechens managed to elude the NKVD arrest net. An 8July 1944 order from Lavrentii Beriya ordered the "liquidation of theremnants of Chechen bands" which had concealed themselves inGeorgia. A large force was subsequently mobilized for this purpose.110

Three years after the deportation, guerrilla fighting was still reported tobe continuing in the higher mountains of Chechnya, Ingushetiya, andeastern Ossetiya. The movement's leader was Sheikh Qureish Belhorev,who was captured only in 1947. (Amazingly, he was not shot but merely106 Bugai, "The Truth," 73 .107 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 124. (These figures appear to differ somewhat from those

cited in the previous paragraph.)108 losif Staling. 105. 109 Ibid., 115. n o Ibid., pp. 106-07.

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given a ten-year prison sentence.) The regime sent in several NKVDdivisions to suppress the rebel movement, but only by the middle of the1950s did it succeed in coping with partisan detachments operating inthe mountains.111

Riding the death trainsPeople's Commissar Mil'shtein, commander of the NKVD Third Ad-ministration, noted one annoying problem connected with sendinghundreds of thousands of mountaineers off in packed freight cars,namely, "the impossibility of carrying out sanitation work" in the cars,as a result of which "there occurred cases of typhus."112 An Ingushcommunist official, Kh. Arapiev, has recalled the agony of the journey toCentral Asia: "Packed in overcrowded cattle cars, without light or water,we spent almost a month heading to an unknown destination . . .Typhus broke out. No treatment was available . . . The dead wereburied in snow that was black from locomotive soot during brief stops atremote, uninhabited sidings next to the track."113

The local authorities tried to localize the typhus epidemic to theChechens and Ingush "in order to get rid of them in a 'natural' way."114

The local populace of settlements at which the special trains stoppedwere strictly forbidden to assist the dying by giving them water ormedicine. In some cars, 50 percent of the imprisoned Chechens andIngush were said to have perished.

Conditions upon arrivalAccording to historian Nikolai Bugai, in 1944, a total of 239,768Chechens and 78,479 Ingush arrived in the Kazakh SSR, while 70,089Chechens and 2,278 Ingush arrived in Kirgiz SSR. Much smallernumbers were sent to other Central Asian republics: 175 Chechens and159 Ingush to the Uzbek SSR, and 62 Chechens and 14 Ingush to theTajik SSR. Several thousand Chechens and Ingush who had beencashiered from the Red Army, together with their families, were lateradded to their number.115 Relatively small numbers of Chechens werealso scattered about Russian regions of the RSFSR: in Kostroma oblast',1,183 Chechens, Ingush, and Karachai were required to work in the

111 Alexandra Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush, Mystics and Commissars (Berkeley, CA:University of California Press, 1985), p. 29; Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 155.

112 losif Stalin, p. 115. 113 In Bugai, "The Truth," 76.114 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 186. 115 Bugai, "Kvoprosu," 140.

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timber industries of Galich and Bui;116 at Krasnoyarsk in westernSiberia, about 4,000 Chechens were incarcerated in forced laborconcentration camps;117 585 Chechens and 79 Karachai were sent towork in Ivanovo oblast'.118

The conditions awaiting the Chechens upon their arrival in CentralAsia were often inadequate to support life. According to one researcher:"The most fearful and irremediable blow to the Chechen-Ingush peoplewas struck in the first two to three years, when starvation and the mostdreadful diseases obliged them to bury tens and hundreds of thousandsof their fellow tribespeople in the steppes of Central Asia."119 Local andgovernment bodies failed to provide deportees newly arrived in theKirgiz SSR with the food allowances due them; the result was "theincreasing frequency of deaths from undernourishment and infectiousdiseases among the resettled population."120

In the Kazakh SSR, even four years after the deportation operation,there were 118,259 special settlers counted as being "in extreme need inregard to food." It was reported that "thousands" of children had diedof undernourishment.121 In a letter to the NKVD administration ofKostroma oblast', M. Kuznetsov, a high-ranking NKVD official, com-plained about "the bad state of living conditions" of Chechens andother peoples who had been sent to logging organizations run by theUSSR People's Commissariat of the Timber Industry.122

In the sphere of housing, the situation was consistently abysmal. As of1 September 1944, only 5,000 out of 31,000 special-settler families inKirgiziya had been provided with housing. In the Kameninskii district ofKirgiziya, only eighteen apartments had been prepared for 900 families,that is, a total of one apartment for every fifty families.123 By September1946, the situation in Kirgiziya remained appalling: only 4,973 out of31,000 families had been provided with permanent housing.124

In the Akmolinsk oblast' of the Kazakh SSR, only 28 out of a planned1,000 homes had been built for the special settlers by July 1946. By thatsame date, in Taldy-Kurgan oblast', only 23 out of 1,400 had beenerected, and in Dzhambul' and Karaganda oblasts "no one even startedto work on housing construction for the special deportees."125 Onlysome fourteen years after the deportation, in 1958, had a reported 93.8percent of all families deported to Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan (now116 Bugai, "The Truth," 77.117 Conquest, Nation Killers, pp. 103-04. 118 Bugai, "The Truth," 77.119 A. Kh. Dudaev, dissertation (1964), Faculty of Law, Moscow University, cited in

Nekrich , Punished Peoples, p. 118 .120 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 125..121 Ibid. 122 Bugai, "The Truth," 79. 123 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 122.124 Bugai, "The Truth," 79. 125 Ibid.

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Kyrgyzstan) been supplied with permanent housing, "but by then it wastime to leave again."126

How many died?It is, of course, impossible to determine precisely how many Chechensdied as a result of their forced deportation to the Kazakh and KirgizSSRs, but we can attempt an educated estimate. Citing figures from theNKVD's Department of Special Settlements, historian Nikolai Bugaiwrites that "a total of 144,704 (23.7 percent) of all the deportedChechens, Ingush, Balkars (1944), and Karachai (1943) died in theperiod from 1944 through 1948; that figure includes 101,036 Chechens,Ingush, and Balkars who died in the Kazakh SSR."127 The Chechens, itshould be noted, continued to undergo exceptionally harsh treatmentuntil Stalin's death in 1953, and many more of them must have died inthe period 1949-53, but, even if one were to stipulate a figure of 23.7percent of the Chechen populace dead during the deportation years, itwould represent more than a double decimation of their total population- raw genocide by anyone's definition.

Other specialists have sought to determine the death toll by examiningSoviet census figures. The well-known ethnographer Valerii Tishkovand his coauthors (hereafter to be referred to as "the Tishkov group"),in their study The Chechen Crisis, have noted that the officially reportedpopulation of Chechens increased from 400,344 at the time of the all-union census of 1939 to a mere 419,000 at the time of the all-unioncensus of 1959. Between 1926 and 1937 - an eleven-year period - thenumber of Chechens had, by contrast, increased from 318,373 to435,922. Between 1959 and 1970 - also an eleven-year period - theyincreased from 419,000 to 612,674. And the Tishkov group concludes:"Indirect [kosvennye] losses of growth from the deportation constitutedabout 200,000 among the Chechens."128

In similar fashion, Robert Conquest, in his pioneering study TheNation Killers, observed that, in the period between 1939 and 1959, theSoviet population as whole grew by 22.3 percent, while that of theChechens increased by a mere 2.5 percent. Between the censuses of1926 and 1939, he noted, the Chechen population, by contrast, hadgrown by 28 percent.129 Alexander Nekrich reached similar conclusionsafter examining the available Soviet census data. If the Chechen popula-tion had experienced "normal" growth between 1939 and 1959, he1 2 6 Nekr ich , Punished Peoples, p . 122. 1 2 7 Bugai , " T h e T r u t h , " 67 .1 2 8 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, pp . 8 - 1 0 .1 2 9 Conques t , Nation Killers, p . 160.

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believed, it would have reached at least 590,000 by 1959 (instead, itnumbered 419,000 - 171,000 less than it should have been). Nekrichstressed that his figures were "closer to minimal than maximal esti-mates."130 It seems obvious from the Soviet census data that a demo-graphic cataclysm struck the Chechens between 1939 and 1959.

Life in the "special settlements"Conditions were exceedingly severe for the Chechens and other resi-dents of the special settlements. They had to register their addressesonce a month with the special registration office of the MVD. Nodeportees were allowed to leave their places of residence withoutpermission from the MVD commandant. Chechens were not permittedto travel beyond a radius of three kilometers from their places ofresidence and, in 1948, the rules were made even harsher.131

In general, the special deportees - Chechens and non-Chechens alike- were assigned to do hard, exhausting physical labor. The 645,000special settlers who had been sent to Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan wereassigned to 4,036 kolkhozes, 254 sovkhozes, and 167 towns andworkers' settlements, where they found work at 2,500 industrial enter-prises.132 The speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet from 1991 to1993, Ruslan Khasbulatov, an ethnic Chechen, has recalled that hismother and her four children were sent to a small village (Poludin) inthe north of Kazakhstan, where they lived among other deportees -Volga Germans, Koreans, and Tatars - as well as among many Russians.

"Our exile," he remembers, "lasted for about ten years. I cannot recalla single incident of ethnic conflict . . . We were all in the same boat,living in equal poverty, with shortages of everything, particularly bread. . . Like other young boys, I did all I could to help mother and myfamily in their everyday chores. Mother worked as a milkmaid on thelocal collective farm. I can remember drawing buckets of water from adeep well, watering the cows, cleaning the cowsheds, looking after thecalves, digging potatoes, and gathering loads of firewood . . . I stayed inthe village attending to my peasant chores until I was thirteen . . .Following Stalin's death we moved to live closer to our relations, wholived not far from Alma-Ata . . . I had to quit school after the eighthgrade."133

In addition to performing difficult agricultural work, the deportees130 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 138.131 Ibid., pp. 1 1 8 - 1 9 . 132 Ibid., p. 122.133 Ruslan Khasbulatov, The Struggle for Russia (London and N e w York: Routledge,

1993), pp. 3-4.

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"also formed a pool for labor on canals and railway construction. Therailway from Frunze [now Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan] toRibach'e on Lake Issyk-kul, for instance, a difficult task involvingcuttings through the gorges, was carried out almost entirely byChechen, Ingush, and Tatar labor."134 Detesting the work to which theywere forcibly subjected, the Chechens, like other special settlers,attempted to avoid it whenever possible. In 1944, it was reported that85,000 out of 219,665 able-bodied persons resettled in Kazakhstanwere not in fact working.135

Alexander Nekrich has termed the process to which the Chechensand other deportees were subjected "pauperization." "[I]n 1943 and1944," he concludes, "a million people were subjected not so much toexpropriation as to pauperization. During the first years in the specialsettlements they were reduced to the status of disenfranchised andpersecuted beggars."136

The deportation, as Ruslan Khasbulatov's above-cited memoir shows,was especially hard on children. Many children perished due to mal-nourishment and disease, but those who survived, in a number of cases,were deprived of schooling. In 1944, in the Kazakh SSR, only 16,000out of 50,323 school-age children of special settlers attended school,while in the Kirgiz SSR the figure was 6,643 out of 21,015. Instruction,furthermore, was not conducted in the native language of the children,even though many - and especially the Chechens - did not knowRussian.137

The Chechens incarcerated in Stalin's GULAG lived a particularlybrutalizing existence. In Krasnoyarsk in October 1954 - during the yearfollowing Stalin's death - we find 4,000 Chechens escaping from oneconcentration camp into the taiga. In February 1955, it was reportedthat the Soviet police had tracked down and killed some 2,000 of them,but that the remainder had successfully hidden themselves in thetaiga.138 In the notorious Kolyma labor camps in the Russian Far East,there occurred a mass refusal of several hundred Chechens to go towork.139

One result of the deportation which was clearly unwanted by theregime was that the Sufi brotherhoods, actively spread by the Chechensand Ingush, expanded into areas of Muslim Central Asia, particularlyinto Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.140

134 Conquest , Nation Killers, p . 105. 135 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p . 124.136 Ibid. 137 Ibid. , p . 126.138 Karcha, "Genoc ide , " 8 2 - 8 3 ; Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p . 120.139 Conquest , Nation Killers, pp . 1 0 3 - 0 4 .140 Bennigsen and Wimbush , Mystics and Commissars, p . 30.

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Chechnya officially wiped off the mapOnce the Chechens and Ingush had been deported in 1944, thecommunist authorities began actively to redraw the map of the region.The Chechen-Ingush ASSR simply disappeared into a memory hole -as did the Chechens and Ingush themselves - to be replaced by a supra-ethnic territory called Groznyi (Groznenskaya) oblast'. In order toexpunge all memory of the Chechens and Ingush, the party committeefor the region decided on 19 June 1944 to rename most districts anddistrict centers of the region.141 Chechen-sounding names were sup-planted by Russian ones: Achkoi-Martan district thus became Nove-sel'skii; Urus-Martan became Krasnoarmeiskii; Shalinskii becameMezhdurechenskii; and so on.142

The Soviet republic of Georgia - the home republic of Stalin andBeriya - was significantly enriched at the expense of the deportedpeoples. Thus the main Karachai and Balkar regions to the north andeast of Mount Elbrus were annexed to Georgia, as was a part of thesouthern region of former Checheno-Ingushetiya. As a result of this"fattening" process, Georgia grew from 69,300 to 76,400 square kilo-meters. North Ossetiya was also rewarded, growing from 6,200 squarekilometers to 9,200, while Dagestan increased from 35,000 to38,200.143

Following the forced expulsion of all Chechens and Ingush inFebruary 1944, the regime had to provide a replacement work force forthose who had been abruptly removed. Since 35 percent of the popula-tion of predeportation Checheno-Ingushetiya had been ethnic Russians(while 50 percent had been Chechens), these Russians provided ademographic base for the newly created Groznyi oblast'. Russianstudents studying in the city of Groznyi were sent out to the collectivefarms to take care of livestock until new immigrants from Kursk andOrel regions could arrive.144 After the livestock had been evacuatedfrom Chechen mountain auls, the villages "were set on fire in order todeprive the 'bandits' [who had escaped the arrest net] of their means of

141 Bugai, "The Truth," 79. 142 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp. 5 9 - 6 0 .143 Conquest, Nation Killers, pp. 68, 75. For a detailed listing of the affected areas, see

"Protokol no. 67 zasedaniya Prezidiyuma Tsentral'nogo Komiteta KPSS ot 5 - 6yanvarya 1957 goda," T S K h S D (Tsentr Khraneniya Sovremennoi Dokumentatsii[Center for the Preservation of Contemporary Documentation]), fond 89, perechen'61 , delo 7, Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State, State ArchivalService of Russia (Rosarkhiv) and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, andPeace, distributed by Chadwyck-Healey, Inc., 1101 King Street, Alexandria, VA22314.

144 Conquest, Nation Killers, p. 102; Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 185.

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subsistence. For days one could see the auls burning in the moun-tains."145

After having been plundered by Beriya's NKVD troops, the homes ofthe Chechens situated in the lowlands were taken over by new settlers.On the orders of the authorities, tens of thousands of Russians,Ukrainians, Avars, Dargins, and Ossetians were resettled in Groznyioblast'.146 Staro-Yurtovskii district, for example, received 811 familiesfrom Kizlyar; Shatoi district got 81 Russian and 140 Dagestani families;Gudermes district received 2,800 new settlers; and so on.147

Despite this influx of new populace, the settlement of many of thevillages and farm communities of the former republic proceeded withdifficulty. "Houses and farm buildings abandoned by persons drivenfrom their homes became dilapidated. Formerly there had been 28,375farms in the territory of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR . . . [B]y May 1945,there were only 10,200 farms functioning there. The numbers of settlers. . . totaled only forty percent of the number of deportees. Twenty-twovillages remained empty, and twenty villages were only partially re-settled." In late 1945, the first party secretary of Groznyi oblast', P.Cheplakov, proposed that an additional 5,000 households be transferredto the area from such places as Tambov, Penza, Saratov, and Yaro-slavl'.148

The livestock which had belonged to the Chechens and the Ingushwas turned over to kolkhozes in other regions of the country, inparticular, to farms in the Ukrainian SSR, Stavropol' krai, Voronezh,Kursk, and Orel oblasts. These operations were accompanied byenormous losses of livestock, which were reported to be "dying in largenumbers, primarily due to exhaustion."149 Many of the skills involved inhighland livestock herding and in the cultivation of terraced land in themountains which had been developed by the Chechens and Ingush overthe centuries were lost forever.

The region's petroleum industry was also crippled by the expulsion ofthe Chechens and Ingush. Prior to 1944, about 4,000 representatives ofthese peoples - cadres who had been trained in the 1930s - had workedin engineering-technical jobs in the oil industry. Their abrupt removalled to a marked decline in the rate of petroleum extraction. The loss ofexperienced Chechen and Ingush drillers had a particularly negativeconsequence.150

145 Avtorkhanov, "Chechens and Ingush," p. 185.146 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, p. 60. 147 Bugai, "The Truth," 79.148 Ibid., 80 . 149 Ibid. 1 5° Ibid.

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The Chechens return homeFollowing the death of Stalin in 1953 and the subsequent removal andexecution of Lavrentii Beriya, a year of uncertainty passed before theposition of the special settlers began to be clarified. In July 1954, theUSSR Council of Ministers issued a resolution "On the Lifting ofCertain Restrictions on the Legal Status of Resettled Persons." Thosedeemed to be employed doing socially useful labor were henceforthpermitted to live freely in the republic or region where they foundthemselves.

Registration with the MVD became an annual rather than a monthlyrequirement. All children under ten years of age were dropped from theregistration list for special settlers. Young men and women over the ageof sixteen were taken off the register if they were enrolled in educationalinstitutions. These liberalizations were, however, accompanied bysporadic returns to a hard line. Thus, for example, a decree of the USSRCouncil of Ministers of 26 June 1955 ordered "the intensification ofmass agitation and cultural-educational work among resettledpersons."151

In May 1955, the newspaper Kazakhstanskayapravda announced thatit had become possible for residents of the Kazakh SSR to subscribe to anew republican weekly newspaper, to be published in the Chechenlanguage. In November, it was reported that a Chechen-Ingush ArtTheater had come into existence. In December 1956, Alma-Ata Radioannounced that, in 1957, the Kazakh State Literary Publishing Housewould produce works in Chechen and Ingush.152 While representing astep forward for the Chechens, these developments also seemed to be anattempt by the regime to keep the Chechens and Ingush firmly rooted inKazakhstan.

As early as 1954, however, some Chechens and Ingush began toattempt illegally to "force their way" back onto the territory of theirformer republic. They would be discovered, removed, and arrested, butnew Chechens and Ingush would then appear in their place.153 Begin-ning in 1955, Chechens began to disappear from Central Asia in largenumbers and then to reappear in Groznyi oblast', demanding that theirformer homes be returned. Throughout 1956 - and especially followingthe reformist Twentieth Party Congress under Khrushchev - "theunauthorized return of Chechens, Ingush, and Karachai increased in

151 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp. 1 2 9 - 3 0 .1 5 2 Conques t , Nation Killers, pp . 1 4 1 , 143 .1 5 3 Nekr ich , Punished Peoples, p . 135.

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frequency, and nothing could force the returnees to leave. In a numberof cases incidents involving bloodshed and violence occurred."154

Thousands of Chechens gathered at railway stations to purchasetickets back to their homeland, but an official order was issued not tosell them tickets. In spite of all such warnings and numerous appeals, anestimated 25,000-30,000 Chechens and Ingush returned during 1956.When they would not be permitted to take possession of the homes inwhich they had formerly lived, they would make dugouts next to themand settle in, and, in an immensely symbolic move, they also broughtback the remains of relatives who had died in Central Asia, so that theycould find rest in the land of their ancestors.155

At first, the USSR Council of Ministers attempted to forbid thisrepatriation process. A bitter dispute broke out within the top Sovietleadership over whether or not the Chechens and Ingush should bepermitted to return to their home territory. An attempt was made toorganize the mass recruitment of Chechens and Ingush for work inother parts of the USSR, but the Chechens and Ingush spurned suchproposals. The head of the Groznyi oblast' Communist Party, A. I.Yakovlev, vehemently opposed permitting the mountaineers to return,but Kovalenko, chairman of the oblast' executive committee and areformer, favored both their return and the restoration of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR.

Struggling against the inevitable, the party leadership attempted topersuade the Chechens and Ingush to agree to the establishment of anautonomous republic for them, but located in Uzbekistan, with itscapital being situated in the city of Chimkent. This proposal, too, foundno takers; then the party leadership tried a new tack: the Chechens andIngush, they said, would be permitted to return to the Caucasus, but thesite of their republic would now be moved, and its capital wouldhenceforth be not Groznyi, but Kizlyar near the Terek River inDagestan.156 This proposal, too, elicited no support. As in their earlierreturn from Ottoman Turkey following the uprising of 1877-78, thestrong-willed Chechens were bent on returning to the land of theirforefathers, and it appeared that nothing could stop them.

Faced with this tenacity, the regime was forced reluctantly to capitu-late. A resolution of the party Central Committee of 24 November 1956demonstrates the leadership's grudging acceptance of reality. "[I]t isimpossible," the resolution noted, "not to take into consideration thatfact that recently, especially after the Twentieth Congress of the CPSUand the removal of the Kalmyks, Karachai, Balkars, Chechens, and

154 Ibid., p. 131. 155 Ibid., p. 135. 156 Ibid., pp. 134-35.

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Ingush from the status of special settlers, strivings to return to theirnative places and to reestablish their national autonomies are growingstronger and stronger. Despite the existing interdiction, thousands offormer special settlers are willfully returning to their former places ofresidence, which is creating great difficulties in providing them withhousing and with employment."157

Confronted with this volatile situation, the Central Committeeresolved to correct the "injustice" which had earlier been committedagainst the Chechen and Ingush peoples and to "reestablish theirnational autonomy." Despite this concession, however, the CentralCommittee also sought to induce as many Chechens and Ingush aspossible not to return to their homeland: "The party and soviet organsof the republics and oblasts in which at the present time . . . Chechensand Ingush live should encourage the adhesion [zakreplenie] of a part ofthis populace to the place where they currently live, undertakingmeasures to improve their economic and work situations and to drawthem into active social and political life."158 Once again, the regime wasmoved by fatuous hopes.

The Central Committee resolution also insisted that those Chechensand Ingush who were to return to their homeland should do so inphased fashion, over the period 1957-60, "in an organized manner insmall groups." This phased return would also create less havoc at thekolkhozes, sovkhozes, and enterprises in Kazakhstan and Kirgizstanwhere they were currently employed. This hope for a phased return alsoproved to be wishful thinking. Instead of the planned-for 100,000repatriatees who were scheduled to have come back by the beginning of1958, some 200,000 actually returned, double the desired number.159

Trying to control the influx of Chechens and Ingush to their homelandwas, it seemed, like trying to direct the ocean tides.

Once the Chechens and other deportees living in Kazakhstan andKirgizstan had been officially "freed" in July 1956, the authoritiessought to collect signatures from them to the effect "that they would notpretend to the return of property confiscated at the time of theirdeportation and that they would not return to those places from whichthey had been deported."160 Tens of thousands of mountaineers refusedto sign these documents. In October 1956, the Kazakh MVD reportedto the USSR MVD that, of 195,911 Chechens, Ingush, and Karachai

1 5 7 T S K h S D , fond 89 , perechen ' 6 1 , delo 13, Archives of the Soviet C o m m u n i s t Par tyand Soviet State .

1 5 8 Ibid. 1 5 9 Conques t , Nation Killers, p . 155.160 y N . Zemskov, "Massovoe osvobolzhdenie spetsposelentsev i ssyl'nykh ( 1 9 5 4 - 1 9 6 0

gg.)s" Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya, 1 (1991), 17.

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who had been removed from the republican special settlement list, atotal of 55,177 had refused to sign the agreement. In the Kirgiz SSR,20,735 Chechens, Ingush, and Karachai out of 47,889 also refused tosign. Those who refused to sign then "willfully" {samovoVno) returnedto their place of former residence.161

Redrawing the map and promoting RussificationOnce the regime had arrived at a painful decision to restore theChechen-Ingush ASSR, there then arose the question of what itsborders should be. The solution the regime came to, as RobertConquest has noted, had the resurrected autonomous republic gaining"much territory north of the Terek," while losing "some [land] in themountain valleys."162 A decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Sovietof the RSFSR, contained in the party archives, spells out the territory ofthe new-old republic in detail.163

The basis of the revived Chechen-Ingush ASSR was to be the existingGroznyi oblast' - that is, the city of Groznyi itself and eight districts(raiony) which had previously belonged to that province - but added toit were to be: three districts which had earlier been part of Stavropol'krai; four districts and parts of two others which had since 1944 beenpart of the Dagestan ASSR; plus the city of Malgobek and one districtand part of another from the North Ossetian ASSR. Some territorywhich had been part of Groznyi oblast' since 1944 was not to be given tothe revived Chechen-Ingush ASSR: namely, the city of Kizlyar and fourdistricts which were now to be part of Dagestan, and two other districtswhich were now to be attached to Stavropol' krai.

The clear-cut purpose behind this redrawing of the map was maxi-mally to Russify the newly formed Chechen-Ingush ASSR, weakeningand diluting the political clout of the mountaineers. The three districtswhich were added to the ASSR from Stavropol' krai - Shelkovskii,Kargalinskii, and Naurskii districts - consisted mainly of Terek Cos-sacks, as well as, in Shelkovskii district, of a number of Nogai, a Turkishpeople.164 According to Alexander Nekrich, these three districts, whichcontained virtually no Chechens or Ingush and which were not part oftheir historic homelands, composed 27 percent of the total territory ofthe new ASSR (5,200 square kilometers out of 19,300). As a result ofthis illogical and artificial merging of territories and peoples, Chechens

161 Ibid. l62 Conquest, Nation Killers, p. 151.1 6 3 T S K h S D , fond 89, perechen' 6 1 , delo 8, Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and

Soviet State.1 6 4 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 156.

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and Ingush came to make up only 41 percent of the population of theirresurrected republic; in 1939, by contrast, they had composed 58.4percent of Checheno-Ingushetiya's population.165 In this way, theKhrushchev regime "made amends" to the Chechens for admittedwrongs of the past by aggressively Russifying and ethnically diluting thepopulace of the new ASSR. Given the exceptionally high birth ratecharacteristic among Chechens and Ingush, however, even this stepwould have only temporary effects.

A chilly welcome home

As has been noted, the regime had taken a decision to permit a phasedreturn - over a four-year period - of those Chechens and Ingush whocould not be persuaded to remain where they were. An organizingcommittee, headed by M. G. Gairbekov, later chairman of the Councilof Ministers of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, was established to overseethe repatriation process. The committee's careful plans soon went awry.The organizing committee had planned for 450 new families to arrive inGroznyi city during 1957, but, instead, 2,692 families came. In therepublic as a whole, 48,000 families returned during 1957, while only33,000 single-apartment dwellings had been readied for them.166

It was also difficult to normalize relations between the arrivingChechens and Ingush and those who had appropriated their land. "Thereturn of the Chechens and Ingush was, to put it mildly, not greetedwith special enthusiasm by the local population."167 In the Mezhdu-rechenskii (soon to be returned to its former name of Shalinskii) district,to cite one example, of the 400 families (with 669 able-bodiedmembers) who arrived, only ten people were given jobs in kolkhozes,while another twenty-one were offered employment at factories andoffices.168

Mindful of the difficult lessons of the past, the regime did not permitthe arriving Chechens and Ingush to settle in their former villages in themountains (or, rather, in the former locations of those villages, since themountain auls had uniformly been destroyed in 1944). Instead, workingsettlements were constructed for the new arrivals at sovkhozes, machinetractor stations, and other government enterprises scattered about thelowland regions of the republic. The regime's obvious aim was to keepthe Chechens "away from the mountains, which had served as fortressesin their ancient struggles, in order to preserve a vigilant surveillance over

165 Nekr ich , Punished Peoples, pp . 1 5 7 - 5 8 .166 Ibid., pp. 146-47. 167 Ibid., pp. 147-48. 168 Ibid., p. 148.

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them."169 The new sovkhozes constructed to house the Chechens wereoften situated in "thinly populated, dry, unhealthy areas."170

The Chechens were largely employed as workers in livestock-raisingsovkhozes, much as they had been required to do during their period ofexile in Central Asia. Other Chechens were used as a reserve of labor forindustries based in Groznyi.171

For the first time since Stalin's 1921 pledge, however, the regime didundertake to relocate some Russians and Cossacks in order to accom-modate the Chechens and Ingush. Thus, 2,574 families, most of themethnic Russians, were moved to areas on the other side of the Terek.According to Soviet archival data, some 36,000 Russians also chosevoluntarily to leave the new Chechen-Ingush ASSR. Many of those whoabandoned the republic were communists. In Shalinskii district, forexample, 300 party members left in 1957.172

At the time of their return, some Chechens were ordered to settle inthe desert area to the north of the Terek, a region which had been madepart of the republic for the first time.173 During the 1960s and 1970s, apart of the Chechens were resettled in the Cossack districts in the northof the ASSR. "This was supposed to lead to the assimilation of theChechens but instead resulted in their spreading and in the squeezingout of the Cossack populace from their stanitsy [villages]."174

The persistent adherence of many Chechens to Islam continued toconcern the authorities. Articles in the local press singled out supportersof the sharia for particular invective and assailed Chechens who did notpermit their children to join Soviet Youth Clubs and other institutionsfor communist indoctrination.175

An anti-Chechen pogromIn August 1958, a fierce anti-Chechen pogrom erupted in the city ofGroznyi, underscoring the simmering resentment felt by many Russianstoward the newly returned mountaineers. A Russian sailor had asked ayoung woman to dance, and an Ingush who had had designs on her hadintervened. A fight had broken out, and the sailor was killed. The nextday, the sailor's funeral turned into a bloody mob action by the city'sRussian populace, and the ensuing disturbances lasted for four days. Anestimated 10,000 people assembled in the main square in Groznyi. ARussian woman who claimed to have formerly served in the regional

169 Karcha, "Soviet Propaganda ," 8. 170 Ibid., 7-8.171 Conquest, Nation Killers, pp. 156-57.172 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp . 1 5 0 - 5 1 . 173 Conques t , Nation Killers, p . 157.174 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 156. I75 Conquest, Nation Killers, p. 155.

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party committee and in the Council of Ministers stood up anddemanded the expulsion of all Chechens and Ingush from the republic;a mass search and disarming of all Chechens and Ingush - those foundin possession of weapons were to be shot on the spot; and the establish-ment of "Russian power" in the region.

An elderly Chechen peddler from Urus-Martan wearing an astrakhanhat was seized and beaten to death by the mob while a group of soldierslooked on indifferently. Russians, including the local communists,"pinned on red ribbons so that the rampaging pogromists would nottake them for Chechens or Ingush."176 Fortunately, the local moun-taineers exhibited exceptional self-restraint and, once looting broke out,the authorities were forced to restore order in the region. None of thosewho participated in the mass disorders was ever brought to justice,though the local party boss, A. I. Yakovlev, was transferred out of therepublic in 1959.

As this incident demonstrated, the Chechens and Ingush were to betreated as second-class citizens in the republic named after them. Of8,997 specialists with a higher education listed as living in Checheno-Ingushetiya in 1959, only 177 were Chechens and 124 Ingush. Simi-larly, of 8,000 teachers employed in the republic after its restoration,only 1,440 were Chechens and Ingush, and, of these, only 190 hadeducational degrees.177

Touting a colonial heritageOne of the aims of the party leadership of the restored republic was toemphasize the putative positive aspects of tsarist policies in the Cau-casus. The exploits of General Yermolov were repeatedly extolled byparty spokesmen. Anti-Russian movements of the nineteenth century inthe North Caucasus, on the other hand, were criticized as having beenperpetrated by "Turkish agents in the interests of Turkey and Iran."178

Beginning in the late 1950s, as part of Khrushchev's sweeping anti-religious campaign, there took place a systematic persecution of Sufibrotherhoods throughout the North Caucasus. Major trials of thesebrotherhoods were held in 1958, 1963, and 1964, and the accused wereput to death, charged with "banditism" and "manslaughter."179 Accord-ing to a report issued in 1973 by a specialist in "scientific atheism,"V. G. Pivovarov, 52.9 percent of Chechens continued to be religiousbelievers (as opposed to 11.9 percent of ethnic Russians).180 Pivovarov's1 7 6 Nekrich, Punished Peoples, pp. 1 5 2 - 5 3 .1 7 7 Ibid., pp. 1 5 6 - 5 7 . 1 7 8 Ibid., pp. 1 6 3 - 6 4 .1 7 9 Bennigsen and Wimbush, Mystics and Commissars, p. 31 . l80 Ibid., p. 51 .

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estimate for the Chechens, it should be added, was almost certainly toolow.

Quiescent ChechensThe deportation of the Chechens in 1944 and the resulting genocidehad (temporarily) served its purpose. Following their return from exile,the Chechens had become a subdued people. Under Brezhnev's lengthyrule (1964-82), their sense of humiliation and abasem*nt grew. At theinitiative of the powerful party secretary for ideology, Mikhail Suslov,campaigns were conducted in various autonomous republics to celebratetheir "voluntary reunification" with Russia. In Groznyi, the "voluntaryentrance of Checheno-Ingushetiya into Russia" was marked with elabo-rate fanfare under the leadership of the head of the republican partyorganization, Aleksandr Vlasov, a Russian. The fact that there had evenoccurred a nineteenth-century Caucasus War was consigned to oblivion,since that fact conflicted with the myth of a "voluntary unification" withRussia.

When a group of Chechen and Ingush historians - MagomedMuzaev, Abdula Vatsuev, and others - issued a sharp criticism of thisfalsified concept of a "voluntary union," the republican KGB organizedtheir persecution; they were deprived of an opportunity to speak outpublicly or to air their views in print; they were singled out for criticismat party meetings; and they were fired from their places of work.181

A striking example of the craven views being promulgated by therepublican party leadership is an article entitled "To Form Internation-alist Convictions," which appeared in the February 1988 issue ofKommunist) which was the party's leading USSR-wide theoreticaljournal.182 The article, which appeared in the third year of Gorbachev'stenure as party general secretary, was written by Khazhbikar Bokov,chairman of the presidium of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR SupremeSoviet, i.e., the head of the republican parliament.

In this essay, the author repeatedly assailed what he called the "virus"of nationalism. It was incumbent upon Chechens and Ingush, heinsisted, that they admit that they would be just another "underdeve-loped country" had it not been for the "Russian people, who after theestablishment of Soviet power deprived themselves of much in order tolead out onto the broad highway peoples who had previously beendowntrodden and backward." During the Great Patriotic War, Bokov181 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 156.1 8 2 Kh. Bokov, "Formirovat' internatsionalistskie ubezhdeniya," Kommunist, 3 (February

1988), 87-95.

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went on, "traitors, enemies of Soviet power" had been activated in therepublic, and their crimes had been a factor behind the "tragedy" ofdeportation. There had in fact been "not a few traitors" among theChechens and Ingush, though they had composed a small minority ofthe total populace.

Fortunately for the Chechens and Ingush, Bokov continued, theRussian people had remained a steadfast pillar of support: "[T]heRussian people, which itself endured so many harsh trials during theyears of the cult of personality, always manifested such care for thepeoples of Central Asia and the North Caucasus as can only becompared to what an elder brother demonstrates toward his siblings."The Russians were thus a wise and loyal "elder brother" for thewayward mountaineers.

The future of Chechens and Ingush, Bokov prophesied, would bebright if they managed to steer clear of "any manifestations of chauvinismand nationalism," and, especially, if they eschewed "religious fanati-cism." "In the North Caucasus," he warned, "religion, unfortunately,holds a significant part of the populace in its tenacious grip, especially thevillage populace. In the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, for example, until nowthere are not a few weddings performed according to the sharia. Manyfunerals are organized according to Muslim customs." The populace hadto be vigilant against the enticements of Muslim "servers of the cult."Forty percent of the students at one high school in Groznyi, Bokov notedwith alarm, had termed themselves religious believers in a recent poll.

Bokov's article is a good example of the degree of humiliation towhich the Chechens found themselves subjected just three years beforethe outbreak of what has come to be known as the "Chechen Revolu-tion." By the year 1990, the muzzled and demoralized Chechens hadhad enough.

Summing up

The Chechens encountered new and fatal shocks with the coming topower of the communists in 1917. The Bolsheviks, who treated theChechens with a savagery dwarfing even that exhibited by Yermolov,sought relentlessly to uproot them from their traditional religion andfrom their traditional economy, and maximally to achieve their Russifi-cation and Russianization. Unlike the Yeltsin leadership, Stalin andBeriya, both of them men from the Caucasus, did not suffer in theslightest from historical amnesia vis-a-vis the Chechens. On the con-trary, they had a clear conception of who the Chechens were and thepotential dangers that they represented for the young Soviet state.

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When the Chechens dug in their heels against the headlong social,economic, and religious transformations being sponsored and imple-mented by the communists, the regime took a lethal decision to deportthem as a people to Central Asia. As we have seen in this chapter (pp.70-71), roughly a quarter of the Chechens, and perhaps more, perishedin the course of this genocidal operation and its aftermath, which sawthem deposited, often without a bare minimum of food and housing, inremote regions of Central Asia.

The Khrushchev leadership, which moderated many of the excessesof the Stalin period, did all that it could to weaken the Chechens,seeking to keep them penned in within Central Asia and, when thatfailed, combining traditional Chechen and Ingush territories withRussian and Cossack ones so that the Chechens and Ingush wouldcompose a minority of the populace of the republic named after them.Under Leonid Brezhnev, the Chechens effectively remained a "punishedpeople," with their forcible incorporation into the Russian Empireduring the nineteenth century being triumphantly celebrated as a"voluntary union." Economically, the Chechens continued to sufferfrom acute "land hunger" and from severe poverty.

As had occurred in the tsarist period, these brutal and discriminatorypolicies and practices of the Soviet leadership produced results directlycontrary to what had been intended. Thus the regime's evident desire toeradicate a sense of "mountaineer" consciousness among Chechensprompted a slow but steady growth in Chechen national awareness. Bythe late 1930s, the Chechens were already beginning to conceive ofthemselves as a discrete people, though a sense of ties to their Vainakhbrethren, the Ingush, persisted, as did strong clan allegiances. Allattempts to Russify and Russianize the Chechens failed utterly andserved to produce an opposite result among this stiff-necked mountainpeople, who clung tenaciously to their ancient language and to their SufiMuslim loyalties. They also manifested a fertility rate so high that itgradually overcame the regime's attempts administratively to drownthem in a sea of Slavs.

At the beginning of the Gorbachev era, the Chechens were a peoplewith a formidable list of grievances.

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The eruption of the "Chechen Revolution5

[U]nlike *n other [autonomous] republics, the idea of breaking awayfrom Russia was popular among most Chechens [in 1991].

North Caucasus area specialist Ol'ga Vasil'eva1

In order to understand the causes underlying the kaleidoscopic"Chechen Revolution" of 1990-91 and the concomitant rise to powerof General Dzhokhar Dudaev, one needs to look closely at a number ofinterlinked economic, social, and demographic processes occurring inthe Chechen-Ingush ASSR during the Brezhnev-to-Gorbachev years(1964-91). As the Tishkov group has noted, within the republic ofChecheno-Ingushetiya during this period: "[T]here had taken place akind of division of the economy into two sectors: a 'Russian' one (theoil-extracting industry, machine-building, systems of social mainte-nance, and infrastructure) and a 'national' one (small village produc-tion, seasonal work, and the criminal sphere - and the ranks of thissecond 'national' sector were continually increasing as new contingentsof young people came of working age)."2

Factors behind the "Chechen Revolution"

As a result of the formation of these two sectors - i.e., a "Russian" oneand a "national" one - industry and transport were experiencing a severelabor shortage in Checheno-Ingushetiya at the same time that villageagriculture ceased being able to absorb the growth in labor resourcestaking place among the core rural population of Chechens and Ingush.Tens of thousands of unemployed villagers composed what came to beknown as "surplus rural populace." At the beginning of 1991, this laborsurplus in the villages was estimated to number between 100,000 and

1 Ol'ga Vasil'eva, "North Caucasus," in Klaus Segbers and Stephan de Spiegeleire, eds.,Post-Soviet Puzzles (Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos, 1995), vol. II, p. 444.

2 V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V. Marchenko, Chechenskii krizis (Moscow: Tsentrkompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii i marketinga, 1995), p. 16.


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200,000 people, or from 20 to 30 percent of the entire working populaceof the republic.3 At the time of the 1989 all-union census, it should benoted, Chechens still represented a largely rural populace, with 73.13percent continuing to live in villages.4 Wherever they dwelled, theChechens also clung tenaciously to their native language: in 1989, at thetime of the all-union census, 98.79 percent of them cited Chechen astheir native language, while a mere 1.06 percent named Russian.5

A very high birth rate was noteworthy among Chechens (and Ingush)during both the Brezhnev and the post-Brezhnev periods. In 1980, therepublic's natural growth per 1,000 inhabitants was 14.3; by 1985, ithad increased to 16.8; in 1990, it was 16.1; and in 1992, it stood at13.9. The comparable figures for the Russian Federation as a wholewere much lower: 4.9, 5.3, 2.2, and -1.5.6

The Chechens and the Ingush became increasingly impoverishedpeoples during the years 1964-91, leading some of their youth to driftinto criminality, and others to emigrate to other parts of Russia, as wellas to the territory of the present-day CIS. By the mid-1980s, unemploy-ment in the Chechen-Ingush Republic had become chronic, and, eachsummer, tens of thousands of villagers ventured beyond the borders ofthe republic to engage in seasonal work.

Following their return from exile in the mid- to late 1950s, manyChechens had found themselves gradually "pushed out" of the republic,forced to take temporary work in Siberia and in the Russian Far North.By 1979, the percentage of Chechens living in Checheno-Ingushetiyahad fallen to 80.9 percent of their total numbers; by 1989, thatpercentage had declined further to 76.6 percent.

Of the 899,000 Chechens reported as living in the Russian Federationby the 1989 all-union census, 58,000 lived in neighboring Dagestan;while 15,000 lived in Stavropol' krai, 11,100 in Volgograd oblast', 8,300in Kalmykiya, 7,900 in Astakhan' oblast', 6,000 in Saratov oblast', andso on.7 A total of 59,310 Chechens lived outside the Russian Federation,with 49,500 of that number residing in Kazakhstan.

While rampant unemployment and rural overpopulation were servingto force many Chechens out of their home republic, ethnic Russians,too, were leaving Checheno-Ingushetiya, and in significant numbers.Over the period 1979-89, their numbers diminished by 42,273, from336,044 to 293,771, a drop of 12.6 percent.8 The much-discussedoutmigration of ethnic Russians from Checheno-Ingushetiya, thus,began more than a decade before the coming to power of GeneralDudaev.3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., p. 10. 5 Ibid., p. 11. 6 Ibid., p. 16.7 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 8 Ibid.

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It should be noted that propitious conditions had not been created forthe recruitment of Chechens and Ingush into the oil industry in theirown home republic (in fact, such recruitment was, in effect, beingdiscouraged). When new specialists were needed in the oil industry, theywere imported from central Russia.9 Soon this issue became moot, asfewer and fewer new specialists were needed; by the second half of the1980s, the petroleum resources of the Chechen-Ingush Republic hadbegun to dry up. During the years 1985-91, the extractable resources ofoil in Chechnya decreased from 87 million to 58 million tons.10

The health and social services provided to the populace of theChechen-Ingush ASSR were notoriously poor. The republic was char-acterized by a very high mortality rate from infectious and parasiticaldiseases (in 1987, 22.6 per 1,000, the mean figure for the RussianFederation as a whole being 13.9 per 1,000). The health care system inthe republic was, not surprisingly, termed "one of the worst in Russia,"as was its mortality rate for children.11 In the three largely ethnicRussian regions located in the vicinity of Chechnya - Stavropol' krai,Krasnodar krai, and Rostov oblast' - the number of hospital beds per10,000 persons in 1991 was 87.5, 94.1, and 94.8; in Checheno-Ingushetiya, by contrast, the figure was a low 76.0. The figures fornumber of doctors per 10,000 persons in the same three Russian regionsduring the year 1991 were: 112.6, 98.2, and 81.5; in the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, it stood at 58.9.12 Environmentally, the republic sufferedfrom the heavy pollution emitted by its numerous oil-processing plants.

In the housing sphere, Checheno-Ingushetiya ranked close to thebottom in the Russian Federation in terms of providing living space toits populace. In the three Russian regions of Stavropol' krai, Krasnodarkrai, and Rostov oblast', the living space in square meters per person in1991 stood at 96.3, 99.4, and 103.7 square meters, respectively. InChecheno-Ingushetiya, the figure, by contrast, was a low 78.0 squaremeters.13

Not surprisingly, incomes received for agricultural work in Checheno-Ingushetiya also lagged far behind the Russian Federation average. In1985, the average monthly wage for a collective or state farm worker inthe Chechen-Ingush ASSR was 82.5 percent of the Russian Federationaverage; by 1991, the average wage had fallen further to 74.8 percent ofthe Russian average. In nearby Stavropol' krai, Krasnodar krai, andRostov oblast', by contrast, agricultural wages in 1991 were significantly

9 Timur Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika (Moscow: Panorama, 1995), p. 162.10 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 21. *] Ibid., p. 16.12 Vasil'eva, "North Caucasus," p. 448. 13 Ibid.

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higher, standing at 140.5 percent, 140.5 percent, and 118.6 percent ofthe Russian Federation average.14

Educational levels in the republic were likewise strikingly low. In1989, of the total village population of Checheno-Ingushetiya - and itshould be stressed again that three-quarters of Chechens continued tolive in villages - 15.56 percent lacked any education whatsoever; 13.32percent possessed only an elementary education; 23.25 percent had anincomplete secondary education; and only 34.14 percent had a com-plete secondary education. Among all Chechens living in the republic, amere 4.67 percent could boast of a completed higher education.15 Withsuch information in mind, one can see that there were indeed powerfulsocial, demographic, and economic factors underlying the 1991"Chechen Revolution."

Preparing the revolutionIn 1987 and 1988, the effects of Mikhail Gorbachev's campaigns ofglasnost) perestroika, and demokratizatsiya began to be felt even in theformerly rigidly controlled North Caucasus backwater of Checheno-Ingushetiya. As occurred in numerous other regions of the SovietUnion, so-called informal organizations {neformaly) made their appear-ance in the Chechen-Ingush Republic. In 1987, a scholarly societycalled "Caucasus" (Kavkaz) emerged, to be followed by the Union forthe Assistance of Perestroika and The Popular Front of Checheno-Ingushetiya. The Chechen and Ingush neformaly were at this pointheavily influenced by informal movements which had emerged inRussia, the Baltic republics, and in Transcaucasia.16

By the beginning of 1989, a spillover effect from the tumultuousprocesses occurring in Moscow and throughout the Soviet Union beganto be felt more intensively in the Chechen-Ingush Republic. In January1989, the republican Communist Party committee held a plenum atwhich it called upon local scholars henceforth to view the forced

14 Ibid. For a discussion of the factors underlying the "Chechen Revolution," see YusupSoslambekov, "Chechnya (Nokhchicho') - vzglyad iznutri" (Moscow: author publi-cation, 1995), pp. 30-31.

15 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 10.16 See the first book of memoirs by Dudaev's acting vice president Zelimkhan (Zelimkha)

Yandarbiev, V preddverii nezavisimosti (Groznyi: author publication, 1994), pp. 7-8.The same work appeared in abridged form as a section of Yandarbiev's later book,Checheniya - bitva za svobodu (L'vov, Ukraine: Svoboda narodiv [sic] and Anti-bol'shevitskii blok narodov, 1996), pp. 9-76. On the role of informal organizations and"popular fronts" in the RSFSR during the Gorbachev period, see John B. Dunlop, TTieRise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Union, 2nd edn. (Princeton, NJ: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1995), pp. 72-76.

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deportation of 1944 "as our shared tragedy, which was based onpolitical rather than national motives." The deportation, the partyplenum declared, had been conducted by "those who had usurped thesacred Leninist covenants concerning internationalist socialist legal-ity."17

The fact that it was the republic's Communist Party which raised thesensitive issue of the deportation (and, by implication, of the genocideof the Chechen and Ingush people under the communists) was anindicator that the republic would remain a quiet backwater no longer. Inthe spring of 1989, Vladimir Foteev, an ethnic Russian and a harshpolitical overseer of the republic, was abruptly removed from his post offirst party secretary. A competition for his replacement ensued betweenrepublican second party secretary Doku Zavgaev, a Chechen, andNikolai sem*nov, a Russian and the first secretary of the Groznyi cityparty committee. In a sign that real change had arrived, Zavgaev, theChechen, was selected.18

Zavgaev had been born in 1940 in the village of Beno-Yurt in theNadterechnyi (i.e., Upper Terek) district of the republic located in thenorthwestern, Russianized region of Checheno-Ingushetiya, acrossthe Terek River from Stavropol' krai. Zavgaev was thus a lowlander byorigin. From the year 1958 on, he worked as a teacher, mechanic, chiefengineer on a state farm, and the head of a group of state farms, and,lastly, was named minister of agriculture of the Chechen-Ingush Re-public. Zavgaev graduated from the Mountain Agricultural Instituteand from the Academy of Social Sciences at the party Central Com-mittee in Moscow. He also held the candidate or lower doctoral degreein agricultural sciences. In 1983, he was named second secretary of therepublican party committee, with responsibility for questions of agri-culture, and, finally, as has been noted, in June 1989, he was elected firstsecretary of the Chechen-Ingush reskom, or republican CommunistParty committee.19

While Zavgaev - who would be restored to power by Boris Yeltsin in1995 - was decidedly not a reformer, he was expected to embrace thepolicies of glasnost and democratization emanating from the Sovietcapital. It took little time for once-sleepy Checheno-Ingushetiya to beconvulsed by the same revolutionary change sweeping the rest of theUSSR, especially its non-Russian regions.

In July 1989, the first overtly political organization to emerge in therepublic, Bart (Unity), was founded by a group of Chechen young17 Nikolai Fedorovich Bugai, "The Truth About the Deportation of the Chechen and

Ingush Peoples," Soviet Studies in History, Fall (1991), 81.18 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 158-59. 19 Ibid., p. 71.

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people, including General Dudaev's future acting vice president, Zelim-khan (Zelimkha) Yandarbiev (b. 1952). This organization, which wasfounded out of frustration and disillusionment with the activities of theChechen-Ingush Popular Front, later (in February 1990) was trans-formed into the Vainakh Democratic Party. In August 1989, the leadersof Bart attended the first Congress of Mountain Peoples of the Cauca-sus, held in Sukhumi, Abkhaziya. At the congress, the bartovtsy advo-cated the idea of "a federal statehood of the peoples of the Caucasus."20

By early 1990, districts of the Chechen-Ingush Republic which hadbeen considered pillars of stability and of conservatism had becomepolitically charged. Public rallies and hunger strikes occurring duringFebruary and March helped force the removal of seven first secretariesof party district committees (raikomy) in the republic. In March 1990,there took place Russia-wide elections to the RSFSR Congress ofPeople's Deputies, and a majority of the deputies who were elected tothe congress from Checheno-Ingushetiya supported radical democratsin Moscow and throughout the Russian Federation adhering to theorganization "Democratic Russia."21

The republican first party secretary, Doku Zavgaev, tried as best hecould to ride the waves of change unleashed by the Gorbachev reforms.In March 1990, he had himself elected chairman of the Chechen-Ingush republican Supreme Soviet, which meant that he combined thepowerful posts of republican and Communist Party leader. Zavgaev wasalso elected a deputy to the RSFSR Congress and was elevated tomembership in the USSR-wide Communist Party Central Committee.It appeared at the time that virtually nothing could dislodge him fromhis numerous powerful posts.

The emergence of the "national radicals"

During the spring of 1990, a new and potentially destabilizing forceemerged when the young Chechen "national radicals" (the term wascoined by anti-Dudaev Chechen author Timur Muzaev) united withinthe Vainakh Democratic Party and began to speak out actively on keyrepublican issues. The new organization's leaders saw their chief goal asthe creation of a "sovereign Vainakh republic." Their program advo-cated a program of affirmative action for Chechens and Ingush; itinsisted that those two peoples should henceforth be accorded a major"piece of the pie" in the distribution of real power in the republic. Theradicals' program also demanded the "separation of atheism from the2 0 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, pp. 9 - 1 3 .21 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 159.

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state," i.e., a cessation of anti-Muslim religious persecution, and arguedfor the reestablishment of traditional national institutions in the republicsuch as the Mekhk khel or "Council of Elders." It also advocatedputting an end to artificial migration into and out of the republic.22

By the summer of 1990, a number of leading representatives of theChechen intelligentsia had begun to argue in favor of holding a ChechenNational Congress. It should be noted that, at this point, the concept ofa "Vainakh" identity conjoining Chechens and Ingush was in process ofbeing dropped by many Chechens (and by many Ingush as well).Henceforth, Chechens increasingly saw themselves as a discrete,separate people. In November 1990, the Chechen National Congressassembled and "in the name of the Chechen people declared thesovereignty of the Chechen Republic Nokhchi-cho."23 The Chechen-Ingush Republic was declared by the congress to be a sovereign statewhich intended to sign the union and federal treaties of the USSR onequal terms with the union republics (i.e., Ukraine, Estonia, and so on)of the Soviet Union.

As background, it should be noted here that, in the course of the tensestruggle for power occurring in 1990 between Gorbachev and Yeltsin,the former had sought to weaken the latter and his power base, theRussian Federation, by encouraging autonomous republics within theRSFSR to declare their own sovereignty. A Soviet law, announced on 26April 1990, laid bare this tactic when it made all autonomous republics"subjects of the USSR," thereby effectively weakening the territorialintegrity of the RSFSR.24 After being narrowly elected chairman of theRussian Supreme Soviet in May 1990, Yeltsin countered Gorbachev'sdivide-and-rule approach by obtaining an official "declaration of sover-eignty" by the Russian Federation on 12 June 1990. Following thisdeclaration by Russia, however, some autonomous republics withinRussia began to assert their own sovereignty; thus the North Caucasusautonomous republic of North Ossetiya proceeded to declare itself "aunion republic, albeit as part of Russia."25

2 2 Ibid., pp. 1 5 9 - 6 0 . 2 3 Ibid., p. 160.2 4 For the text of the law of 26 April 1990 (No. 1457-1), see "O razgranichenii

polnomochii mezhdu Soyuzom SSR i sub"ektami federatsii," in Vedomosti s"ezdanarodnykh deputatov SSSR i Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 19, 9 May 1990. In Article 1 ofthis law, it is stated that "Autonomous republics . . . possess the full plenitude of statepower on their territory beyond those powers which they delegate to the Union and tounion republics" (p. 430) .

2 5 Richard Sakwa, Russian Politics and Society (London and N e w York: Routledge, 1993) ,pp. 1 1 5 - 1 6 , and Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty's RFE-RL Daily Report, 13 March1991. For Zelimkhan Yandarbiev's comments on the struggle between the U S S R andthe RSFSR and its implications for the Chechen Republic, see his second volume ofmemoirs, Checheniya, p. 89.

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Commenting on the results of this harsh struggle between Gorba-chev's Soviet Union and Yeltsin's Russian Federation, Emir Pain andArkadii Popov have observed: "Gorbachev's team wanted to exploit theissue of republican separatism within Russia as a weapon to be wieldedagainst the Russian leadership headed by Yeltsin. In November 1990,the draft version of the Union Treaty that was developed by the leader-ship of the USSR and the CPSU was first published. The draftconferred rights upon 'republics that are parts of other republics' (i.e.,republics that are a part of Russia), to participate in the Union Treatyon an equal footing with respective Soviet republics."

And Pain and Popov continue: "These plans, which directly contra-dicted the standing USSR and RSFSR constitutions and were clearlydesigned to put political pressure on Yeltsin, exacerbated the separatisttendencies in Russia's autonomous [regions], including the Chechen-Ingush ASSR. In other words, the tug-of-war between the Russian andSoviet governments, and their intense competition for votes and thepolitical support of the Russian provinces, decisively precluded anypossibility of military intervention in the Chechen-Ingush Republic."26

Returning to developments in Chechnya, the organizational com-mittee of the Chechen National Congress included political moderatessuch as the writers Abuzar Aidamirov and Musa Akhmadov, the poetApti Bisultanov, and historians Yavus Akhmadov and Abdula Vatsuev,along with other respected public figures. Lechi Umkhaev, a well-knownpeople's deputy at the republican level, became chairman of thecongress's organizational committee. The young "national radicals" atthe congress, however, disapproved of the organizational committee'spenchant for what they called "apparat games" and tried to insinuatetheir own members onto the committee.27 There ensued a sharp powerstruggle between moderates and radicals for control of the committee.

The Communist Party boss of Checheno-Ingushetiya, Doku Zavgaev,vainly attempted to get out in front of the unfolding "Chechen Revolu-tion." The November 1990 Chechen National Congress, which haddeclared the republic's sovereignty, had been held with the activesupport of both the republican Communist Party apparatus and theleadership of the republican Supreme Soviet, both of them, of course,chaired by Zavgaev. There existed at this time, as Ruslan Khasbulatov, awell-known Chechen politician active on the RSFSR level, has noted in

26 Emil A. Payin and Arkady A. Popov, "Chechnya," in Jeremy R. Azrael and Emil A.Payin, eds., US and Russian Policymaking with Respect to the Use of Force (Santa Monica,CA: RAND, 1996), posted on Discussion List about Chechnya, 6 November 1996.The text of the draft Union Treaty appeared in Pravda, 24 November 1990.

27 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 160.

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his short book on the crisis, three distinct factions which were repre-sented at the November 1990 Congress: the official party leadership,which looked to Zavgaev for direction; a "centrist" faction headed byformer USSR minister for the petrochemical industry, SalambekKhadzhiev, which at the time wanted a fully independent republic; anda radical faction including Yandarbiev, Bislan Gantamirov (Gante-mirov), and Yaragi Mamodaev, which advanced the slogans of a fullyindependent republic and an Islamic state.28

It is important to underline that all three of these factions - includingZavgaev's Communist Party group - were advocating, at a minimum,the granting of full "sovereignty" to Checheno-Ingushetiya. On 26November 1990, as has been noted, the Supreme Soviet of theChechen-Ingush Republic, responding to a proposal made by theChechen National Congress, had officially adopted a "Declaration onthe State Sovereignty of the Chechen-Ingush Republic."29

As early as the 23-26 November Chechen National Congress,however, the radicals began to prevail in their struggle against the tworival factions. In response to a proposal made by one of the youngradical leaders, Yaragi Mamodaev, a Soviet air force major general andethnic Chechen serving in Estonia, but physically present as a guest atthe congress, Dzhokhar Dudaev, was elevated to membership on theexecutive committee of the National Congress. Dudaev had spoken tothe congress and impressed its delegates with his strength of characterand decisiveness.

In his first volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev recalls that fewat the congress had been acquainted with General Dudaev before hedelivered his "short but brilliant" remarks. At the suggestion of a fellowactivist of the Vainakh Democratic Party, Salaudi Yakh"yaev, the twowent to see Dudaev, and both came away "convinced that Dudaev was aman capable of giving a new impulse to the [Chechen] national-liberation movement." After taking a night to mull things over, Dudaevagreed to permit his nomination for the position of chairman of theexecutive committee {ispolkom) of the National Congress.30

On 1 December 1990, Dudaev, still serving as commander of theSoviet military garrison in Tartu, was elected chairman of the ispolkom ofthe congress. The ispolkom had been created by the November 1990congress in order to carry out that body's decisions on: the implementa-tion of political sovereignty; achieving the rebirth of the Chechen

28 Ruslan Khasbulatov, Chechnya: mne ne dali ostanovii voinu (Moscow: Paleya, 1995),p. 8.

29 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika^ p. 101. 30 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 25.

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language; and restoring the cultural and historic memory of theChechen people.31

In late 1990 and early 1991, the work of the ispolkom was in factheaded by Lechi Umkhaev, a political moderate, who backed coopera-tion with, as well as the exertion of careful pressure upon, the partyleadership under Doku Zavgaev. This situation changed radically inMarch 1991, however, once General Dudaev had retired from theSoviet air force and moved to Groznyi to head up the work of theispolkom.

On the 17th of that same month of March 1991, voters in Checheno-Ingushetiya cast ballots in Gorbachev's "All-Union Referendum on thePreservation of the [Soviet] Union." The turnout of eligible voters was58.8 percent, the lowest among all of the autonomous republics of theRSFSR (the Republic of Komi in the north of Russia came in secondlowest with a turnout of 68 percent). This lackluster turnout in theChechen-Ingush Republic suggested that its citizens were not par-ticularly enthusiastic about preserving the USSR. Of those who did castvotes in the republic, 75.9 percent - or 44.6 percent of eligible voters -cast ballots in favor of preserving the Soviet Union.32

It should also be noted that the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet,chaired by Communist Party boss Doku Zavgaev, took a decision on 11March not to hold an RSFSR-wide referendum (promoted by Yeltsinand his allies) on the question of the introduction of the post of Russianpresident. The rationale for Zavgaev's action was apparently that"several issues between the autonomous republic and the RSFSRcentral authorities were not solved."33

Dudaev's arrival in Chechnya in March 1991 coincided with anotherkey development in the Russian Federation. In April 1991, the RSFSRSupreme Soviet proceeded to pass a "Law on the Rehabilitation ofRepressed Peoples." This law immediately became a banner for allaggrieved groups within the Russian Federation; in Chechnya, it wasseen by many as affirming a right to restore a lost independence and tocreate their own statehood. The law also served to inflame RussianCossacks, who began to make demands for the return of traditional31 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 101.3 2 See Ann Sheehy, "The All-Union and RSFSR Referendums of March 17," R F E - R L ,

Report on the USSR, 29 March 1991, p. 22 , and her essay, "Power Struggle inChecheno-Ingushetiya," RFE-RL, Report on the USSR, 15 November 1991, p. 2 1 .Concerning the second Sheehy essay, Paul B. Henze has written that he "was able toconfirm most of her detailed analysis of events in (and relating to) Chechnya in 1991during my own visits to Chechnya and Georgia in 1992." See Paul Henze, Islam in theNorth Caucasus: The Example of Chechnya, P-7935 (Santa Monica, CA: R A N D , 1995) ,p. 32 , n. 48.

3 3 RFE-RL Daily Report, 13 March 1991.

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Cossack lands which had been included in the Chechen-IngushRepublic by Khrushchev. Since 1990, Cossack groups had beenagitating for the return to Stavropol' krai of the Kargalinskii, Naurskii,and Shelkovskii districts located in the northern region of Checheno-Ingushetiya. These Cossack demands, in turn, agitated many Chechens,always sensitive where the volatile "land question" was concerned.34

In May 1991, General Dudaev, now ensconced in Groznyi, declaredthat the Supreme Soviet of the republic was henceforth deprived of anylegitimacy, in connection with the November 1990 proclamation ofsovereignty. He affirmed that the ispolkom, chaired by himself, plannedto assume all power in the republic during the transitional periodleading up to new elections. Dudaev was supported in these statementsby parties and movements of a national-radical orientation (the VainakhDemocratic Party, the Islamic Path, the Green Movement, and others).On the other hand, he was sharply opposed by Lechi Umkhaev, firstdeputy chairman of the ispolkom, and by Umkhaev's supporters.35

Oddly, the Supreme Soviet of the republic, headed by Doku Zavgaev,allowed Dudaev's sharp challenge to pass without comment.36

On 8-9 June, Dudaev and his supporters among the delegates to theChechen National Congress held a meeting at which they declaredthemselves henceforth to be the "Common National Congress of theChechen People" (Russian initials: OKChN). Dudaev was namedchairman of the newly formed OKChN and Yusup Soslambekov (b.1956), one of the leaders of the Vainakh Democratic Party, was namedfirst deputy chairman. Zelimkhan Yandarbiev and Khusein Akhmadov(b. 1950) became deputy chairmen of the new organization. Activistsfrom the Vainakh Democratic Party and from other national radicalparties joined together to compose the ranks of the ispolkom ofOKChN.37

During the spring of 1991, General Dudaev also took steps to alleviatethe perceived geopolitical isolation of Chechnya. Asian Abashidze,president of the Adzharian Autonomous Republic within Georgia,arranged a meeting between Dudaev and Georgian president Zviad34 Fiona Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox": Conflict in the North Caucasus and Its Implications for

the Future of the Russian Federation (Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School ofGovernment, Harvard University, Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project,September 1995), pp. 4 6 - 4 7 , 6 9 - 7 1 .

35 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 101. 36 Ibid., p. 162.37 Ibid., p. 102. Muzaev's book contains useful short biographies of leading figures - both

Chechen and Russian - during the period of the conflict. See also "Key Actors in theChechen Conflict," in Diane Curran, Fiona Hill, and Elena Kostritsyna, The Search forPeace in Chechnya: A Sourcebook, 1994-1996 (Cambridge, MA: John F. KennedySchool of Government, Harvard University, Strengthening Democratic InstitutionsProject, March 1997), pp. 6 6 - 8 0 .

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Gamsakhurdia in the town of Kazbegi. Gamsakhurdia wanted Dudaev'ssupport against the South Ossetians, who were seeking to separate fromGeorgia and then to join North Ossetiya as part of the RussianFederation. The Georgians, Gamsakhurdia informed Dudaev, "had nodifficulty in supporting the Chechens on the basis of mutual hostility toRussia and to communism." At Kazbegi, the two leaders also discussedfuture mutual cooperation in establishing a Caucasian commonwealthof free and independent states.38

As long as Gamsakhurdia remained in power in Georgia, Dudaevenjoyed the possibility of having a geopolitical and trade "back door"leading through Georgia to Turkey and to the Black Sea; once Gamsa-khurdia had been ousted, in January 1992 (he was offered asylum byDudaev), this back door slammed shut.

The month of June 1991 witnessed the elections for the Russianpresidency. Eighty percent of those who cast ballots in Checheno-Ingushetiya voted for Boris Yeltsin, a considerably higher percentagethan the RSFSR average.39

Commenting on the strong support shown for Yeltsin in theChechen-Ingush Republic in this election, Emir Pain and ArkadiiPopov have written: "One has to keep in mind that it [i.e., the period ofmid-1991] was a time of inflammatory, revolutionary slogans of animpassioned anti-imperial and anti-communist character. Theseslogans, to a large degree, served as a basis for Boris Yeltsin's campaignfor office as the first Russian president. In an attempt to garner votesfrom the non-Russian population in the provinces, Yeltsin's teampromised to maximize the autonomy of Russia's constituent republics,and was willing to ignore the anti-constitutional games played byrepublican authorities and nationalist movements that advocated differ-ent versions of ethnic sovereignty. This tactic brought about theexpected short-term [election] results in Chechnya."40

During the period extending from June 1991 to the August 19-21putsch in Moscow, the ispolkom served as a center of radical oppositionto the republican communist leadership under Zavgaev. While posses-sing relatively small numbers of followers, the national radicals pressedahead energetically with the formation of filials of the ispolkom withinall Chechen-dominated districts in the republic; these filials would

3 8 In Henze, Islam in the North Caucasus, p. 32 .3 9 On the elections, see the excerpts from the Govorukhin Commission report in Pravda,

27 February 1996, p. 2. For the membership of this commission, see Muzaev,Chechenskaya respublika, p. 40. For the full text of the commission's report, seeKomissiya Govorukhina (Moscow: Laventa, 1995) .

4 0 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya."

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subsequently provide structures for the "Chechen Revolution" whichwas to erupt in August. The members of the ispolkom, it should benoted, were persistently harassed by the authorities and had to havetheir newspapers and leaflets published outside the republic, in theBaltic republics and in Georgia.41

Excursus on Dzhokhar DudaevDudaev was born in January 1944 - just one month before the forceddeportation of all Chechens - in the village of Yalkhori, Chechen-Ingush ASSR, the seventh child of a family which eventually numberedten children. His family spent the harsh deportation years in thePavlograd and South Kazakhstan oblasts of the Kazakh SSR. In 1957,they, like many other Chechens, were permitted to return to the newlyrevived Chechen-Ingush ASSR.

Becoming enamored of a career in the Soviet military, Dudaevenrolled first at the Syzransk Helicopter School and then, in 1962, at theTambov Higher Military School for Long-Range Aviation Pilots. In1966, he graduated from that school with the specialty "pilot-engineer."In 1966, he was also given membership in the Communist Party. Afterserving in the Moscow and the Trans-Baikal Military Districts, heenrolled in the military command program of the Yurii Gagarin AirForce Academy, whence he graduated in 1974.

Dudaev married a Russian woman whom he had met in Kalugaoblast', Alia Fedorovna, the daughter of a military officer and byprofession an artist and a poet. At the time of their marriage, Dudaevheld the rank of air force senior lieutenant. Neither family seems to havebeen enthusiastic about the match, but the couple's intentions remainedfirm, and, after Alia had completed her education, she was able to marryDudaev. The couple subsequently had two sons (born in 1971 and1984) and a daughter (born in 1974).

Dudaev subsequently received appointments in Ukraine and inEstonia and eventually rose to the rank of major general in the air force.In addition to speaking Chechen and Russian, Dudaev was said to beable to speak Kazakh, Uzbek, and Ukrainian, as well as some Estonian.

In 1986-87, Dudaev was assigned to the town of Mary, Turkmeni-stan, where he reportedly participated in bombing raids carried out onpositions of the mujahedin located in the western regions of Afghani-stan.42 This fact was later made much of by his enemies in the Russianleadership. Secret police (Russian Federal Counter-intelligence Service,

41 Sheehy, "Power Struggle," p. 22. 42 See Ogonek, 12 (March 1995), 21.

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or FSK) chairman Sergei Stepashin, for example, asserted in early 1995:"Dudaev did not create any Islamic state. In general, if one can so put it,he is an anti-Islamicist. He carpet-bombed his fellow Muslims inAfghanistan."43 Stepashin's statement seems to be motivated by spite,but it is apparently true that Dudaev was the recipient of the "Award forAfghanistan," a decoration given to Soviet military personnel whodistinguished themselves in combat operations during the Soviet-Afghan war.

A leading Chechen opponent of Dudaev's, Yusup Soslambekov, hasasserted that the general was in fact an "atheist" and was ignorant of themost fundamental Muslim beliefs and practices, for example of thenumber of times a day one should bow down in the direction ofMecca.44 (One should note that, while this may have been true ofDudaev before he assumed the Chechen presidency, once he hadbecome Chechen head of state, he was careful to project himself as anobservant and respectful Muslim.)

From 1987 through March 1991, Dudaev commanded a division ofnuclear-armed, long-range bombers from a base located in the Estoniancity of Tartu, and also served as chief of that city's military garrison. Histenure there coincided with a sharp upsurge in Estonian nationalism("the Estonian revolution") which eventually prepared the way for thatrepublic's full political independence. It seems clear that Dudaev'sexperience in Tartu influenced his own emerging nationalist and separa-tist views; if a small people numbering fewer than one million like theEstonians could achieve independence, he must have thought, then whynot the more than 900,000 Chechens? Dudaev reportedly refused totake part in the Soviet regime's harsh repressive actions conductedagainst Estonia in early 1991.45 (Future historians will want to examinethis episode carefully.)

In their useful study entitled "Russian Politics in Chechnya," EmirPain, a leading specialist on ethnic affairs and an adviser to PresidentYeltsin, and his coauthor, Arkadii Popov, have noted that Dudaev'spolitical rise in Checheno-Ingushetiya was due, in large part, to the factthat he had been absent for many years from the republic and that hetherefore lacked connections to any of the leading political clans which

4 3 "Kontrarazvedka v Chechne , " Argumenty ifakty, 5 (1995) , 1, 3 .4 4 Soslambekov, Chechnya, p . 39 .4 5 For Dudaev ' s biography, see Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp . 6 8 - 6 9 ; Moscow

Times, 18 D e c e m b e r 1994, p. 2 1 ; New York Times, 15 D e c e m b e r 1994, p . A 8 ; Ogonek,12 (March 1995) , 2 1 ; and Chechenskaya tragediya: kto vinovat (Moscow: Novost i ,1995) , p . 14. For interviews with Dudaev ' s wife, Alia, following his dea th , see Izvestiya,8 June 1996, and 30 January 1997, and Komsomol'skaya pravda, 9 January 1997.

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were competing for power. He was brought back to Chechnya as "aperson without ties."46

Stanislav Govorukhin, an outspoken Russian nationalist filmmakerwho served as chairman of the Russian State Duma's commission whichlooked into the causes of the Russian-Chechen war, has observed thatDudaev was at first intended to be a "marionette" in the hands ofChechen nationalist "puppeteers." "It was intended," Govorukhinstated, "to use Dudaev as a bulldozer to sweep aside the communistauthorities [in Checheno-Ingushetiya]. He did indeed sweep them asidelike a bulldozer. But he turned out to be smarter and more cunning thanhis puppeteers. He began to lead them about by the nose and thensimply dictated to them his conditions . . . Then when they saw that. . .he was an intelligent and cunning politician, they offered variouspositions to him, up to that of deputy minister of defense. But he hadalready developed ambitions, and he understood that he would bepresident of Chechnya."47

Sergei Stankevich issues a firm warningIn his first volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writes that, on 22June 1991, he received a note from Sergei Stankevich, deputy chairmanof the Moscow City Council, requesting a meeting in Groznyi. ThoughYandarbiev does not say it, it was well known at the time that Stankevichwas close to the just-elected president of the Russian Federation, BorisYeltsin. (It was announced the following month that Stankevich hadbeen appointed to the influential post of Russian state councilor.)48

At the June 1991 meeting of Stankevich and Yandarbiev in Groznyi,the former took strong exception to the intention of Chechen nationalradicals to construct their own independent state. "Stankevich,"Yandarbiev recalls, "essentially denied the real right of the Chechenpeople to self-determination. He even accused the Chechen people ofentertaining a desire to resolve the problem of their rebirth at theexpense of Russia. He openly threatened the use of any and all force andmeasures in order to cut off the attempts of Chechnya to separate, 'upto a return to the situation of the middle of the previous century [i.e.,the Caucasus War],' as he put it."49 From Stankevich's comments -assuming that they have been correctly reported by Yandarbiev - we can4 6 Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February

1995, pp. 1 ,4 .4 7 From a commentary by Govorukhin accompanying extracts from a report issued by the

Govorukhin Commission, in Pravda, 27 February 1996, p. 2 . T h e excerpts appeared inthe 27 February through 6 March issues of Pravda.

4 8 RFE-RL Daily Report, 31 July 1991. 4 9 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 37.

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see that influential Russian leaders were pondering the option of anarmed invasion of Chechnya less than a fortnight after Yeltsin's electionas Russian president in 1991.

The "Chechen Revolution" triggered by the Augustcoup

By the month of August 1991, Chechnya was already in what mightaptly be termed a pre-revolutionary condition. When, on 19 August, theState Committee for the State of Emergency (Russian initials: GKChP)announced in Moscow that it had assumed power throughout theUSSR, this presented a marvelous opening to Dudaev and to thenationalists around him, especially since Doku Zavgaev and the com-munist leadership of the republic seemed unable to adopt a principledposition with regard to the putsch. As Marie Bennigsen Broxup hasnoted: "All telephone links with Checheno-Ingushetiya were cut forsome time. The leadership of the Republic was overtaken by 'mentalparalysis.' The republican radio and television went silent, DokuZavgaev was in Moscow, and the acting chairman of the SupremeSoviet, Petrenko, went into hiding. Only the National Chechen Con-gress and the Vainakh Democratic Party led by Zelimkhan Yandarbievreacted without panicking. They immediately set up operation head-quarters in the former building of the gorkom [city Communist Partycommittee] ."50

Dudaev has stated his view that, had the GKChP succeeded in takingpower in August, then it "was preparing an especially refined genocidefor the Chechen people."51 He was presumably thinking of theGKChP's announced "war on crime," which could have been directedagainst the Chechens as an alleged "criminal people."52

The absence from the republic of party leader Zavgaev and thepronounced wavering of the entire republican Communist Party leader-ship played into the hands of Dudaev and the national radicals. Thelatter reestablished contact with Moscow through such leadingChechens in the Soviet capital as Ruslan Khasbulatov, then first deputychairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, and people's deputy andretired MVD major general Aslambek Aslakhanov. A meeting to protestthe Moscow putsch was held at 9:30 a.m. on 19 August in Groznyi, next5 0 Marie Bennigsen Broxup, "After the Putsch, 1991," in Marie Bennigsen Broxup, ed. ,

The North Caucasus Barrier (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992), p. 221 . Broxup takesmuch of her information from the 30 August 1991 issue of the Groznyi newspaper,Svoboda.

51 In Megapolis-ekspress, 25 , 27 July 1994, p. 18.5 2 On this, see the chapter concerning the putsch in Dunlop, Rise of Russia, pp. 1 9 6 - 9 9 .

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to the building of the republican Council of Ministers; this meetingeventually turned into a ten-week-long continuous demonstration.Addressing the crowd, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev and other nationalistsexhorted their fellow Chechens: "It is necessary to create undergroundorganizations and armed formations. We have to raise the people torepulse the GKChP."53

In the late morning or early afternoon of 19 August, ZelimkhanYandarbiev was arrested by the secret police, and the protest meetingwas forcibly dispersed by the militia. "The militia and KGB in thesquare," Yandarbiev has recalled, "now outnumbered the protesters . . .Forming a long column, the militia advanced upon the meeting. At thatmoment, I was seized by several men in civilian clothing and in theuniform of the militia who had crept up from behind me."54 Yandarbievwas taken first to Groznyi KGB headquarters, where he was given astern warning by a deputy procurator; later that same day, however, heand fellow Vainakh Democratic Party activist Salaudi Yakh"yaev, whohad also been seized, were released after acting party leader Petrenkohad been warned by Dudaev that he would be held personally respon-sible for Yandarbiev's arrest.55

Also on 19 August, OKChN issued a fiery appeal to the workingpeople of the republic calling for "an indefinite general political strike,"to begin on 21 August, and for civil disobedience to be shown until suchtime as the "criminal junta" in Moscow was defeated. According toYandarbiev, the ispolkom of OKChN, also on the 19th, "began to createbattle detachments and strike groups which took under control all[Soviet] military bases and vital communication centers, not only inGroznyi but throughout the republic."56

The republican Communist Party leadership, it appeared, continuedto entertain hopes that the putsch would succeed. At 4 a.m. on 20August, the republican militia, acting on orders from Communist Partygorkom boss Kutsenko, attempted unsuccessfully to raid the head-quarters of OKChN. On the evening of the same day, a joint KGB-MVD force sought to liberate the building of the gorkom but was drivenoff by national guards loyal to OKChN. Later that same night, theGroznyi city soviet military garrison was put on alert, and fresh troopsand military hardware were introduced into the republic from both theeast and west. Some rural areas of Checheno-Ingushetiya were occupiedby the army under pretext of helping out with the harvest. In response,OKChN warned all Soviet military bases in the republic that, "if they

53 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 41. 54 Ibid., p. 42.55 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 220. 56 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 46.

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[were] suspected of aggressive intentions, then force [would] be usedagainst them."57

When it became clear on 21 August that the Moscow putsch hadirrevocably failed, Doku Zavgaev immediately returned to Groznyi andthen convoked a session of the republican Supreme Soviet at which hedeclared that all was quiet in the republic.58 The Govorukhin Commis-sion, which considered Zavgaev to be a "good Chechen," has sought toclear him of charges that he actively collaborated with the coup, buteven it has felt required to note that, during the two days he was inMoscow, Zavgaev "did not make clear his position" and engaged infence-straddling.59

On 22 August, the day on which the coup suffered a final defeat inMoscow, the leadership of Dudaev's ispolkom demanded during a hugemass meeting held in Groznyi that the members of the Supreme Sovietof the republic resign, since it had been unable to adopt a principledposition vis-a-vis the attempted Moscow putsch. The ispolkom alsoinsisted that the republican Council of Ministers, Procurator's Office,KGB, MVD, and, in general, all official bodies of executive power inChecheno-Ingushetiya resign. That evening, demonstrators surroundedthe republican television center and, after a short clash with the militia,seized the building. Dudaev then spoke on television and explained thepolitical goals of the national radicals.60

The "Chechen Revolution" was now moving ahead with blindingspeed. From all regions in the republic, impoverished Chechens - "ruralsurplus population" - flowed into the capital of Groznyi, seeking tooverthrow the detested Communist Party nomenklatura, headed byDoku Zavgaev. There was quite clearly an element of "social revolution"in this influx of populace into the capital. Also involved in the movementwere representatives of the republic's "shadow economy," especiallythose seeking to obtain large profits from the oil industry. One ofDudaev's most influential supporters and financial backers at this timewas the afore-mentioned "major entrepreneur" Yaragi Mamodaev.61

Finally, a number of Muslim fundamentalists also supported the revo-lution, believing that Dudaev would eventually be induced to create anIslamic republic. Religious and clan leaders in the villages helped toswing the rural populace over to the side of Dudaev and OKChN.

5 7 Ibid., p. 47.5 8 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 222 . 5 9 In Pravda, 27 February 1996, p. 2.6 0 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 1 6 3 - 6 4 ; Broxup, "After the Putsch," pp.

220-21.61 For Mamodaev's biography, see Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 76-77. On

Mamodaev's role in Dudaev's coming to power, see Komsomol'skaya pravda, 1September 1993, p. 3.

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On 25 August, an emergency session of the Zavgaev-controlledSupreme Soviet opened in Groznyi. The assembled deputies rejectedthe demands of Dudaev's ispolkom and instead affirmed their support fortheir chairman, Zavgaev. What Russians term dvoevlastie (dyarchy ordual power) had now become an ominous reality. (The Russian Federa-tion would later experience its own excruciating dvoevlastie during theperiod from December 1992 to October 1993.)

At this pivotal juncture, Doku Zavgaev might well have been con-templating the use of force against the national radicals. If such were thecase, he might have prevailed. According to ethnic affairs specialistsEmil' Pain and Arkadii Popov, the possibility of a successful use of forceby Zavgaev to suppress the emerging revolution existed until earlyOctober 1991: "[I]t would indeed have been possible," they write, "tocarry out a police operation to 'disarm the illegal armed formations [ofDudaev]."' And they continue: "[I]n Chechnya, there still functionedthe organs of the procuracy, the militia, and state security, all of themsubordinated to central power, and in Groznyi there were quartered[heavily armed] military units, while the army of Dudaev's fighters wasbasically limited to firearms." Pain and Popov note that the ChechenRevolution was not being supported by the overwhelming majority ofthe Ingush populace (14 percent of the republic's population), nor bythe so-called Russian-language populace (26 percent of the total). Evenmore significantly, they maintain, it was also not being supported by 40percent of the Chechens themselves, especially by those living inGroznyi and in the northern regions of the republic.62

The leadership of the Russian Federation, however, proceeded effec-tively to pull the rug out from under Zavgaev and to empower Dudaev.On 26 August, there arrived in Groznyi a member of the Presidium ofthe Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, General Aslambek Aslakhanov, anethnic Chechen with close ties to Khasbulatov, and Inga Grebesheva, adeputy chairwoman of the RSFSR Council of Ministers. Both sternlywarned Zavgaev against using force to resolve the political crisis. Theiractions objectively served to support the Dudaev-led opposition.63

That the leadership of the Russian Federation intended to jettisonZavgaev as head of Checheno-Ingushetiya seems clear. According tothen acting RSFSR Supreme Soviet chairman Khasbulatov, Yeltsincalled him shortly after the collapse of the August putsch and informed

6 2 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February 1995, pp. 1, 4.6 3 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 164.

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him that his plan was "to replace Zavgaev with Khadzhiev." SalambekKhadzhiev (b. 1941), a specialist in the Soviet oil industry and acorresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, had brieflyserved as USSR minister for the petrochemical industry under Gorba-chev. As Khasbulatov tells it, Yeltsin's plan to replace Zavgaev withKhadzhiev failed "because Khadzhiev's authority was not high enough"in Chechnya.64 Indeed, according to Khasbulatov, there were rumorscirculating in Chechnya that Khadzhiev had himself cooperated with theGKChP in the launching of the August putsch.

Also in late August, according to Khasbulatov, he was able toconvince General Petr Deinekin, commander of the Soviet air force, tofly to Groznyi in an attempt to convince Dudaev to return to a career inthe military. Deinekin did as he was asked, but, though warmly receivedby Dudaev, he failed in his task. Later, Generals Boris Gromov andRuslan Aushev (subsequently elected the president of Ingushetiya)failed on a similar mission.65

Under heavy pressure from the Moscow authorities, the members ofthe Presidium of the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet agreed to resigntheir posts, but Zavgaev and his deputy chairman defiantly refused to doso. An attempt to negotiate a settlement with the Dudaev-led oppositionfailed, and the full parliament once again rejected ultimatums presentedby the ispolkom of OKChN, declaring the actions of the national radicalsto be unconstitutional.

By the beginning of September, the ispolkom under Dudaev increas-ingly controlled the situation on the ground in Groznyi. A nationalguard, largely armed with rifles and pistols, had been formed by theradicals, and, by the end of August, they had succeeded in seizing themain television and radio stations in the city. The building of therepublican Council of Ministers was taken over on 1 September, withthe green flag of Islam being raised over it. On 1-2 September, the thirdNational Congress of the Chechen People was held, and it declared theSupreme Soviet of Checheno-Ingushetiya deposed, and granted fullpower on the territory of the republic to the ispolkom.

On 3 September, the newly formed presidium of the Chechen-IngushSupreme Soviet, once again chaired by Zavgaev, belatedly decided toenforce a hard-line policy and declared the introduction of emergencyrule in the city of Groznyi; it also announced that presidential electionswould be held in the republic on 29 September. By this time, however, amajority of the districts of Checheno-Ingushetiya had gone over to theDudaev-led ispolkom. The attempted crackdown by Zavgaev and his

64 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, pp. 11-12. 65 Ibid., p. 12.

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followers thus had the counterproductive result of inducing the nationalradicals to take decisive action.66

Dudaev stages a coupOn the evening of 6 September, as Doku Zavgaev was chairing a sessionof the elected deputies of Checheno-Ingushetiya at all levels, Dudaev'snational guard stormed the parliament building. Several deputies werewounded in the assault, while the first secretary of the Groznyi Com-munist Party gorkom, Vitalii Kutsenko, died from injuries received whenhe threw himself out of a third-floor window, apparently in a panickedattempt to avoid being seized. Such is the version put forth by mostcareful students of the revolution, including by Emil' Pain and ArkadiiPopov, who write: "[T]rying to save himself from the bandits, he[Kutsenko] threw himself out a window."67 Less scrupulous opponentsof Dudaev assert that Kutsenko was directly murdered by Dudaev'sguard, who allegedly hurled him out the window to his death. StanislavGovorukhin, chairman of the Govorukhin Commission, is one whoholds this view.68

According to Yusup Soslambekov, at the time an ally of the Dudaevforces, Doku Zavgaev resigned his post under extreme pressure fromleading Khasbulatov supporter and member of the presidium of theRSFSR Supreme Soviet, General Aslambek Aslakhanov. Once Asla-khanov had made his appearance in Groznyi, Soslambekov recalls,Zavgaev was physically prevented from carrying out the decree which hehad issued "On the Introduction of Emergency Rule into the Chechen-Ingush Republic." The local MVD refrained from obeying Zavgaev,heeding instead the wishes of the powerful Chechen visitor fromMoscow, who also happened to be chairman of the Committee onQuestions of Legality, Law and Order, and the Struggle with Crime ofthe RSFSR Supreme Soviet, thus exercising "concrete authority overthe power structures in all of Russia." On 6 September, Soslambekovwrites, General Aslakhanov "personally accepted the resignation ofZavgaev."69

In his 1994 book on the Chechen crisis, Aslakhanov limits himself torecalling that he visited Zavgaev in his office, after which the communistleader soon went out to address the assembled crowd, affirming that "he

6 6 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, 1 6 4 - 6 5 ; Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 225.6 7 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February 1995, pp. 1, 4.6 8 In Pravda, 27 February 1996, p. 2. A similar claim is made in Chechenskaya tragediya,

p. 16.6 9 Soslambekov, Chechnya, pp. 1 0 - 1 1 .

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was giving up his powers, as he did not want bloodshed."70 Aslakhanov'sintimation is that Zavgaev publicly resigned under pressure from him. Inhis first volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev recalls: "Zavgaevabdicated his 'throne' publicly before the people, and all sins wereforgiven him. The leadership of the ispolkom of OKChN even made agentleman's gesture and did not demand a written declaration ofresignation." This, he remarks, turned out to be a mistake, as thefollowing day Zavgaev changed his mind and "tried to abdicate hisabdication."71

Moscow's hesitant reactionHow did Moscow react to these stormy and portentous events takingplace in Groznyi? On 7 September, Ruslan Khasbulatov, speaking onthe Russian television news program "Vesti," openly welcomed the fallof his adversary, Zavgaev.72 Four days later, on 11 September, adelegation headed by RSFSR state secretary Gennadii Burbulis andminister of information and the press Mikhail Poltoranin - both at thetime close advisers of Yeltsin - flew to Groznyi in an attempt to promotean agreement between the radicals and the remnants of the formerrepublican government.73 Also serving as members of the delegationwere outspoken "democrat" Fedor Shelov-Kovedyaev (later brieflynamed Russian first deputy minister of foreign affairs), and an electedRSFSR people's deputy, Isa Aliroev, an ethnic Chechen. The Burbulisdelegation was able, on 15 September, to persuade the republicanSupreme Soviet to dissolve itself and to transfer its power to a Prov-isional Supreme Council, which was entrusted with organizing newelections.74

Interpretations of this key visit to Chechnya by Burbulis, Poltoranin,and their party have differed greatly. One well-known political scientistand journalist, Fedor Burlatskii, has commented acidly: "[T]wo demo-crats, Mikhail Poltoranin and Gennadii Burbulis, brought DzhokharDudaev to Chechnya, as, in his time, Babrak Karmal was brought topower in Afghanistan."75 This scathing assessment strikes one as wide ofthe mark. The two "democrats" obviously did not bring Dudaev to

70 Aslambek Aslakhanov, Demokratiya prestupnoi ne byvaet (Moscow: author publication,1994), p. 73 .

71 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 56. 72 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 226.73 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 165. Soslambekov writes that the delegation

arrived on 10 September. See Soslambekov, Chechnya, pp. 1 1 - 1 2 .74 Sheehy, "Power Struggle," p. 23 .75 Fedor Burlatskii, "Uroki kavkazskoi kampanii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, 31 January 1995,

p. 2.

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power, but they did, apparently, counsel against a use of force to ousthim. Retired military officer and elected people's deputy SergeiYushenkov has, in contrast to Burlatskii, praised Burbulis andPoltoranin precisely for their approach: "[T]hey were able to move theissue from a coercive solution of the problem to the plane of anegotiation process."76 On the other hand, the anti-Dudaev Chechenmember of the Burbulis delegation, Isa Aliroev, has criticized its actions,recalling that he "tried to convince his colleagues that there was notbroad support for Dudaev but that the commission firmly stood on theside of'democracy' and set only one condition: that of legitimacy. FromMoscow there arrived a group of high-class jurists to work out a scenariofor the coming to power of Dudaev."77

On the same day that the Burbulis delegation flew to Groznyi, 11September, the leadership of the Russian Federation decided to respondless irenically to disturbances involving thousands of Chechens andDagestanis in the town of Lenin-Aul, located in the Kazbek district ofthe Dagestan ASSR, not far from the border with Chechnya. Thedemonstrators were demanding an immediate reallocation of landswhich had been confiscated by the regime following the deportation ofthe Chechens in 1944. Once again, the key "land question" had comefront and center. When word spread among the Chechens that a militarycolumn was advancing from North Ossetiya to Lenin-Aul to crush thedisturbances, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including many womenand the elderly, closed down the Rostov-to-Baku highway and forcedthe column to turn back.78 This episode shows graphically that elementsin the Russian leadership (apparently led by Vice President Rutskoi)were, in the first days after the August putsch, prepared, if necessary, toemploy military force to pacify the North Caucasus region. As theywould in the future, however, the Russian "hawks" seem to havemiscalculated badly.

On 14 September, Ruslan Khasbulatov arrived in Checheno-Ingushetiya, and, on the following day, he personally chaired the finalsession of the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet. The parliamentbuilding had been ringed in advance by Dudaev's national guard to putmaximum pressure on the deputies. Under heavy pressure fromKhasbulatov and from the leaders of the Dudaev-led OKChN, theassembled deputies adopted a resolution to retire their chairman, Doku

7 6 S. N . Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne i problemy rossiiskoi gosudarstvennosti i demokratii(Moscow: author publication, 1995), p. 11.

7 7 In Komsomolskaya pravda, 1 September 1993, p. 3 .7 8 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 227.

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Zavgaev, and to dissolve the parliament of which they were members.New parliamentary elections were set for 17 November. During thetransitional period leading up to the election, power, as has been noted,was to be in the hands of a Provisional Supreme Council of OKChN,consisting of thirty-two deputies. Khusein Akhmadov, a deputy withclose ties to the radicals, was selected head of the provisional council,which was tasked with preparing the upcoming elections. It also initiatedsuch actions as handing over the House of Political Education inGroznyi to the republic's recently opened Islamic Institute.79

On 15 September, Khasbulatov returned to Moscow. He would notreturn again to his native Chechnya until February 1994, following hisrelease from a Moscow prison. One is inclined to agree with Pain andPopov who claim that, at this point, Khasbulatov "indubitably sought tosupport Dudaev as his viceregent in Chechnya." But, as they alsocorrectly note, "The general had other plans."80

Also on 15 September, meeting in the city of Nazran', the Ingush,who, like the Chechens, had been radicalized by recent events,announced during an emergency congress of Ingush deputies of alllevels the establishment of an "Ingush Autonomous Republic within theRSFSR." The Ingush were thus intentionally setting a more moderatecourse than their Vainakh brethren, the Chechens.81

By this time, it had become clear that the Provisional SupremeCouncil of OKChN was planning to hold presidential as well as parlia-mentary elections in October. This development prompted a strongnegative reaction among anti-Dudaev circles both in Chechnya and inMoscow itself. On 25 September, five members of the ProvisionalCouncil, headed by one of its deputy chairman, Yurii Chernyi, who wasclose to Khasbulatov, condemned the attempts by OKChN to assumethe plenitude of power in the republic. On the following day, 26September, Ruslan Khasbulatov sent a telegram to the ProvisionalCouncil, to the Council of Ministers of the republic, and to OKChNwarning them that, in the event of a usurpation of power by "an informalorganization," the results of any elections conducted by the usurperswould be deemed invalid. On 6 October, however, the ispolkom ofOKChN dissolved the Provisional Council for "undermining and

79 Ibid., pp. 2 2 6 - 2 7 . See also Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 57.80 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February 1995, pp. 1, 4.81 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 166; Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily v chechenskom

konflikte: analiz, itogy, vyvody (analiticheskii obzor) (Moscow: Holveg, 1995), p. 8. Asecond expanded edition of this book, bearing the same title, was also published in1995. The title page of the second edition contains the names of the volume'scoauthors: N. N. Novichkov, V. Ya. Snegovskii, A. G. Sokolov, and V. Yu. Shvarev. Allreferences are to the first edition.

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provocative activity" and declared itself to be "the revolutionary com-mittee for the transition period with full powers."82

Rutskoi's gambitsThreatening noises were increasingly emanating from Moscow, andDudaev's supporters in the Chechen-Ingush Republic felt required totake strong defensive action. On 5 October, barricades were erected onFreedom Square in front of the Council of Ministers' building inGroznyi after thirteen members of the Provisional Supreme Council,allegedly supported by the local KGB, decided to oust that body'schairman, Khusein Akhmadov, a supporter of Dudaev. Viewing this asan attempt by the KGB to usurp power, OKChN then announced thedismissal of the Provisional Council, arrested the procurator of theChechen-Ingush Republic, Aleksandr Pushkin (not, of course, the greatnineteenth-century poet), and occupied the buildings of the KGB andCouncil of Ministers in Groznyi, but failed to take the headquarters ofthe MVD.83

The following day, 6 October, saw the Russian vice president,General Aleksandr Rutskoi, arrive in Groznyi as head of a self-describedpeacemaking delegation, which included such unlikely peacemakers asAndrei Dunaev and Viktor Ivanenko, heads, respectively, of the RSFSRMVD and RSFSR KGB. While in Groznyi, Rutskoi met with both themembers of OKChN and the Provisional Supreme Council, but thesemeetings produced no concrete results. Upon his return to Moscow,Rutskoi angrily compared the situation in Chechnya with that ofNagorno-Karabakh, and he alleged that the unrest in the republic hadbeen fomented by Georgian ultra-nationalist president Zviad Gamsa-khurdia, a ploy designed to discredit the Chechen radicals. Rutskoidescribed Dudaev's supporters as a "gang terrorizing the population"and said that the gang numbered only some 250 men.84

In his memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writes that, during the visit ofRutskoi's delegation, Andrei Dunaev, chairman of the RSFSR MVD,directly threatened that Russia might have to resort to force to deal withthe Chechen problem. In response, he was told, according to Yandar-biev, that "if Russia resorts to coercive methods . . . it will then have todeal not only with Chechnya but with the entire Caucasus." Yandarbievalso indicts General Rutskoi for involving himself, during his visit toGroznyi, in a shadowy plot by the Groznyi KGB and MVD to remove

8 2 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 166.8 3 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 228 , and Sheehy, "Power Struggle," p. 23 .8 4 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 166; Broxup, "After the Putsch," pp. 2 2 8 - 2 9 .

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the chairman of the Provisional Council, Khusein Akhmadov, from hisposition.85

Having returned to Moscow, Rutskoi, on 8 October, proceeded to theRSFSR Supreme Soviet, where, with Khasbulatov's support, he easilypersuaded that body's members to vote a resolution "on the politicalsituation in the Chechen-Ingush Republic," which effectively returnedthe republic to a pre-putsch status quo ante. After declaring that withinthe republic "state institutions are being seized and so are officials," andthat "the life, rights and property of citizens in the Chechen-IngushRepublic are being subjected to growing danger," the RSFSR parlia-ment adopted a series of resolutions which, inter alia, proclaimed: thatthe Provisional Supreme Council should henceforth be regarded as "theonly legitimate body of state power" in the republic; that BandiBakhmadov, a procurator, had replaced Khusain Akhmadov as Pro-visional Council chairman; that all illegal armed formations within therepublic must turn in their weapons by 2400 hours on 10 October; andthat the Provisional Council under Procurator Bakhmadov's chairman-ship "should adopt all the necessary measures to stabilize the situationin the Chechen-Ingush Republic and to ensure law and order."86

On 9 October, Rutskoi ratcheted up his charges. He gave a lengthyinterview to Russian Television during which he accused the Dudaev-led OKChN "of having killed Kutsenko, the Groznyi CPSU chairman,"and labeled the members of the OKChN ispolkom criminals andbrigands. The Russian vice president recommended that Yeltsin take"specific measures to detain these criminals," acting under Article 218of the RSFSR Criminal Code (which treated the illegal possession ofweapons), and Articles 67 and 68 of the code (which concernedterrorism directed against lawful authorities).87

Rutskoi's inflammatory words and the harsh resolutions adopted bythe RSFSR Supreme Soviet were denounced by General Dudaev as"virtually a declaration of war on the Chechen-Ingush Republic." On 8October, the Chechen national guard was put on heightened alert, and ageneral mobilization was announced of all Chechen males between theages of fifteen and fifty-five; all Chechens serving in the USSR armedforces were ordered home; and the autumn Soviet military draft in therepublic was canceled; all activities of the Russian Procuracy in therepublic were also effectively halted.88 A crowd of 50,000 Dudaevsupporters demonstrated in front of the Council of Ministers building inGroznyi and then seized it. The presidium of the ispolkom of OKChN8 5 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 58.8 6 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 229 and n. 16. 8 7 Ibid., p. 230.8 8 From the Govorukhin Commission report in Pravda, 29 February 1996, p. 2.

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assailed the position of the Russian Federation as "coarse, provocativeinterference in the internal affairs of the Chechen Republic." ZelimkhanYandarbiev, chairman of the Vainakh Democratic Party, called upon hissupporters to arm themselves and declare holy war against the Russianstate. The assembled Chechen masses, many of them unemployed,responded enthusiastically to Yandarbiev's message.89

Incensed at this intransigent response to his threats, Rutskoi repeatedhis invective against the "criminal" OKChN and announced that he hadbeen empowered by the presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet todeclare a state of emergency in Checheno-Ingushetiya. Pronouncinghimself opposed to bringing in the Soviet military at this point, hemaintained that the Chechen-Ingush MVD was prepared to take"appropriate action" to stop the actions of the Chechen "politicalclique." Openly playing the Russian nationalist card, Rutskoi warnedthat the 300,000 Russians living in the Chechen-Ingush Republic werevery much at risk. Khasbulatov supported Rutskoi's call for "very toughmeasures" and stated his opinion that OKChN consisted of no morethan 200 to 300 desperate terrorists. On 10 October, the RSFSRSupreme Soviet adopted a resolution outlining measures for the restora-tion of order and legality in the republic.90

In his memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writes that, "the closer wecame to the elections of 27 October, the harsher became the oppositionof the pro-Russian forces [in Checheno-Ingushetiya]." He recalls thatValentin Stepankov, procurator general of the RSFSR, arrived inGroznyi as part of a delegation from Moscow. While in Groznyi, thatdelegation "held a joint meeting with the so-called Supreme ProvisionalCouncil, headed by [Procurator] Bakhmadov."91 Yusup Soslambekov,at the time a close Dudaev ally, recalls that: "Moscow named GeneralIbragimov minister of internal affairs of the Chechen-Ingush Republic.He, together with the Provisional Supreme Council headed by B.Bakhmadov, was to recruit loyal people into the organs of internal affairsand unite his adherents around the MVD. Then it was planned to arrestthe leaders of the ispolkom, for which the Procuracy General and theMVD had prepared written orders."92 Those named in these arrestorders, Soslambekov writes, included Dudaev, Yandarbiev, Soslam-bekov himself, and Movladi Udugov.

On 18 October, General Dudaev warned the republic's populace toprepare for a war which he deemed inevitable, "since hostile forces weremassed in North Ossetiya and Dagestan preparing to attack the8 9 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 167.9 0 Broxup, "After the Putsch," pp. 2 3 0 - 3 1 ; Sheehy, "Power Struggle," p. 23 .9 1 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p. 59. 9 2 Soslambekov, Chechnya, p. 12.

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Republic and strangle the revolution." He declared that "a continuationof the genocide against the Chechen people" was once again a distinctpossibility, and he reported that 62,000 men had already signed up forthe republican national guard and the people's militia. Preparations forelections to the Chechen presidency and to a new parliament - set for 27October - proceeded apace.93

The following day, 19 October, Yeltsin inserted himself into the fray.The Russian president ordered the Chechen opposition under Dudaevto submit unconditionally, within three days, to the resolution of theRSFSR Supreme Soviet. He declared that, if the Chechen oppositionfailed to comply, then "all measures provided for in the laws of theRussian Federation would be employed to normalize the situation andensure the protection of the constitutional order."94

On 23 October, the RSFSR Procuracy in Moscow issued a decreeunderlining that "citizens are subject to criminal liability for the over-throw or forcible change of the state and public system, for violating theintegrity of the RSFSR, [and for] whipping up national or religioushatreds." National guards and other armed formations in Chechnya, thedecree noted, were not regulated by legislation and were therefore"unlawful."95

Despite these harsh threats issued by Yeltsin, Rutskoi, the RSFSRSupreme Soviet, and the Russian Procuracy, Dudaev and the Chechennational radicals proceeded without hesitation toward the holding ofpresidential and parliamentary elections on 27 October.

The seizure of KGB headquarters in GroznyiBefore we discuss the elections, it is necessary briefly to backtrack anddiscuss one key event which occurred during early October: namely, thetakeover by the Dudaev forces of KGB headquarters in Groznyi. As hasbeen noted, one of the officials accompanying Vice President Rutskoi onhis visit to Groznyi on 6 October was RSFSR KGB chairman ViktorIvanenko. According to the anti-Yeltsin opposition newspaper Den\ oneof Ivanenko's top assistants had made an earlier secret visit to therepublic in September.

" [In September] there secretly arrived in Groznyi," the Den accountmaintains, "one of the deputies of Ivanenko (at that time the chairmanof the KGB of Russia). For two days, in the former hotel of the partyobkom [reskom], he conducted long, secret negotiations with Dudaev.After he flew out, Dzhokhar Dudaev declared loudly that a high-ranking

93 Broxup, "After the Putsch," p. 231. 94 Ibid., p. 234. 95 Ibid.

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representative of the KGB had come to Chechnya to organize a statecoup but had not been able to seize him [i.e., Dudaev]. Following this,he, Dudaev, had given an order to seize the KGB building. In thecarrying out of this order, it turned out that there were only threepersons in the building."96

Accounts carried by Den' and by its successor publication, Zavtra,must be treated with caution, since they are often inaccurate andmisleading. However, in this instance, the Den' account is supported byinformation provided in an interview with General Aslambek Asla-khanov, at the time a committee chairman of the Russian SupremeSoviet. "[T]he building of the KGB in Groznyi," Aslakhanov recalled inAugust 1993, "was capable of withstanding a two- or three-month-longsiege which employed artillery. Its communications and technicalequipment were designed to control the whole of the North Caucasus.During the time that the building was stormed, only four employeeswere present, and only one of them was armed. The attackers took thebuilding in several minutes' time. Scores of boxes containing secretdocuments magically disappeared. I am certain that it was a deal[sdelka]."97

If these two accounts are basically accurate, it would appear that theYeltsin leadership quietly agreed to turn over the KGB headquarters inGroznyi, with its advanced communications equipment and its tech-nology and valuable archives, to the militants some time in earlyOctober 1991. (The handing over of vast quantities of military hardwareand ammunition to General Dudaev will be treated in chapter 5,pp. 164-68.)

Dudaev is "elected'* president

On 27 October, elections for the republican parliament and theChechen presidency took place, and, not surprisingly, a spate ofirregularities occurred. Seven candidates for the Chechen presidencyhad earlier withdrawn from the race, citing the clearly unjust conditionsof the elections. Members of the republican Central Election Commis-sion were named by the ispolkom of OKChN; local election commissions

9 6 "Chechenskaya situatsiya: vzglyad iznutri," Deri, 26 , 4 - 1 0 July 1993, p. 3.9 7 "Ruka Moskvy v Chechne ili ruka Chechni v Moskve?," Rossiya, 34, 1 8 - 2 4 August

1993, p. 4. In his 1994 book, Demokratiya prestupnoi, General Aslakhanov states thatthe lists of KGB agents were destroyed before Dudaev's coming to power (p. 88) . ButSoslambekov, in his book Chechnya, writes that Dudaev did obtain the names of theagents (p. 11). Yandarbiev maintains in his second volume of memoirs, Checheniya, that"the property and archives [of the Groznyi KGB] were stolen by those who had beenposted there as guards . . . i.e., basically by the band of Bislan Gantamirov" (p. 90) .

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were formed from among Dudaev supporters; and the legislationaccording to which the elections were conducted was not confirmed byany legal body, not even by a special committee on elections which hadbeen created by the Third Congress of OKChN. "In essence," anti-Dudaev author Timur Muzaev has concluded, "the elections wereconducted by the social organization whose leader was running for theposition of head of state."98

"During the course of the entire election campaign, for which lessthan two weeks were given," Emir Pain and Arkadii Popov have written,"the republic lived under conditions of de facto military rule." And theycontinue: "[I]n some districts, the number of ballots cast exceeded thenumber of registered voters, and in the ballot boxes which were placedout in the town squares packets of ballots allegedly filled out byrepresentatives of the Chechen diaspora were put into the votingurns."99

When the election results were announced on 30 October, it emergedthat Dudaev had easily bested his two remaining rivals. According to areport issued by Major General I. Sokolov, commander of the NorthCaucasus Military District, who cited published Chechen electionresults, a total of 490,000 persons took part in the election, representing77 percent of eligible voters in the republic. Of this number, 416,181, or85 percent, voted for General Dudaev. Sokolov went on to note thatneither the Ingush nor a part of the Russian-language populace in therepublic had participated in the election.100

What is one to make of the announced official election results?Nationalities specialist Sergei Arutyunov, a corresponding member ofthe Russian Academy of Sciences, noted in testimony before the RussianConstitutional Court on 13 July 1995: "Of course, Dudaev was ratherproclaimed than elected president," and "the elections would not havebeen deemed lawful by independent international observers." ButArutyunov went on to observe that, according to public opinion surveys,interviews conducted by specialists, and a wealth of other data, "onemay say without doubt that, in 1991, not less than 60 percent, andprobably up to 70 percent of the population of Chechnya, of the votersof Chechnya, did indeed genuinely support Dudaev."101 In a certain

9 8 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 1 6 7 - 6 8 .9 9 In "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February 1995, pp. 1, 4.

1 0 0 In Belaya kniga. Chechnya, 1991-1995: fakty, dokumenty, svidetel'stva, 2 vols.(Moscow: Tsentr obshchestvennykh svyazei FSK Rossii, 1995) , vol. I, pp. 1 1 - 1 2 .Somewhat different figures were reported by the Chechen Electoral Commission. SeeCurran, et al., Search for Peace, pp. 9 5 - 9 6 . On the election results, see also Hill,"Russia's Tinderbox", p. 82 , and Sheeny, "Power Struggle," p. 24.

101 See "Istoricheskaya pamyat' Chechni," Novoe vremya, 29 (1995) , 1 2 - 1 5 .

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sense, therefore, if Arutyunov is right, this flawed election can none-theless be regarded as an expression of the Chechen popular will.

Russia decides to invade Chechnya . . . sort ofThe formal announcement of the Chechen election results on 30October ushered in an exceptionally tense period in Russian-Chechenrelations. The anti-Dudaev Provisional Supreme Council of theChechen-Ingush Republic immediately declared the election results tobe fabricated and unconstitutional. The following day, 2 November, theFifth Congress of RSFSR Deputies, meeting in Moscow under Khas-bulatov's chairmanship, decreed that the elections in Chechnya hadbeen unlawful and that they directly contradicted the Constitution ofthe RSFSR.102 (While Boris Yeltsin was later to dissolve this Khas-bulatov-led congress, he always upheld its November 1991 decree onthe Chechen presidential elections as having been lawful; Dudaev'sacting vice president, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, for his part, considers this2 November decree to have essentially constituted the beginning of anew Russian-Chechen war.)103

Reacting to the threatening noises emanating from Moscow, GeneralDudaev, on 1 November 1991, issued a decree declaring the ChechenRepublic to be a fully independent state. The following day, the just-elected Chechen parliament passed a resolution (postanovlenie) ratifyingDudaev's decree.104

In response to these moves, the Russian leadership decided to initiatea military-police takeover of Chechnya. On 7 November, Yeltsin issueda presidential decree "On the Introduction of Emergency Rule into theChechen-Ingush Republic."105 This represented the beginning of thelong-expected crackdown against the rebellious republic.

Unfortunately for Yeltsin and his associates, the November crack-down occurred too late. As Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have noted, inorder to have been successful, the suppression of Dudaev should havebeen accomplished by early October at the latest. Why, then, the criticaldelay? Because, as Pain and Popov explain, "there was taking place atense struggle with the remnants of the union structures."106 The sharppower struggle between Yeltsin and the RSFSR, on the one hand, andMikhail Gorbachev and the USSR, on the other, was entering its final,

102 See Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, p. 8. 103 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 370 .104 Yandarbiev, V preddverii, p . 66. See also Soslambekov, Chechnya, p . 17. For the text of

the C h e c h e n par l iament ' s resolution, see C u r r a n , et al., Search for Peace, pp . 9 7 - 9 8 .105 In Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, pp . 8 - 9 .106 j n "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne , " Izvestiya, 7 Februa ry 1995 , pp . 1, 4 .

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climactic phase.107 The leadership of the Russian Federation was toodistracted by this brutal contest to be able sufficiently to focus onrebellious Chechnya.

By November 1991, Pain and Popov underline, "[A] 11 organs offederal authority in Chechnya had already been disbanded, and allmilitary garrisons had been blockaded." In addition, the building of therepublican KGB had now been seized "together with lists of its agents."This last-named development meant that "the Russian special serviceswere unable to create in Chechnya a full-fledged network of agents."108

On the evening of 8 November, Russian Television communicated thetext of Yeltsin's decree of the previous day which introduced emergencyrule into Checheno-Ingushetiya. The newly elected Chechen parliamentgathered in emergency session and swiftly granted Dudaev emergencypowers for the defense of the republic's independence. On the same day,Dudaev countered Yeltsin's decree by introducing military rule into therepublic. He also renewed the enlistment of volunteers into the Chechennational guard and proposed to Yeltsin's official representatives in therepublic that they relinquish their powers. According to the commanderof the North Caucasus Military District, Major General I. Sokolov,Dudaev's forces, as of 1 November, consisted of 62,000 men in thenational guard and another 30,000 in the popular militia. The actualrighting detachments (boevye otryadi) of the national guard, however, hereported, consisted of a mere 2,000 men.109

The Chechens, it should be noted, also enjoyed at this time strongsupport from the other Muslim peoples of the Caucasus region. On 27October, an Abkhaz deputy announced in Groznyi that, if force wereused against the Chechens, it would be tantamount to a use of forceagainst all the peoples of the Caucasus. In mid-October, congresses ofthe Avars and the Muslims of Dagestan declared that, if the RSFSRwere to invade the Chechen-Ingush Republic, they would fight alongwith the Chechens and Ingush.110

Commenting on Yeltsin's decision to declare a state of emergency inChecheno-Ingushetiya, Emir Pain and Arkadii Popov have written:"[W]e know a few things about President Yeltsin's sensational decree of7 November that . . . removed Dudaev from power and placed therepublic under the control of Akhmet Arsanov, who had been one of the1 0 7 On this struggle, see Andrei Grachev, Final Days: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the

Soviet Union (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995); Jack F. Matlock, Autopsy of anEmpire (New York: Random House, 1995), pp. 605-77; and Dunlop, Rise of Russia,pp. 256-84.

108 j n "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 7 February 1995, pp. 1, 4.1 0 9 See Belaya kniga, vol. I, p. 12. See also Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, pp. 6 6 - 6 7 .1 1 0 Sheehy, "Power Struggle," p. 25 .

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Chechen-Ingush republic's deputies to the federal parliament. It is nowknown that Arsanov, who had been previously appointed as the repre-sentative of the Russian president in Checheno-Ingushetiya on 27October [1991], was the formal sponsor of the decree. On 6 November(i.e., only several hours before Yeltsin's decree was announced) Arsanovsent the Russian president a desperate telegram from Groznyi in whichhe insisted on an immediate declaration of a 'state of emergency.'"

And Pain and Popov continue: "Arsanov's involvement was implicitlyconfirmed by President Yeltsin, who, two days after his decree wasrejected by the Russian parliament, issued another decree. This newdecree removed Arsanov as presidential representative." The twoauthors, it should be noted, avoid the trap of seeking to make Arsanov alone scapegoat for the failed Russian crackdown: "[I]t is difficult," theywrite, "to imagine that such an important document [i.e., on emergencyrule] could have been prepared that night. Most likely, the outline, andperhaps even the full text of the decree, had already been prepared inanticipation of an opportune moment to issue it. Arsanov's telegramproved to be just such an occasion."111

Lightly armed Russian troops are flown inOn the night of 8-9 November, planes from the Soviet air force carryingRSFSR MVD troops touched down at Khankala Airport on the out-skirts of Groznyi. By dawn on the 9th, Dudaev's national guards hadblockaded the airport and had also placed the main railroad station inGroznyi under guard. Throughout the day on 9 November, a massmeeting numbering tens of thousands took place in Freedom Square inGroznyi supporting the Chechen declaration of independence anddefending the Dudaev-led government. The threat of a Russian invasionserved palpably to unite the people of Chechnya around their newpresident. In the middle of the day, the newly elected Chechen parlia-ment administered the oath of office to President Dudaev.

Toward evening on the 9th, as a result of negotiations conductedbetween a deputy minister of internal affairs of the RSFSR MVD,General Komissarov, and the Dudaev forces, an agreement was reachedto release the troops blockaded at Khankala Airport. They were thentaken out in buses.112

Why did the Russian forces decide so ignominiously to withdraw from111 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya." For a short biography of Arsanov, see Muzaev,

Chechenskaya respublika> p. 57. On Arsanov, see also Yandarbiev, V preddverii, pp.62-63.

112 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 168.

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Checheno-Ingushetiya? Concerning the arrival of MVD forces at Khan-kala Airport on 9 November, Ruslan Khasbulatov has observed: "Itturns out that the planes bearing paratroopers - 300 men - had landedin Groznyi. But without any personal weapons. They had brought theweapons to Mozdok [in North Ossetiya]. So the lads - the paratroopers- got out of the planes and found themselves encircled."113 PavelFel'gengauer (Felgenhauer), military correspondent for the newspaperSegodnya, has reported a more plausible version, namely that the MVDforces were in fact lightly armed: "A regiment of lightly armed InteriorMinistry troops that had been airlifted into Groznyi surrendered itsarms to the Chechen rebels without a fight when it became clear that thearmy would not support them."114 If Fel'gengauer is correct, theRussian invasion plan provided for Soviet military forces based inChecheno-Ingushetiya to come decisively to the support of the RussianMVD.

Khasbulatov recalls that he was stunned to hear the news of thedebacle taking place at Khankala Airport: "I telephone Rutskoi. He saidthat he understands nothing. Everything had been agreed with everyone,and now no one wants to help. They cite Gorbachev." Khasbulatovrelates that the decree on emergency rule had been prepared by Rutskoiand then agreed in advance with USSR defense minister EvgeniiShaposhnikov and USSR MVD minister Viktor Barannikov, as well aswith "a close aide to Gorbachev." "And of course," he notes, "it hadbeen prepared at Yeltsin's instructions and with his full approval."Khasbulatov reports that he telephoned Shaposhnikov and Barannikovand that both of them emotionally defended their inaction by pointingout that, as USSR ministers, they had to obey the wishes of Sovietpresident Gorbachev.

According to Khasbulatov, Yeltsin at this critical juncture simplydisappeared from view (as he was to do, again, at the time of theDecember 1994 military invasion of Chechnya). "They kept looking forYeltsin," he recalls, "but could not find him." Soviet president Gorba-chev, however, was more than prepared to talk to Khasbulatov. "You aregoing too fast," Gorbachev cautioned him. "No MVD troops areneeded there . . . Why, in general, did Yeltsin issue such a decree?" Onthe subject of the Russian president, Gorbachev confided to Khas-113 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, p. 19.114 Dr. Pavel Felgenhauer, "The Chechen Campaign," Conference on the War in

Chechnya: Implications for Russian Security Policy, 7-8 November 1995, sponsoredby the Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School,Monterey, California, unpublished manuscript. An essay of similar content byFelgenhauer, entitled "A War Moscow Cannot Afford to Lose," appeared in Transition,31 May 1996,28-31.

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bulatov: "I myself am looking for him [Yeltsin], but they can't find him."Khasbulatov's conclusion concerning this entire bizarre episode:"Yeltsin's decree [on emergency rule] was consciously sabotaged [byGorbachev]."115 (Another conclusion which could be drawn, it seems,is that Yeltsin's disappearance from view was, in part, motivated by adesire to have Rutskoi and Khasbulatov left holding the bag if somethingwent wrong with the invasion.)

Retired MVD major general Aslambek Aslakhanov has recalled thatDudaev's representative in Moscow, Sherip Yusupov, called him at 3a.m. on 9 November and informed him that emergency rule was inprocess of being introduced into the Chechen Republic. "I immediatelyflew to Moscow," Aslakhanov remembers, "and went to see the USSRminister of internal affairs, V. Barannikov. I expressed to him myindignation at this action. I said that this was precisely what Dudaevneeded. 'Emergency rule' would provoke a war in the North Caucasus. Iasked him to halt the introduction of forces, which he did after speakingwith M. Gorbachev."116 If Aslakhanov is telling the truth here, then hisviews and actions concerning the invasion differed significantly fromthose of his mentor, Ruslan Khasbulatov.

Gorbachev's press secretary, Andrei Grachev, has provided a USSRgovernment perspective on events surrounding the aborted invasion:"On November 7, 1991," he writes, "the ever-unpredictable leadershipof the Russian Federation, steering the country left and right with anunsteady hand on the tiller, declared a state of emergency in theChechen republic . . . which was demanding independence from theRussian Federation. Yeltsin sent an ultimatum to Chechen leaderDzhokhar Dudaev, and then promptly made himself completely inac-cessible, as he had often done in the past."

And Grachev continues: "Naturally, no good came of this high-handed approach except that it provided some free publicity for Dudaev. . . But the issue was taking on alarming proportions, threatening toturn into another bloody and unresolvable Afghan war. In fact, adivision of the Russian Ministry of Interior had already started itsmovement toward Groznyi when Gorbachev on his own initiativeordered the troops to stop and immediately approached Russian parlia-ment speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, urging him in the absence of Yeltsinto cancel the president's decree. The decree was rescinded, the fuse putout, and Russia's image preserved."117

While he has compressed and somewhat distorted events and under-115 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, pp. 19-20.116 Aslakhanov, Demokratiya prestupnoi, p. 107.117 Grachev, Final Days, p. 99.

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standably slanted his account in a pro-Gorbachev direction, Grachevessentially tells the same story as do the other commentators cited here.(Gorbachev, curiously, does not mention the episode in his 1995memoirs.)118 It should be noted that Gorbachev's role in the crisis wasless passive than Andrei Grachev suggests. As the military journalistPavel Fergengauer has written: "Boris Yeltsin proclaimed martial law inChechnya . . . But Mikhail Gorbachev . . . ordered the army to remainstrictly neutral and take no part whatsoever in enforcing martial law.This order . . . was willingly passed to the troops in and around Groznyiby then Chief of Staff General Vladimir Lobov . . . The RussianSupreme Soviet promptly overruled Yeltsin's martial-law decree and theChechen secessionist movement was allowed to develop."119

Though Khasbulatov had been a strong backer of the introduction ofemergency rule, he quickly understood that Yeltsin's disappearancefrom the scene, plus Gorbachev's fierce opposition to a military opera-tion that would have resulted in large-scale bloodshed, had effectivelyscuttled the entire operation. Several days after the failed "invasion," on11 November, an emergency session of the RSFSR Supreme Soviettherefore took a decision not to confirm Yeltsin's decree on the intro-duction of emergency rule into Checheno-Ingushetiya. Yeltsin's decreewas revoked on the grounds that it had been "technically insufficientlyprepared."120

Yandarbiev's account of the attempted invasionIn his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev providesdetailed information concerning the reaction of the Dudaev forces to theattempted Russian invasion.121 According to Yandarbiev, a crowd ofDudaev supporters gathered in Groznyi on the morning of 9 Novemberand then "besieged the main bastion of the threat to independence,"MVD headquarters. The crowd was led by Said-Akhmad Adizov of theChechen Council of Elders. As for Yandarbiev, he managed to get intothe MVD building, where he spoke with both General Vakha Ibragimov,head of the local MVD, and General Komissarov, deputy chairman ofthe RSFSR MVD. These two generals, plus a third general, Yandarbievrecalls, "were in constant contact with Moscow" by telephone.

The Chechen nationalists, Yandarbiev recounts, took decisive action

1 1 8 Mikhail Gorbachev, Zhizri i reformy, 2 vols. (Moscow: Novost i , 1995).1 1 9 In Felgenhauer , " C h e c h e n Campaign ."1 2 0 Yandarbiev, Vpreddverii, p . 67 . See also Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 99 .1 2 1 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp . 9 1 - 9 7 . All quota t ions in this section are taken from these


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to thwart the threatened invasion. Isa Arsamikov and other fightersblockaded the Russian MVD spetsnaz forces who had been flown intoKhankala Airport. Several military transport planes were directly pre-vented from landing at the airport when Khamzat Khankarov andothers set up obstacles on the runways. The Russian military bases inGroznyi and Shali were blockaded by nationalists, while "all railroadstations, bridges, highways, and other places of possible [troop] move-ment were taken under control." Yusup Soslambekov was named actingChechen minister of defense. A women's battalion, led by MarzhanDombaeva and Lyudmila Lobanova, was active in the defense of thecity. The "position of the Union," i.e., of Gorbachev, Yandarbievconcludes his account, was the key factor making it possible to find apeaceful way out of the crisis.

A bold terrorist actFollowing the publication of Yeltsin's decree introducing emergencyrule into Checheno-Ingushetiya, General Dudaev had stated to AgenceFrance Presse that "terroristic acts" against Russia were a possibleoption for the Chechens. On 9 November, three Chechen fightersunexpectedly hijacked a Russian TU-154 plane, carrying 171 passen-gers, scheduled to fly from Mineral'nye Vody (in adjacent Stavropol'krai) to the city of Ekaterinburg in the Urals. The hijackers threatenedto blow the plane up. Instead of flying to Ekaterinburg, the plane wasordered flown to Ankara, Turkey, where the hijackers attempted to holda press conference during which they intended to condemn the Russiancrackdown in Chechnya. The Turkish authorities, apparently concernedabout a Russian reaction, refused to permit the press conference to beheld, and had the plane sent back to Russia on 10 November, but they,significantly, did not send the hijackers back to Russia for trial. Whenthe three hijackers eventually made their way back to Chechnya, theywere greeted there as "national heroes." One of the hijackers subse-quently would acquire Russian and world fame for leading a daring andbloody raid on the Russian city of Budennovsk in 1995: ShamirBasaev.122

In its November 1991 standoff with the Russian Federation,Chechnya gained the support of the revived Confederation of MountainPeoples, consisting of representatives of fourteen nationalities from the

122 On this episode, see TASS Report, 11 November 1991, in RFE-RL, USSR Today, 11November 1991, p. 1028/02-03; Chechenskaya tragediya, p. 61; and Elizabeth Fuller,"Shamil Basaev: Rebel with a Cause?," Transition, 28 July 1995, p. 47. See alsoYandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 96-97.

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North Caucasus region. On 10 November, the Confederation took adecision to declare a general mobilization of volunteers from the regionin order to defend the "Chechen Revolution."123 (The Confederationwill be discussed in detail in chapter 4, pp. 140-47.)

Events in Checheno-Ingushetiya over the remainder of calendar year1991 can be fairly briefly summarized. On 21 November, Dudaev,seemingly convinced that a Russian invasion was no longer a realisticthreat, lifted martial law in the republic.124 On 30 November and on 1December, a referendum "on the creation of an Ingush Republic withinthe RSFSR" was conducted in the three Ingush districts of theChechen-Ingush ASSR. Seventy-five percent of the eligible Ingushpopulace cast votes, and 90 percent of them voted "yes"; Ingushetiyahad now formally separated itself from Chechnya.125 The Chechensseem at the time to have accepted this expression of the popular will oftheir Vainakh brethren without serious complaint. Henceforth theChechen struggle for secession from Russia would be a lonely one,without the support of the Ingush.

Concerning the decision of Ingushetiya to separate from Chechnya,ethnographer Galina Soldatova has observed: "The 1991 declaration byChechnya of its independence within the framework of the 1934boundaries [i.e., within a combined Chechen-Ingush oblast'] placed theIngush face to face with the necessity of having to address immediately awhole range of problems: territorial, economic, cultural, social . . . Theaspiration of Ingushetiya to remain within Russia was primarily dictatedby the following reasons: (1) the Ingush counted on Russia's assistancein resolving their territorial disputes with the Ossetians and Chechens;and (2) the Ingush wished to avoid ethnic assimilation [with theChechens], which would have been a real possibility . . . According tothe 1989 census, the Chechen population of the former Checheno-Ingushetiya was more than four times greater than that of theIngush."126

In December 1991, Umar Avturkhanov (b. 1946), a former MVDofficial who was to emerge as one of the chief political opponents ofDudaev, was elected chairman of the Provisional Council of the Admin-istration of Nadterechnyi district, located in the northwest region of therepublic. Avturkhanov then declared that he did not recognize Dudaev'sauthority.127 Serious internal opposition to General Dudaev, covertly123 In RFE-RL, USSR Today, 11 November 1991, p. 03.124 Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", p. 83 . 125 In Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, p. 9.126 Galina U. Soldatova, "The Former Checheno-Ingushetiya," in Leokadia Drobizheva,

Rose Gottemoeller, Catherine McArdle Kelleher, and Lee Walker, eds., Ethnic Conflictin the Post-Soviet World (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1996), p. 211.

127 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 54 .

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backed by Russia, had therefore already begun to rear its head inChechnya.

In the same month of December, according to Zelimkhan Yandarbiev,Moscow successfully organized a putsch in Georgia, which led to theremoval of President Zviad Gamsakhurdia from power. This develop-ment seriously threatened newly independent Chechnya, since it "de-prived them [the Chechens] of support (both purely political andeconomic) from Georgia; Chechnya was now de facto fullyblockaded."128

The abortive November 1991 invasion and the threatening develop-ments taking place in Georgia served to convince the Chechen leader-ship that it needed maximally to arm Chechnya, and swiftly. By lateNovember and early December 1991, it became clear that GeneralDudaev intended to appropriate all USSR and RSFSR militaryweaponry, ammunition, and hardware located on Chechen soil. By hisdecree of 26 November, Dudaev ruled that all such armaments mustremain within the republic and could not be taken out of it. At thebeginning of December, then deputy USSR defense minister PavelGrachev arrived in Groznyi for talks with Dudaev. The Chechenpresident on that occasion agreed to assist the Russian troops to with-draw from the republic "if a part of their arms and military hardwarewere handed over to him."129 But Dudaev, it soon emerged, had his eyeon more than "a part" of these armaments.

As the year 1991 came to an end, it appeared that the "ChechenRevolution" had fully triumphed. The Soviet Union, by contrast, hadcome to an inglorious end, while the future of the Russian Federationlooked charged and problematic.

1 2 8 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 116.1 2 9 In the Govorukhin Commiss ion repor t , in Pravda, 29 February 1996, p . 2.

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Dudaev in power, 1992-1994

JOURNALIST: But in Chechnya there is anarchy.GENERAL DUDAEV: No more so than in Russia.1

The three years which separate the triumph of the Chechen Revolutionin late 1991 from the Russian military invasion of Chechnya inDecember 1994 represented a fast-paced period of convulsive politicaland social change. Groups in opposition to the Dudaev governmentbegan to emerge within Chechnya, especially in its northern lowlandregions, and they were aided and abetted, to a growing extent, by theRussian government. Dudaev and his aides showed themselves in-capable of running a government, and the Chechen economy, notsurprisingly, collapsed. But Russia itself entered a period of intensepolitical turmoil, as the presidency under Yeltsin and the parliamentunder Ruslan Khasbulatov (who became closely allied with Vice Presi-dent Rutskoi) moved toward the exceptionally dangerous condition ofdvoevlastie (dyarchy), culminating in the bloody events of October 1993.

After Yeltsin succeeded in dissolving the Khasbulatov-led RussianCongress and Supreme Soviet in late 1993, he and his entourage finallybecame free to direct more concerted attention to separatist tendencieswithin the Russian Federation. The signing of a power-sharing treatywith previously rejectionist Tatarstan in February 1994 left Chechnya asthe sole secessionist holdout in Russia. The Yeltsin leadership began inearnest to seek to destabilize Chechnya and, by one means or another,to remove Dudaev from power.

The economy under Dudaev

As we saw in chapter 3 (pp. 85-88), the economy of Checheno-Ingushetiya had been in decline even before General Dudaev tookpower in September-October 1991, but it seems clear that Dudaev'spolicies - or, rather, his lack of policies - served to accelerate that down-1 In Moskovskie novosti, 31 (1994), p. 10.


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ward movement. As Fiona Hill has commented: "The new Chechenelite . . . was composed of radical nationalists from the political fringeswith no prior administrative experience; leaders of the so-called'Chechen mafia' who specialized in extra-legal activities; members ofthe Chechen diaspora from outside the borders of the USSR . . . and ahandful of educated young idealists whose proposals for reform werethwarted at every turn. They were all woefully ill-equipped to deal withthe multiple challenges of creating a new Chechen nation state andcreating a functioning market economy." As for Dudaev himself, Hillnotes, his "political naivete and bad judgment compounded the eco-nomic difficulties."2

The economic plans of Dudaev and his supporters did indeed sufferfrom a pronounced utopianism. Their grandiose scheme of turningindependent Chechnya into a "second Kuwait," for example, had littlebasis in reality. One idea advanced by the Chechen leadership was toconstruct "a gigantic water pipeline for water in the North Caucasus tothe Middle East - to sell Chechen drinking water to Arab countries!"3

There is evidence that Dudaev himself was aware of a lack of com-petence of his economic advisers. Thus he is reported to have madeseveral unsuccessful attempts to attract Russian economists of the firstrank - Grigorii Yavlinskii, Mikhail Bocharov, and Evgenii Saburov - tocome to the republic to serve as its prime minister.4 According to oneformer minister of the Soviet petrochemical industry, Salambek Khad-zhiev - who later emerged as a leading opponent of Dudaev - theChechen president offered him the post of prime minister in January1992.5 Since no competent candidate could be found who would takethe post, Dudaev himself had to assume the premiership on an actingbasis, and he, of course, understood almost nothing about economics.6

2 Fiona Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox": Conflict in the North Caucasus and Its Implications for theFuture of the Russian Federation (Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Govern-ment, Harvard University, Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, September1995), pp. 76-78.

3 In Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February1995, p. 4.

4 V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V. Marchenko, Chechenskii krizis (Moscow: Tsentrkompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii i marketinga, 1995), p. 22.

5 In Moskovskii komsomolets, 23 March 1995, p. 2.6 For examples of Dudaev's views on economic questions, see the interviews with him in

Izvestiya, 21 August 1993, pp. 1, 4; Megapolis-ekspress, 10-11 (1994), 19; Segodnya, 31May 1994, p. 10; and Moskovskaya pravda, 15 July 1994, p. 7. For Dudaev's ideas onChechen state-building, see his essay, K voprosu o gosudarstvenno-politicheskom ustroistveChechenskoi Respubliki (Groznyi: author publication, 1993). For interviews with Dudaevon political questions, see Moskovskie novosti, 35 (1993), p. 12A; Segodnya, 11 January1994, p. 10; Nezavisimaya gazeta, 7 July 1994, p. 1; Literaturnaya Rossiya, 28, 15 July1994, p. 5; Megapolis-ekspress, 23, 27 July 1994, p. 18; Pravda, 30 July 1994, pp. 1, 2;and Moskovskie novosti, 31 (1994), p. 10.

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Beginning in 1992, Chechnya ceased altogether to pay taxes into theRussian federal budget, and it was incapable of generating lawfulsources of revenue. The key industries in the republic were the oil-extraction and, especially, the oil-processing industry. Oil extraction,however, went into a sharp decline, from a total of 2.6 million tons in1992 to 1.2 million tons in 1993. By the beginning of December 1994,no more than 100 of Chechnya's 1,500 oil wells were still producing.7

The volume of oil processing in Groznyi's outmoded plants also had tobe cut back significantly. Oil passing through the republic's pipelineswas increasingly being tapped off and otherwise stolen. In 1993, morethan 47,000 tons of petroleum product, with a worth estimated at 4billion rubles, was directly stolen.8

Specialists Emir Pain and Arkadii Popov have noted that the nearly60 percent decline in oil extraction which occurred in 1992 was directlyconnected with the mass outflow of Russian-language populace who hadpreviously been employed chiefly in that industry (60,000 such personsleft in 1992). "Precisely at that time (i.e., the end of 1991 and thebeginning of 1992)," they observe, "the polling organization VTsIOMcarried out a survey of the migration plans of [ethnic] Russians residingin a number of union republics and autonomous republics of theRussian Federation, and it turned out that the percentage of thosewishing to leave independent Chechnya was higher than in any otherpart of the former Soviet Union. Thirty-seven percent of the Russianpopulation, i.e., more than in Tajikistan, which was in the grip of a civilwar, planned to leave."9

During 1992-94, there took place a sharp decline across the board inChechnya's industrial and agricultural production. According to Gos-komstat of Russia (the official bureau of statistics), industrial productionin the Chechen and Ingush Republics declined by 30 percent in 1992(the Russia-wide average being 18.8 percent) and in 1993 by 61.4percent (the Russia-wide average being 16.2 percent). The productionof food products per person declined by 46 percent in the republic (asopposed to a Russia-wide figure of 18 percent). Finally, unemploymentrose sharply, by 16 percent in 1993.10 These were catastrophic develop-ments. There commenced an outflow of populace from Chechnya'sdying cities, and those who were able to went to stay with relatives invillages, while others simply left the confines of the republic.

7 Robert E. Ebel, "The History and Politics of Chechen Oil," Post-Soviet Prospects,Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, DC (January1995), p. 3.

8 In Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 21.9 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.

10 In Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 23.

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In the countryside, too, the situation became increasingly grim. "Thecollapse of the kolkhozes and sovkhozes was accompanied by a plunder-ing of property, by a curtailment of agricultural production, and byattempts at spontaneously divvying up land or allotting it on the basis ofclan and communal law. The previously existing forms of agriculturewere preserved only in the northern regions (i.e., near the Terek) andeven there only in part."1 *

This headlong economic collapse forced Dudaev and his circleincreasingly to turn to questionable sources of support. It became amatter of simple survival. As Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have noted:"When legal sources of existence disappear, then criminal ones aredeveloped." Chechnya was transformed into the largest center ofcounterfeit money and of false financial documents on the territory ofthe former USSR. "In 1993 alone," Pain and Popov report, "9.4 billionrubles of counterfeit bonds were seized on the territory of Russia, ofwhich 3.7 billion were of demonstrable Chechen production."12 Therepublic also became a major transit point for various contraband,including weapons and narcotics. The gun market in Groznyi emergedas the largest black-market clearing house for weapons in the CIS. "Thelocal commander of Russian forces," Stephen Handelman has written,"estimated that more than 150,000 firearms were at large in theChechen capital, a city with 400,000 inhabitants."13 Automaticweapons and hand grenades could be purchased at the open air marketlike apples or cabbage.

The Groznyi Airport represented yet another problem. "Each monthfrom Groznyi Airport," Pain and Popov note, "planes of various Russianair companies made 100-150 unsanctioned flights abroad."14 Criminalsfrom any point in Russia and from the entire CIS were able to fly in andout of this airport unhindered. "Entire airplanes, filled to the brim withnarcotics, could come here."15

A large number of Chechens would not have had the means to subsisthad it not been for the inflow of oil from other regions of Russia toChechnya to be processed. The volume of such incoming oil exceededby more than two times the volume extracted from the wells of11 Vadim Korotkov, "Chechenskaya model' etnopoliticheskikh protsessov," Obshche-

stvennye nauki isovremennost', 3, May-June (1994), 104-12.12 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.13 Stephen Handelman, Comrade Criminal: The Theft of the Second Russian Revolution

(London: Michael Joseph, 1994), pp. 204-05.14 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.15 Ibid. For comments by Dudaev's acting vice president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev on the

situation at Groznyi Airport, see his second book of memoirs, Checheniya - bitva zasvobodu (L'vov, Ukraine: Svoboda narodiv [sic] and Antibol'shevitskii blok narodov,1996), p. 154.

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Checheno-Ingushetiya. The pipelines passing through Chechnyabecame a lucrative target for thieves. "On the territory of Chechnya in1993, more than 47,000 tons of petroleum products were plundered . . .assessed at 4 billion rubles."16 If Salambek Khadzhiev, the specialist onthe Chechen oil industry, is to be believed, the figure was much higher -he has claimed that between 10 and 15 million tons of oil "went astray"in Chechnya during the period 1991-94. In addition to "pirating" oilwhich was moving through the pipeline, Chechen "businessmen"siphoned off high-grade oil from trunk lines, replacing it with lowergrades, and they sold oil purchased at domestic prices (or simply stolenoutright) for hard currency export. (Domestic prices were less than 45percent of world prices, so selling even small amounts of oil was highlyprofitable.)17

Train robberies and truck hijackings also proliferated. As Russiangovernment spokesman Sergei Shakhrai stated before the ConstitutionalCourt on 10 July 1995: "During the period 1992-94, on the territory ofChechnya, there were performed 1,354 attacks on rolling-stock with thegoal of seizing the cargo. About seventy attacks on passenger trains havebeen documented."18

Yandarbiev's admissionsIn his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, who served asacting vice president under Dudaev, has admitted that a number ofhigh-ranking Chechen officials were corrupt and sought to profit fromtheir positions. In Yandarbiev's view, General Dudaev, while incontest-ably a great man and a Chechen national hero, was often a poor judge ofcharacter; a number of Dudaev's personnel appointments - even to suchkey agencies as the MVD, DGB (secret police), and procuracy - were,Yandarbiev believes, poorly considered. Thus Mogomed Vakhaev, whoheaded up Dudaev's Commission on External Trade Relations, "wasable to steal from the republic 8 million dollars," while Minister of

16 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis> p. 21.17 In Elaine Holoboff, "Oil and the Burning of Grozny," Jane's Intelligence Review, 7, 6

(1995), 254. For a discussion of the "Eldorado" of illegal oil commerce in Chechnya,see the comments of a former ally and then leading opponent of Dudaev, YusupSoslambekov, in his book, "Chechnya (Nokhchichd) - vzglyad iznutri" (Moscow:author publication, 1995), p. 33. See also the comments of retired MVD major generalAslambek Aslakhanov in his book, Demokratiya prestupnoi ne byvaet (Moscow: authorpublication, 1994), p. 77. It should be underscored that in the case of Chechnya allstatistics are questionable and must be taken with a grain of salt.

18 In Rossiiskie vesti, 12-13 July 1995. For Yandarbiev's views on the train robberies, seeYandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 156, 289.

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Agriculture Ruzbek Bisultanov appropriated oil products which he saidhad been sent off to Lithuania.19

The bad reputation acquired by the city of Groznyi, Yandarbievunderlines, was in large part due to its mayor, Bislan Gantamirov,another ill-considered Dudaev appointment, who plundered the city fora year and a half until he was finally replaced during a period in whichhe was ill. Gantamirov, who, together with the head of the Groznyi cityadministration, "privatized" and then sold off much of the capital'sproperty, later became one of the foremost leaders of the anti-Dudaevopposition supported by Russia.20

Finally, Yandarbiev notes with regret that "all of the power [organs inChechnya] - the MVD, the DGB, the spetsnaz, the OMON and DON,and the Shali tank regiment - participated in the plundering of petro-products, under the guise of guarding them."21 On the other hand,Yandarbiev contends that many of the crimes ascribed to the Chechens- such as the train robberies - were actually provocations organized bythe Russian special services, which actively sought to destabilizeDudaev's government.22

"The pot calling the kettle black"In light of the sharp upsurge in criminal activity in Chechnya, someRussian nationalist critics have sought to depict what happened in therepublic as a "criminal revolution" and to describe the Chechen leader-ship as a "criminal regime." To take one prominent example of thistendency, Stanislav Govorukhin, a well-known Russian parliamentarianand committee chairman, has declared: "As the author of this term [i.e.,'criminal revolution'], I can assure you that the greatest success of thisrevolution was achieved precisely in this subject of the Federation, inChechnya. Precisely there did there indeed emerge a 100 percentcriminal regime."23 This defamatory view of Chechens was activelypromulgated by the public affairs administrations of the Russian FederalCounter-intelligence Service (FSK), MVD, and Defense Ministry.24

The following is a fairly typical passage from a volume issued by theFSK, entitled White Book. Chechnya, 1991-1995: "The Dudaev

19 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 173, 207. 2 0 Ibid., p. 251 .21 Ibid., p. 289 . 2 2 Ibid., pp. 2 8 9 - 9 0 .2 3 In Pravda, 29 February 1996, p. 2.2 4 See, for example, the collections KriminaVnyi rezhim. Chechnya, 1991-1995 (Moscow:

Kodeks and M V D RF, 1995), and Belaya kniga. Chechnya, 1991-1995: fakty,dokumenty, svideteistva, 2 vols. (Moscow: Tsentr obshchestvennykh svyazei FSKRossii, 1995). The volume Chechenskaya tragediya: kto vinovat (Moscow: Novosti,1995) also appears to reflect the views of the Russian intelligence services.

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regime," the book asserts, "creating a social base for itself, released fromthe penal colonies more than 250 condemned murderers, a mass ofrapists, and other criminals. And it not only let them out but it armedthem."25

More judicious and even-handed commentators have seen theChechens as in reality being junior partners in a wave of corruption andcriminality emanating from the Russian capital of Moscow. Referring tocriminal activities conducted in Chechnya, Emil' Pain and ArkadiiPopov stipulate: "Of course, all of these operations could be carried outonly with the cooperation of mafia groups and venal bureaucratsthroughout all of Russia, and, in the first place, in Moscow." Thus, forexample, they note: "The robbery of trains, it turned out, did not takeplace without preparation from Moscow: the dispatchers knew inadvance what was contained in which train."26

While Dudaev had "nationalized" the republic's oil companies andrefineries, this did not, it turned out, in practice adversely affect relationsbetween Chechnya and many Russian companies and oil officials. TheDudaev government had little difficulty in exporting oil (whetherillegally siphoned off or locally produced) despite the regime's poorrelations with official Moscow. Sergei Stepashin, at the time the head ofthe Russian FSK, confirmed that "corruption originating fromDudaev's regime reached ministerial level in Moscow and thatmanipulation of oil export quotas was one mechanism used for profit-eering." Through such adroit manipulation, Dudaev was able to receivequota allocations and export oil from Chechnya via Russian pipelinesand through its terminals. Stepashin asserts further that "Chechnya'sexport quotas were not approved by the Fuel and Energy Ministry (aswould be normal procedure) but received from a federal corporationcalled Roskontrakt [formerly the State Committee for Supplies]between 1992 and 1993."27

According to Jane's Intelligence Review, whatever the mechanism forthe transportation of oil into Groznyi, it was transported out ofChechnya through the western pipeline which went from Groznyi toNovorossiisk, a city on the Black Sea coast, via Tikhoretsk. This pipelinehad the capacity to transport 17 million tons of oil a year. "[B]y theautumn of 1994," Jane's reports, "the Groznyi-Baku line may have beenreversed so as to flow in a northerly direction. Western companies wereoffered a deal by the Chechen authorities whereby oil shipped across the

2 5 Belaya kniga, vol. I, p . 4 .2 6 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne , " Izvestiya, 8 Februa ry 1995 , p . 4 .2 7 In Holoboff, "Oil and the Burning ," 254 .

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Caspian by tanker could be put into the Baku-Groznyi line for trans-portation on to Novorossiisk for export."28

Viktor Sheinis, a member of the State Duma commission chaired byStanislav Govorukhin, which looked into the factors behind the war inChechnya (Sheinis, like other moderates on the commission, refused tosign its slanted final report), has noted similar violations: "In Groznyi,there is a petroleum-processing plant which produces a unique type ofaviation oil. This plant remained active. Petroleum processing could becarried out only with the provision of Russian oil. We have documentaryevidence of how, over the course of a rather long period, oil went,completely officially, from Russia to Groznyi . . . [A] significant part ofthis oil product went for export, and also assured the well-being of theDudaev regime and its armaments."29 In addition to producing thescarce aviation lube oil (type MS-20) referred to by Sheinis, the Groznyiplants were also the sole manufacturer within the Russian Federation ofparaffin, a product much in demand, and one which now needs to beimported into Russia.30

This highly corrupt oil and petroproducts export system, Jane'sconcludes, was being protected de facto by such high-ranking Russianofficials as General Aleksandr Korzhakov, head of Yeltsin's PresidentialSecurity Service, Oleg Soskovets, first deputy prime minister, OlegDavydov, foreign trade minister, and Yuri Shafranik, minister of fueland energy. In 1994, however, Korzhakov and Soskovets would (as weshall see in chapter 5, pp. 203-04) turn on Dudaev and his regime andemerge as leading figures in the Russian "party of war."31

Stephen Handelman, the author of a useful study on the burgeoningof crime in post-communist Russia, has observed concerning theweapons black market in Chechnya: "[F]or all their money, even theChechens were, in the end, only junior partners in the [Russian]military's expanding commercial operations . . . [I]t was impossible todisregard evidence that military criminal enterprise was condoned, ifnot encouraged, by officials in the [Russian] defense establishment."32

The Institute of Strategic Research of the Russian Foreign Ministry'sMoscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) claimed inearly 1996 that the Russian military's "narco-mafia" and Dudaev hadworked out an agreement for the unobstructed passage throughChechnya of drugs brought in from Afghanistan and Tajikistan. This2 8 Ibid. 2 9 In Russkaya mysV (Paris), 2 - 8 March 1995, p. 3.3 0 In Ebel, "History and Politics," 4.31 In Holoboff, "Oil and the Burning," 256. On the "party of war," see John B. Dunlop,

"The Tarty of War' and Russian Imperial Nationalism," Problems of Post-Communism,March-April (1996) , 2 9 - 3 4 .

3 2 Handelman, Comrade Criminal, p. 207.

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route allegedly went from Baku through Groznyi to Rostov-on-Don,and then on to Western Europe. This lucrative arrangement fell apart inNovember 1994, the institute asserts, "when President Dudaevdemanded a higher share of the Central Asian drug profit . . . [T]heChechen leader did not agree to [Russian defense minister] PavelGrachev's proposals. And in response to this, the Russian highcommand decided to strike a mortal blow against Dudaev [i.e.,launched the December invasion] ."33

This account, originating in an institute attached to Evgenii Prima-kov's Russian Foreign Ministry, must be treated with caution. TheDecember 1994 invasion, all the available evidence suggests, was notthe result of "a drug deal gone bad." But that there was collusionbetween corrupt Russian military personnel and Chechen officials tochannel drugs through Chechnya on their way to Western Europeappears likely. As in the case of the illicit arms trade, both sides in thedeal stood to make immense profits.

Specialist Sergei Arutyunov of the Institute of Ethnology in Moscowhas concluded that, for more than three years, "certain Russiancorrupted civil and army circles and 'mafiosi' businessmen" zealouslyexploited the de facto free economic zone which had been formed inChechnya. And he continues: "But when Dudaev and his group becamea menace, demanding a bigger share of illegal incomes or promising toblackmail, then the necessity arose to lure the President of Russia andthe whole might of the Russian army and secret services into an attemptto eliminate Dudaev."34

Concerning the operation of Groznyi Airport during 1992-94, Emil'Pain and Arkadii Popov have asked pertinently: "Who gave permissionfor planes filled with contraband to fly in and out of Groznyi infringingRussia's air space . . . ? Obviously persons who received money for thisand no small amounts of money . . . Why did Russia not establish atleast an air blockade against such an openly hostile regime . . . ?"35

High-ranking Russian officials, they intimate, colluded with theChechen leadership to keep Groznyi Airport open. It seems clear,therefore, that those Russian nationalists such as Duma commissionchairman Stanislav Govorukhin who derogate the Dudaev leadership as

3 3 Dr. Evgueni Novikov, "Drugs from Afghanistan and Central Asia and the War inChechnya," Prism (Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D C ) , 26 January 1996.

3 4 S. A. Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences of the Chechenian [sic] War for the GeneralSituation in the Caucasus Area," Conference on the War in Chechnya: Implications forRussian Security Policy, 7 - 8 November 1995, sponsored by the Department ofNational Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, un-published paper.

3 5 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.

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a "criminal regime" provide a classic example of hypocrisy, of "the potcalling the kettle black." Chechnya was no more of a criminal regimethan was the Russian Federation.

This self-evident fact has been underlined by dispassionate Russianspecialists in ethnic affairs. Leading ethnographer Valerii Tishkov, forexample, has remarked with reference to Dudaev's period of rule: "I donot agree with the image of a 'Medellin cartel' or criminal zone whichthe president's [i.e., Yeltsin's] entourage foists upon society. This is anattempt in retrospect to justify the Chechen war." "In reality," Tishkovnotes, "it is a myth. Criminality among Chechens is in no way higherthan among Georgians or Russians in Moscow . . . There were manycrimes committed there [in Chechnya], that is a fact. But in Russia, oreven in Moscow, is it all peace and quiet?"36

In similar fashion, Sergei Arutyunov maintained in testimony beforethe Russian Constitutional Court: "I cannot agree with the claim thatDudaev unleashed a raging of criminal activity in the country. It wasunleashed by the paralysis of the [Chechen] authorities, who quicklybecame corrupted . . . But let us be objective and frank: the very sameparalysis of authority and the very same colossal growth in crime tookplace in central Russia, and in Moscow itself, and in many other regionsof the Russian Federation."37 To balance the misleading image of aChechen "criminal regime," Arutyunov points to instances where theChechen authorities did attempt to combat the upsurge in crime in therepublic. Thus the Chechen and Stavropol' procuracies worked togetherto investigate individual crimes. And on the subject of train robberies,Arutyunov states: "I cannot say, for example, that the robberies of trainswere approved by the Dudaev government. I cannot say that it did nottry to struggle with this."38 The Tishkov group has, in similar fashion,noted that "Dudaev himself insisted upon the criminal investigation ofthe minister of agriculture of the republic."39 There were thus, appar-ently, levels of corruption among his subordinates that Dudaev was notprepared to abide.

Another related tendency prevalent among nationalistically inclinedRussians has been to tar all Chechens with the epithet "Chechen mafia."Writing in late 1992, A. M. Ivanov sought to counter this defamatorytendency. "[T]oday," he reminisced, "we drove about Chechnya forhundreds of kilometers, and everywhere we saw how people wereworking in the fields, caring for livestock, and preparing fodder andwood for the winter, and building homes. Of course this was not the

36 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 22-23'. 37 In Novoe vremya, 29 (1995), 12-15.38 Ibid. 39 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 22.

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'Chechen mafia' at work . . . [T]here is, to be sure, a Chechen mafia,but there is also a Chechen people, which should not be confused withit. One needs to fight with the mafia but live in friendship with thepeople."40

Toward an ethnocratic Chechen stateOnce he had solidified his grip on power, General Dudaev began theconstruction of an ethnocratic Chechen state. This move was criticizedby the Russian government, and rightly so - a concern for ethnicminorities should be a key marker of any aspiring new state - but, asDudaev's public statements underlined, he saw this new policy as largelydefensive in nature. The treatment of Chechens living in the RussianFederation served as a key indicator for Dudaev. As he put it during anAugust 1993 interview: "Look what they are doing to the Chechens inRussia itself. They are depriving them of housing - and whom are theydepriving? Shepherds who feed entire hungry oblasts with their labor.The Cossack Assembly [skhod] decides to deport the Chechens, toconfiscate their property for the benefit of the [Cossack] settlements, totake away their livestock . . . We have hundreds of such facts fromAstrakhan', Rostov, and Volgograd oblasts, from Stavropol' andKrasnodar krais. But our patience is not limitless."41

Perceived mistreatment of Chechens in Russia was thus a factorbehind Dudaev's decision to focus exclusively upon the well-being ofChechens living in Chechnya. It should also be noted that publicopinion polls taken among Russians in the post-1991 period documenta marked rise in animosity toward Chechens and other "peoples of theCaucasus."42

In testimony before the Russian Constitutional Court in July 1995,Sergei Arutyunov independently confirmed that Dudaev's allegationsagainst the Cossacks were not without truth: "Perhaps the heaviest blowto normal mutual relations [between Russians and Chechens]," heobserved, "was administered by the appearance of Cossack bandit - theterm indeed applies to them - formations, which already in 1991-92put up pickets, beat up people according to their nationality, draggedchildren out of cars under the barrels of automatic weapons, robbed

4 0 A. M . Ivanov, "Vid na Rossiyu iz Chechn i , " Russkii vestnik, 4 1 - 4 4 (1992) , 9.4 1 In Izvestiya, 21 August 1993 , pp . 1, 4 . O n the expulsion of Chechens from Volgograd

oblasf in early 1992, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 137.4 2 For the results of these polls, see John B. D u n l o p , "Russia: In Search of an Identity?,"

in Ian Bremmer and Ray Taras, eds., New States, New Politics: Building the Post-SovietNations (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 60-62.

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automobiles, and so forth, all of which met with no counteraction on thepart of the law enforcement organs."43

As has been noted, Cossacks dwelling in southern Russia had beencatalyzed and energized by the 1991 Russian law on "repressed people,"which legitimized their demands that they be accorded priority beforeother ethnic groups living in the region. In 1992, Yeltsin had issued adecree which essentially restored the Cossacks' previous status withinthe tsarist Russian Empire as territorially based paramilitary units in theNorth Caucasus.44 In the opinion of ethnic affairs specialist Ol'gaVasil'eva: "The differentiation between Russian and non-Russiannational movements in the North Caucasus is a consequence of thepolicy pursued by the federal authorities [in Moscow]. Thus, theconfrontation between the mountain peoples and the Cossacks in-creased after the President of the Russian Federation had signed anumber of decrees on the rehabilitation of the Cossacks as a militaryclass [soslovie]. A rise of Russian nationalism can, in its turn, bringabout a new intensification of national movements in the NorthCaucasus."45

Because of problems experienced by the North Caucasus MilitaryDistrict in maintaining requisite force levels, the Cossacks were neededto provide military manpower for the southern flank of a weakenedRussian state. As early as 1990, the Cossacks also began loudly callingfor the return to Stavropol' krai of the Kargalinskii, Naurskii, andShelkovskii districts of Checheno-Ingushetiya - given to that autono-mous republic in 1957 by Khrushchev in an attempt demographically toweaken the Chechens and Ingush.46

By mid-1994, tensions between Cossacks and Chechens, stoked byelements in the upper levels of the Russian government, had reached anear-fever pitch: "On 5 August," the newspaper Moskovskie novostireported, "a pogrom was carried out at the [Chechen] farmsteads of thevillage of Galyuganovskaya, Stavropol' krai, which is on the border withChechnya . . . [O]n the fifth, there arrived Cossacks - not local ones -and people in camouflage military uniforms. They beat everyone whocrossed their path, put people up against a wall, robbed them, andripped earrings out of the ears of young girls and women. Seventeen-year-old Viskhan Pashaev was killed by two shots to the head . . . Theytried to abduct the daughter of one woman, and by a miracle she

4 3 In Novoe vremya, 29 (1995) , 1 2 - 1 5 .4 4 In Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp. 3 6 - 3 7 .4 5 See Ol'ga Vasil'eva, "North Caucasus," in Klaus Segbers and Stephan de Spiegeleire,

eds., Post-Soviet Peoples (Baden-Baden, Germany: N o m o s , 1995), vol. II, p. 439 .4 6 See Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp. 46 , 6 7 - 7 3 .

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managed successfully to plead with them to let her go . . . The Cossacksshouted loudly that they submit only to Yeltsin."47

In light of this aggressive behavior conducted against Chechens byCossacks living in the Russian Federation, and in view of growingCossack territorial claims on Chechnya's northern regions, it seemshardly surprising that Dudaev and his circle exhibited little sympathy orinterest in the Cossacks or in ethnic Russians living in Chechnya. When,in August 1993, he was asked why he was not paying pensions toCossack and Russian retirees living in Chechnya, Dudaev respondedangrily: "Why don't the Cossacks and Russians who live here ask theRussian authorities, 'Where are our pensions?' Instead they demandthem of Dudaev. And Dudaev himself does not receive the pensionwhich he earned for serving thirty years in the armed forces."48 For theChechen president, Russians living in his republic were simply not hisresponsibility, but were instead a problem for the Russian Federation.

As he moved forward in his efforts to construct an ethnocraticChechen state, Dudaev was confronted, as two Russian journalistsnoted in March 1993, with key problem areas in the northern regions ofthe republic: "[T]he Cossacks," they wrote, "are completely capable ofbecoming a 'party of influence' in both Russia and Chechnya . . . The'Nogai factor' is also dangerous for Chechnya. There are not so manyNogai in Chechnya itself- about 7,000. But the Nogai national move-ment demands the unification of the people within the framework ofDagestan or Stavropol' krai and has pretensions to the Chechen part ofthe Nogai steppe."49

One clear option for Russians and Cossacks living in Chechnya was tomigrate to the Russian Federation. Between 1979 and 1989, as has beennoted, about 20,000 Russians and so-called Russian-language populacedeparted from Chechnya. From June 1990 to June 1991, another20,000 people left, while between the summer of 1991 and the summerof 1992 the outflow from the republic increased to about 50,000.50 Inhis address to the Russian Constitutional Court in July 1995, SergeiShakhrai asserted that "over the past three-four years, about 250,000people who have abandoned the Chechen Republic have moved tovarious regions of Russia."51

In his essay, "The Chechen Model of Ethnopolitical Processes,"Vadim Korotkov has traced what happened to ethnic Russians and4 7 In Moskovskie novosti, 33 , 1 4 - 2 1 August 1994, p. 11.4 8 In Izvestiya, 21 August 1993, pp. 1, 4.4 9 Vladimir Kolosov and Rostislav Turovskii, "Tak li uzh grozen Groznyi," Novoe vremya,

12 (March 1993) , 13.5 0 In Russkiivestnik, 4 1 - 4 4 (1992) , 9.51 For the text of Shakhrai's address, see Rossiiskie vesti, 12 and 13 July 1995.

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Cossacks who chose to remain in the Chechen Republic. The fact thatthe Chechen national movement headed up by Dudaev was directedagainst the Moscow "center" and against its representatives inChechnya, he notes, produced an inevitably negative effect on theRussian populace of the republic. "Representatives of ethnic Russianswere removed from the decision-making sphere and were squeezed outof leadership posts in the sphere of economic administration, as well asfrom the organs of judicial and legislative power. Various methods ofpressure, including the use of force, were employed in this process." The"anti-imperial" campaign waged against Moscow by the Chechen massmedia also served to stimulate a negative attitude toward the Russianpopulace on a day-to-day level. The growing crime rate in the republicbegan to take on a "national selective character," especially in the areaof housing, where some Russian homes were directly seized. Leadingrepresentatives of the Russian-language populace in Chechnya weremurdered: for example, university rector Kan-Kalik; Dean Udodov;Judge Samsonova; the employee of the cabinet of ministers San'ko; acorrespondent for the press service "Express-Chronicle," Krikor'yants,and "many others."52

The lack of effectiveness of the law enforcement organs in Chechnyaleft the Russian-language populace unprotected and adrift. "TheRussian state withdrew from supporting legality in the region, and theChechen Republic for various reasons did not perform this task."53

Representatives of the Russian-language populace had previously beenconcentrated in the industrial enterprises and in the state budgetorganizations of Chechnya. The sundering of economic and financialties with Russia and the economic policies of the Chechen Republic ledto a squeezing-out of Russians from the process of privatization beingcarried out there. The social and economic foundations of the Russians'very survival suffered destruction. This resulted in "psychologicaltrauma" and in the political radicalization of elements of this populace.As has been noted, many Russians sought to migrate to Russia. By mid-1993, according to public opinion surveys, a majority of the 170,000Russians remaining in Chechnya wanted to leave.

Accounts of the suffering of the Russian-language populace ofChechnya have been intentionally and at times grotesquely exaggeratedby representatives of the Russian intelligence services, which were, ofcourse, actively engaged in seeking to undermine General Dudaev.According to the former chairman of the FSK, Sergei Stepashin:"[DJuring the three years of Dudaev's rule 350,000 were driven out of

52 Korotkov, "Chechenskaya model'." 53 Ibid.

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the republic [this is 100,000 more than Sergei Shakhrai's above-citedestimate which was presented to the Constitutional Court] and 45,000persons were killed [a staggering exaggeration - the true figure might befewer than 100]."54 In similar fashion, the above-cited compilation, ACriminal Regime, assembled by the public affairs departments of theFSK, MVD, and Defense Ministry, proclaims .shrilly: "The murders ofRussian people in Chechnya take place every day. The morgues inGroznyi are filled to overflowing with corpses, many of which have beendisfigured." But what, the volume's anonymous authors proceed to askthemselves, about the argument that Chechen criminals also killChechens? "It could be objected," they are prepared to admit, "thatthey also kill Chechens. Yes, they do. But the Chechens basically perishin disputes among themselves, in the struggle for power and for spheresof influence in business." The volume's authors conclude by excoriatingwhat they term "genocide against the Russian part of the population."55

While material disseminated by the Russian special services has to beutilized with extreme care - much of it obviously constitutes disinforma-tion - one of the documents contained in a so-called White Book ofmaterials circulated by the Russian FSK seems deserving of comment:namely, the text of an open letter addressed to President Yeltsin, withcopies to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and to other high-rankingRussian officials, allegedly signed by 49,244 inhabitants of the Naurskiiand Shelkovskii districts located in the north of the republic.56 Thisdocument - which appears to be authentic, though its text may havebeen interpolated by the FSK - began circulating in January 1995, i.e.,in the month following the Russian military invasion of Chechnya.57

Noting that the Naurskii and Shelkovskii regions previously belongedto Stavropol' krai in the Russian Federation, the nearly 50,000 signa-tories of the letter contend that they have been subjected to intolerablepersecution by the Chechen government: "They have deprived us ofSunday as a holiday and replaced it with Friday," they complain. "Theteaching in school is conducted in the Chechen language." The signa-tories also claim to have been subjected to economic oppression: "Fortwo years we have not received our wages, and old people have notgotten their pensions. We constantly hear proposals and threats that weget out of here to Russia. But we are in Russia."5 4 In Belaya kniga, vol. II, p. 74. See also the letters received from Russians and Cossacks

living in Chechnya which were published by the Govorukhin Commission: KomissiyaGovorukhina (Moscow: Laventa, 1995), pp. 1 5 1 - 6 4 .

5 5 In Kriminal'nyi rezhim, pp. 4 3 - 4 4 .56 "Prezidentu Rossiiskoi Federatsii El'tsinu B. N. ," in Belaya kniga, vol. I, pp. 3 8 - 4 1 .5 7 See OMRI (Open Media Research Institute, Prague, Czech Republic) Daily Digest, 24

January 1995.

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"[W]ith the coming to power of Dudaev," the signatories assert, "wehave turned from masters of the district into reservation dwellers." Thenames of sixteen persons allegedly killed by Chechen hoodlums are thengiven, and it is said that the names of "many, many others" could beadded to this list. "They [Chechens] break into homes, administerbeatings, and demand money and gold which we have never had. Theytie old people to chairs . . . after robbing them." And the signatoriesurge: "These two districts provide 60-70 percent of the profit of therepublic. Return these districts to Stavropol' krai, and the rest ofChechnya will crawl to Russia on its knees."58

It is difficult to determine how accurate the charges contained in thisdocument are. The authors, it should be underlined, waited until theRussian invasion to compose their letter, and it was circulated by theFSK, hardly an impartial party. On the other hand, one suspects that atleast some of the abuses the authors detail did take place, since it seemslikely that Chechens living in the northern districts of the republic (andChechens outnumbered Russians even there) would have stronglyresented the Russians' desire to detach that area from Chechnya andreturn it to Stavropol' krai.

One curious event should be briefly noted before we leave the subjectof Russian-Chechen relations in the period 1992-94. On 28 August1994, Nikolai Kozitsin, ataman of the Don Cossack Host, signed atreaty with General Dudaev and with the Chechen government. RetiredKGB major general Aleksandr Sterligov, a shadowy figure involved inRussian nationalist politics, was reportedly a key figure behind thesigning of this treaty. Kozitsin's actions were then roundly condemnedas treachery by other Cossack organizations in Russia.59 According totwo specialists on the Russian Cossacks, S. Ivankov and M. Malyutin,Kozitsin's actions had a purely monetary explanation - he was effectivelybribed by corrupt business circles in Moscow and by the "local 'gang-sterocracy'" in Chechnya.60

5 8 "Prezidentu Rossiiskoi Federatsii El'tsinu B. N."5 9 On this, see Ostankino Television, 9 September 1994 in Radio Free Europe-Radio

Liberty (RFE-RL) , Russia and CIS Today, 12 September 1994, pp. 0 6 4 9 / 2 0 - 2 2 ;Kommersant-dsiily, 27 August 1994, p. 3; Trud, 9 August 1994, pp. 1, 2; and Izvestiya,30 August 1994, p. 2.

6 0 S. Ivankov and M. Malyutin, "Cossacks as a Russian Nation-Wide and RegionalPolitical and Economic Factor," in Segbers and de Spiegeleire, Post-Soviet Puzzles, vol.Ill, pp. 650-51.

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Chechnya and the Confederation of Peoples of theCaucasus

In addition to seeking to achieve the secession of Chechnya from Russia,General Dudaev, like other nationalists in the North Caucasus region,wanted to recreate the independent North Caucasus State, or MountainRepublic, which had been founded on 11 May 1918. IndependentChechnya was thus not envisioned by Dudaev or by his entourage as"going it alone"; rather its perceived role was to be part of a consider-ably larger political and geographical entity.

In an interview published in the 6 March 1994 issue of the Turkishnewspaper Zaman^ Dudaev confided: "My plan foresaw the creation ofa union of Caucasus countries directed against Russian imperialism,signifying a united Caucasus. Our chief goal was the achievement ofindependence and liberation, acting together with the Caucasus repub-lics which have been oppressed by Russia over the course of 300 years.After that, we proposed together to exploit the rich natural resourcesand oil of the Caucasus and transport it across Turkey to worldmarkets."61 According to documents which were reportedly found inGroznyi following the Russian invasion of December 1994, it emergesthat this new Mountain Republic was to include Abkhaziya, North andSouth Ossetiya (despite the fact that a majority of that region's popu-lace was Christian), Kabardino-Balkariya, Adygeya, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Dagestan, and possibly Azerbaijan as well. Some territorialunits, including apparently Ingushetiya (which was presumably to beabsorbed by Chechnya), were to lose their autonomous status.62

In his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writesconcerning a meeting of the round-table "Caucasus Home [Kavkazskiidom]" which began its work on 4 September 1992. Representativestaking part in the round-table, he reports, came from Azerbaijan,Armenia, Georgia, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Kabardino-Balkariya,Dagestan, Ingushetiya, Ossetiya, and Abkhaziya. In the summary state-ment issued by the participants in the round-table, some of the pointswhich were underscored concerned: "the need to create a confederationof peoples and states of the Caucasus"; "the need to create a singlesystem of collective security for the Caucasus"; and "the need for thespeediest possible withdrawal from the territory of the Caucasus of thearmed forces of all non-Caucasus states." In Yandarbiev's view, theround-table made "a real attempt to unite the Caucasus - both itspeoples and states."63

61 Cited in Chechenskaya tragediya, p. 59. 62 Ibid., pp. 58-59.63 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 175-76.

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Russian nationalist authors have violently assailed General Dudaev'svision of a revivified Mountain Republic as constituting a kind of"Nazism." Thus Sergei Roi, deputy editor of the journal Moskva, hasfulminated: "The ideology of Dudaev's regime rested on two planks -Islam and a Chechen version of Nazism, both of which helped toovercome clan (teip) fragmentation and to achieve a degree of politicalcohesion. The reason I speak of Chechen Nazism, not of separation orsimply nationalism, is its extremely aggressive, expansionist naturemanifesting itself, for example, in plans for a 'Greater Chechnya,'stretching from the Caspian to the Black Sea, and on Dudaev'sinsistence that Chechens are the 'ethnically central nation of theCaucasus.'"64

Roi's invective seems wide of the mark. The idea of reviving theMountain Republic of 1918 was scarcely a neo-Nazi scheme, and itseems clear that this republic was envisioned as a confederation of equalstates rather than as an imperial "Greater Chechnya." It could moreplausibly be argued that it was ethnic Russians, like Sergei Roi, whowere aggressively seeking to retain Russia's position as the "ethnicallycentral nation of the Caucasus."

The cauldron of AbkhaziyaThe original impulse for resurrecting the 1918 Mountain Republicbelongs not to the Chechens but rather to the Abkhazians, a largelyMuslim people whose historic territory lay in northwest Georgia,adjacent to the Black Sea. In August 1989, the Assembly of theMountain Peoples of the Caucasus was constituted at a meeting held inthe Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi. The meeting was attended bydelegates from the Abkhaz, Adygei, Abaza, Ingush, Kabard, Cherkess,and Chechen informal movements. A year later, the assembly hadbecome significantly radicalized. In the autumn of 1990, a confederativetreaty was signed, on the basis of which the assembly was declared to bethe legal successor of the 1918 Mountain Republic and was entrustedwith the task of restoring the sovereign statehood of the NorthCaucasus. In October 1992, at a congress held in Groznyi, the assemblyofficially changed its name to Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus(and subsequently came to be known by the Russian initials of its name:KNK).65

6 4 Sergei Roy, "Chechnya and Russia Before and After Budyonnovsk," Moscow News, 26 ,7-13 July 1995, p. 5.

6 5 Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp . 2 5 - 2 6 , and Ann Sheehy, "Power Struggle in Checheno-Ingushetiya," R F E - R L , Report on the USSR, 15 N o v e m b e r 1 9 9 1 , p . 2 1 . O n the

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After 1991, leadership of the KNK passed, de facto, from theAbkhazians to the greatly more numerous Chechens. In November1991, Yusup Soslambekov (b. 1956), a Chechen, was chosen chairmanof the assembly's parliament. Reflecting the strong secessionist view ofthe Chechen leadership, the KNK emphatically rejected Russia's Fed-eration Treaty of March 1992.

As Fiona Hill has noted, the KNK was motivated by strong geopoli-tical ambitions: "The KNK's stated objective is to restore the 1918Mountain Republic of the North Caucasus as a confederation stretchingfrom the Black Sea to the Caspian, with the capital in Sukhumi,Abkhazia, on the basis of a shared historical experience in the Caucasianwars of 1817-64 and a common cultural heritage rooted in Islam." Andshe goes on to observe: "In theory, such a confederation would exercisefull control over the key Black Sea-Caspian Sea axis and the transporta-tion and communication links between Russia and Transcaucasia (andhence Turkey and Iran) to the south - at the expense of Russia'sstrategic position in the region."66

The newly formed Confederation received a stern testing when, inJuly 1992, the Abkhazian legislature voted to reinstate that region's1925 constitution, effectively asserting its sovereignty from Georgia.Abkhaziya also asked Russia either to make it a protectorate or to annexit outright. These moves soon triggered a full-scale war with theGeorgian government led by Eduard Shevardnadze, who had replacednationalist Zviad Gamsakhurdia earlier that same year. (Many ofGamsakhurdia's followers had fled to Abkhaziya, where they foughtwith the Abkhazians against the Georgian troops.)67

At first, the better-armed Georgian national guard succeeded inpushing back the Abkhazian forces and in recapturing the city ofSukhumi on the Black Sea coast. In August 1992, however, the leadersof the KNK declared a mobilization of volunteers throughout therepublics of the North Caucasus to help Abkhaziya.68 In the autumn of1992, the Abkhazians, led by Vladislav Ardzinba, launched a successfulcounteroffensive, which resulted in a major defeat for the Georgianforces. As we shall see, this stunning victory was achieved with strongassistance from both the Chechens and the Russian military. Eventually,200,000 Georgians living in Abkhaziya were "ethnically cleansed" and

involvement of Chechen volunteers in the Abkhaz struggle, see Ze l imkhan Yandarbiev,V preddverii nezavisimosti (Groznyi: au thor publicat ion, 1994) , p . 3 3 , and Yandarbiev,Checheniya, pp . 1 7 0 - 7 2 , 208 .

6 6 Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp. 2 6 - 2 7 .6 7 O n Gamsakhurd ia ' s death in January 1994 and the solemn removal of his remains to

Chechnya , where they were reburied, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp . 2 9 0 - 9 4 .6 8 T i m u r M u z a e v , Chechenskaya respublika (Moscow: Panorama , 1995) , pp . 1 1 9 - 2 0 .

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forced to flee the area. President Shevardnadze of Georgia was com-pelled to yield to Moscow's pressure and to join the CIS, including itscollective security system. A ten-year treaty of friendship and coopera-tion with Moscow was signed.69

It is worth scrutinizing both the Chechen and the Russian roles in thisconflict. Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have written: "[T]he fact of theparticipation of Chechen armed detachments in the Georgian-Abkhazwar of 1992-93 is commonly known. The basic military successes of theAbkhaz side were achieved precisely with the help of the Chechenbattalion, which was called 'Abkhaz' in honor of its victories." The topcommanders of the KNK units, they note, "were always Chechens fromDudaev's entourage - Isa Arsamikov, then Shamir Basaev."70 If Painand Popov are correct - and I believe that they are - then it was theChechens who played perhaps the key role in defeating Shevardnadze'sGeorgian military forces. It should be noted that Zelimkhan Yandarbievhas written that "up to 150 Chechens" died fighting as volunteers inAbkhaziya.71

But did the Chechens act alone in achieving this victory? What, if any,was the role of the Russian Federation in bolstering the Abkhaziansecessionists? As Stanislav Lunev, a retired colonel in Soviet militaryintelligence (the GRU) has written: "[S]tarting in 1992, the newRussian leadership began to conduct the old Soviet policy of 'divide andconquer' in the countries of the so-called 'near abroad.' Separatist forces

6 9 See Rossen Vassilev, "Georgia ' s Ethnic Conflicts," Prism, par t III , 23 February 1996.For a detailed and useful discussion of the Abkhaz conflict, see Gueorgui Otyrbi , "Warin Abkhazia," in R o m a n Szporluk, ed., National Identity and Ethnicity in Russia and theNew States of Eurasia (Armonk, NY: M . E. Sharpe , 1994) , pp. 2 8 1 - 3 0 9 , and Fiona Hilland Pamela Jewett, "Back in the USSR": Russia's Intervention in the Internal Affairs of theFormer Soviet Republics and the Implications for United States Policy Toward Russia(Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University,Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, January 1994), pp. 45-60. See alsoCatherine Dale, "The Case of Abkhazia (Georgia)," in Lena Jonson and Clive Archer,eds., Peacekeeping and the Role of Russia in Eurasia (Boulder, CO: Westview Press,1996), pp. 1 2 1 - 3 7 , and Ariel Cohen, "Revisiting Russia's Turbulent Rim," in UriRa'anan and Kate Mart in , eds., Russia: A Return to Imperialism? (New York: St.Martin 's Press, 1995), pp. 9 3 - 9 6 . See also Paul B. Henze, Islam in the North Caucasus:The Example of Chechnya, P-7935 (Santa Monica, CA: RA N D , 1995), pp. 3 2 - 3 4 , andHenze, Russia and the Caucasus, P-7960 (Santa Monica, CA: RA N D , 1996), pp. 8 - 1 2 ;and The Caucasus and the Caspian: 1996-1997 Seminar Series (Cambridge, MA: John F.Kennedy School of Government , Harvard University, Strengthening DemocraticInstitutions Project, 1997), pp. 4 - 4 0 . See, too, Alexei Zverev, "Ethnic Conflicts in theCaucasus, 1988-1994 , " and Ghia Nodia, "Political Turmoil in Georgia and the EthnicPolicies of Zviad Gamsakhurdia," in Bruno Coppieters, ed., Contested Borders in theCaucasus (Brussels: VUB Press, 1996), available on the Internet at:gopher: / / int :70/l l /secdef/cipdd/COP.

7 0 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.7 1 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p. 172.

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in Moldova, Georgia, and other former union republics were supportedby the Russian special forces, with the blessing, and at the insistence, ofthe country's highest military and political leadership. In these republics,detachments, officially called 'diversionary groups,' were trained andprepared under Russian control. At first, these detachments reallyserved Russia's interests, creating zones of instability in newly indepen-dent states."72

Excursus on Shamir Basaev and the Abkhaz BattalionThe now-legendary commander of the Abkhaz Battalion, ShamirBasaev, was born in 1965 in the Chechen mountain village of Dyshni-Vedeno. He holds a secondary but not a higher education, and after1983 was employed as a common laborer. In November 1991, as hasbeen noted, at the time of a threatened Russian invasion of Chechnya,he and two other fighters hijacked a Russian plane to Turkey. While hehad no formal military training, Basaev early on showed a keen aptitudefor the conducting of military operations. In 1992, he served as first thecommander of a company and then of a battalion of Chechen spetsnaz.In August 1992, he went as a volunteer to Abkhaziya, where heeventually rose to the rank of commander of KNK forces and deputyminister of defense of Abkhaziya.73

Elizabeth Fuller of the Open Media Research Institute in Prague,citing a Russian publication, has written: "Abkhaz tactics during thefifteen-month war [with Georgia] were coordinated by Russian militaryintelligence."74 One of the forces used by the GRU in this struggleconsisted of Cossack volunteers. As S. Ivankov and M. Malyutin havenoted in an article on the Russian Cossacks: "'Enlistment' of the mostactive units of the Cossack Army in all zones was carried out in thetraditional Cossack way: through participation in border wars, first inthe Dniestr region, then in Abkhaziya and in Serbia. According toFederal Counterintelligence Service [FSK] data, a total of about ahundred thousand Cossacks passed through this conveyer belt."75

In Abkhaziya, the authors continue, "according to FSK data,upwards of eight [Cossack] battalions fought in shifts." Despite thisheavy Cossack presence, however, "even in Abkhaziya they [i.e., theCossacks] did not achieve very much in comparison with the Confedera-

7 2 Stanislav Lunev, " C h e c h e n Terrorists - M a d e in the U S S R , " Prism, pa r t III , 26 January1996.

7 3 In Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p . 59 .7 4 Elizabeth Fuller, "Shamil Basaev: Rebel with a Cause?," Transition, 28 July 1995, p . 47 .7 5 Ivankov and Malyut in , "Cossacks ," pp . 6 5 3 - 5 4 .

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tion of Mountain People."76 It was Basaev's Abkhaz Battalion, and notthe Cossack units, which took the city of Sukhumi in October 1993,crushing and humiliating the Georgian military.

One of the reasons that Basaev was successful in this operation wasthat he had reportedly received training from the Russian GRU. As theformer GRU colonel Stanislav Lunev has noted: "Shamir Basaev'sdetachment went through not only training, but was also 'broken in'under fire in Abkhaziya under the direction of GRU specialists, whoseprofessionalism and individual courage received the highest marks fromthe Chechen terrorist himself."77

Sergei Arutyunov has sought to elucidate the reasons for the Russianmilitary's decision to make use of the Chechens in Abkhaziya: "TheRussian military stationed in Abkhaziya," he writes, "decided to supportthe Abkhazian side for several reasons: Abkhazians not only behavedcorrectly to [sic] them, but had declared they were in favor of a revival ofthe Soviet Union, where Abkhaziya could be one of the Union republics.Interestingly and significantly, the same position was adopted byDudaev in Chechnya still earlier, and this may explain to some extentinitially a rather tolerant attitude to him on the side of many Russianmilitary, ex-military and pro-military. . . Besides, the Russian military,quite expectedly, were consumed with their hatred for Shevardnadze[i.e., for helping to destroy the USSR] ."78

Shamir Basaev has confirmed the fact of his earlier cooperation withthe Russian military: "While still in Abkhaziya," he recalled in mid-1995, "I had contact with Russian generals and officers."79 Beginning in1994, he would put this training to use against the very Russians whohad provided it to him in the first place.

During the summer of 1995, President Shevardnadze of Georgiasuggested during an interview given to Moscow News that the Russianstate had been reaping the fruits of its foolish and counterproductiveAbkhazian strategy: "Had there been no Abkhaz tragedy," he remarked,"it might have been possible to avoid the tragedy in Chechnya. Take theexample of Sukhumi [in October 1993]. Thousands of Chechens foughtthere and went through the schooling of a terrible war. They realizedthere that war is a political method of pressure. Who was behind them?Let's look into this matter. Did Dudaev alone maintain such a numberof people? One group fights for three to four months, then they areprovided with uniforms and arms, then another group is sent - all in all

7 6 Ibid., pp. 6 5 5 - 5 6 . 7 7 Lunev, "Chechen Terrorists."7 8 Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences."7 9 Marina Perevozkina, "Shamir Basaev: govorite gromche!," Russkaya mysl, 2 0 - 2 6 July

1995, p. 2.

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6,000-7,000 people. This is the way they [the Chechens] were hard-ened."80 (Shevardnadze's figures for the number of Chechens involvedin the fighting appear to be inflated.)

By late 1996, the stance of the Chechen leadership toward Georgiaunder Shevardnadze had completely changed. The then Chechen primeminister (and former military chief-of-staff) Asian Maskhadov and thenacting president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev told Georgian journalists thatthey were seeking a meeting "any time, any place" to overcomedifferences with Georgia and to become "real allies" and "strategicpartners" with them. The two Chechen leaders (unconvincingly)blamed Moscow for having misled the Chechens into supportingAbkhaziya's secessionist war against Georgia. "Unfortunately," Mas-khadov confided, "we were slow to understand that the Kremlininvolved us in that conflict by telling us to help the Abkhaz as ourMuslim brothers. That was a dirty policy directed not only againstGeorgia but, as it turned out, against us."81 Efforts then began to hold ameeting between Yandarbiev and Shevardnadze. The latter cautiouslywelcomed the overtures from the Chechens while signaling that hewould not be drawn into an anti-Russian front.82

It appears that, in 1992 and 1993, the Russian GRU also employedChechens as fighters in other small regions which were seeking to breakaway from newly independent states located in the "near abroad,"particularly in Georgia. In his July 1995 address to the RussianConstitutional Court, for example, Sergei Shakhrai noted that "thebackbone of the illegal armed formation of Dudaev was composed ofunits which had had combat experience in . . . Abkhaziya, Georgia,Ossetiya, and Moldavia."83 The future Chechen secessionist fightershad thus, at least in part, been trained by the Russian military.

By the autumn of 1994, the Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasushad lost much of its strength due to its own internal contradictions. Theharsh ethnic conflict which had broken out in 1992 between NorthOssetians and Ingush served to weaken the unity of the KNK. "[T]heconflict," Fiona Hill has written, "was a great blow to the KNK's plansto create a Mountain Confederation in the North Caucasus."84 Andwhile the Confederation sought to allay fears among Russian Cossacksin the region by acknowledging the Cossacks as being "among theindigenous Caucasians," it was unable to overcome a perception amongCossacks that it in effect represented an anti-Russian force. The KNK

80 Interview with Shevardnadze in Moscow News, 29, 28 July-3 August 1995, p. 4.81 In Monitor (Jamestown Foundat ion, Washington, D C ) , 7 November 1996.82 In Monitor, 21 November 1996. 83 In Rossiiskie vesti, 13 July 1995, p . 2.84 Hill , "Russia's Tinderbox'\ p. 5 1 .

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also found itself increasingly isolated among the Muslim peoples of theNorth Caucasus: "[T]he majority of the national movements in theNorth Caucasus have been in favor of remaining within the RussianFederation."85 By late 1994, the Chechens had been thrown back uponthemselves and upon their own resources, both military and spiritual.Their movement had now been defined as in essence a national one, notone with a larger Caucasus-wide dimension.

Dudaev, the clans, the council of elders, and IslamDuring the nineteenth-century Caucasus War, Imam Shamir, a strictadherent, as we saw in chapter 1 (pp. 26-27), of the Naqshbandi tariqat,had proclaimed the need to construct a theocratic state and hadattempted to erase clan distinctions, wiping out the adat, or customarylaw, and replacing it with the sharia, or Islamic law. In contrast toShamil', who tried to destroy the clan hierarchy, specialist SulimNasardinov has written, "Dzhokhar Dudaev made a stake on the rebirthof clans in a bid to draw on their traditional prestige for support. Theinstitutions of state authority, which regulated societal life, wereabolished, and the role of traditional institutions such as the Council ofElders naturally increased."

None of these measures, however, Nasardinov concluded, had re-sulted in the strengthening of Chechen statehood. "The Soviet systemof administration," he summed up, "was destroyed, but the patriarchalone was not reestablished." Beginning in 1988, Nasardinov went on,"The Soviet nomenklatura started giving way to a new elite [inChechnya]. The latter was profoundly echeloned in society because itrelied on clans. In parallel, a system of religious communities (virds [orwirds] united in tarikats [tariqats] . . . ) was developing. Drawing onfinances, the new elite has been 'raising' its own clans while the virdswere providing them with religious charisma." Thus, despite the up-heavals rocking the republic, Nasardinov underlined: "Chechen societyhas preserved its traditional clan and vird structure that regulates socialprocesses."86

The rise in influence of the Council of Elders during the Dudaevperiod was remarked upon by other close observers of the Chechenscene. In December 1994, on the eve of the Russian invasion, it wasreported that there were a total of 7,000 village elders in Chechnya whohad made the parliament building in Groznyi their headquarters. "The8 5 Ibid., pp. 29 , 38 .8 6 Sulim Nasardinov, "Will Chechnya Become Fundamentalist?," Moscow News, 20 , 26

May-1 June 1995, p. 2.

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Chechen Council of Elders," one account noted, "is trying to reconsti-tute itself as an arbiter in disputes between people of different teips, theclans to which every Chechen belongs."87

One specialist on Chechnya, Khamid Delmayev, has noted that theclan structure of Chechnya and the institution of the Council of Eldersactually militated against one-man rule such as was practiced byDudaev: "The ethnic tradition [of Chechnya]," he wrote, "is the inter-clan consent which is being consolidated on the approximately equalrepresentation in power structures. The cultural tradition is the Councilof Elders . . . Chechnya can only be a parliamentary republic with aparliament elected from single-mandate constituencies that will have tobe parceled out according to clan traditions."88

Dudaev, as has been noted, eschewed emulation of Shamir's nine-teenth-century strategy of requiring observance of the sharia. UnlikeShamir, he was not an adherent of the Naqshbandi tariqat; like mostmountain and many lowland Chechens, he belonged to the influentialQadiriya tariqat (Kunta Haji vird). As we saw in chapter 1 (pp. 31-33),that brotherhood was less strict and more admixed with pagan elementsthan was the Naqshbandiya professed by Shamir. Once ensconced inpower, Dudaev actively attempted to "turn Chechen Islam into aninstrument for the manipulation of mass awareness."89

Given the numbers of observant Muslims among Chechens, therewas every reason for Dudaev to attempt to turn Islam into such a pliantinstrument. Citing regional surveys which had been conducted in theRussian Federation in late 1993, Susan Goodrich Lehmann ofColumbia University has noted that "seven in ten Chechens say thatthey not only believe in, but practice Islam." By contrast, less than one-fifth of Tatars, Bashkirs, Balkars, and Kabardintsy did so. Lehmann alsopointed out that, among Chechens, "[M]en and women are equallylikely to observe Muslim religious practices, and a majority of youngpeople do so as well," and that "The differences in observance byeducational level are also much more modest among the Chechens thanin the other [national] groups investigated." One of the reasons for thecontinued strength of Islam among Chechens, Lehmann speculated,was the prevalence among them of Sufism: "Because Sufism is clan-based and less closely linked with mosques and other formal Muslim

8 7 " C h e c h e n Elders Aim for Leadersh ip ," Moscow Times, 11 D e c e m b e r 1994, p . 17.8 8 Kh amid Delmayev, "Will Chechnya Become a Clan-Governed Republic?," Moscow

News, 34 , 1-7 Sep tember 1995, p . 3 .8 9 Yurii Kul 'chik, "Dva islama: odna Chechnya ," Smena, 12 May 1994, p . 4 . O n Islam in

Chechnya, see also Henze , Islam in the North Caucasus, pp . 2 4 - 2 7 .

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institutions, it was better able to withstand the Communists' efforts toundermine Islamic beliefs and practices."90

It should be emphasized here that it was only in mid-November 1994,when a Russian military invasion of Chechnya appeared increasinglylikely, that Dudaev finally "proposed that his self-declared independentrepublic of Chechnya become an Islamic state, introducing sharia lawand forming an Islamic battalion to 'counter Russian aggression.'"91

This decision was effectively forced upon him by the Russian state.

Dudaev confronts growing political oppositionThroughout 1992-94, Dzhokhar Dudaev found himself increasinglyenmeshed in a fierce struggle for power with rival Chechen leaders,some of whom began to receive covert economic and military supportfrom Moscow. Among those who turned against Dudaev, according tospecialist Timur Muzaev, were "the national intelligentsia, the economicleaders, and a majority of entrepreneurs."92 The marked failure ofDudaev's economic program served as a major factor underlying themounting disillusionment of many educated Chechens. As early asMarch 1992, elements among the Chechen opposition had created aso-called Coordinating Committee for the Reestablishment of a Consti-tutional System in the Chechen-Ingush Republic.

On 31 March, a detachment of armed men from this shadowycommittee, numbering some 150 persons, launched an attempted coupby seizing the television and radio stations in Groznyi. Its anonymousleadership then demanded the immediate resignation of Dudaev.During the second half of the day, however, Dudaev, sensing andexploiting the indecisiveness of the coup-plotters, brought up loyaltroops and suppressed the rebellion, whose organizers and participantsthen took refuge in the Nadterechnyi district in the north of the republic,headed by its anti-Dudaev leader Umar Avturkhanov.93 These shadowyputschists may well have received some support from the Russiangovernment.

In November 1992, the Russian military came close to invadingChechnya but was checkmated by Dudaev and forces loyal to him(discussed in chapter 5, pp. 173-78). In light of his increasingly strainedrelations with Russia, Dudaev became less and less willing to tolerate

90 Susan Goodrich Lehmann, "Islam Commands Intense Devotion Among the Che-chens," Opinion Analysis: USIA, U S Information Agency, Washington, D C , M - l 12-95,27 July 1995.

91 In Moscow Times, 27 November 1994, p. 14.92 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 170. 93 Ibid.

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domestic opposition within Chechnya, apparently believing that thisopposition was being assisted and financed, at least in part, by Moscow.

One of those who turned against Dudaev at this juncture was thepreviously mentioned Chechen entrepreneur and specialist in the oilindustry, Yaragi Mamodaev, who had played a key role in Dudaev'scoming to power in the autumn of 1991. In October 1991, Dudaev hadnamed Mamodaev chairman of the Provisional Committee for theAdministration of the People's Economy in the first government to beformed in "independent Chechnya"; in May 1992, Mamodaev wasnamed first deputy prime minister of the Chechen Republic (i.e., defacto head of the republic's government).

At the beginning of 1993, Mamodaev began to sharply criticizeDudaev for incompetency in economic matters, and he also accused anumber of Chechen ministers and high-ranking bureaucrats of stealingpetroproducts. In February, Mamodaev demanded of Dudaev that hefire the security minister and the minister of the oil industry of Chechnyafor large-scale theft and for the unlawful sale of petroproducts. In April,Mamodaev supported opposition demands that Dudaev surrender thepost of prime minister; the following month, however, he was himselffired from his post by Dudaev. In May 1993, the rebellious Chechenparliament declared Dudaev removed from the post of prime minister,and empowered Mamodaev to form a "Government of Popular Trust."This move, in turn, led to the attempted forcible dissolution of theparliament by a Dudaev decree of 17 April.94 The parliament, however,refused to dissolve, and in May elected anti-Dudaev leader YusupSoslambekov its new chairman.95

In early 1993, Dudaev prepared amendments to the constitution ofthe Chechen Republic under which all real power in the republic was tobe concentrated in the hands of its head of state. Under these amend-ments, the parliament, elected together with Dudaev in late 1991, wastransformed into a toothless organ without rights whose chief preroga-tive became to confirm decrees issued by the president. On 17 April, aclose Dudaev ally, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, was by presidential decreedeclared to be the "acting vice president" of Chechnya.96

In June 1993, Dudaev formally declared the dissolution of therepublican parliament, the Groznyi city assembly, and the ChechenConstitutional Court. At dawn on 4 June, the building of the cityassembly was attacked by Dudaev forces making use of armor andautomatic weapons; the building was successfully stormed, and its

94 Ibid., pp. 76-77. 95 Soslambekov, Chechnya, p. 25.96 On this episode, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p. 124.

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deputies were dispersed.97 A presidential dictatorship was thus estab-lished in Chechnya, though Dudaev attempted to conceal this fact bypermitting a "curtailed" parliament to come into existence headed byhis relative, Isa (Akh"yad) Idigov.98 In place of the ConstitutionalCourt, which was disbanded in May-June 1993, Dudaev, in January1994, established a "constitutional collegium" of the Supreme Court,whose seven judges were to be named by himself.

Commenting on Dudaev's state coup, Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popovhave written: "Having accused the leaders of the parliament and theentire opposition of a 'pro-Russian conspiracy' and of 'national betray-al,' Dudaev was permitted, without any visible harm to his charisma, inMay-June 1993 to dissolve the new parliament, which had been electedtogether with him, as well as the Constitutional Court, which had triedto carry out a referendum concerning the organization of power in theChechen Republic."99

The Chechen parliament was dissolved by Dudaev because it refusedto be subservient to his will. According to one account: "The parliamentof the Chechen Republic consists of forty-one deputies. Five supportthe head of state [Dudaev]. Fifteen are in opposition. The remaindervote in different ways."100 Such a parliament was patently unacceptableto Dudaev.

Following Dudaev's state coup of 4 June 1993, the center of theopposition to him and to his regime moved from Groznyi city to districtsof the republic whose clans disapproved of his policies. The lowland orplains regions of Chechnya became the primary loci of this opposition.Faced with this situation, Dudaev increasingly turned for support to theso-called mountain clans of Chechnya. In so doing, he played, accordingto Timur Muzaev, upon the "religiosity and political inexperience" ofthe highlanders, as well as upon their envy and dislike of the "richpartocrat plains people."101

On 19 January 1994, Dudaev published a decree officially renamingthe Chechen Republic "the Chechen Republic-Ichkeriya"102 As jour-nalist Igor' Rotar' has noted, citing the opinion of Chechen philosopherand political scientist Vakhid Akaev: "Ichkeriya is a territory whichcomprises two mountainous districts of southern Chechnya, the Shatoidistrict and Vedeno district. By incorporating the word 'Ichkeriya' intothe republic's official name . . . Dzhokhar Dudaev officially proclaimed

97 For Yandarbiev's detailed account of the convulsive events of April-June 1993, seeibid., pp. 2 3 1 - 6 3 .

98 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 171.99 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne ," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

100 Megapolis-ekspress, 8, 24 February 1993, p . 20.101 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p . 172. 102 Ibid., p. 6.

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the superiority of the mountain population over those Chechens wholive in the plains."103

To return to events in 1993, early one Sunday morning in August,Chechen forces loyal to anti-Dudaev leader Bislan Gantamirov at-tempted to assassinate the Chechen president by firing a grenadelauncher, a machine gun, and automatic weapons at the windows of hispresidential office. Two of Dudaev's guards were slightly wounded. In astatement following the incident, Dudaev put the blame on the Russianspecial services: "Even if it was Gantamirov," he commented, "he wasacting as a simple executor. According to our information, the actphysically to remove me was headed up by the Russian generalAleinikov. All such diversions are prepared in the offices of the specialservices in Moscow."104

In late 1993 and early 1994, Dudaev came under threat from theleaders of his own elite military and police units. As one Russianjournalist observed: "Dudaev has to negotiate with the commander ofthe Chechen spetsnaz, the head of the Groznyi OMON, the leader of theAbkhaz battalion, the commander of the Shali tank regiment, and thecommander of a large detachment, Ibragim Suleimenov."105 On theevening of 16 December, army units led by these commanders sur-rounded the presidential palace in Groznyi. "The units had beenbrought in by their commanders who had appeared on Groznyi tele-vision the previous day demanding that . . . Dudaev resign as primeminister, create a security council and ministry of defense, and holdparliamentary elections by the end of March [1994]."106 Dudaevresponded to this crisis by meeting with each of the military leadersseparately and thus defusing the crisis by preventing them from joiningtogether in a plot against him.

In his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev has con-firmed that Dudaev at this juncture came close to losing the support ofhis top commanders, including such stalwarts as Shamir Basaev andRuslan Gelaev (head of an elite Chechen spetsnaz regiment). BislanGantamirov and other "opposition" leaders, Yandarbiev writes, hadconvinced these commanders to take a public oath on Sheikh MansurSquare in Groznyi in which they "repudiated the use of coercivemethods against one another and the people." "I assessed their actions,"Yandarbiev fulminates, "as betrayal and treachery, as doing the job of103 Igor' Rotar ' , " T h e Chechen-Russ ian Stalemate," Prism, Part II, 3 November 1995.104 See Nezavisimaya gazeta, 10 August 1993, p . 3 , and Moskovskie novosti, 35 , 29 August

1993, p. 12A.105 Dmitr i i Kholodov, "Pirova pobeda Dzhokhara Dudaeva ," Moskovskii komsomolets, 5

January 1994, p . 3 . T h e author of this article was assassinated in October 1994.106 R F E - R L Daily Report, 17 December 1993, p . 2.

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the Russian special services." It would not be until November 1994, heconcludes, that Basaev and other Chechen commanders would finallycome to "recognize the true face of the Gantamirovs."107

The leading clans of Chechnya were likewise becoming increasinglyrestive. "The congress of clans set for the end of December [1993],"one journalist noted, "was not permitted by Dudaev, who encircled thecenter of the city with a unit of guards. Chechnya was on the verge ofcivil war."108 The following month, January 1994, saw an attempt by aso-called Committee of National Salvation (of Chechnya), led by thecommander Ibragim Suleimenov, to remove Dudaev from power in acoup. Suleimenov's organization fell upon pro-Dudaev forces locatednear the city of Groznyi. In February 1994, Dudaev's National SecurityService, headed by Sultan Geliskhanov, a former MVD official, suc-ceeded in arresting Suleimenov and thus put an end to the activities ofthis tenebrous "committee."109

Russia gets serious about ousting DudaevBy the spring of 1994, two powerful opponents of the Dudaev regimebased in Moscow, Doku Zavgaev, the former Communist Party leaderof Checheno-Ingushetiya and now an official adviser to PresidentYeltsin, and Sergei Shakhrai, Russian deputy prime minister and min-ister of nationalities (and a Terek Cossack by background), managed to"convince the president of Russia and the heads of the 'power ministries'that the Federation should actively intervene in the events in Chechnya.By that time Zavgaev and Shakhrai had acquired additional argumentsto support their position. Russia had gotten involved in the competitivestruggle for the right to participate in the Azerbaijani oil project, the so-called 'project of the century.'"110 In order to be profitably exploited byRussia, the vast oil deposits of the Caspian Region ("a second Kuwait")required a pacified Chechnya, since the existing oil pipeline extendingfrom Baku to Novorossiisk on the Black Sea ran directly throughChechnya.107 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 2 8 5 - 8 9 .108 Kholodov, "Pirova pobeda," p. 3 . 109 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 172.110 Maria Eismont, "The Chechen War: How It All Began," Prism, Part IV, 8 March

1996. In February 1997, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation approvedZavgaev for the post of Russian ambassador to Tanzania. (See Izvestiya, 13 February1997.) For a discussion of the "oil dimension" of the December 1994 Russian militarymove into Chechnya, see Rosemarie Forsythe, The Politics of Oil in the Caucasus andCentral Asia (London: Oxford University Press, Adelphi Paper N o . 300 , 1996) . Seealso Yurii Fedorov, Kaspiiskaya neft' i mezhdunarodnaya bezopasnost': analiticheskiidoklad po materialam mezhdunarodnoi konferentsii, 2 vols. (Moscow: Federatsiya mira isoglasiya, 1996) .

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The Nadterechnyi district of Chechnya, led by its mayor, UmarAvturkhanov, had, as has been noted, served for some time as the focalpoint of anti-Dudaev activity in the republic. (This was also the hometerritory, it should be remarked, of Yeltsin adviser Doku Zavgaev.) InDecember 1993, a so-called Provisional Council of the ChechenRepublic was brought into existence, and Avturkhanov was elected as itschairman. Bislan Gantamirov (b. 1963), the former mayor of Groznyi,who had formed a second center of anti-Dudaev activity in his homedistrict of Urus-Martan, was named commander of the armed forces ofthe Provisional Council. These two leaders, it soon emerged, enjoyedsignificant support from the Yeltsin leadership in Moscow.1 * l

Soon a third powerful Chechen "opposition" leader, convictedmurderer Ruslan Labazanov (b. 1967), allied himself with Avturkhanovand Gantamirov. Labazanov had studied at the Krasnodar Institute ofPhysical Culture and had become a master of the Eastern martial arts.He was sentenced for murder in 1990 in Rostov-on-Don but led asuccessful prison break in November 1991. For a while, he was close toDudaev and even held the rank of captain in his national guard. During1992-93, Labazanov also engaged in the illegal sale of weapons.

In May 1994, Labazanov announced the creation of the Niiso(Justice) Party which adopted an openly anti-Dudaev stand. On 12June, Labazanov's adherents held an anti-government rally on SheikhMansur Square in Groznyi, demanding the resignation of both thepresident and vice president of Chechnya. On the following day, 13June, detachments of the Shali tank regiment and of the "Abkhaz"battalion, two units loyal to Dudaev, undertook the disarming ofLabazanov's followers and stormed his headquarters. According to theanti-Dudaev opposition, between 180 and 300 persons perished in thisoperation; Labazanov, however, managed to escape arrest.112

On 27 May, a powerful remote-controlled car bomb came close tokilling Dudaev in Groznyi. He and other Chechen officials blamed theRussian secret services for this attack, which, they said, had everyappearance of having been the work of professionals. "Rusism [i.e.,imperial Russianism]," Dudaev charged angrily, "has today become aworld evil. It is a recurrent diversion, a provocation, a terroristic act, andan attempt on the life of the president, who is so hated by Russia

111 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 44. In May 1996, it was announced that theRussian authorities had arrested Gantamirov for "embezzling billions of rubles allottedfrom the federal budget to finance the rebuilding of the Chechen Republic." SeeMoscow News, 17-18, 2-22 May 1996, p. 1.

112 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 50, 75-76; on Labazanov, see also "Okhotnikina Dudaeva," Moskovskie novosti, 36, 4-11 September 1994, p. 4.

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today."113 According to Dudaev's widow, Alia, the Chechen presidenthappened purely by chance to be sitting in the third car in the processionrather than in the second car, which was his usual position;114 thesecond car took the full impact of the blast, and thus it was the Checheninterior minister, Magomed El'diev, and his deputy who were killedrather than Dudaev.

On 3-4 June 1994, a "Congress of the Peoples of Chechnya" washeld at the initiative of the Avturkhanov-led Provisional Council in thevillage of Znamenskoe, Nadterechnyi district. More than 2,000 dele-gates representing all districts in the republic attended. The participantsin the congress "expressed a lack of trust in D. Dudaev and Z.Yandarbiev" and demanded that they resign their posts. It was proposedthat the current Chechen parliament set a date for new elections to thehighest organs of power in the republic. The congress also "declared theProvisional Council to be the sole legitimate organ of power on theterritory of the Chechen Republic." On 30 June, the ProvisionalCouncil adopted a "decree on power" under which it proclaimedDudaev removed from the presidency and affirmed that it had itselfassumed "the entire plenitude of power in the Chechen Republic."115

During the same time period, the Provisional Council published aDecree on the Formation of a Government of National Rebirth and aDecree on the Setting of Elections to the People's Council of theChechen Republic (without a specific date for the elections beingspecified). During July and August 1994, armed formations of theProvisional Council were created in both Nadterechnyi and Urus-Martan districts. On 11 August, the Provisional Council declared theformation of a new government of the Chechen Republic, with AliAvadvinov being named as prime minister. On 25 August, the "pro-curator general" of the Provisional Council, Bek Baskhanov, issued anorder for the arrest of General Dudaev, who was charged with havingunlawfully seized power and with "a conspiracy with criminalgroups."116

As journalist Maria Eismont has observed: "Umar Avturkhanov, headof the so-called Chechen Provisional Council . . . proved to be the bestcandidate for Moscow to support in Chechnya. The Provisional Councilwas composed mainly of former communist functionaries and associatesof Zavgaev who had lost everything when Dudaev came to power . . .

113 See Russian Television, "Vesti," 28 May 1994, in RFE-RL, Russia and CIS Today,29 May 1994, p. 0383/12, and NTV, 4 June 1994, in RFE-RL, Russia and CIS Today,6 June 1994, p. 0401/01.

114 Interview with Alia Dudaeva, Izvestiya, 8 June 1995, pp. 1, 6.115 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 44-45. 116 Ibid., pp. 44-45.

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[N]ew persons seeking to become the Chechen head of state appearedin the Kremlin, specifically the former USSR and petrochemistry [sic]industry minister, academician Salambek Khadzhiev. However, on 25August 1994, the Russian government resolved to put its bets on UmarAvturkhanov and his Provisional Council."

And Eismont continues: "In accordance with a secret resolution ofthe Russian government, the Chechen Provisional Council was recog-nized as the 'only legitimate power structure in Chechnya.' Simulta-neously, Umar Avturkhanov was promised all possible support in boththe military and economic sphere. The Russian government began topay wages and pensions to the people of the Upper Terek [i.e.,Nadterechnyi] and Urus-Martan districts of Chechnya . . . Moscowalso began to supply arms and ammunition to Avturkhanov. Thesesupplies were very substantial: they included heavy armored vehiclesand artillery installations. Moreover, a number of aircraft of the NorthCaucasus Military District were put at the disposal of the ChechenProvisional Council."117

Outlining his views on the desired nature of future Chechen-Russianrelations, Avturkhanov stated that his Provisional Council wanted toemulate what Tatarstan and Bashkortostan had accomplished and tosign "treaties on the delimitation of powers" with Moscow. Under suchan arrangement, Chechnya would remain firmly within the RussianFederation.118 Avturkhanov boasted that 80 percent of the Chechenpopulace supported him, but independent checks by Russian journalistsshowed that few Chechens had ever heard of him.

While the final irrevocable decision by the Russian government toback Avturkhanov appears to have been taken in August 1994, it seemsthat a preliminary decision to support the anti-Dudaev opposition datesfrom the spring of 1994. As Valerii Tishkov has commented: "From thespring of [1994], there existed the so-called half-force [polusilovoi]variant of supporting and arming the Chechen opposition, excluding theuse of the [Russian] army." Tishkov added: "I didn't see anythingcriminal in it [the half-force policy], inasmuch as it was not war."119

Contrary to Tishkov's opinion, the "half-force" variant did lead, almostineluctably, toward a "full-force" variant; Russia had started down aslippery slope leading to war.

That a pivotal decision had in fact been reached became clear frompublic statements made by Yeltsin in August. Thus, in response to onejournalist's question, the Russian president replied that "he would notrisk the use of force in Chechnya . . . [then] added with a sly smile: 'The117 Eismont, "The Chechen War." 118 Izvestiya, 16 August 1994, p. 5.119 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 22-23.

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situation in Chechnya is changing. The role of the opposition isgrowing, and I would not say that we have no influence there.'"120 Suchstatements by Yeltsin served to convince Dudaev and his circle that theRussian president now personally favored the use of active measures toremove Dudaev from power.

Thus, when a reporter for the newspaper Trud asked Dudaev if thehead of the Provisional Council, Umar Avturkhanov, was "directlyconnected with the Russian special services," the Chechen presidentresponded: "Well, of course." And when asked about the oppositionparamilitary leader Ruslan Labazanov, Dudaev replied: "Labazanov isbeing used by the special services of Russia for definite aims."121

Similarly, Dudaev's secret police chieftain, Sultan Geliskhanov,claimed that the Russian FSK was spending 100 billion rubles "onChechnya." That money, he said, was being used to underwrite "theorganization of diversion, terror, sabotage, propaganda, and also adirect military incursion onto the territory of Chechnya."122

These words by Chechnya's leaders were accompanied by a series ofdefensive actions. On 10 August, a "people's congress" was convokedby Dudaev in Groznyi. The congress was held amid an atmospheredescribed as being "close to martial." At this congress, leaders of theChechen opposition, such as Doku Zavgaev and Ruslan Khasbulatov,were declared to be "enemies of the nation" while Umar Avturkhanovand the Provisional Council headed by him were "sentenced to death inabsentia."123 Dudaev signed a decree authorizing a "full mobilization"of all Chechen combat forces and introduced emergency rule onto theterritory of Nadterechnyi district, Avturkhanov's home base, datingfrom 12 August.124

In August and September 1994, Dudaev's units began to administer aseries of sharp military blows to their heavily armed opponents. On 31August, for example, the elite "Abkhaz" battalion took control of theRostov-Baku Highway, which had been controlled for more than amonth by followers of Ruslan Labazanov; and, on 3 September, detach-ments loyal to the Chechen president drove the Labazanov group out ofthe city of Argun.

Also in early September, forces of Avturkhanov's Provisional Councilbegan an operation aimed at taking control of the capital of Groznyi.Some twenty kilometers outside the city, Russian helicopters made fourattacks on three Chechen villages, firing rockets at the settlements. A

1 2 0 In Washington Post, 12 August 1994, p. A 3 3 .1 2 1 In Trud, 9 August 1994, pp . 1, 2 .1 2 2 In Nezavisimaya gazeta, 10 August 1994, p . 1.1 2 3 In Izvestiya, 12 August 1994, p . 1. 1 2 4 In Izvestiya, 13 August 1994, p . 2.

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tank column of twelve vehicles, reportedly "manned by Russian crews,"also took part in this fighting. Dudaev's forces claimed to have destroyedone tank and to have seized one armored vehicle during the battle. Theyalso took eight soldiers captive, including some "Russian soldiers."125

In late September, Umar Avturkhanov admitted for the first time thatthe anti-Dudaev forces possessed "a large number of MI-24 and MI-8helicopters."126 In mid-November, there were reports of the ProvisionalCouncil, "backed by tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters," at-tacking and defeating Dudaev forces in the village of Bratskoe. Duringan interview on 19 November, Dudaev referred directly to "the begin-ning of the Second Russian-Caucasian war."127 By early December,shortly before the invasion of Chechnya, the Provisional Counciladmitted to "having received forty billion rubles in cash from theRussian government" as well as to having obtained about seventy tanksand also some helicopter gunships together with crews.128

(As a footnote, it should be remarked that, in the opinion of specialistsEmir Pain and Arkadii Popov, the Yeltsin leadership waited too long toside decisively with the Chechen opposition. As they wrote in early1995: "Today, for some reason, it is common to say that the wholeChechen opposition was 'invented5 by the Kremlin and did not havesupport in society. That is absolutely untrue . . . In reality, in 1993 theopposition to Dudaev did not consist solely of the former [communist]nomenklatura . . . but also of a majority of the members of the parlia-ment of the Chechen Republic elected at the end of 1991; of theConstitutional Court; of the heads of city and district administrations;of the leaders of almost all parties and movements; and of the heads ofclans and the clergy." The authors proceed to indict the Kremlin for "aninability or disinclination to have dealings with the Chechen opposition"before August 1994.)129

Khasbulatov's gambits

On 1 March 1994, following his release from Lefortovo Prison inMoscow after having been amnestied by the Russian parliament for hispart in an attempted coup d'etat staged in Moscow in October 1993,former speaker of the Russian parliament Ruslan Khasbulatov arrived inChechnya and took up residence in the village of Tolstoi-Yurt, located125 Nezavisimaya gazeta, 3 September 1994, pp . 1, 3 .126 Ekho Moskvy radio, 29 September 1994, in R F E - R L , Russia and CIS Today, 30

Sep tember 1994, p . 0700/17 .127 R F E - R L , Daily Report, 21 November 1994, p . 1.128 In Moscow News, 4 8 , 2 - 8 December 1994, p . 1.129 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne , " Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

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within Groznyi district, to the north of the Chechen capital. DuringMarch and April 1994, Khasbulatov began traveling around the villagesof Chechnya, talking to large crowds and taking political soundings.

Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, a harsh critic of Khasbulatov, has admitted inhis memoirs that, in the spring of 1994, the former speaker of theRussian Supreme Soviet enjoyed considerable popularity amongChechens. In October 1993, at the time of the bloody clashes inMoscow, protest meetings, he recalls, had been organized in support ofKhasbulatov in Chechnya, and committees in his defense had beenformed; even Dudaev had felt politically required "to come out indefense of R. Khasbulatov." When Khasbulatov arrived in Groznyi inMarch 1994, he had been met by "a large number of people"; Dudaev,too, had been forced to take Khasbulatov's popularity among Chechensinto account and had sent a delegation to the airport to greet him.130

As Khasbulatov has observed in his short book on the Chechen crisis:"By the spring and summer of 1994, the social base of Dudaev'sadherents had shrunk to a minimum. Ninety percent of the populacewere going hungry. Against this background, the parasitic ruling cliquein Groznyi elicited general hatred. This was immediately seen byeveryone who analyzed the situation, as soon as I returned toChechnya."

Khasbulatov began visiting the towns and villages of Chechnya,including remote ones: "These mountains," he writes, "had not pre-viously known gatherings of 100,000 people in one place. Learning thatI had been in the mountain valleys of Kharacha, Benoi, Vedeno, andShatoi, more than 100,000 people came to a meeting (the villages ofShali, Urus-Martan, Staraya Sunzha). Not to speak of the plains, where100,000, 200,000, 300,000 people gathered."131

Returning to Moscow, Khasbulatov, on 18 July 1994, issued adeclaration "On the Situation in the Chechen Republic" in which hecalled for a peaceful resolution of the political conflict in Chechnya. On3 August, he issued another declaration "Concerning DangerousManeuvers Around the Chechen Crisis," in which he categoricallyprotested "against those making preparations for the occupation of theChechen Republic."132 On 8 August, Khasbulatov returned once againto Tolstoi-Yurt in Chechnya, where he would remain until the eve of theRussian military invasion in December.

In Khasbulatov's opinion, he and his "peacemaking mission" repre-sented the sole hope of avoiding a bloody clash between Chechens andRussians. As a formerly imprisoned political opponent of Yeltsin, he130 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp . 2 8 4 - 8 5 , 294.131 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, p. 25. 132 bAuzaeVsChechenskayarespublikciyp. 48.

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could hardly be suspected of being a puppet of the Russian governmentunlike, say, Umar Avturkhanov. On the other hand, he had no clan orother connections to Dudaev. For those Chechens seeking sovereignty,but also desiring a workable relationship with Russia, Khasbulatovmight well have appeared to be an ideal candidate. His notoriety servedto attract large crowds to hear him but so, presumably, did his perceived"centrist" message. (It seems likely, incidentally, that Khasbulatov hasexaggerated, and perhaps by a great deal, the numbers of Chechens whocame to hear him speak.)

Since Yeltsin and the Russian leadership detested Khasbulatov,however, they drew, in the latter's opinion, a faulty and dangerousconclusion: "In Moscow, they reached this conclusion: 'Since from100,000 to 400,000 are attending Khasbulatov's meetings, that is nojoke. Dudaev's regime must be falling.' They then hurriedly recognizedthe 'opposition' headed by Avturkhanov and began to arm it . . . Aftermy Declaration [of 18 July], when the Provisional Council had beenrecognized by Moscow, Avturkhanov began to avoid meeting me, citingthe fact that Moscow forbade him to see me and was advising him tooppose me as much as he was opposing Dudaev . . . 'Don't even thinkof bringing Khasbulatov to power,' Chernomyrdin supposedly told him,according to Avturkhanov's words."133

Khasbulatov, however, continued with his "peacemaking" activities,which he undoubtedly hoped would propel him to the Chechenpresidency. On 9 and 10 August, he formed a "peacemaking group,"consisting of a number of leading and respected Chechen figures, suchas Magomed-bashir-Khadzhi Arsanukaev, the first mufti to be named inDudaev's Chechen Republic; Arsanukaev had been forced to submit hisresignation in 1993 under pressure from Dudaev.134

According to Khasbulatov, his approach came to enjoy considerablesuccess among Chechens. The settlement of Tolstoi-Yurt, fifteen kilo-meters north of Groznyi, where he had taken up residence, became "acenter of pilgrimage of the populace." Even before he began hisactivities, Khasbulatov notes, "the whole northern part of the republicdid not, on the whole, support the Groznyi regime." Now, after hisefforts, "practically the whole southwestern part of the republic - theUrus-Martan district - was now openly against the regime."135

133 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, pp . 3 0 - 3 1 .134 For the membership of the "peacemaking group," see ibid., pp. 32-33. On

Arsanukaev, see Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 58.135 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, pp . 3 3 , 36 .

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The "opposition" takes Groznyi, then lets it goAs Khasbulatov recalls, matters came to a head in mid-October 1994:"When, on 15 October, an order was suddenly given by Avturkhanovand Gantamirov to attack Groznyi, we had by that time carried out anenormous work with the populace . . . and not only with the populace;we had become acquainted with practically all of Dudaev's com-manders." On 13 October, he remembers, he had had a meeting withseveral of Dudaev's commanders. Then came the surprising news thatAvturkhanov and Gantamirov had broken into the city.

"People came to me," Khasbulatov recalls, "and asked: 'What shouldwe do? Fight with them [Avturkhanov and Gantamirov] or not?' I said:'No, for God's sake, don't fight. Let's try to resolve the question withoutlarge-scale bloodshed.'" And he concludes his account of the incident:"Therefore it is no accident that only seven persons in all were killed inthe taking of Groznyi on 15 October 1994."136 The fact that all of thecombatants had been Chechens and that no Russians had been involvedin the fighting was a key to the striking lack of bloodshed. Whatevertheir mutual animosities, Chechens apparently had no desire to beinvolved in the "large-scale bloodshed" of other Chechens. This almostbloodless taking of Groznyi therefore offered excellent prospects for asettlement with Russia.

Because of Russian political miscalculation, however, an extra-ordinary opportunity was missed: "The city," Khasbulatov writes, "hadbeen taken de facto on the 15th, but then Avturkhanov and Gantamirovsuddenly abandoned it at 4:00 p.m., leaving behind their people's militiaand their equipment. What happened?" Flying to Mozdok in NorthOssetiya to meet with Moscow-based FSK general Evgenii Savost'yanovand Avturkhanov and Gantamirov, Khasbulatov learned, he writes, thatthe two opposition leaders had sought the introduction into Groznyi oftanks and Russian forces. This, he reports, made him furious: "I don'tknow what you are saying," he shouted, "there should be no intro-duction of Russian troops."137 As Khasbulatov was well aware, such amove would have induced many Chechens to rally around their pres-ident against a foreign invader.

Several days later, Khasbulatov recalls, he was visited by one of theleaders of the local FSK who had worked in the town of Znamenskoe inthe Nadterechnyi district. The FSK officer told him: "You know, I

136 Ibid., p. 37.137 Ibid., pp. 3 7 - 3 8 . For Yandarbiev's somewhat evasive account of the 15 October

events - which he mistakenly dates as having taken place on 15 November - seeChecheniya, p. 3 4 1 .

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found out that the order to leave the city on 15 October was not givenby E. Savost'yanov; he did not know about it. Avturkhanov telephonedMoscow and said: 'We have seized the city, and there is almost noresistance. What should we do?' And they said: 'Get out, leave the city.'According to this [FSK] man, Moscow was more interested in to whatdegree the operational points and the people of Khasbulatov hadsuffered in Groznyi. It seems to me that during the thrust into the citythey expected there to be large bloodshed. But, as a result of our work,blood did not flow. Only seven people in all were killed. That did notsuit those who wanted to send in the troops."138

The Tishkov group has expressed agreement with Khasbulatov'spoint that the debacle which occurred on 15 October represented a keyturning point. "Until now [i.e., 1995]," they write, "it remains unclearwhy, on 15 October 1994, the forces of the opposition, having takenGroznyi de facto (with losses on both sides totaling seven persons in all),upon a command from Moscow then left the city, which later gaveDudaev a chance to present this as his victory over Russia and toconsolidate his regime." In general, they award Khasbulatov's strategyquite high marks. While he favored arming the opposition, Khasbulatovresolutely opposed "direct military interference by Russia in the con-flict." By October 1994, Khasbulatov may indeed, as he claims, haveestablished contacts with most of Dudaev's field commanders, "in-cluding the commander of the Abkhaz battalion." Khasbulatov wellunderstood that "The threat of war - and not war itself - was the mostpreferable variant." All of Khasbulatov's useful spadework, however,failed because of the implacable animosity of the Yeltsin leadershiptoward him. As Khasbulatov put it in hearings before the State Duma:"The federal forces upheld the principle, 'Let the whole Caucasusexplode so long as Khasbulatov does not come to power.'"139

It should be noted here that Maria Eismont, a leading Russianjournalist for the newspaper Segodnya, believes that Khasbulatov mayhave been considerably more involved in the 15 October events than hehas admitted. "On 15 October 1994," she writes, "Khasbulatov, withthe support of Chechen opposition force commander Bislan Ganta-mirov, undertook his own attempt to storm the city of Groznyi.Gantamirov's units, supported by those of Khasbulatov's 'peacekeepinggroup,' entered Groznyi. They met almost no resistance and evenmanaged to occupy a number of administrative buildings. However,neither Umar Avturkhanov, nor the North Caucasus Military Districtaviation provided even the slightest support for them, and on the same

138 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, p. 38. 139 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, pp. 27-29.

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day Bislan Gantamirov ordered his units to leave the city."140 Futurehistorians will have to sort out the discrepancies in these accounts in aneffort to determine what actually took place on 15 October in Groznyi.

With the collapse of these promising developments on 15 October,the so-called half-force variant simply collapsed. Key factors in itscollapse, the Tishkov group writes, "were the unsuccessful actions of theChechen opposition, whose leaders (Avturkhanov, Khadzhiev, Khasbu-latov) were unable to work in collaboration with one another, whileMoscow, in turn, feared the possibility of Khasbulatov's coming topower in Chechnya."141

In the wake of the bizarre collapse of the 15 October invasion,Moscow took a decision to strengthen the Chechen opposition and itsreputation. On 24 November, a "Government of National Rebirth [ofChechnya]" was brought into existence under the aegis of the Prov-isional Council. This time it was Salambek Khadzhiev who emerged asprime minister, and Abdula Bugaev and Bislan Gantamirov as deputyprime ministers. Significantly, two Slavs - Grigorii Khoperskov andVladimir Shumov - were named respectively chairman of the ChechenFSK and acting minister of Chechen internal affairs.142 With this new"government of national rebirth" in place, Russia was now in a positionto launch the ill-fated assault on Groznyi of 26 November.

1 4 0 Eismont, "The Chechen War."141 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 28.1 4 2 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, pp. 4 5 - 4 6 .

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If we used force in Chechnya, it would spark an uprising in theCaucasus and lead to such turmoil, so much bloodshed, that no onewould forgive us afterward. Boris Yeltsin in August 19941

The post of minister [of nationalities] was occupied by persons whohad been raised in the Caucasus and who considered themselves to bespecialists in inter-ethnic relations. But it is not enough to be born inthe Caucasus to be an expert on the Caucasus.

Valerii Tishkov, former chairman of the Russian State Committeeon Nationality Affairs2

In the previous chapter, we looked at events taking place during thetumultuous years of 1992-94 largely from the perspective of theseparatist Chechen leadership. In the present chapter, our task will beonce again to scrutinize this period, but this time chiefly through theeyes of the Yeltsin leadership. As we shall see, the Russian governmentappeared to lurch convulsively, and often unpredictably, from a con-ciliatory to a hard-line approach to the Chechen problem until thespring of 1994, when support for a coercive solution began to receiveincreasing backing at the top.

Russia arms ChechnyaIt will be recalled that USSR deputy defense minister Pavel Grachev hadtraveled to Groznyi in early December 1991 for talks with GeneralDudaev. The Chechen president had agreed at the time to facilitate awithdrawal of Russian troops from the republic "if a part of their armsand military hardware were handed over to him."3 Evgenii Shaposh-nikov, at that time USSR defense minister, has claimed that Dudaev1 In the Washington Post, 12 August 1994, p. A33.2 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 22-23.3 In Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily v chechenskom konflikte: analiz, itogyy vyvody (analiticheskii

obzor), 1st edn. (Moscow: Holveg, 1995), p. 9.


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proposed to Grachev "a 50-50 split" of the armaments based inChechnya but that he, Shaposhnikov, had firmly refused this offer.4

In May 1992, General Grachev was named Russian defense ministerby President Yeltsin, and, during the same month, he sent a seniorofficer, General Ochirov, to Chechnya for talks with Dudaev. There wasa pressing need for such talks since, in the wake of the failed 31 March1992 Moscow-backed putsch (more on this incident on pp. 170-72),the Chechen nationalists urgently wanted the Russian troops out.During the course of their negotiations, Dudaev and Ochirov agreedthat the Chechen president would give back half of the weapons onChechen soil. Ochirov reported this arrangement back to the DefenseMinistry by a coded telegram dated 22 May.5

In a directive issued on 28 May 1992, Grachev then ordered that 50percent of the Russian military equipment located in Chechnya behanded over to the forces of General Dudaev.6 Earlier, Grachev hadargued for acceptance of such a position during a closed session of theRussian Security Council. In June 1992, the North Caucasus MilitaryDistrict was ordered to withdraw Russia's 50 percent of the weaponry toother regions of the Russian Federation. Under threat of "armed actionson the part of the Chechens," however, the Russian troops stationed inChechnya were forced hurriedly to leave the republic and to abandontheir weapons.7

In early 1992, Chechen fighters had begun to make raids uponRussian weapons storage depots in Chechnya. On 7 February, thefacilities of the 93rd Radio-Technical Regiment were attacked, andforty-three tons of ammunition and 160 firearms were stolen. On thesame day, Chechen fighters attacked the 382nd Training AviationRegiment and seized 436 automatic weapons and 265 pistols, as well asammunition for them. On 8 February, two complexes of the 173rdMilitary District Training Center were attacked, and a large amount ofequipment and property was taken.8 Oddly, no one appears to havebeen killed or wounded in these raids (or "raids").

Russian military personnel stationed in Chechnya appeared to becoming under increasing threat from Chechen national radicals. The

4 Pyotr Yudin, "Source of Chechen Arms Sparks Rift," Moscow Times, 25 December1994, p. 32.

5 Izvestiya, 12 January 1995, p. 5. See also the statement by Deputy P. P. Shirshov at asession of the Council of Federation in Chechnya: tragediya Rossii (Moscow: IzdanieSoveta Federatsii, 1995), pp. 40-41.

6 Moskovskii komsomoletSy 18 January 1995, cited in Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, p. 12.7 Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, pp. 12-13.8 Chechnya: tragediya Rossii, p. 40.

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government of Chechnya issued an ultimatum in which it demanded thewithdrawal of all Russian troops from the republic. On 31 March 1992 -the date of the failed putsch - the Chechen parliament had passed aresolution under which all military centers, armaments, and equipmentof the armed forces of the CIS were to be taken under the jurisdiction ofthe Chechen Republic.9 On 6 June, General Dudaev demanded that allRussian forces be withdrawn from Chechen territory without theirweapons and equipment in the course of twenty-four hours.

According to the Chechen information minister, Movladi Udugov,this action was taken by the Chechen authorities in response to adeclaration made by the minister of defense of the Russian Federation,Pavel Grachev, which was broadcast over the Ostankino televisionnetwork, concerning "his readiness to introduce paratroop units intoChechnya for the defense of [Russian] military personnel and theirfamilies."10 The presence of Russian tank, artillery, rocket, and aviationunits on Chechen soil, Udugov said, represented a serious threat to therepublic's security. On the orders of Defense Minister Grachev, "inorder to avoid bloodshed," all Russian military personnel and theirfamilies were then forthwith evacuated from Chechnya.1 x

According to former USSR defense minister Shaposhnikov, who lateralso served as CIS armed forces commander, an attempt was made byGrachev in June 1992 to remove Russia's agreed-upon 50 percent of thearmaments from Chechnya. An estimated 10,000-20,000 firearms werein fact successfully withdrawn from Chechnya, but when a Russianmilitary aircraft arrived in Groznyi to take out more weaponry, it wasblockaded by Chechen fighters, and the 50-50 arrangement was ineffect annulled. At this point, the Russian military had another optionbefore it: namely, to blow up the weapons rather than turn them over tothe Chechens. "According to the testimony of [Russian] combat engin-eers," one investigative report on the military dimension of the Russian-Chechen conflict has noted, "'Everything was carefully prepared to beblown up and destroyed, but, unexpectedly, there arrived a command -'Leave everything as it is, blow nothing up, and leave.'"12 This order issaid to have originated with Defense Minister Grachev.

9 Ibid., p. 41.10 "Ofitsery vydvoreny za predely Chechny," Izvestiya, 8 June 1992, p. 3.1* In the Govorukhin Commission report, Pravda, 2 March 1996, p. 2. For the full text of

this report, see Komissiya Govorukhina (Moscow: Laventa, 1995). The chairman, S. S.Govorukhin, and five other members of the commission chose to sign the report. Thedeputy chairman, V. A. Nikonov, and three other members - Yu. E. Voevoda, B. A.Zolotukhin, and V. L. Sheinis - elected not to.

12 Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, p. 12. According to the 12 January 1995 issue of Izvestiya,19,801 firearms in total were withdrawn (p. 5).

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It should be remarked that there has been considerable discussion inthe Russian press concerning the extent to which the Russian arsenalwas handed over to the Chechens under duress, and the degree to whichthis was done in response to monetary incentives. Specialists Emil' Painand Arkadii Popov have written: "The version of the 'bold robbery' [ofthe Russian arsenal in Chechnya] is countered by the version of an'amicable' agreement to hand over the weapons for an appropriatereward. Many eyewitnesses maintain that it is this second version whichis correct, and that the wild organized attacks [on the arsenals by theChechens], together with whoopings and shouts, were nothing morethan a spectacle staged to divert suspicion away from enterprisingmerchants in epaulettes."13

According to one well-informed anti-Dudaev Chechen leader, YusupSoslambekov, "a significant part of the firearms and auto transport ofthe Russian [military] command (ranging in rank from division com-mander, to company commander, to battalion commander) was sold inadvance to the local populace. The remaining part was handed over toDudaev."14 Dudaev's acting vice president, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, hassimilarly asserted that the Russian military command and officer corpsbased in the Chechen Republic, "exploiting the collapse of the USSRand the transitional period in Checheniya, sold everything that theycould get their hands on."15

Whatever the reason for the failure to remove the Russian armaments,one thing seems clear: the Chechens had seized or had secretlypurchased a daunting arsenal of weapons. Several lists of this militaryequipment have been published in the Russian press; these lists differ insome details, but all of them serve to underline the magnitude of theweaponry which was henceforth to be in the hands of Dudaev and hismen. According to a report by the Russian State Duma's GovorukhinCommission, to take one example, Dudaev's forces succeeded in appro-priating the following: 260 airplanes; 42 tanks; 48 armored vehicles; 44lightly armored vehicles; 942 automobiles; 139 artillery systems; 89anti-tank devices; 37,795 firearms, including 24,737 automaticweapons, 10,119 pistols, and 1,682 machine guns; and 1,257 rifles."16

While impressive, these figures could be somewhat understated.According to the newspaper Izvestiya, more accurate figures would be:426 planes, including 5 military aircraft; 2 helicopters; 42 tanks; 9213 In "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 8 February 1995, p. 4.14 Yusup Soslambekov, "Chechnya (Nokhchicho') - vzglyad iznutri" (Moscow: author

publication, 1995), p. 32.15 Zelimkhan (Zelimkha) Yandarbiev, Checheniya - bitva za svobodu (L'vov, Ukraine:

Svoboda narodiv [sic] and Antibol'shevitskii blok narodov, 1996), p. 166.16 Pravda, 2 March 1996, p. 2.

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armored vehicles; 139 artillery pieces; 101 anti-tank guns; 27 anti-aircraft guns; 37,795 firearms; and 27 railway cars of ammunition.17

This was a huge armory, but it was far from all of the weapons thatthe Dudaev forces came to possess. Even before the takeover of Russianmilitary arms and equipment on Chechen soil, Dudaev had managed toacquire significant numbers of weapons. Subsequently, in the periodleading up to the Russian invasion of December 1994, Dudaev con-tinued to purchase all the military hardware that he was able to. Itappears that corrupt elements in the Russian military were prepared toaid him in this task. Viktor Sheinis, a member of the GovorukhinCommission, has recalled: "At the hearings [of our commission] it wasbriefly mentioned that Dudaev had been given a part of the weapons ofthe Trans-Baikal Military District, that is, of what was withdrawn fromMongolia."18 This gift to Dudaev by elements in the Russian military -if it took place - must have been made for hard cash.

Negotiations during 1992In March 1992, a professional ethnographer, Valerii Tishkov, wasappointed chairman of the State Committee on Nationality Policy(Goskomnats, essentially a ministry), and he then began to seekinventive solutions to Russia's manifold problems with minorities.Exasperated by the government's often contradictory public statementson ethnic questions, however, Tishkov submitted his resignation afterjust seven months on the job. In October 1992, Sergei Shakhrai (b..1956), a jurist by training and a leading adviser to Yeltsin, was named asTishkov's replacement. The title of Shakhrai's position was upgraded tominister of nationalities, and he was also made a deputy primeminister.19 Though he was a gifted, even a brilliant official, Shakhrai, aTerek Cossack by background, bears, as we shall see, much of theresponsibility for the outbreak of the Chechen war in December 1994.

Also in March 1992, the separatist dangers which had been besettingthe Russian Federation during 1991 and early 1992 were, for the firsttime, diminished with the signing of a Federation Treaty. The dispute

17 Izvestiya, 12 January 1995, p. 5. For other lists of the materiel which was taken over,see Rossiiskie vooruzhennye sily, pp. 13-15; Belaya kniga. Chechnya, 1991-1995: fakty,dokumenty, svidetel stva, 2 vols. (Moscow: Tsentr obshchestvennykh svyazei FSK Rossii,1995), vol. I, pp. 7-8; Novoe vremya, 2 -3 (1995), 14-15; and Chechnya: tragediyaRossii, p. 41.

18 In Russkaya mysV, 2-8 March 1995, p. 3.19 On Shakhrai, Tishkov, and Russian nationality policies, see John B. Dunlop,

"Gathering the Russian Lands: Background to the Chechnya Crisis," Working Papers inInternational Studies, 1-95-2, Hoover Institution (Stanford University, January 1995).

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over which Russian territorial entities should qualify for the designation"subject of the federation" had been so sharp that it had provennecessary for the Russian government to negotiate three separatetreaties (which came collectively to be known as a Federation Treaty):one treaty for the autonomous republics; one for the oblasts and krais;and one for autonomous districts. These three treaties taken togethersketched out a division of authority between Moscow and the regionsand specified which functions should be exercised by the "center"alone, which should be performed jointly, and which should be devolvedwholly to the republics and regions. The three treaties were signed at theend of March. Two "subjects of the federation" stubbornly refused tosign the treaty: Tatarstan and Chechnya.20

In June 1992, the Russian parliament formally recognized the divisionof the former Chechen-Ingush Republic into two separate autonomousentities: the Republic of Chechnya and the Republic of Ingushetiya.21

Ingushetiya, unlike Chechnya, exhibited little apparent desire to sepa-rate from Russia.

During the course of his July 1995 presentation to the RussianConstitutional Court, Sergei Shakhrai noted that more than ten meet-ings and consultations had been held between representatives of theRussian Supreme Soviet and the Chechen parliament and governmentduring calendar year 1992. One of the meetings singled out by Shakhraifor attention occurred in Sochi from 12 to 14 March.22 According to theofficial signed protocols of this meeting, agenda items scheduled by thetwo sides for future discussion included political, legal, and economicquestions, and problems of collective security. (The protocols weresigned by V. Zhigulin, deputy chairman of the Council of the Republicof the Russian Supreme Soviet, and by Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, head ofthe delegation of the Chechen Republic.)

A key point in the signed March protocols referred to "the recognitionof the political independence and state sovereignty [o priznanii politi-cheskoi nezavisimosti i gosudarstvennogo suvereniteta] of the ChechenRepublic; and the determining of the political-legal form of mutual

2 0 On this, see Elizabeth Teague, "Center-Periphery Relations in the Russian Federa-tion," in Roman Szporluk, ed., National Identity and Ethnicity in Russia and the NewStates of Eurasia (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1994), pp. 3 4 - 3 5 . For the texts of thetreaties and agreements signed on the delimitation of powers by the Russiangovernment under Yeltsin with the various "subjects of the Federation," see Sbornikdogovorov i soglashenii mezhdu organami gosudarstvennoi vlasti Rossiiskoi Federatsii iorganami gosudarstvennoi vlasti sub"ektov Rossiiskoi Federatsii o razgranichenii predmetovvedeniya ipolnomochii (Moscow: Izdanie Gosudarstvennoi Dumy, 1997).

21 See Teague, "Center-Periphery Relations," p. 54 , n. 42 .2 2 In Rossiiskie vesti, 1 2 - 1 3 July 1995.

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relations between the Chechen Republic and the Russian Federation."23

As can be seen, at this juncture, Russian and Chechen representativeswere seeking to negotiate an agreement which would have provided forChechnya's "independence and sovereignty," but which would also havefacilitated the development of "collective security" and close political,legal, and economic ties between two sovereign entities.

Moscow backs a shadowy putschAs was noted in chapter 4 (p. 149), on 31 March 1992, Moscow-backedopposition forces in Chechnya attempted to carry out an armed coupagainst Dudaev. The date was hardly chosen at random: 31 March wasthe day on which the Russian "subjects of the federation" werescheduled to sign the new Federation Treaty. It was, one presumes, seenas especially fitting that the pro-secession Dudaev government shouldbe toppled on that day.

Yusup Soslambekov, at the time a Dudaev ally, has written: "[I]nMoscow they organized an opposition for us in the person of the currentleaders of the 'Committee of National Concord,' the 'Government ofNational Rebirth,' and the 'Daimokhk' movement." At dawn on 31March, this self-styled opposition, Soslambekov continues, "armed tothe teeth with the latest weapons (where these weapons had come fromwas not hard to guess) seized the television center, the radio station, anda number of administration buildings of the city of Groznyi."24 The factthat the leaders of these organizations had been delivering "pro-Russianspeeches" and were clearly fronting for the Russian government inducedmany Chechens, including Soslambekov, to rally around their electedpresident, Dudaev, in order to defeat the putsch.

In his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writes that acolumn of buses coming from Nadterechnyi district and "filled witharmed putschists" arrived at the center of Groznyi at about 9:00 a.m. on31 March. The coup plotters then proceeded to seize the central radioand television stations. By this time, Yandarbiev recalls, "Moscow wasalready transmitting disinformation concerning the seizure of power bythe 'opposition' in Groznyi and the forthcoming signing of the Federa-tion Treaty by D. Zavgaev in the name of the Chechen Republic." Soon,however, Chechen national guards loyal to Dudaev succeeded in drivingthe putschists out of the radio station; a large crowd which had gathered

2 3 For the text of the protocol of 14 March, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 1 2 7 - 2 8 . Onthe protocol, see also Sanobar Shermatova, "Chetvertaya popytka?," Moskovskienovosti, 24 , 1 6 - 2 4 June 1996, p. 8.

2 4 Soslambekov, Chechnya, p. 21 .

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in Freedom Square in support of independence advanced on thetelevision center, and the rebels fled abandoning their weapons. "Theleaders," Yandarbiev concludes his account, "fled to Moscow, to D.Zavgaev and his masters."25

As Yandarbiev has underlined, Moscow had become a most un-predictable negotiation partner. On 14 March, a high-ranking official ofthe Russian Supreme Soviet, V. Zhigulin, had signed an agreement inwhich Chechen "independence and sovereignty" were solemnly recog-nized; on 31 March, however, other Moscow officials had backed anarmed "opposition" putsch aimed at overthrowing the Dudaev leader-ship. Once that coup had visibly failed, then Moscow was forced to"continue the dialogue."26

These bilateral negotiations, Yandarbiev relates, continued first inMoscow and then at a location outside the Russian capital from 25 to 28May 1992. On this occasion, the Russian delegation behaved moretruculently than it had in mid-March, insisting that the agreed-uponMarch protocol was no longer binding and that the current talksrepresented in effect a "blank slate." The Chechen delegation, headedby Yandarbiev, was also shown a document in which the so-calledPopular Council of Ingushetiya asked the Supreme Soviet of theRussian Federation "to demarcate the border between Chechnya andIngushetiya."27 Realizing that this "request" could serve as a pretext fora Russian incursion into Chechnya, Yandarbiev and his Chechencolleagues insisted that the Chechen Republic and Ingushetiya alonewould decide the issue of their common border. Yandarbiev achieved avictory of sorts when the official signed protocol of the 25-28 Maymeetings specifically confirmed the protocol of the earlier 14 Marchmeeting, which, it will be recalled, had recognized Chechen "indepen-dence and sovereignty."28

One Russian who came to the North Caucasus region in the autumnof 1992 to see whether or not an agreement could be reached betweenRussia and Chechnya was A. M. Ivanov, who subsequently published anaccount of his discussions with Chechen leaders in the newspaperRusskii vestnik. Musa Temishev, who was chief editor of the pro-independence newspaper, Ichkeriya, was quoted by Ivanov as declaringin that Chechen publication on 22 October: "I have said, do say, andwill say that we [Chechens] must be together with Russia. I repeat:'with' but not 'in.' There is an essential difference in this. I am for oneeconomic, cultural, ruble, and military space with Russia. I am for25 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 1 3 2 - 3 3 .26 Ibid., pp. 1 3 4 - 3 5 . 27 Ibid., p. 142.28 For the text of the 28 May protocol, see ibid., pp. 1 4 2 - 4 3 .

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Chechnya being an organic part of a Russian commonwealth. I repeat, acommonwealth [sodruzhestvo]. A commonwealth exists only amongequals."29

Temishev's views, Ivanov discovered, were typical of those held byleading Chechens. Thus, Movladi Udugov, the republic's informationminister, told him on 24 October: "We are for one defense and financialspace with Russia," while General Dudaev affirmed: "I am for oneeconomic and military space." These statements induced Ivanov to ask:"On the basis of such principles, why not enter into negotiations withDudaev?" "One conclusion," he added, "must be made with all clarityand certainty: it is necessary to recognize the independence [nezavisi-most'] of the Chechen Republic."30 Unfortunately, Ivanov's flexibilitywith regard to the "Chechen problem" turned out to be a rare qualityamong Russian elites.

Threat of a Russian invasion through DagestanOn the evening of 6 September, Udugov announced from a district ofDagestan which bordered on Chechnya that Chechen security hadestablished the presence in that region of two battalions of RussianMVD "crimson beret" spetsnaz, supported by sixty-seven armoredvehicles.31 The national guard of Chechnya was hastily brought to fullbattle readiness. The cover story being used by the Russian MVDsoldiers was that they were in the area to suppress possible "bread riots."Once it became clear, however, that the "crimson berets" were in factpursuing a direct route into Chechnya - i.e., were apparently planningan armed invasion of that republic - the local inhabitants of that regionof Dagestan (Chechens, Avars, and Kumyks) physically blocked themovement of the MVD forces and simultaneously took two of theirofficers hostage. On the evening of 7 September, the two MVDbattalions began a retreat from the town of Khasavyurt, Dagestan; thelocal inhabitants pledged to release their MVD hostages as soon as theyhad received a telegram with the news that the "crimson berets" hadreturned to their home base in Novocherkassk. This aborted incursionseems to have been a serious, if somewhat tentative, effort by theRussian leadership to remove Dudaev from power.

2 9 A. M. Ivanov, "Vid na Rossiyu iz Chechni," Russkii vestnik, 4 1 - 4 4 (1992) , 9.3 0 Ibid.31 "Moskva poslala voiska v Dagestan," Nezavisimaya gazeta, 9 September 1992, p. 3. For

Yandarbiev's comments on this episode, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p. 201 .

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The negotiations continueAs now seemed to be the pattern in Moscow's relations with Chechnya,threats to invade would alternate with offers to negotiate. During theautumn of 1992, the Russian vice president, Aleksandr Rutskoi, un-expectedly involved himself in the negotiations, holding talks in Moscowwith leading Chechen figures Yusup Soslambekov and Aslambek Akbu-latov. This was, it should be noted, the first time that a representative ofthe Russian executive branch had joined the negotiations; in point offact, however, Rutskoi was at this juncture much closer politically toparliamentary speaker Khasbulatov than he was to President Yeltsin.

The Russian and Chechen sides agreed to revive the work of the jointcommission, which had apparently last met in May. It was decided toopen an official representation of the Chechen Republic in Moscow andone of the Russian Federation in Groznyi. Another decision taken wasto lift the "economic, financial, and air blockade" of Chechnya.32

On 25 September, another high-level meeting of the two sides washeld in Chishki; the leader of the Russian side on this occasion was YuriiYarov, first deputy chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet, and of theChechen side, Bektimar (Bek) Mezhidov, first deputy chairman of theChechen parliament. A moment of tension occurred at these meetingswhen the Russian delegation tried to seat an outspoken anti-DudaevChechen, Isa Aliroev, as a member of the Russian representation; theChechen side "declared a protest" and demanded that Aliroev beremoved, which was done. The gathering accepted the protocols of theMarch and May Russian-Chechen meetings and, thus, implicitly con-tinued to recognize the independence and sovereignty of Chechnya.33

November 1992 - again to the brink of warBy November 1992, the Russian leadership had apparently grown wearyof Chechnya's secessionist obstinancy. As in November 1991, a militaryand police solution to the Chechen problem appeared to be both feasibleand achievable. A sharp territorial and ethnic dispute had broken outbetween North Ossetiya (the traditional ally of Russia in the NorthCaucasus region) and newly independent Ingushetiya, Chechnya'sneighbor to the west. The Russian leadership evidently decided toexploit this crisis in order to crack down hard not only on the Ingush,but also on their Vainakh brethren, the Chechens, as well. A state ofemergency was declared by the Russian government on 2 November in

32 Ibid., pp. 199-200. 33 Ibid., pp. 201-02.

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both North Ossetiya and Ingushetiya. On 10 November, Russian troopsentered Ingushetiya in order to enforce the state of emergency.

Ostensibly for the purpose of halting a flow of arms coming fromChechnya into Ingushetiya, as well as to prevent Chechens from comingto the aid of the Ingush, Russian forces on 10 November moved rapidlyeastward across Ingush territory toward the as-yet-unmarked borderwith Chechnya. That same day, General Dudaev threatened retaliationagainst the Russian troops if they failed to withdraw from land histori-cally claimed by Chechnya (the Russian forces had taken up positions inthree districts which were inhabited largely by Ingush but had belongedto Chechnya before Chechnya and Ingushetiya had been merged byStalin in 1934). Dudaev gave the Russians until the morning of 11November to withdraw; if they did not do so, he threatened, "theChechen people will rise up in war."34

This threatened Russian invasion led also to the mobilization of theConfederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus (KNK) under YusupSoslambekov, chairman of the confederation's parliament and an ethnicChechen. The KNK threatened to send 500,000 volunteers against theRussian forces if they did not immediately withdraw from Chechenterritory.35 (The number of a half million KNK adherents was clearlyexaggerated, but the threat from the Confederation was a real one.)

The moment was an exceptionally tense one, fraught with consider-able danger for the Russian Federation. As Caucasus specialist SergeiArutyunov has recalled: "[T]here was a moment when two tankregiments, the Russian and Chechen ones, stood face to face . . . on theundemarcated Ingush-Chechen border." This tense standoff, Arutyu-nov believes, could have resulted in "an outbreak of a new Caucasianwar, which would have involved all Caucasus mountaineers in a fightagainst Russians, Cossacks, and perhaps Ossetians." There was, at theend of 1992 and in 1993, he contends, the threat of an outbreak of anew Caucasus war, such as the one which had torn the region apartfrom 1817 to 1864. This new war, he believes, would likely have beenignited by the KNK attacking the Russian troops.36 Such a war, in34 Radio Liberty-Radio Free Europe, RFE-RL Daily Report, 11 November 1992.35 Fiona Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox": Conflict in the North Caucasus and Its Implications for

the Future of the Russian Federation (Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School ofGovernment, Harvard University, Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project,September 1995), pp. 5 0 - 5 1 , and RFE-RL Daily Report, 12 November 1992. In hispublished volume of memoirs, Soslambekov does not discuss his activities in the KNK.

36 S. A. Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences of the Chechenian [sic] War for the GeneralSituation in the Caucasus Area," Conference on the War in Chechnya: Implications forRussian Security Policy, 7 - 8 November 1995, sponsored by the Department ofNational Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, un-published paper.

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Arutyunov's opinion, would have been far more devastating than theconflict which actually erupted two years later, in December 1994. Bylate 1994, Russia was no longer being riven by internal dvoevlastie, whileother autonomous republics of the North Caucasus region had essen-tially lost interest in political secession from Russia.

The Tishkov group has noted that, in testimony before the Govoru-khin Commission, former acting prime minister Egor Gaidar confirmedthat, in November 1992, "the intention of the Russian leadership [wasto] finish with the Dudaev leadership." Russian minister of nationalitiesSergei Shakhrai is seen by the Tishkov group as one of those who werearguing for "a coercive resolution of the crisis."37 A key role in resolvingthe crisis, on the other hand, was played by Egor Gaidar and by the firstdeputy prime minister of Chechnya, Yaragi Mamodaev, who agreedupon a separation of the forces. Both of these peacemakers would,however, shortly be removed from their posts by Presidents Yeltsin andDudaev.38

Unfortunately, the agreement brokered by Gaidar and Mamodaev didnot hold, and at least some Russian forces remained on, or perhaps over,the unmarked Ingush border with Chechnya. In its issue of 18November, the Russian army newspaper Krasnaya zvezda reportedindignantly that armed Chechens, led personally by General Dudaev,had disarmed a Russian outpost located near the town of Sernovodsk (asettlement which today is located within the borders of Chechnya): "Atthe order of the president of Chechnya," Krasnaya zvezda angrilyrecounted, "his personal guard, having arrived in eight automobiles,seized the post, whose senior officer was Major Kokorin. In the presenceof the Chechen leader, ropes with slip-knots were thrown over the necksof Russian officers . . . who were beaten and then taken along with theremaining soldiers to Chechnya."39

General Aslakhanov's account of the November crisisIn his 1994 book on the Chechen crisis, retired MVD major generalAslambek Aslakhanov, a Chechen and an elected RSFSR people'sdeputy (and also the chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet's influen-tial Committee on Questions of Legality, Law and Order, and theStruggle with Crime, as well as being a member of the elite Presidium of37 V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V. Marchenko , Chechenskii krizis (Moscow:

Tsen t r kompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii i marketinga, 1995), p. 26.38 On this, see Emil ' Pain and Arkadii Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne ," Izvestiya,

9 February 1995, p. 4.39 "Otvetsvennost ' lozhitsya na Dzhokhara Dudaeva ," Krasnaya zvezda, 18 November

1992, p. 1.

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the Supreme Soviet), has written in detail concerning the Novemberevents. While future historians will want to check his account carefully,it would seem useful to summarize it here.

On 10 November, Aslakhanov recalls, he received an urgent call on asecret government telephone from Ruslan Aushev, the acting head ofthe Ingush Temporary Administration (elected president of Ingushetiyain February 1993), who warned him that "a thrust of [Russian] militaryunits in the direction of the Chechen Republic" was just then takingplace on Ingush territory.40 Aushev asked that Aslakhanov immediatelycontact Yeltsin, Khasbulatov, and acting prime minister Egor Gaidar.

Learning that Gaidar, armed with "special powers" granted to him byYeltsin, planned shortly to fly to Vladikavkaz in North Ossetiya,Aslakhanov managed to get himself included as a member of Gaidar'sparty. During the flight from Moscow to Vladikavkaz, he and Gaidarhad "a substantive conversation during which I succeeded in commu-nicating to the acting prime minister the true situation in the Ossetian-Ingush drama and in the region as a whole." Another issue - of greatconcern to Aslakhanov - which the two of them discussed was "thepossible positioning of [Russian military] forces directed toward imple-menting a regime of 'emergency rule' on Chechen territory."

After landing in Vladikavkaz, Aslakhanov traveled to Nazran', thecapital of Ingushetiya, where he met with Ruslan Aushev in an attemptto resolve what both regarded as an exceptionally dangerous crisis. Thetwo were cheered by the fortuitous appearance in Nazran' of two leadersof the Chechen Republic, First Deputy Prime Minister Yaragi Mamo-daev and Kh. Maraev. These two leaders joined Aushev and Aslakhanovin seeking to separate the Russian and the Chechen forces confrontingeach other on the unmarked Ingush-Chechen border. A welcomemoment occurred early in the morning, when Gaidar telephonedMamodaev from Vladikavkaz with the heartening news that "the forceshad been separated."

Shortly thereafter, Aslakhanov remembers, Gaidar was replaced aschief Russian negotiator by Sergei Shakhrai, accompanied by his firstdeputy, General Aleksandr Kotenkov. Shakhrai expressed agreementover the telephone with Aslakhanov's view that "the beginning ofmilitary actions throughout the whole North Caucasus" was possible ifthe crisis were mismanaged. Mamodaev, Aushev, and Aslakhanov thentraveled to Vladikavkaz, where they met with Shakhrai and Kotenkov,"and came to agreement on all questions." The situation, however,40 For Aslakhanov's account, see Aslambek Aslakhanov, Demokratiya prestupnoi ne byvaet

(Moscow: author publication, 1994), pp. 176-81. All quotations in this section aretaken from these pages.

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Aslakhanov recalls, remained exceedingly tense: "We had no doubt thaton both sides [i.e., Russia and Chechnya] there were those who wishedto flex their muscles and unleash a fratricidal war."

On 15 November, the signing of an agreement between Russia andthe Chechen Republic on the separation of forces took place in thevillage of Ordzhonikidzevskaya. Present were an Ingush delegationheaded by Ruslan Aushev; a group of Russian generals led by GeneralKotenkov; a Chechen delegation headed by Mamodaev; and Asla-khanov, who was representing himself (but also, in effect, the RussianSupreme Soviet). The assembled officials signed the agreement endingthe armed standoff between Russian and Chechen forces.

Following this signing ceremony, Mamodaev, Aslakhanov, and otherswere being driven by car when they were halted by an unit of angryRussian paratroopers. The paratroopers said, according to Aslakhanov,that only an hour before General Dudaev and a group of armedChechens had appeared at their post. "He had asked if they knew whohe was and [said] that they were located on Chechen territory. Thecommander of the paratroops had responded that the Russian soldierswere there in accord with an agreement concluded with the ChechenRepublic. Following these words, Dudaev had ordered that they bearrested. A major and a sergeant who refused to surrender theirweapons had been beaten. After having ordered that they be shot,Dudaev then left." Fortunately, Aslakhanov adds, the Chechen soldiershad the good sense not to carry out this "insane order," and the Russianmilitary men were freed and their weapons were returned to them. (Itshould be noted here that, to my knowledge, no other account existswhich claims that Dudaev actually gave an order to execute the Russiansoldiers - indeed, this incident is probably the same one as is describedin the above-cited 18 November issue ofKrasnaya zvezda.)

On the following day, 16 November, according to Aslakhanov,Dudaev declared publicly that "he had not given Mamodaev theauthority to carry out negotiations or to sign an agreement." Thisstatement infuriated Sergei Shakhrai, who threatened that, "if there isno mandate from Dudaev concerning the delegation of powers to therepresentative of Chechnya, then the agreement is annulled." Un-daunted, Dudaev then began to assemble a new team of negotiatorsfrom among his closest entourage.

At this point, Aslakhanov relates, he decided that he had to takematters into his own hands. Accompanied by Kh. Maraev, he went tosee Dudaev in person. "For the first time," he remembers, "I addressedthis man with a request that he act in the name of compassion towardthe people and that he permit Mamodaev to complete the negotiations.

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To Dzhokhar's honor, he did not create a spectacle." The crisis wasover, and the previously negotiated agreement was allowed to stand.

What Aslakhanov has to say about his meeting with Dudaev has thering of truth. An outspoken opponent of the Chechen president and astrong supporter of one of his chief rivals, Ruslan Khasbulatov, Asla-khanov nonetheless bears witness that, when approached directly as amoral being, Dudaev did not behave wildly but rather consented to dothe reasonable thing and sanctioned a negotiated settlement.

Yandarbiev's accountIn his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev has provided aversion of events which differs in significant ways from that of GeneralAslakhanov. He writes that, before the Russian thrust toward theChechen border had begun, Russian military units had been heavilyconcentrated in Stavropol' krai, North Ossetiya, and Dagestan, as wellas in Ingushetiya. On 13 November, General Dudaev had written to theNorth Ossetian government about this question, and, on 14 November,a similar letter had been sent to the government of Dagestan. By themiddle of September, Russian MVD troops, Yandarbiev adds, had been"almost entirely replaced by regular army units, and artillery had beenbrought up."41

Concerning the events covered in the account of General Aslakhanov,Yandarbiev writes: "Aslambek Aslakhanov and other Moscow politi-cians arrived in Checheniya. And here there took place an intrigue. Adelegation of the parliament and of the Cabinet of Ministers wasconducting negotiations with the Russian military and representatives ofthe Russian state in Nazran' [Ingushetiya] . . . At that time, Dudaev wasconducting an inspection of the territory along the line where the twoforces met, and he came upon a Russian post and disarmed it. After ashort while, the Russian military, acting out of revenge, arrested thedelegation of Mamodaev-Aslakahanov and demanded the return oftheir weapons. This was done. But our delegation, straight from Russiancaptivity, went on television at 12:00 midnight and attacked D. Dudaev,accusing him of attempting to provoke a war."42

The Security Council launches the "half-force" variant

In December 1992, the Russian Security Council took a decision andapproved supporting documents actively to bolster pro-Russian forces41 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 2 1 1 - 1 5 . On 10 November, Dudaev had also sent a letter

to U S president Bill Clinton concerning the threatened Russian invasion (p. 214) .4 2 Ibid., p. 213 .

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in the North Caucasus region. This decision provided a rationale forRussia's subsequent refusal to find a modus vivendi with Dudaev'sleadership and for promoting Chechen movements in opposition tohim.43 Thus, the much-discussed "half-force" variant, launched in1994, is present, in kernel form, in this Security Council decision of late1992.

Soslambekov's account of meetings held in late 1992Yusup Soslambekov, a close ally of Dzhokhar Dudaev until January1992, when he broke sharply with the Chechen president over the issueof forming a Cabinet of Ministers, served as chairman of the Committeeon Foreign Affairs of the Chechen parliament (elected in 1991). Aschairman of this important committee, Soslambekov played a leadingrole in all negotiations with Russia which took place in late 1992 andearly 1993. At the time of the tense November 1992 crisis, Soslambekovheaded a Chechen delegation which met in Vladikavkaz with Russiandeputy premier Sergei Shakhrai and the Russian minister of emergencysituations, Sergei Shoigu. Later, Soslambekov traveled to Moscow foranother talk with Shakhrai. At this meeting, it was agreed that Moscowwould allocate 2.5 billion rubles for the payment of pensions andbenefits in Chechnya and would also approve the resumption of flightsbetween Groznyi and Moscow.

Also in late 1992, Soslambekov and the delegation he headed met inMoscow with Russian vice president Aleksandr Rutskoi, Russian"power ministers" Viktor Barannikov and Viktor Yerin, and Yurii Yarov,first deputy chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet. These contactswere followed by the already-noted meeting in Groznyi between YuriiYarov and the first deputy chairman of the Chechen parliament,Bektimar Mezhidov, at which "documents were signed denning thebasis of a peaceful resolution of the question of the mutual relations ofthe Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic."44

A key problem with this negotiation process at this point was, ofcourse, that it completely omitted any participation by the Chechenpresident.

Negotiations during 1993

In December 1992, Sergei Shakhrai had succeeded in securing agree-ment from the leading Chechen politicians Yaragi Mamodaev and

43 Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp. 84, 86. 44 Soslambekov, Chechnya, pp. 17-19.

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Yusup Soslambekov to a draft document with the cumbersome title"Treaty on the Separation of Power and Authorities Between the StateGoverning Bodies of the Russian Federation and the Governing Bodiesof the Chechen Republic." This draft treaty built upon the earlier effortsof Egor Gaidar and Mamodaev, who, in November 1992, had signed apreliminary memorandum for a treaty on a division of powers, adocument which "later became the basis of the [so-called] Tatarstanmodel."45 General Dudaev, however, decisively repudiated this drafttreaty and dismissed the negotiations which had taken place as repre-senting a mere "private initiative."46

Negotiations on a treaty nonetheless continued on 14 January 1993,when Russian deputy prime minister Shakhrai and Ramazan Abdula-tipov, chairman of the Council of Nationalities of the Russian SupremeSoviet and an ethnic Avar from Dagestan, arrived in Groznyi for talks.Representing the Chechen side were leading parliamentarians KhuseinAkhmadov, Bektimar Mezhidov, and Yusup Soslambekov, as well asSherip Yusupov (the Chechen representative, i.e., ambassador, inMoscow). During the meeting, a decision was reached to create workinggroups to prepare a "Treaty on the Delimitation and Mutual Delegationof Powers." On 19 January, this draft treaty was published in theChechen press (but those responsible for printing it soon lost theirpositions).47

Dudaev's fierce opposition to this January visit by Shakhrai andAbdulatipov soon became evident. On the 15th of January, the Chechenpresident sharply criticized the protocol which had been signed on theprevious day. On the 17th, the chairman of the Chechen parliament,Khusein Akhmadov, revealed that Dudaev "in all ways had attempted tobreak off the negotiations with Russia and had even wanted to hinderthe landing of the airplane in which the representatives of Russia, SergeiShakhrai and Ramazan Abdulatipov, had arrived in Chechnya." AndAkhmadov added: "The parliament succeeded in organizing the guardof the Russian delegation despite . . . the refusal of the minister ofsecurity of Chechnya to carry out the order to protect the Russian

4 5 Emil Payin, "Understanding the Conflict in Chechnya," in Fred Wehling, ed., EthnicConflict and Russian Intervention in the Caucasus (San Diego, CA: Institute on GlobalConflict and Cooperation, University of California, 1995) , p. 24.

4 6 Emil A. Payin and Arkady A. Popov, "Chechnya," in Jeremy R. Azrael and Emil A.Payin, eds., US and Russian Policymaking with Respect to the Use of Force, Part I (SantaMonica, CA: R A N D , 1996), posted on Discussion List about Chechnya, 6 November1996, [emailprotected].

4 7 Shakhrai address to the Constitutional Court in Rossiiskie vesti, 13 July 1995, 3. For thetext of a draft treaty written by Yusup Soslambekov, see Soslambekov, Chechnya, pp.58-62.

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delegation."48 Yusup Soslambekov has gone further and claimed thatDudaev sent Chechen spetsnaz in armored vehicles to the parliamentbuilding to "arrest the members of the Russian delegation," but thisversion is not borne out by other sources that I have seen.49 Most likely,the spetsnaz were sent to intimidate the negotiators and to induce theRussian delegation to leave the republic.

On 18 January, Dudaev declared publicly that, "while, on the whole,he supports the conducting of Chechen-Russian negotiations, he doesnot agree with a number of the formulas of the protocol signed by theRussian delegation and the representatives of the Chechen parliamenton 14 January." In particular, Dudaev took exception to the term"delimitation of powers," which he saw as impinging upon the sover-eignty of Chechnya.50 Dudaev's acting vice president, Yandarbiev, hascontended that the January talks "sharply lowered the level of agreementbetween the Chechen Republic and Russian Federation" reflected in thesigned protocols of 12-14 March and 25-28 May 1992.51

It should be noted here that Dudaev's treatment of Russian deputypremier Shakhrai during his visit to the Chechen capital served todeepen an animus against the general on Shakhrai's part, one which hadalready become apparent to journalists in late 1992 when, "as adminis-trative head in the Ossetian-Ingush conflict zone, on one occasion,[Shakhrai] barely escaped arrest when he arrived in Groznyi to conductnegotiations with Dudaev."52 Suspecting Shakhrai of being hostile toChechnya's sovereignty, and to him personally, Dudaev declared afterbreaking off negotiations with Russia in January 1993 that he had "alack of desire to see Shakhrai as the chief representative of Russianpower" in the future.53

One reason for Dudaev's suspicion of Shakhrai was presumably thelatter's open support for the cause of the Russian Cossacks. In January1992, Shakhrai had held meetings in Moscow with representatives ofthe Union of Cossack Armies of Russia after which a Union of Cossacksof Southern Russia had been established. In 1992, seemingly influencedby Shakhrai's pro-Cossack views, Yeltsin had issued a decree formallyrehabilitating the Cossacks, while, in March 1993, another decree ofYeltsin's essentially restored the Cossacks' former status under the

4 8 T i m u r Muzaev, "V G r o z n o m net edinodushiya po otnosheniyu k Moskve," Nezavisi-mayagazeta, 20 January 1993, p. 1.

4 9 Soslambekov, Chechnya, p . 2 3 . 5 0 Muzaev, "V Gr oz nom."5 1 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 222 .5 2 Maria Eismont , " T h e Chechen War: H o w It All Began," Prism, Par t IV, 8 M a r c h 1996.5 3 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p . 26 .

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tsarist Russian Empire as territorially based paramilitary units in theNorth Caucasus region.54

President versus parliament in ChechnyaAs specialists Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have noted, the Constitutionof the Chechen Republic, which had been adopted in 1992, officiallyaccorded (Part 3, Article 62) the determining of domestic and inter-national policy in the republic to the parliament. Negotiating a treatywith Russia was therefore to be the responsibility of the parliament, notthe president.55 By late 1992 and early 1993, however, a sharp powerstruggle was already taking place between the Chechen president andparliament, similar to what was occurring in the Russian Federation,where the dvoevlastie conflict between the Yeltsin presidency and theKhasbulatov-led parliament had commenced in earnest in December1992, at the time of the Seventh Congress of People's Deputies.56

In mid- to late January 1993, Dudaev decided once again to takecontrol of the Chechen side of the negotiation process, which had forthe past six months been in the hands of ambitious rivals like Mamodaevand Soslambekov, whom he did not trust. A large Chechen governmentdelegation, headed by Yandarbiev, was therefore sent to Moscow;among those included in the delegation were the Chechen minister ofeconomics, the minister of finance, the minister of internal affairs, thechief of the Central Bank, and the head of the petrochemical industry.The titular head of the Russian delegation with whom they were tonegotiate was Nikolai Ryabov, a deputy chairman of the RussianSupreme Soviet. The meetings were led de facto by people's deputyVladimir Lysenko, a former deputy chairman of Goskomnats.57

According to Yandarbiev, "The process itself of the negotiationsinspired hope. Having discussed the political aspect of the question . . .54 Hill, "Russia's Tinderbox", pp. 3 6 - 3 7 , 70.55 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya ," n. 20. For the text of the Chechen consti tution in

Russian and in English translation, see Diane Curran , Fiona Hill, and ElenaKostritsyna, The Search for Peace in Chechnya: A Sourcebook, 1994-1996 (Cambridge,MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government , Harvard University, StrengtheningDemocrat ic Insti tutions Project, March 1997), pp. 9 9 - 1 4 1 .

56 O n the Russian dvoevlastie struggle from December 1992 through October 1993, seeJohn B. Dunlop, The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Union, 2nd edn. (Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), pp. 3 0 3 - 2 3 . For a useful collection ofdocuments on this crisis assembled by Yeltsin supporters , see Moskva, osen' 93:khronika protivostoyaniya (Moscow: Respublika, 1994). See also R. I. Khasbulatov,Velikaya rossiiskaya tragediya, 2 vols. (Moscow: T O O SIMS, 1994), and AleksandrRutskoi, Lefortovskie protokoly (Moscow: Paleya, 1994), and Rutskoi, Krovavaya osen'(Moscow: author publication, 1995).

57 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 224.

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we agreed to change the tactic of the negotiations: it was decided toestablish trade and economic relations first. Then, proceeding fromwhat had been achieved on this issue, we would also resolve the politicalpart of the problem. For two days, we worked in this direction. Theprinciples of trade and economic relations were worked out, as was thecooperation of the power structures in the sphere of the struggle withcrime."58

This focus on economic relations appeared to be a promisingapproach. When the time came for the delegates to sign a communiquesumming up the results of their two days of talks, however, the head ofthe Russian delegation, Nikolai Ryabov, according to Yandarbiev,unexpectedly "declared that he had to consult with the chairman of theSupreme Soviet, Khasbulatov." Returning from his meeting with Khas-bulatov, Ryabov then announced that "the Russian side does notconsider the continuation of negotiations possible, since the Chechendelegation has repudiated what was agreed in Groznyi [by Mamodaevand Soslambekov] concerning the working out of an agreement on thedelimitation of powers."59 Yandarbiev and his fellow Chechen delegatesthen issued a sharp protest and left Moscow. Perhaps the mostpromising development in the Russian-Chechen negotiation processhad come to an abrupt end.

On the eve of the critical 25 April 1993 Russia-wide referendum -which asked voters whether they supported the Russian president andhis social and economic policies - General Dudaev sent Yeltsin a letterin which he advised him to disband the Russian Supreme Soviet and toset new parliamentary elections and to hold a referendum on a newRussian constitution.60 Yeltsin did not reciprocate this expression ofsympathy and ignored Dudaev's letter (though in effect he followedDudaev's strategic advice!).

Summing up what might be termed the Yeltsin-Shakhrai strategy fordealing with Dudaev, Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have written:"[P]rior to summer 1994, the Russian leaders relied on the possibilitythat Chechnya would peacefully adopt a more pragmatic policy. Theywere apparently waiting for the blatant failures of Dudaev's adventuristeconomic, social, and diplomatic policies to discredit his regime in theeyes of the Chechen people. The leadership in Moscow hoped that atthat point the implacable 'General-President' would be removed by adomestic opponent [who] would be more inclined to compromise with58 Ibid., p. 225. 59 Ibid.60 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

For the text of this letter and of two other letters which Dudaev sent to Yeltsin in 1993,see Komissiya Govorukhina, pp. 146-51.

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Moscow. Since the Kremlin did not want to increase Dudaev's authorityor his popular legitimacy, the Russian government opted not tonegotiate with Dudaev directly, but with other influential persons(including his rivals) within the Chechen leadership." This policy of"excluding Dudaev from the process of negotiation in advance," Painand Popov note, "produced only deadlock."61

The strategy of excluding DudaevAs we have seen, the cornerstone of the Yeltsin-Shakhrai strategy formanaging the Chechen crisis was to avoid all personal contact withDudaev. A number of Russian and North Caucasian commentatorshave focused upon this as a critical error in judgment. Thus, forexample, Makhmud Esambaev, a member of the Public Council of theGovernment of the Russian Federation to Regulate the Chechen Crisis,recalled in 1995: "I have long been well acquainted with the Presidentof Russia. I said to him: 'Boris Nikolaevich, don't let war happen. Nomatter who is president of Chechnya, invite him in and speak withhim.'" And Esambaev continued: "I said to Dudaev: 'Dzhokhar, why doyou want to separate from Russia?' He answered me: 'Makhmud, theydon't want to take account of me [schitat'sya so mnoi]. We are rossiyane[i.e., Russian citizens without regard to ethnicity], and I am a rossiiskiigeneral.' If they had invited him to participate in talks, there would notbe war today."62

The Tishkov group has noted that Dudaev repeatedly insisted thatthe chief negotiations on the future of Russian-Chechen relations had tobe conducted between himself and "the president or, possibly, theprime minister [of Russia] ,"63 Tishkov believes that, for the sake of asuccessful settlement, and for the avoidance of war, Yeltsin should havebeen willing to talk with Dudaev, no matter how painful it was for himpersonally.64 Pain and Popov, however, have argued that, "If such ameeting had taken place, it would only have strengthened Dudaev,"whom they dismiss as "a person completely without principle."65 In myopinion, Tishkov is right here, while Pain and Popov are wrong. Russiaduring Yeltsin's first presidential term was, as we have repeatedly noted,a state wracked by political turmoil and economic dislocations; the lastthing such a country needed was a major war. Its president thereforeshould have been prepared to go the extra mile for peace.

61 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya." 62 In Chechnya: tragediya Rossii, p . 153.63 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p . 26.64 Tishkov in Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 2 2 - 2 3 .65 In "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne ," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

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The attempt of the Russian leadership to exclude Dudaev fromnegotiations resulted, predictably, in an impasse. As Sergei Shakhrainoted in his presentation to the Russian Constitutional Court in July1995, talks between Chechen delegations and Russian representativescontinued in Moscow during January-May 1993 but "once againDudaev broke off the negotiations." "The second half of 1993," headded, "did not bring any constructive results in the process of politicalregulation [of the conflict]."66

By the summer of 1993, the Russian leadership had decided upon amore aggressive approach to the Chechen problem. At that point, theRussian government invited "all inhabitants of Chechnya to travel toStavropol' krai to receive their pensions."67 According to VladimirLysenko, about 10,000 Russians, Ingush, and Chechens took thegovernment up on this offer despite a prohibition from the Dudaevregime. By offering pensions to those living in Chechnya, the Kremlinwas apparently seeking to pursue a "divide and rule" policy.

According to Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Dudaev continued to exhibit awillingness to negotiate with the Moscow leadership during the latterpart of 1993. Thus a Chechen representative, M. Mugadaev, was sent tothe Russian capital for talks with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin,while the Chechen foreign minister, Shamsudin Yusef, conferred inMoscow with Yurii Yarov, first deputy chairman of the Russian SupremeSoviet. "From this," Yandarbiev complains, "there was created animpression that a change in relations had taken place. But it was only animpression and nothing more."68

In December 1993, following the decisive defeat by Yeltsin ofRutskoi, Khasbulatov, and their supporters in the bloody "Octoberevents," a new Russian constitution was adopted in a Russia-widereferendum.69 Like the earlier Federation Treaty of 1992, this documentnecessarily had an impact over the full range of Russo-Chechen rela-tions. A detailed discussion of the constitution and its relation toChechen secessionism will appear in the forthcoming second volume ofmy study on the war.70

66 In Rossiiskie vesti, 13 July 1995, p. 3.67 Vladimir Lysenko, Ot Tatarstana do Chechni: stanovlenie novogo rossiiskogo federalizma

(Moscow: Institut sovremennoi politiki, 1995), p . 164.68 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p. 284. O n Yusef, see Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 92.69 For the text of the new Russian constitution, see Vladimir V. Belyakov and Walter J.

Raymond, eds. , Constitution of the Russian Federation (Lawrenceville, VA: Brunswick,1994).

70 For a useful discussion of the constitutional and legal issues raised by Chechenseparatism, see Pravovye aspekty chechenskogo krizisa (Moscow: Memorial , 1995). Seealso Edward W. Walker, "Consti tut ional Obstacles to Peace in Chechnya," EastEuropean Constitutional Review, Winter 1997, pp. 5 5 - 6 0 .

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Also in December 1993, Yeltsin, accompanied by his three "powerministers," paid a visit to the North Caucasus region during which anumber of hard-line decisions were taken affecting both the NorthOssetian-Ingush dispute and Chechnya. With regard to the ChechenRepublic, a decision was made to tighten controls over Chechen bordersand to take control of the railway leading into Chechnya. Dudaev andhis military commanders then declared publicly that these movesconstituted a veiled declaration of war. An unnamed aide to Yeltsin whohad accompanied him on his trip (most likely Sergei Shakhrai) notedthat "[S]teps were also being taken to prevent Dudaev making any moreof the foreign trips which he has so far been able to make at will."71

Another dimension of the political deadlock obtaining between Russiaand Chechnya during 1992-93 deserves to be briefly noted: namely,economic self-interest. As Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popov have observed:"While there were no influential advocates in either the Russian govern-ment or parliament of granting Chechnya official independence, anumber of senior [Russian] officials were interested in preserving thestatus quo in the 'quasi-separated,' crime-ridden, Chechen Republic - astatus quo which made it possible for them to make fortunes throughbank fraud and illegal oil and arms deals."72

The Govorukhin Commission of the Russian State Duma has drawnattention to the fact that Chechnya received billions of US dollars fromthe sale abroad of oil and petroproducts during 1992-93. "Only thedirect complicity of Russian government structures," the commissionconcluded, "could have ensured the arrival of enormous amounts of oilinto Chechnya [from the Russian Federation] as well as the sending ofprocessed oil-products abroad through Russian pipelines and the receiptof petrodollars by the Dudaev regime."73 The practice of sendingRussian oil into Chechnya from Stavropol' krai, the commission noted,was stopped only in August 1993, while Russian oil continued to be sentin through Dagestan until November 1994, i.e., until just one monthbefore the Russian invasion.

Negotiations in 1994In January 1994, there was a brief flicker of hope that negotiationsbetween the Russian and Chechen militaries might possibly lead to asettlement. A draft agreement was reached in which "a single defensespace" for Russia and Chechnya was foreseen. According to the71 In RFE-RL Daily Report, 9 December 1993, p. 2. See also Nezavisimaya gazeta, 7

December 1993, pp. 1 ,3 .7 2 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya." 7 3 In Pravda, 28 February 1996, p. 2.

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Chechen representative to the talks, Colonel Mirzhuev, the Russian sidepledged to provide the armed forces of Chechnya with weapons, hard-ware, and ammunition, and to repair Chechen military equipment at itsplants; in addition, the Russian side agreed to help prepare Chechenofficer cadres and stated explicitly that it would not use its armed forcesagainst the Chechen Republic.

For its part, Chechnya agreed to participate in a common system ofdefense with Russia in order to repel external aggression and, in time ofwar, to provide the Russian air force with bases on its territory.Chechnya also consented in the draft agreement to participate in jointmaneuvers with Russian forces and pledged that it would not enter intoany military unions or blocs directed against Russia. In peacetime, it wasagreed, Chechnya's army would not exceed 1.5 percent of the republic'spopulation.74 Unfortunately, this most promising draft agreement wasnot pursued further.

Tatarstan strikes a deal with RussiaOn 15 February 1994, recalcitrant Tatarstan signed a bilateral treatywith Russia. The treaty affirmed that Tatarstan was united with Russiaon the basis of the new treaty and of the constitutions of the two states(there existed, it should be noted, contradictions between the twoconstitutions, and the new treaty was not submitted, as required, forapproval by the Federation Council). As part of the agreement whichhad been reached between the two sides, Tatarstan gained a right toconduct its own international and economic relations with foreignstates, and the right to decide questions of ownership, use, and distribu-tion of land and natural resources located on its territory.75 The returnof Tatarstan to the fold left secessionist Chechnya as the sole holdoutamong the eighty-nine "subjects" of the Russian Federation.

Commenting on Chechnya's status as the lone holdout republic,deputy premier Sergei Shakhrai declared at the time: "My position isthe following. The situation in which 1,200,000 rossiyane live thereoutside the Constitution of the Russian Federation and outside the

7 4 See Radio Mayak, 9 January 1994, in RFE-RL, Russia & CIS Today, 10 January 1994,p. 016/17.

7 5 For the text of the treaty, see Rossiiskaya gazeta, 17 February 1994, p. 6. For adiscussion of the treaty and its significance, see Gail W. Lapidus and Edward W.Walker, "Nationalism, Regionalism, and Federalism: Center-Periphery Relations inPost-Communist Russia," in Gail W. Lapidus, ed., The New Russia: TroubledTransformation (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995) , pp. 1 0 7 - 0 8 , and Edward W.Walker, "The D o g That Didn't Bark: Tatarstan and Asymmetrical Federalism inRussia," Harriman Review, Winter 1996, pp. 1 - 3 5 .

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framework of Russian laws is no longer tolerable. The raging ofcriminality is such that neither the life nor the future of a man issafeguarded. Thousands of families are forced to abandon their homes.Naturally the federal authorities cannot remain indifferent."76

According to Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, in his second volume ofmemoirs, the signing by Russia of a treaty with Tatarstan prompted theRussian government, acting in Yeltsin's name, to send Dudaev thefollowing ultimatum: "Cease accusing Russia of imperial ambitions, andtake the treaty signed with Tatarstan as the basis for a possible Moscowmeeting." Since Dudaev was willing to participate in such a meeting,Yandarbiev continues, the prospects at this point for a meeting of Yeltsinand Dudaev "looked fully realizable." And his account continues:"There were even [positive] signals from Moscow. But then the Shakh-rais and Filatovs, placing their bets on Zavgaev and Khadzhiev, wereable to talk the president out of his intentions." A "new escalation oftensions" therefore occurred rather than "a meeting at the top."77

In early September 1994, Vladimir Lysenko, a deputy chairman of theState Committee on Nationality Affairs under Valerii Tishkov and,subsequently, chairman of the subcommittee of the State Duma on thedevelopment of federal relations, made the apposite comment that theconclusion of the treaty with Tatarstan, as well as other successes in thenationalities area, had made the Russian leadership "dizzy withsuccess." Rather than pursuing a patient policy and waiting for Dudaev'sweak government to fall over the next two years, Shakhrai and hiscolleagues succumbed "to a very great temptation," namely, "to inter-fere in the [Chechen] conflict on the side of the opposition, helping it tosmash Dudaev." And Lysenko warned prophetically: "But God forbidthat they should do this. As soon as Russian troops appear on theterritory of Chechnya, the gazavat will be transformed from a threatinto a reality and the opposition will be transformed into a [Russian]fifth column."78

Shakhrai diminishes chances of a settlement withDudaev

During February and March 1994, Russian deputy premier SergeiShakhrai took actions which effectively reduced the chances of reachinga settlement between Russia and Chechnya. In February, he inserted asection into Yeltsin's annual presidential address to the Russian Federal76 In Rossiiskaya gazeta, 17 February 1994, p. 1.77 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp . 2 9 4 - 9 5 .78 Lysenko, Ot Tatarstana do Chechni, p. 165.

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Assembly, delivered on 24 February, that underlined the illegitimatenature of the existing government bodies in Chechnya and demandednew elections in that republic, as well as the initiation of negotiationswith Russia on the delimiting of powers which would leave no room forChechnya's independence.79 Shakhrai went on to affirm that a treatybetween Russia and Chechnya on the delimitation of powers waspossible, but that, as a precondition, new Chechen elections would needto be held first.

On 25 March, the Russian State Duma "adopted a decree by which itis recommended to the president and to the government, first, that theycarry out consultations on the question of future negotiations with allpolitical forces of the Chechen Republic (and not only with Dudaev),and, the main thing, it insisted that a preliminary condition for theconcluding of the proposed Russian-Chechen treaty on the delimitationof powers be the holding of elections in the Chechen Republic to therepublican organs of power and to the Federal Assembly of the RussianFederation."80

As Emir Pain and Arkadii Popov have underscored, this last stipula-tion - i.e., that new elections be conducted in Chechnya to the RussianFederation parliament - "already completely excluded negotiations withDudaev, because he considered himself the lawful president of anindependent state and could not conceive of conducting elections to theorgans of 'neighboring' Russia."81 It, thus, seemed clear that, as far asthe Russian State Duma was concerned, it no longer made sense toattempt to negotiate with Dudaev; Russia should reach out to his rivalsand opponents within Chechnya.

Pain and Popov, Valerii Tishkov, and other commentators haveidentified deputy premier Sergei Shakhrai as being the driving forcebehind the adoption of this Duma decree. Sergei Yushenkov, thechairman of the defense committee of the State Duma, has noted theways in which Shakhrai successfully managed to use the Duma as a clubagainst Dudaev. "At one point," Yushenkov recalls, "it seemed that anagreement satisfactory to everyone (on the model of the Treaty withTatarstan) had been achieved, but Moscow, in the person of Shakhrai,became obstinate. The chief [Russian] 'nationalist' at that time de-manded that the State Duma revoke the decision of the [1991] SupremeSoviet of the RSFSR concerning the deeming of the elections of Dudaev

7 9 For the text of the address, see Rossiiskaya gazeta, 25 February 1994, pp. 1 -7 . For adiscussion of the address, see Payin and Popov, "Chechnya."

8 0 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.For the text of the decree, see Rossiiskaya gazeta, 29 March 1994, p. 1.

8 1 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

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as illegitimate. The explanation for this was the following: if the decisionof that legislative branch were revoked, then one could sign a new treatywith Dudaev; if not, then Moscow would not sign any documents withthe illegitimate Dudaev."82

Shakhrai obviously understood that the rightist-leaning Russian StateDuma that had been elected in December 1993 would never agree torevoke the 1991 RSFSR Supreme Soviet's decision concerning themuch-detested Dudaev. The result of this intrigue by Shakhrai was that"the variant of a peaceful resolution of the question [of Russian-Chechen relations] was missed." And Sergei Yushenkov concludes: "S.Shakhrai was incapable of overcoming or did not want to overcome hispersonal animosity toward Dudaev."83 Journalist Maria Eismont, in asimilar vein, has observed: "Before the spring of 1994, only two personsin the Russian political establishment called for the Dudaev regime to beoverthrown: the former communist leader in the Chechen-IngushRepublic, Doku Zavgaev. . . and Sergei Shakhrai."84

One could argue in hindsight that this belligerent stance by theRussian official in charge of nationality and regional affairs in theRussian Federation rendered the December 1994 military invasion ofChechnya a likely outcome. The period from March through May 1994witnessed increasing efforts by Russia to adopt the so-called half-forcestrategy, sponsored by Shakhrai, under which anti-Dudaev Chechenswere to be encouraged and assisted in ousting Dudaev from power.There was also a well-planned attempt, most likely approved at the toplevels of the Russian government, to assassinate the Chechen presidentin late May. Certain actions of the Russian leadership during April andMay 1994 can plausibly be seen as preparing the way for such "directaction."

During the period between late March and mid-April 1994, varioushigh-ranking Russian officials gave out mixed signals on how to resolvethe Russian-Chechen political standoff. On 25 March, for example,during talks in Moscow with Chechen state secretary AslambekAkbulatov, Yeltsin's chief of administration, Sergei Filatov, made threehard-line conditions for the beginning of negotiations: that Chechnya"stop slandering Russia"; that the talks be held on the basis of Chechnyabeing a republic of the Russian Federation; and that the Chechen sidestudy the recent Russian-Tatarstan treaty as a basis for negotiations.

8 2 S. N . Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne i problemy rossiiskoi gosudarswennosti i demokratii(Moscow: author publication, 1995), p. 8.

8 3 Ibid., p. 11. 8 4 Eismont, "The Chechen War."

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Akbulatov affirmed that Chechnya was open to compromise but notedthat it would never surrender its sovereignty.85

Several days later, Vladimir Shumeiko, chairman of the upper houseof the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, signaled a somewhatmore flexible approach. As a basis for renewing negotiations withChechnya, he suggested this schema: that the Chechen Republic remainwithin Russia, and that the Russian government recognize Dudaev asthe president of Chechnya, since the decision of the RSFSR Congress ofPeople's Deputies in 1991 concerning the illegality of Dudaev's election"has lost its juridical effect" following the dissolution of the congressitself.86

In mid-April, Russian deputy minister of economics Valerii Fateevsuggested during an interview with the press agency Interfax that theFederation Council should recognize the legitimate character of Du-daev's rule, noting that the general had been in power for three years.Fateev, who had recently headed a parliamentary delegation which hadvisited North Ossetiya and Ingushetiya, had also during this trip, on hisown initiative, held a meeting with General Dudaev. Fateev called for anurgent renewal of talks between Russia and Chechnya, and he termedattempts by the Russian leadership to negotiate with the Chechenopposition and to condition a future bilateral treaty with Chechnya onthe holding of early parliamentary and presidential elections in thatrepublic as "of no use to Russia."87 Unfortunately, Fateev's counsel hadno noticeable effect on the Russian side.

On 14 April, Yeltsin unexpectedly gave an order to his government tobegin negotiations with Groznyi and, on the basis of those talks, toconclude a treaty of the "Tatarstan type." One must ask whether thisnew tack represented a serious effort to initiate negotiations withDudaev or whether it was a smokescreen for other kinds of solutions. AsPain and Popov have written: "From May [1994], they began theformation of a Russian delegation to carry out consultations . . . [But]the make-up of the delegation wavered for three months (!) andShakhrai was named as its head . . . a person already declared byDudaev to be 'an enemy of the Chechen people' and, in addition, sincehe was the minister of the affairs of the Russian regions [and not theRussian foreign minister] Shakhrai was unacceptable to the president ofthe Chechen Republic for that reason as well. . . Shakhrai was the mostconsistent opponent of the legitimization of Dudaev and therefore of apossible meeting of Yeltsin with him."88

8 5 In RFE-RL Daily Report, 29 March 1994, p. 2.8 6 See Izvestiya, 1 April 1994, p. 2. 8 7 In RFE-RL Daily Report, 17 April 1994, p. 2.8 8 Pain and Popov, "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4.

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Dudaev is nearly assassinatedIn the middle of May 1994, the leadership of the Russian Federation forthe first time began to signal a serious desire to initiate negotiations withDudaev personally. On 19 May, during a press briefing held at theKremlin, Yeltsin's official spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, stated thatthe Russian president "does not see any insuperable obstacles tonegotiations with Groznyi," and noted that Nikolai Egorov, the formerchief of administration of Krasnodar krai, had just been appointedchairman of the Ministry of Nationality Affairs "to activate work in thisdirection." "In the Kremlin," Kostikov declared in a complete about-face of Russian policy, "they are inclined to recognize Dudaev as thelegal president of Chechnya and to conduct negotiations precisely withhim."89 Such negotiations, he noted, could result in a personal meetingbetween Yeltsin and Dudaev.

Two days later, Yeltsin's chief of administration, Sergei Filatov,confirmed that Yeltsin would shortly be meeting with Chechen presidentDzhokhar Dudaev. Filatov noted that Sergei Shakhrai had been releasedfrom the post of minister of nationality affairs "in part because of theneed to improve relations with Chechnya."90 A new plenipotentiaryrepresentative, he said, would be appointed to conduct bilateral talkswith Chechnya.

Had the Yeltsin leadership decided upon a radical change of course inits dealings with separatist Chechnya? Or was it, instead, seeking to lullDudaev and his entourage into a false sense of security? On 27 May, aswas noted in chapter 4 (pp. 154-55), a powerful and sophisticatedremote-control car bomb was set off in Groznyi which would have killedDudaev had he been in his usual position in the automobile procession.Instead, the Chechen minister of interior and one of his deputies died inthe blast. Though angered by the attack, Dudaev nonetheless expresseda continued willingness to negotiate a settlement with Russia. "If theythink that they can break us here by terroristic acts," he warned, "thenthe hour is not far away when the same misfortune will come to Russia.If Yeltsin wants to meet, then let's meet and resolve this at the statelevel."91

But, while the Russian leadership had only several days previouslyexpressed a keen interest in holding such a meeting, it now, apparently,completely lost interest in having one. Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhraireemerged from the shadows and, once again, de facto took over the8 9 In Izvestiya, 20 May 1994, p. 2.9 0 ITAR-TASS report, summarized in RFE-RL Daily Report, 24 May 1994.9 1 NTV, 5 June 1994, in RFE-RL, Russia & CIS Today, 6 June 1994, p. 0403 /32 .

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supervision of Russian nationality and regional affairs (although NikolaiEgorov, a militant Cossack from a Cossack village in Krasnodar krai,southern Russia, remained as titular minister of nationality affairs).92

Activating the "half-force" variantAs Pavel Fel'gengauer, military correspondent for the newspaper Se-godnya, has remarked: "By mid-1994 it was decided to begin a covertoperation to overthrow Dudaev, using the same tactics that were sosuccessful in Abkhaziya in 1993, where the Russian army unofficiallysupported the Abkhaz rebels by providing them with quantities of armsand also firepower, air power, and logistical support."

And Fel'gengauer continues: "Originally, the idea to use the Chechenopposition to overthrow Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev camefrom Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai. General AleksandrKotenkov, deputy nationalities minister and a senior member ofShakhrai's political faction, was the one who took on the practical taskof supplying money and weapons to the opposition. Obviously, Shakhraiand Kotenkov had been given the go-ahead by President BorisYeltsin."93

As was noted in chapter 4 (pp. 154-56), a Provisional Council of theChechen Republic had been brought into existence in December 1993,chaired by former MVD official Umar Avturkhanov, the leading anti-Dudaev figure in the northern Nadterechnyi district (which was also thehome district of Yeltsin adviser Doku Zavgaev). On 3-4 June 1994, i.e.,just one week after the failed attempt on Dudaev's life, the ProvisionalCouncil held a Congress of the Peoples of Chechnya, attended by morethan 2,000 delegates, in the village of Znamenskoe, Nadterechnyidistrict; this Congress represented a key step forward in the attempt byChechen opposition forces to overthrow Dudaev. The ProvisionalCouncil voiced a lack of trust in Dudaev and declared itself to be "thesole legitimate organ on the territory of the Chechen Republic."94

Beginning in the summer of 1994, two deputy chairmen of the newlynamed minister for nationality affairs, Nikolai Egorov, both of whomheld the rank of general - Aleksandr Kotenkov, a close aide to DeputyPremier Shakhrai, and Kim Tsagalov, a North Ossetian - took up9 2 For Egorov's biography, see Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika> pp. 6 9 - 7 0 , and Moscow

News, 1 6 - 2 2 December 1994, p. 4.9 3 Dr. Pavel Felgenhauer, "The Chechen Campaign," Conference on the War in

Chechnya: Implications for Russian Security Policy, 7 - 8 November 1995, sponsoredby the Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey,California, unpublished paper.

9 4 Muzaev, Chechenskaya respublika, p. 44.

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residence on the border with Chechnya and began to prepare theoverthrow of Dudaev "under the cover of the opposition, with theparticipation of Russian military personnel recruited by the FSK." InMoscow, the coordinators of this "black" operation were SergeiShakhrai, Sergei Filatov, Yeltsin's chief-of-staff, and Minister of Nation-alities Egorov.95 At some point during the late summer or autumn of1994, General Tsagalov appears to have been replaced by FSK colonelKhromchenko. According to journalist Maria Eismont, it was GeneralKotenkov and Colonel Khromchenko who were responsible "not onlyfor the arms supplies from Russia to Chechnya, but also for therecruitment of Russian servicemen to take part in the military operationsin Chechnya under FSK patronage."96

Also serving as a key figure in the operation directed against theDudaev regime was Vladimir Lozovoi, head of the North Ossetian andIngushetian Interim Administration, a body operating under the super-vision of Sergei Filatov.97 According to Stephen J. Blank and Earl H.Tilford of the US Army War College, at some point during the summerof 1994, "Yeltsin signed an 'instruction' releasing 150 billion rubles ofstate funds for action against Chechnya."98

In mid-July 1994, anti-Dudaev Chechen leaders present in Moscowwere invited by the "Daimokhk" Chechen-Ingush Cultural Center toattend a meeting at the Hotel Peking. "[T]he leaders of the so-called'opposition,'" Yusup Soslambekov recalls, "were present . . . [T]heyannounced that financing, arms, information, and political support hadalready been guaranteed by the Government of the Russian Federation;in this regard, they cited the support and guarantees of Deputy PremierS. Shakhrai and the head of the [presidential] administration, S. Filatov. . . They called upon those assembled in the room to support thearmed overthrow of the Dudaev regime." Among those in the room whoadvocated this position, Soslambekov remembers, were General VakhaIbragimov, Abdula Bugaev, and Isa Aliroev. Convinced that "we shouldnot involve Russian structures and their special services in the internalaffairs [of Chechnya]," Soslambekov maintains that he argued forcefullyagainst the plan.99

9 5 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 28. On Kim Tsagalov, see Muzaev, Chechenskayarespublika, p. 90 .

9 6 Eismont, "The Chechen War."9 7 Stephen J. Blank and Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Russia's Invasion of Chechnya: A Preliminary

Assessment (Carlisle, PA: U S Army War College, 1995), pp. 1 1 - 1 2 .9 8 Ibid., p. 11. 9 9 Soslambekov, Chechnya, pp. 2 8 - 2 9 .

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Dudaev reaches out to Russian rightistsUnderstandably anxious over the activities taking place on the border ofChechnya, Dudaev appears to have conceived the idea of seeking helpfrom hard-line elements in the Russian Federation who wished toreconstitute the USSR. During the summer of 1994, he invited adelegation of the Russian National Assembly, headed by former KGBmajor general Aleksandr Sterligov, to Groznyi to discuss a proposal tohold a meeting of the former Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet inthe Chechen capital "to denounce the Belevozhskii Treaty [of December1991, which sanctioned the breakup of the Soviet Union] and torecreate the USSR."100

In late July 1994, it was reported that Dudaev had sent a letter toformer USSR procurator general Sukharev, urging him to "investigatethe legality of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha agreements." Dudaev main-tained that the USSR had been dissolved against the will of a majority ofits citizens.101 As has been noted, the Chechen leadership was consist-ently willing to see Chechnya become a union republic within a largersupra-ethnic entity such as a revived USSR. Be that as it may, Dudaev'sovertures to the politically weak Russian right were doomed from thestart and may well have served further to antagonize Boris Yeltsin.102

Accelerating the "half-force" variantBy mid-July 1994, it began to become apparent that the Yeltsin leader-ship had arrived at a firm decision to overthrow Dudaev in a "black"operation. As Emir Pain and Arkadii Popov have commented, the ideafor such an operation was familiar, "since during 1992 alone it had beensuccessfully tried in the Caucasus on two occasions. All of the details ofthe overthrow of Presidents Gamsakhurdia (in Georgia) and El'chibei(in Azerbaijan) were known to the Russian Secret Services so well that itis doubtful that they would have looked for outside expertise informulating scenarios to overthrow Dudaev."103

Future historians of the Russian-Chechen conflict will be indebted toM. A. Smith of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Britain, forhis most useful "Chronology of the Chechen Conflict," the first part ofwhich traces developments on an almost daily basis from 4 July 1994

100 p a y j n a n c j Popov, "Chechnya," n. 13. On the contacts between Dudaev and GeneralSterligov, see Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 3 0 3 , 309 .

101 RFE-RL Daily Report, 26 July 1994, p. 1.1 0 2 See Payin and Popov, "Chechnya," n. 13. 1 0 3 Ibid.

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through 23 May 1995.104 As Smith's chronology shows, there was akind of internal logic at work behind the activities of the Russianleadership in the period from July to December 1994. The "half-force"variant served steadily to push the Russian leadership in the direction ofa "full-force" military invasion in December.

The following recitation of some of the events which took placeduring the period from late July through late August 1994 shows howthe Russian side began, in effect, to take largely irreversible steps towardan armed conflict with Chechnya. On 23 July, the Provisional Councilunder anti-Dudaev opposition leader Umar Avturkhanov appealed toYeltsin for recognition as the sole body of state authority in Chechnya.Two days later, on 25 July, Yeltsin's chief-of-staff, Sergei Filatov, isreported to have met in Moscow with Avturkhanov.

On 29 July, the Russian government issued a declaration on Chechnyain which it claimed that the situation in that republic was effectively"out of control." "The ambitious policy of Dudaev," the declarationasserted, "which attempts to depict Russia as an 'aggressor' and 'enemy'of the Chechen people, has brought the Chechen Republic to isolationfrom the Russian Federation." "The policies of the present leadership ofthe Chechen Republic," the declaration went on, "have become thechief destabilizing factor in the North Caucasus, hindering the regular-izing of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict."105

The following day, 30 July, Yeltsin's chief-of-staff, Filatov, accusedthe Dudaev regime of carrying out public decapitations and voiced hisopinion that only "healthy forces" in the republic, such as Avturkhanov'sProvisional Council, could restore order.106 On 1 August, the Provi-sional Council under Avturkhanov announced that it had deposedDudaev and had taken power in Chechnya. It also affirmed that itintended to hold new elections in May-June 1995. The next day, 2August, Russian deputy premier Sergei Shakhrai warmly welcomed theProvisional Council's statement. On that same day, however, Dudaevissued a strong denial that he had been overthrown and charged theFSK with training Russian units for action in Chechnya disguised asChechen opposition forces.

104 Dr. M. A. Smith, "A Chronology of the Chechen Conflict," Conflict Studies ResearchCenter (CSRC) , R M A Sandhurst, Part I, July 1995, available from [emailprotected]. Part II, issued by the CSRC in April 1996, continues thecoverage of events through 31 December 1995.

105 For the text of the declaration, see Rossiiskaya gazeta, 2 August 1994, p. 1.106 p r o m Smith, "Chronology." Yandarbiev claims that the beheadings were carried out

as vendettas by the families of persons who had been victimized by the criminalactivities of "opposition" leader Ruslan Labazanov and his followers. See Yandarbiev,Checheniya, p. 303 .

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On 11 August, Yeltsin was interviewed on television as he departed ona working tour of the Volga. On the subject of Chechnya, Yeltsin statedthat intervention by force in that republic was "impermissible and mustnot be done." But he then added with a sly smile: "However, thesituation in Chechnya is now changing. The role of the opposition toDudaev is increasing. So I would not say that we are not having anyinfluence at all."107

General Dudaev reacted instantly to Yeltsin's public suggestion thathe had already reached a meeting of the minds with the Chechenopposition headed by Avturkhanov. "The declaration of PresidentYeltsin concerning the situation in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeriya,"Dudaev declared, "bears witness that he personally is directing thisunprecedented provocation. Evidently the methods of the politicalleadership of Russia have not only not changed, but they have becomeeven more aggressive and inhuman . . . We will interpret the intro-duction of troops onto the territory of Ichkeriya as aggression . . . The[Chechen] National Congress has delegated to me the right to declaregazavat. It is a very high responsibility and a difficult task."108 On thesame day on which Yeltsin made his remarks, 11 August, Dudaev signeda decree initiating a military mobilization within the republic.

As Russian journalist Lyudmila Leont'eva underscored on the pagesof Literaturnaya gazeta, Dudaev had, up until that time, been careful toexempt Yeltsin from responsibility for the subversive actions of theRussian special services. In mid-August, however, she concluded sadly,"the idea of a meeting of the two presidents . . . has burst [like abubble] ,"109 War had therefore become more likely.

According to investigative journalist Maria Eismont, on 25 August,the Russian government adopted a secret (i.e., unconstitutional, ac-cording to the 1993 Russian constitution) resolution under which theChechen Provisional Council of Umar Avturkhanov was recognized asthe "only legitimate power structure in Chechnya."110 Simultaneouslywith the adoption of this secret resolution, Avturkhanov was promisedall possible support in both the military and economic spheres, and theRussian government stepped up the payment of wages and pensions tothe populace of the Nadterechnyi and Urus-Martan districts ofChechnya.

On 26 August, Russian deputy premier Shakhrai stated categoricallythat "[T]he possibility of a political dialogue with Dzhokhar Dudaev hasbeen exhausted." Shakhrai went on to claim that Dudaev controlled de1 0 7 Smith, "Chronology." 1 0 8 In Obshchaya gazeta, 19 August 1994, pp.1 0 9 In Literaturnaya gazeta, no. 33 , 17 August 1994, p. 1.1 1 0 Eismont, "The Chechen War."


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facto only "the center of Groznyi," and he noted that the Russiangovernment was "carrying out consultations with the Provisional Gov-ernment [under Avturkhanov] in Chechnya, which controls a significantpart of the territory."l! x

On 28 August, Dudaev claimed publicly that the Chechen leadershiphad in its hands a signed statement from a captured FSK colonel inwhich that officer asserted that Yeltsin had signed an instructionallocating 150 billion rubles from the Russian budget for subversionactivities against Chechnya. Three days later, on 31 August, fightingbegan to intensify between the Dudaev and opposition forces. TheProvisional Council announced that it had sealed off the city of Groznyiand gave Dudaev until 6 September to surrender. On the same day, theProvisional Council also announced that it had set up authorities in sixof the eleven districts of Chechnya.

As can be seen, the fast-moving events which took place between lateJuly and the end of August 1994 had brought Russia and Chechnya tothe edge of war. In accord with a secret decision that had been adopted,Russia was now financially underwriting and militarily assisting theAvturkhanov-led opposition to the extent that the conflict between thetwo sides could, in the future, be seen by Chechens as a strugglebetween an elected Chechen president and puppets being manipulatedby a foreign power, Russia.

The proxy war heats up - September-November 1994In the charged period extending from the beginning of September to thefailed invasion of Groznyi on 26 November, the Russian governmentgave no indication that it was prepared to negotiate with the Dudaevleadership. In an appeal issued to the Chechen people, published on 6September, the Russian government warned Chechens "not to succumbto any provocations of Dudaev and his entourage concerning the needfor a withdrawal of Russian troops [from Chechnya]." "Not one militaryunit of the Russian Federation," the declaration pledged piously, "hascrossed the administrative borders of the Chechen Republic."112

On 6 September, the FSK petitioned the Russian procurator generalto begin criminal proceedings against Dudaev and his entourage inconnection with alleged mass murders being carried out in Chechnya.Two days later, on 8 September, Yeltsin's chief-of-staff, Sergei Filatov,flatly ruled out a future Yeltsin-Dudaev meeting but added that the

111 In Rossiiskaya gazeta, 27 August 1994, p. 1.112 In Rossiiskaya gazeta, 6 September 1994, pp. 1-2.

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conflict between Russia and Chechnya ought to be resolved by peacefulmeans.113

On 9 September, the chairman of the FSK, Sergei Stepashin, arrivedin the North Caucasus for consultations. He visited the towns ofVladikavkaz and Mozdok and met with Vladimir Lozovoi, head of theprovisional administration in North Ossetiya and Ingushetiya, as well aswith the North Ossetian political leadership. The next day, 10 Sep-tember, the Russian procurator general drew the attention of theFederal Assembly and the Russian federal government to the needimmediately to restore law and order in the Chechen Republic.

On 16 September, Deputy Premier Shakhrai affirmed unequivocallythat Chechnya was part of the Russian Federation and stated that allmethods which were lawful in Russia, including crisis methods, could beused to administer that territory. Shakhrai offered his opinion that thearmy should not be drawn into the conflict but said that the Ministry ofInternal Affairs possessed the necessary structures to defend the internalintegrity of the Russian state. He also stated that the FSK was workingagainst criminal structures in Chechnya. Like Filatov, Shakhrai firmlyrejected the idea of holding talks with Dudaev.

On 30 September, Deputy Premier Shakhrai stated flatly that theinstitution of the presidency had to be abolished in Chechnya. A weeklater, on 8 October, he asserted that a free criminal zone had beenformed in Chechnya as a result of the actions of the Dudaev regime andpredicted that the use of Russian MVD forces might prove necessary,though it should be possible, he added, to avoid employing the army.

In late October 1994, General Dudaev wrote what was apparently hislast appeal to Yeltsin, in which he insisted that the Russian president wasbeing given bad advice on Chechnya by his entourage and drewattention to the fact that both he and Yeltsin shared a dangerousopponent: Khasbulatov. Dudaev noted that less than a year remained ofhis own presidential term, adding, "I have the intention to strictlyobserve the set date and the order of carrying out the [next] elections."This letter by Dudaev, Yandarbiev recalls, "elicited no response inMoscow."114

A fortnight later, on 11 November, Shakhrai was continuing to denythat the Russian leadership should hold talks with Dudaev. The Russiangovernment, he said, would talk with Groznyi only once Dudaev hadresigned, and once new elections had taken place in Chechnya.

113 From Smith, "Chronology."114 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, pp. 319-20. Yandarbiev provides the text of the letter but

does not supply a date for it. Sanobar Shermatova in "Chetvertaya popytka?" dates theletter as late October 1994.

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Four days later, on 15 November, Shakhrai was unexpectedlyremoved by Yeltsin as chief Russian negotiator for the Russian-Chechendispute (though he retained his post as deputy premier). It was bruitedthat he would soon be replaced as negotiator by Nikolai Egorov, ministerfor nationalities and regional policy (the appointment of Egorov asRussian plenipotentiary representative in Chechnya was announced on30 November). It soon became evident that Shakhrai, a "hawk" as far asrelations with Chechnya were concerned, had been replaced by a"super-hawk," Egorov.

As this brief chronicle of events has shown, there were no peaceovertures nor any offers to negotiate with Dudaev made by the Russiangovernment in the critical period between 1 September and 26 Nov-ember 1994. While Russian government spokesmen, such as Shakhraiand the procurator general, were taking an unyielding hard line towardsecessionist Chechnya, the Russian special forces were consistently (andat times farcically) denying any involvement in the militarized activitiesof the Chechen opposition. To take one example, on 31 August 1994,the FSK demanded that one of its officers who had been seized inChechnya (Colonel Stanislav Krylov) be released by the Chechens. On5 September, however, the same FSK denied that it had any officers inChechnya. (Later that same day, the Chechen minister of internalaffairs, Ayub Satuev, showed Russian journalists a second captured FSKofficer, Sergei Terekhov, who publicly - and undoubtedly under duress- confirmed that he had come to Chechnya to coordinate the work ofopposition groups.)

On 3 October, the Provisional Council under Avturkhanov launcheda helicopter attack (using Russian military helicopters) on the Groznyisuburbs. Later that same day, the Russian Ministry of Defense deniedthat its forces were operating in Chechnya. On 22 November, theRussian Ministry of Defense once again denied that its troops weretaking part in military operations against Chechnya. (Apart from themilitary helicopters, the Ministry of Defense could, in a legalistic sense,have been telling the truth - Russian military personnel aiding theChechen opposition had been hired as independent "contract workers"by the FSK.)

Alternative strategies for dealing with ChechnyaIn the period between September and November 1994, it became clearto many observers of the Russian political scene that the RussianFederation and the Chechen Republic could be heading toward anarmed confrontation. There was also general agreement among obser-

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vers that Dudaev and his leadership had been severely weakened bothby a bankrupt economy and by the emergence of a significant politicalopposition. As specialist Sergei Arutyunov has noted: "By September1994, perhaps no more than 20 percent of the total population weresupporting [Dudaev]; and any strong support was limited practicallyexclusively to his own clan and other groups related to him either byclan ties or by business."115

Dudaev thus seemed to be on the ropes politically. But how was he tobe finished off? In early 1994, the Analytical Center of the President ofthe Russian Federation had been created in order to bring someintellectual firepower to bear on the problems facing the beleagueredexecutive branch. Two of the scholars at the new center were Emil' Pain,at the time head of the Working Group on National Policy of thePresidential Council, and Arkadii Popov, a consultant to the Center. InMay 1994, a group of experts at the Center, including Pain and Popov,submitted their "Proposals for Conducting Negotiations with the'Chechen Republic."' The nub of their counsel was: "[I]t makes senseto conduct official negotiations precisely with the current president of theChechen Republic," but also "[I]t is desirable to conduct consultationswith the opposition - in a semi-official capacity." It was emphasized inthese proposals that the slightest threat to introduce federal troops intoChechnya always played directly into the hands of Dudaev.116

Unfortunately, Pain and Popov subsequently concluded, the analystsat the Center turned out to be "victims of a certain political game."Powerful elements within the Kremlin were not interested in holdingreal negotiations with the Chechens, but merely wanted to project the"semblance of a negotiation process."117

On 7 September 1994, the Analytical Center submitted to the ExpertAnalytical Council of the President of the Russian Federation a reportentitled "On the Political Situation in the Chechen Republic." On 9 and10 September, the gist of this report was made public by Pain andPopov on the pages of the newspapers Rossiiskie vesti and Izvestiya.118 Inexplaining the Center's views to Izvestiya, Pain stressed that "Moscowmust strive to localize it [Chechnya] and to create a status quo out ofthose persons who recognize its laws. The departure from the politicalscene of El'chibei [in Azerbaijan] and Gamsakhurdia [in Georgia] bears

115 Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences."116 In "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne," Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p. 4. Emphasis in

original.117 Ibid.118 Ibid. On the report, see also Rossiiskie vesti, 9 September 1994, p. 1, and Izvestiya, 10

September 1994, p. 1.

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witness to the fact that an incapable, nationalistic, and isolated regimewill force people all the more quickly to come to self-definition."119

What, then, was the best strategy for the Russian Federation topursue? "Strengthen the [rail, air, highway] blockade of the ChechenRepublic," the Analytical Center's report advised, "and do not permitthe penetration onto its territory of armed groups from neighboringrepublics." "Strengthen," it went on, "the attractiveness of the image ofthose districts of Chechnya which voluntarily reestablish the jurisdictionof Russia (by paying pensions and supporting the health system, both ofwhich have been destroyed in recent years)." "Strengthen the Russianlaw enforcement structures in the region." And finally: "Carry outconsultations with representatives of various political forces in theChechen opposition." Such policies, featuring a peaceful competition oftwo systems, Pain believed, would shortly lead to the fall of the Dudaevregime.120

Once again, the Analytical Center's advice was disregarded by theKremlin leadership. Moreover, beginning in September 1994, theCenter "ceased to receive any commissions whatever" from the pres-idential apparatus, while the channels of information coming to it also"narrowed." A competing analytical center, created by Yeltsin'spowerful chief bodyguard, General Aleksandr Korzhakov, and headedby former KGB general Georgii Rogozin, had seemingly begun to callthe shots on how to solve the Chechen problem.121

Two difficulties connected with the program advocated by Emir Painand his colleagues at the Center should be briefly noted. In contrast towhat he had earlier been saying, by September 1994, Pain was arguingagainst conducting negotiations with President Dudaev. "Today," hestressed during an interview with the newspaper Izvestiya, "negotiationswith Dudaev are excluded, since there are now many Dudaevs inChechnya. No one controls the entire territory of the republic, andmany districts are alienated from the [Dudaev] regime. Therefore, onehas either to talk to everyone or wait until the Chechens become tired ofinstability and make their choice."122

As we saw in chapter 4 (pp. 158-60), the sole Chechen politician witha realistic chance to replace Dudaev was Ruslan Khasbulatov. But, inthe Izvestiya interview, Pain rejected Khasbulatov's candidacy: "The1 1 9 Izvestiya, 10 Sep tember 1994, p. 1.1 2 0 Ibid. A similar approach was advocated in bo th April and Sep tember 1994 by Vladimir

Lysenko. See Lysenko, Ot Tatarstana do Chechni, pp . 84 , 1 6 4 - 6 5 .121 In "Rossiiskaya politika v Chechne , " Izvestiya, 9 February 1995, p . 4. O n Korzhakov's

think tank, see Izvestiya, 24 January 1995 , and "Merl in ' s Tower ," Moscow News, 16,17, and 18 (1995) .

1 2 2 Izvestiya, 10 Sep tember 1994, p . 1.

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candidacy of Khasbulatov for the role of the national leader ofChechnya," he pronounced, "seems to be unlikely. . . He has become amarginal, transitional figure."123 Given Pain's rejection of holdingnegotiations with Dudaev, and of having any dealings with Khasbulatov,his proposals, even if they had been accepted by the Kremlin, wouldhave been unlikely to assist the cause of a negotiated peace.

The rise of the "party of war"During September-October 1994, a surge in the influence of hard-linerswithin the Yeltsin leadership became apparent. The new prominence of"hawks" at the top of the Russian leadership impacted the growingconflict with secessionist Chechnya.124 The leading members of thisrising militant group were: General Aleksandr Korzhakov (b. 1950),head of the Presidential Security Service; Oleg Soskovets (b. 1949), firstdeputy prime minister; Nikolai Egorov (b. 1951), minister for national-ities and regional affairs (also named a deputy prime minister on 7December); General Mikhail Barsukov (b. 1947), head of the ChiefGuards Administration of the Russian Federation; and, lastly, OlegLobov (b. 1937), secretary of the Russian Security Council. Supportingthis group's orientation toward war with Chechnya were the threeRussian "power ministers": Pavel Grachev (b. 1948), minister ofdefense; Sergei Stepashin (b. 1952), minister of security; and ViktorYerin (b. 1944), minister of internal affairs.

Concerning the rise of this "party of war," the Tishkov group hasaptly commented: "Several reasons which were, in the first place, of adomestic Russian character were pushing the federal forces toward abroad-scale military involvement in Chechnya . . . After the Decemberelections of 1993, when liberal ideology and practice as the basis for thepolitics of the authorities received a serious blow from great power-nationalistic aims and moods, it was precisely the motifs of strength-ening statehood which began more and more strongly to acquire weightin Russian politics. In the opinion of certain experts, during 1994 thevector of mass moods ofrossiyane began noticeably to tilt in the directionof traditional Russian and imperial values . . . The president and hisentourage began to lose support both among the people and among apart of the political and economic elite of the country . . . A group ofconservatively inclined politicians, who were closest to the president,and also the 'power' ministers, activated their efforts in order to turn the1 2 3 Ibid.1 2 4 On the rise of this group, see John B. Dunlop, "The Tarty of War' and Russian

Imperial Nationalism," Problems of Post-Communism, March-April (1996) , 2 9 - 3 4 .

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president in the direction of great power and state preservationistprinciples and actions."125

And the Tishkov group continued: "In the midst of these tendencies,there took place efforts to take the mass media under state control . . . ;to alter the course of privatization; to neutralize the 'democratic lobby';. . . and to frighten certain liberal-oriented financial groups. But themain thing in this turning process was to be an action against therebellious region of the country [Chechnya]. A rapid 'expedition' intoChechnya was to become . . . the beginning of a 'great change,' and itschief political goal was to consist in 'a demonstration of the effectivenessof the regime."5126

The debacle of 26 NovemberAs we saw in chapter 4 (pp. 161-63), the anti-Dudaev opposition had,in an almost bloodless operation, succeeded in taking the city of Groznyion 15 October. Inexplicably, the Kremlin had then ordered the opposi-tion forces to quit the city. The most likely reason for this seeminglyirrational decision was a fear that Ruslan Khasbulatov would havebenefited from this development and might conceivably have emergedas a new president of Chechnya. Once this extraordinary opportunitywas allowed to pass, the Russian leadership was forced to rely ever moreheavily on Russian military personnel secretly recruited by the FSK.This "Russianization" of the conflict, in turn, ran the considerable riskof further alienating the Chechen populace.

The culmination of the strategies which were adopted in the wake ofthe failed operation of 15 October was, of course, the catastrophic failedinvasion of 26 November. On that day, a major Russian invasion forcelaunched a concerted attack on Groznyi. "Nowhere in the world,"General Dudaev commented acidly, "is there an opposition with assaultaircraft, tank armadas, and mercenary troops. This is intervention pureand simple, under the guidance of Russia's top leadership."127 Anumber of the tanks pouring into the city were, as has been noted,manned by Russian crews who had been recruited as contract workersfor a "black" operation by the FSK. According to investigations carriedout by the newspaper Izvestiya, there were seventy-eight Russiancontract workers among the attacking force. Twenty-one of them weresoon captured by Dudaev's forces (along with seventy-four opposition

125 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 28. 126 Ibid.127 In Moscow News, 48, 2 -8 December 1994, pp. 1-2.

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Chechens).128 Twenty-six Russian soldiers reportedly eluded capture,which suggests that the remaining thirty-one were either killed or wentmissing.lzy

According to the testimony of three of the captured contract workers:"Recruiters came to their unit from the FSK. They offered the officersand soldiers a contract to carry out a secret task on the territory ofRussia. The pay was to be: 3 million rubles to prepare the equipment,and 3 million for the operation. Those who signed contracts were givena vacation and then sent to Mozdok [in North Ossetiya]. There theyasked them not to shave so they would be physically similar toChechens. At the Mozdok base they prepared thirty-four tanks."130

The FSK recruiters explained to the men that the invasion would be aCakewalk: "They explained to everyone: Dudaev has fled, his forces aredemoralized, the people [i.e., the Chechens] are prepared to meet theliberation of the city with flowers." Instead, the contract workers foundthemselves, on 26 November, in the midst of a living hell, as theirChechen infantry support melted away while Dudaev's men moved inwith grenade-launchers and hand grenades to pick off the tanks andarmored vehicles one by one. Many of the Russians were killed whenthey refused to surrender and tried to effect a breakout back to theirown forces.131

Commenting on this Russian debacle, Sergei Yushenkov, chairman ofthe Duma's defense committee, has remarked: "It is stupid to count onChechens to shoot at other Chechens on a mass scale. But I think thatthis was precisely what was dreamed up by the FSK or by some otherstructures. Of course, the collapse of the opposition operation becameobvious despite gigantic support from Russia . . . The tanks wereaccompanied by 'infantry,' which consisted of Chechen opposition, but,of course, they were not trained. Our military specialists becameagitated over the fact that, as soon as they entered Groznyi, theopposition [forces] melted away . . . And our [Russian] lads had beenassured that only a small Dudaev band was ensconced there. Your task,they were told, is only to bring in the tanks and, if necessary, to fire yourguns to frighten people."132

In his second volume of memoirs, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev writes that"discord" among the leading Chechen opposition figures was a keyfactor behind the failure of the 26 November attack upon Groznyi:128 Izvestiya, 10 December 1994, pp . 1, 4. According to another account , eighty-two

Russian military contract employees part icipated in the operat ion. See Moscow Times,11 December 1994, p. 34 . Fo r the n u m b e r of Chechens captured on 26 November ,see Moscow Times, 4 D e c e m b e r 1994, p . 9.

129 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, p . 4 4 . 130 Izvestiya, 10 D e c e m b e r 1994, pp . 1 ,4 .131 Ibid. 132 Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne, pp . 6 3 - 6 4 .

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"Avturkhanov and Khasbulatov, as well as Zavgaev sitting in Moscow,were unhappy that the city was to be taken in the name of S. Khadzhiev.But the Kremlin had made its choice."133

Yandarbiev also asserts that, two days before the Russian incursion,Dudaev had sent a representative to Ingushetiya asking the secretary ofthat republic's security council to supply him with "anti-tank weaponsand grenade launchers." The Ingush, he intimates, responded affirma-tively to this request.134

A number of commentators have observed that the debacle of 26November made the 11 December invasion of Chechnya almost inevi-table. "After that [the failure of 26 November]," Pavel Fel'gengauer,military correspondent for the newspaper Segodnya, has observed,"Yeltsin was left with no choice but to send the regular army intoChechnya."135 If there were to be no new invasion, Fel'gengauerpointed out, then the Yeltsin leadership would have to explain to theparliament and to the Russian public why there had been a "black"operation in Chechnya and why that operation had failed so abysmally.The twenty-one military contract personnel being held by Dudaev were,in this regard, an acute embarrassment. General Boris Polyakov, com-mander of the Kantemir Tank Division, angrily resigned his position on4 December "when he learned that his soldiers had been recruited asmercenaries [by the FSK] without his knowledge."136

"I think that the plan of war," Valerii Tishkov has commented, "aroseafter the dramatic showing on television . . . of captured and humiliatedRussian officers and soldiers. The aides and advisers of the presidenttried to direct his attention to that reportage. The decision was taken byYeltsin himself."137

For the Chechen populace, the 26 November invasion also repre-sented a key turning point. "On 26 November," Ruslan Khasbulatovhas noted, Dudaev's forces "now became not bandit formations butrather the armed opposition of a people to [foreign] occupation.""[T]he pride of the Chechen-mountaineer," he concluded, "had comeawake."138

The Security Council adopts a secret decision to invade

On 28 November, just two days after the debacle in Groznyi, theRussian Security Council convened behind closed doors to discuss the1 3 3 Yandarbiev, Checheniya, p . 342 . 1 3 4 Ibid.1 3 5 Felgenhauer , " C h e c h e n Campa ign . "1 3 6 In Kronid Lyubarskii , "Proigrannaya voina," Novoe vremya, 49 (1994) , 1 2 - 1 4 , and

Smith , "Chronology."1 3 7 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995) , 2 2 - 2 3 . 1 3 8 Khasbulatov, Chechnya, pp . 4 0 - 4 1 .

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Chechen crisis. This first meeting appears not to have included the fullmembership of the council; that plenary session took place on thefollowing day, 29 November.139 What, it might be asked, is the SecurityCouncil, and what is its constitutional function? "The fact that all majordecisions connected with Russia's military actions in Chechnya weremade by the Russian Security Council," Emil' Pain and Arkadii Popovhave written, "necessitates a thorough examination of its decision-making role. First, it is necessary to keep in mind that the SecurityCouncil, despite its important appearance, is not an independentdecision-making organ. All decisions by the Security Council acquireexecutive standing only after the president, who is simultaneously thechairman of the Security Council, signs an appropriate decree. Fromboth a legal and practical standpoint, the Security Council is an advisorybody to the President."

And they conclude: "Therefore, the proper question is not how theSecurity Council readied its 'decision' but what its various members,beginning with the 'power ministers,' advised President Yeltsin andwhose advice he heeded. Since the Security Council's proceedings [on29 November] were conducted behind tightly closed doors, however,this is an almost impossible question to answer."140

The veil of secrecy surrounding the 29 November session has beenlifted in part by Yurii Kalmykov, at the time justice minister of theRussian Federation, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasusregion. "When the official Security Council session was held," herecalled in an interview with the newspaper Komsomol skaya pravda, "allthe documents had already been prepared, and the Security Councilmembers only had to vote - to either adopt or reject the 'force option.'This very much surprised me. I said - let's discuss things first, I want tospeak. But I was told that we would vote first. I again tried to put myview. The president said again - let's vote on it. I had to agree . . . And Ivoted in favor. So did everyone. And then we started discussing it."141

As can be seen, Yeltsin had made up his mind to adopt the "force

1 3 9 Smith , "Chronology." T h e m e m b e r s of the Security Counci l were: President BorisYeltsin, cha i rman; Viktor Che rnomyrd in , p r ime minister; Oleg Lobov, secretary of theSecurity Counci l ; Vladimir Shumeiko , speaker of the Federa t ion Counci l ; IvanRybkin, speaker of the State D u m a ; Defense Minis ter Pavel Grachev; Interior Minis terViktor Yerin; F S K Cha i rman Sergei Stepashin; Evgenii Primakov, cha i rman of theForeign Intelligence Service; F inance Minis ter Vladimir Panskov; Foreign Minis terAndrei Kozyrev; Chief of the Border G u a r d s Genera l Andrei Nikolaev; Sergei Shoigu,minister for emergency si tuations; and Sergei Shakhrai , deputy pr ime minister. (SeeMoscow Times, 22 January 1995, pp . 1 4 - 1 5 . )

1 4 0 Payin and Popov, "Chechnya . "1 4 1 In Komsomol skaya pravda, 20 D e c e m b e r 1994, p . 3 ; English translation: FBIS-SOV-

94-245,21 December 1994, pp. 11-13.

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option" before the beginning of this meeting. He was clearly notinterested in receiving advice from the full membership of his SecurityCouncil. "Some Security Council members," Kalmykov remembers,"advocated talks with the Chechen Republic leadership. [Evgenii]Primakov, for instance. [Vladimir] Shumeiko spoke on this subject... Iwas essentially the only one who categorically opposed the force option.I said that strong-arm action in Chechnya would lead to a partisan war,that a one-day victory might be won but that a long war would thenbegin and would result in protracted hostilities - after all, the Caucasusis a special region. The president's reaction to this was - that's yourpersonal opinion . . . After this I was forced to resign."142

Once again, from Kalmykov's account, it emerges that Yeltsin himselfhad, at this point, become a driving force behind the approachinginvasion. The two Security Council members other than Kalmykov whourged caution were individuals who had had at least some contact withthe Muslim world. Evgenii Primakov, chairman of the Foreign Intelli-gence Service (SVR), was a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, whileVladimir Shumeiko served as chairman of the upper chamber of theRussian parliament, the Federation Council, which included influentialrepresentatives from the North Caucasus region.

According to former foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev, who was aparticipant in the 29 November meeting, "[T]he military peopleconvinced us in the Security Council meeting that it was going to be a'bloodless blitzkrieg' and would not last longer than 20 December."143

In similar vein, Aleksandr Zhilin, military correspondent for the weeklyMoscow News, has reported: "Those near Yeltsin assert that the Russianpresident had no doubt that the war in Chechnya would be a short one.Deputy Premier Sergei Shakhrai and Defense Minister Grachev con-vinced him of this, Yeltsin's aides say now."144

On 30 November, Yeltsin took another portentous step, issuing asecret (i.e., unconstitutional) decree embodying the decisions which hadbeen rammed through during the Security Council meeting held on theprevious day.145 On 11 December, the day of the Russian invasion, thissecret decree (No. 2137c) was superseded by another secret presidentialdecree (No. 2169c).146

1 4 2 Ibid. The Financial Times reported Kalmykov's resignation in its 20 December 1994issue, p. 14.

1 4 3 Cited by Payin and Popov, "Chechnya," n. 30.1 4 4 Aleksandr Zhilin, "Chechnya's Spreading Impact on Kremlin Politics," Prism, Part II,

21 July 1995.1 4 5 T h e text of this secret decree was subsequently published by the pro-democracy

weekly Novoe vremya, 14 (1995) , 6 - 9 .1 4 6 On this, see Kronid Lyubarskii, "Shemyakin sud," Novoe vremya, 32 (1995) , 8 - 1 0 .

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Russia moves toward warOn 28 November, the date on which the initial Security Councilmeeting was held, Russian military aviation, in a well-planned assault,had eliminated all of the aircraft available to the Dudaev government,both military and civilian, and had closed the runways of the twoairfields located near Groznyi.147

On 29 November, the day on which the second and key SecurityCouncil session had occurred, Yeltsin issued a public appeal "to theparticipants of the armed conflict in the Chechen Republic." "Despiteall the efforts of the federal organs of state power," Yeltsin declared, "ithas not been possible to stop the internal conflict in Chechnya, and itsscale is widening." "Expressing the will of our multinational people, andin accordance with the powers given to me by the Constitution of theRussian Federation and by Article 7 of the Law 'On EmergencySituations,'" Yeltsin affirmed, "I appeal to all participants in the armedconflict in the Chechen Republic with a warning and a demand that inthe course of forty-eight hours . . . a cease-fire be enacted, that allfirearms be laid down, and that all armed formations be disbanded." Ifthis were not done, Yeltsin threatened, "then emergency rule will beintroduced onto the territory of the Chechen Republic."148

As can be seen, this appeal by Yeltsin embodied what was in fact anuntruth: namely, that Russia was serving as a neutral, peacemakingforce seeking to solve an internal Chechen conflict. In reality, Russia wasdoing everything in its power to bring the anti-Dudaev opposition topower.

On the morning of 11 December, Russian Ministry of Defense andMinistry of Interior units entered Chechnya. The invasion force con-sisted of 23,700 men, supported by 80 tanks and 208 armored vehicles.The force divided into three columns, which then moved into Chechnyafrom Ingushetiya, North Ossetiya, and Dagestan.149 As he had inNovember 1991, Yeltsin disappeared from view, allegedly to undergo aminor nose operation. A full-fledged war with Chechnya had begun.

147 Maria Eismont , " T h e Chechen War."148 In Rossiiskaya gazeta, 30 November 1994, p. 1.149 Felgenhauer, "Chechen Campaign," and Smith, "Chronology."

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[W]ar was not inevitable. There are all grounds to stipulate that thedirect reason for the war was an incompetent decision by the [Russian]Security Council.

Sergei Yushenkov, chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee1

Moscow invaded [Chechnya] out of pique.Stephen J. Blank and Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Russia's Invasion of Chechnya2

At the end of November 1994 - just two weeks before the Russianmilitary invasion of Chechnya - two colonels from the Russian GeneralStaff visited the State Military Historical Archive in Moscow with anofficial request from the Ministry of Defense to learn more about thehistorical context of armed conflict in the North Caucasus. The archivalstaff were eager to help, but it turned out that the two colonels wereinterested only in "general information which they could have found inany pre-Soviet encyclopedia."3

As this episode demonstrates, the Russian Ministry of Defense hadlittle notion of the historical experience of the people whose lands theywere about to invade. The Russian military - and, evidently, the Russiangovernment as well - had contracted a case of historical amnesia, andthis amnesia, in turn, constituted an intelligence failure of immenseproportions.

In his short book on the Chechen crisis, Sergei Yushenkov, chairmanof the State Duma Defense Committee and a retired military officer,recalls how he exerted himself in vain to forestall the invasion ofChechnya in the period following the military debacle of 26 November

1 Sergei Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne i problemy rossiiskoi gosudarswennosti i demokratii(Moscow: author publication, 1995), p. 14.

2 Stephen J. Blank and Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Russia's Invasion of Chechnya: A PreliminaryAssessment (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College, 1995), p. 11.

3 Alexander A. Belkin, major (retired), "War in Chechnya: Impact on Civil-MilitaryRelations in Russia," Conference on the War in Chechnya: Implications for RussianSecurity Policy, 7-8 November 1995, sponsored by the Department of NationalSecurity Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, unpublished paper.


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Conclusion 2111994. "Those who attacked our tanks," he tried to explain to leadingfigures in the Kremlin, "are not bandits, although there were somebandits among them. But, on the whole, they are a people with theirown customs, which are perhaps strange and incomprehensible for us. . . I said to those who raised objections, 'At least read [Lev Tolstoi's]Hadji Murat"' "Why can't we carry out an operation in our country likethe United States did in Haiti?," Oleg Lobov, secretary of the RussianSecurity Council, retorted haughtily, "It is time for us to show that wecan do it. Enough is enough!"4 For Oleg Lobov, an ahistorical man,there was no essential difference between the Caribbean Haitians andthe North Caucasian Chechens.

If the Russian military and the Russian political leadership had littlenotion of who the Chechens were, the Chechens, for their part, werekeenly and painfully aware of who they were as a people, and what theirhistorical relationship with Russia had been. "For a Chechen," Cauca-sus specialist Sergei Arutyunov has observed, "to be a man is toremember the names of seven generations of paternal ancestors . . . andnot only their names, but the circ*mstances of their deaths and theplaces of their tombstones. This constitutes an enormous depth ofhistoric memory, and in many cases the remembered deaths occurred atthe hands of Russian soldiers - under Catherine the Great, underNicholas the First, under Stalin."5 "[E]ven the smallest Chechen boy,"Arutyunov has noted, "already knows well the whole history of thedeportations [of 1944] and the entire history of the sufferings of hispeople."6

As Arutyunov has remarked elsewhere, Chechnya is best seen asrepresenting a "military democracy," a comparatively rare form ofpolitical and social organization. "[L]ike any other military democracy,e.g., like the Iroquois in America or Zulu in South Africa," he writes,"Chechens retained an institution of supreme military chief. In peace-time, that chief would have no power at all. No sovereign authority wasrecognized, and the nation might be fragmented in a hundred rivalclans. However, in time of danger, when confronted with an aggressor,

4 Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne, p. 64.5 Sergei Arutiunov, "Ethnicity and Conflict in the Caucasus," in Fred Wehling, ed.,

Ethnic Conflict and Russian Intervention in the Caucasus, Policy Paper no. 16 (San Diego,CA: Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California, August1995), pp. 16-17.

6 From Arutyunov's comments on Chechen historical memory, delivered before theRussian Constitutional Court on 13 July 1995: "Istoricheskaya pamyat' Chechni,"Novoevremya, 29 (1995), 12-15.

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the rival clans would unite and elect a military leader. While the war wasgoing on, this leader would be obeyed."7

The tumultuous events occurring in Chechnya during the years1991-94 tend to confirm Arutyunov's analysis. Confronted by thechaos and political uncertainty accompanying the collapse of theUSSR, Chechens, as it were, instinctively selected a general as theirfirst president (though the election, as we have seen, did not correspondto international standards). During the times when Russia appearedseriously to be contemplating an invasion (November 1991, March1992, November 1992, November-December 1994), the Chechenswould, to a notable extent, rally around their supreme military chief inorder to repel a potential foreign aggressor. When tensions wouldsubside, Chechen society would once again "fragment" into its consti-tuent clans, and Dudaev's power would visibly dissipate. The Russianpolitical and military leaderships appear to have been ignorant of thiskey dynamic.

Commenting upon the historical experience of the Chechens underboth the tsars and communists, Valerii Tishkov noted in testimonybefore the Russian Constitutional Court in 1995: "Former regimes, andnot only the Soviet, but the tsarist as well, committed a great manycrimes against the Chechen people. The most tragic episode is the Stalindeportation."8 In a similar vein, Sergei Arutyunov has underscored thatthe Chechens have "suffered from the tsarist colonialist and Stalinistneo-imperialist policies more than any other nation in the Caucasus,and, probably, next only to the Crimean Tatars, on the all-Russian [andall-USSR] scale."9 It seems clear that a post-communist Russian demo-cratic leadership should have been alert to this factor of past crimes (andgenocide) committed against the Chechens. Visiting new crimes uponsuch a "punished people" would obviously mesh poorly with a professedsystem of political democracy and respect for human rights.

In addition to being manifestly the victims of past "crimes," theChechens during the tsarist period after 1859, and - especially, as wesaw in chapter 3 (pp. 85-88), in the Soviet period - were not accordedan equitable "slice of the pie" with regards to economic well-being andsocial services. Whether it was rate of employment, level of housing andeducational benefits, or quality of health and human services, theChechens invariably placed at or close to the bottom among the peoples

7 S. A. Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences of the Chechenian [sic] War for the GeneralSituation in the Caucasus Area," Conference on the War in Chechnya: Implications forRussian Security Policy, 7-8 November 1995, sponsored by the Department of NationalSecurity Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, unpublished paper.

8 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 22-23. 9 Arutyunov, "Possible Consequences."

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Conclusion 213of the Russian Federation. As Sergei Arutyunov has underscored:"[T]he whole system of the traditional education of the Chechensmakes them potentially first-rate partisans . . . but it does not makethem potential criminals. It is unemployment which most of all makespeople criminals, and unemployment was higher in Chechnya than inother regions of the Caucasus and, in general, in a majority of the otherregions of Russia."10 The high unemployment prevalent amongChechens stemmed from the indifference and the discriminatory poli-cies and practices of the Soviet regime.

In addition to grossly underestimating the motivation and militarypotential of the Dudaev-led Chechens, the Yeltsin leadership (as will bedemonstrated in detail in volume II of this study) seemed to be unawareof or indifferent to clear-cut major weaknesses of the Russian state: itsstructural semi-collapse; acute economic and administrative dis-locations; and, most significantly, the demoralization, corruption, andrampant inefficiency of the Russian military and of other "powerstructures." A war with well-armed and highly motivated Chechenswould predictably serve to strain the rickety structures of the Russianstate to the utmost.

At this point, we have arrived at the period upon which this study hasbeen concentrating, the years 1989-94, which witnessed the "ChechenRevolution"; the election of Dudaev as Chechen president in 1991; thecollapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991; and then two and a halfyears of sputtering negotiations between Russia and Chechnya, followedby the "half-force" variant of August-November 1994, and then the"full-force" Russian invasion of 11 December.

The recurrent clashes which took place during 1990 and 1991between the Gorbachev-led USSR and Yeltsin-led RSFSR directlyimpacted the Chechens. Both sides in this struggle sought to get theRussian autonomous republics on their side, and engaged in a kind ofbidding war for their support. Gorbachev, as we have seen, held out theprospect of upgrading Checheno-Ingushetiya to union republic status.Shortly after being elected chairman of the Russian Supreme Soviet in1990, Yeltsin began to urge the autonomies to "take that amount ofpower which you yourselves can ingest."11 This bidding war, notsurprisingly, triggered an upsurge in nationalist and secessionist senti-ment among the Chechens. In November 1990 - more than a yearbefore the collapse of the Soviet Union - the republican Supreme Soviet

10 In Novoe vremya, 29 (1995), 12-15.11 "Vremya," Central Television, 12 August 1990, in Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty

(RFE-RL), USSR Today, 12 August 1990, p. 656/03.

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declared the Chechen-Ingush Republic to be a sovereign state. A yearlater - and still before the collapse of the USSR - the full independenceof Chechnya was decreed by Dudaev.

While the leadership of the Russian Federation adopted a consciousdecision to invade Chechnya in both November 1991 and November1992 (and there was, in addition, a tentative coup launched in Groznyiin late March 1992, while an invasion of sorts seems to have beenattempted by MVD "crimson berets" in September 1992), Yeltsin andhis entourage were, in hindsight, fortunate that all of these earlierincursions had to be aborted. The devastation and loss of life occurringduring the Russo-Chechen war of 1994-96 would, one suspects, havebeen quite small in comparison with what might have happened if, say, awar had broken out with Chechnya and the Confederation of Peoples ofthe Caucasus (KNK) in late 1992. By late 1994, a "gathering of theRussian lands," sponsored by Deputy Premier Shakhrai, had succeededin reducing separatist sentiment among most of the peoples of theNorth Caucasus. Indeed, if the problem of Chechnya had been handledin as skillful a fashion, this "gathering" process might have beencompleted by the end of 1994.

What, then, went wrong? Much of the blame for what went awryobviously attaches to Sergei Shakhrai, the gifted lawyer serving asminister for nationality and regional affairs of the Russian Federation.Appointed to his post in October 1992, Shakhrai appears to have soonconcluded that no agreement was possible with the prickly and ego-tistical General Dudaev. Instead, he attempted to circumvent Dudaevand to negotiate a settlement with such leading (and ambitious)Chechen politicians as Yaragi Mamodaev, Khusein Akhmadov, andYusup Soslambekov. To be sure, the Chechen constitution, adopted in1992, assigned the conducting of such negotiations to the republic'sparliament, but, by the beginning of 1993, Dudaev had already becomeembroiled in a dvoevlastie struggle with his parliament, mirroring theone taking place in Russia. For this reason, Dudaev insisted upon beingthe chief negotiator with Russia and, moreover, demanded that eitherYeltsin or Prime Minister Chernomyrdin be his negotiation partner.

By mid-1993, Shakhrai seems to have decided that there was nofurther point in dealing with Dudaev even through proxies, and, by thespring of 1994, he began taking concrete steps to undermine himthrough supporting "opposition" Chechens, such as former MVDofficial Umar Avturkhanov (an ally of Yeltsin adviser and formerChechen-Ingush republican Communist Party boss Doku Zavgaev). Inlate May 1994, a carefully planned attempt was made to assassinateDudaev; following this failure, the Russian leadership increasingly

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Conclusion 215turned to "black" operations under which the FSK advised and armedthe Chechen opposition.

But what if Shakhrai and the Kremlin had seriously attempted tonegotiate with Dudaev? In their book, The Chechen Crisis, the Tishkovgroup points to a number of key mistakes made by the Russian leader-ship. "First," they emphasize (as many others have also done) that,"during the whole time of this crisis, no one among the first persons ofthe state entered into contact with President Dudaev to hear him outand discuss his position."12 One can readily agree that this was indeed,in retrospect, a cardinal error.

Elsewhere Tishkov has stressed his opinion that "military interventionwas not necessary, because Dudaev had been willing to negotiate withthe Russian government on the eve of the [December 1994] attack."13

This point has also been made by former Russian justice minister YuriiKalmykov, who, it will be remembered, had resigned his post followingthe 29 November 1994 Security Council meeting. "After resigning," hehas recalled, "I met with Dudaev in Groznyi. He stated: 'I am ready tomeet with Chernomyrdin today and discuss problems without precondi-tions.'" And Kalmykov added: "Those who believe that political meanshave been exhausted in Chechnya should leave politics."14

The available evidence suggests that Tishkov and Kalmykov arecorrect here; by 1994, Dudaev had been forced by circ*mstance to giveup his dream of forming a Caucasus-wide "Mountain Republic," whilegeneral economic collapse and a restive populace in Chechnya weresapping his resolution not to strike a deal with the Kremlin. A "Tatar-stan-plus" type of agreement could therefore likely have been negotiatedwith the Russian government in 1994.

The chief reason that the Russian leadership refrained from suchnegotiations seems to have been that Sergei Shakhrai (and Yeltsin aswell, as we shall see) harbored a deep-seated personal animus, evenhatred, for Dudaev. In June 1995, State Duma deputy Valerii Bor-shchev, a well-known "democrat," was witness to a revealing exchangebetween Yeltsin and Shakhrai. Borshchev had asked for a meeting withYeltsin to brief him on the details of his visit to Budennovsk, the site of abloody 1995 clash between Russians and Chechens. Shakhrai, who waspresent at the meeting, tried to interject a point into the conversation,

12 V. A. Tishkov, E. L. Belyaeva, and G. V. Marchenko, Chechenskii krizis (Moscow:Tsentr kompleksnykh sotsial'nykh issledovanii i marketinga, 1995), p. 51.

13 In Open Media Research Institute (OMRI), Daily Report, 21 February 1995.14 In Komsomol'skaya pravda, 20 December 1994, p. 3, in FBIS-SOV-94-245, 21

December 1994, pp. 11-13.

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216 Russia confronts Chechnya

but Yeltsin "cut him off abruptly and reminded him that he, Shakhrai,was one of the initiators of the war in Chechnya."15

Indeed, Yeltsin appears to have been correct in making this assertion.As another Duma deputy, Sergei Yushenkov, has noted: "S. Shakhraiwas incapable of overcoming or did not want to overcome his personalenmity toward Dudaev."16 "How did we arrive at a point where war hasbegun in the Chechen Republic?," Ruslan Aushev, the president ofIngushetiya, asked during the 16-17 December 1994 debates in theFederation Council concerning the just-launched Russian invasion: "Irecall the statements of S. M. Shakhrai concerning the fact that thisproblem [Chechnya] was uninteresting to him, that Dudaev himself wasuninteresting, and that all of this was uninteresting."17 Other commen-tators have pointed to Shakhrai's inability to overlook slights he hadreceived from Dudaev during late 1992 and early 1993 and to the factthat, as a Terek Cossack, he appeared to share that group's corporatehistorical animosity toward the Chechens.

But what about President Yeltsin himself? It is he, clearly, who mustbear the final responsibility for the invasion. "The decision concerningthe Chechen war," Fedor Burlatskii has concluded, "judging fromeverything, was prepared by the closest entourage of the president. Butthe president himself took the decision: after all, the Security Council isonly a consultative organ."18

A number of Russian commentators have noted that Yeltsin in hisrelationship with Dudaev (or, rather, in his lack thereof) permittedhimself to give way to strong emotion and to pique. For the president ofa major power to permit himself such an indulgence in dealing with anethnic minority must inevitably be self-defeating. "[T]he decisive escala-tion of the conflict," the Tishkov group has noted, "took place underconditions of a personalization of the clash." In this connection, theycite a revealing statement made by Mintimer Shaimiev, the president ofTatarstan: "Yeltsin was almost certainly ready for negotiations withDudaev on the Tatar model, but then they [his entourage] told him thatDudaev had spoken negatively about him." The Tishkov group con-cludes: "Evidently, from a certain moment on, B. Yeltsin (under theunquestionable influence of his aides and of certain members of theGovernment) crossed Dudaev off the list of Russian [rossiiskie] poli-

15 Vechernyaya Moskva, 10 July 1995. 16 Yushenkov, Voina v Chechne, p. 11.17 In Chechnya: tragediya Rossii (Moscow: Izdanie Soveta Federatsii, 1995), p. 34.18 Fedor Burlatskii, "Uroki kavkazkoi kampanii," Nezavisimaya gazeta, 31 January 1995,

p. 2.

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Conclusion 217

ticians with whom it was permissible to have any dealings, and he thenraised him to the rank of chief enemy."19

A striking similarity between the characters of Yeltsin and his arch-rival Dudaev has been pointed to by some commentators. "In my view,"Major Aleksandr Belkin has written, "it is essential for further under-standing the inevitability of the armed conflict in Chechnya to compre-hend why President Yeltsin declined any possibility of a personalmeeting with Dudaev as a last hope for a peaceful solution of the crisis.As I see it, certain individual features of Yeltsin's character made itpsychologically difficult if not impossible (though not excusable) tomeet his twin brother from Chechnya. like Yeltsin himself, Dudaevstrove for political power; as Dudaev was ready to sacrifice the unity ofthe Russian Federation for his own independent rule in Chechnya, soYeltsin was prepared to facilitate the disintegration of the Soviet Unionin order to win power from Gorbachev."20

In similar fashion, the Tishkov group has underscored their view thatthe clash between Yeltsin and Dudaev "was a conflict between extra-ordinarily ambitious, egocentric, and willful leaders, inclined towardcoercive improvisations in politics."21 Journalist Galina Koval'skaya,writing in the weekly Novoe vremya, has referred to a "battle of the ironpresidents [Yeltsin and Dudaev]."22

Critics of the Yeltsin leadership's policies toward Chechnya haveargued that an imaginative approach to the issues in dispute betweenRussia and Chechnya could quite feasibly have resulted in a treaty, suchas that which was reached between Russia and Tatarstan in February1994. In a statement entitled "It Would Have Been Worthwhile forYeltsin to Pick up the Phone and Call Dudaev," Valerii Tishkov hasargued that the ingredients of such an agreement with Chechnya werepresent all along. The Chechen constitution, adopted in March 1992,he noted, should have been fully acceptable to the Russian government,"with the exception of the preamble, which I would have make a subjectof negotiations."23

And Tishkov went on: "I think that to dictate the harsh phrase that'Chechnya is a subject of the [Russian] Federation' is simply counter-19 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, pp. 29, 33 .2 0 Belkin, "War in Chechnya." I have introduced some minor changes into Belkin's

English text to make it grammatical.21 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 29. 2 2 In Novoe vremya, 1 (1995) , 6 - 9 .2 3 For the text of the Chechen constitution, see Konstitutsiya Chechenskoi Respubliki

(Groznyi: Parlament Chechenskoi Respubliki, 1992). For Russian and English versionsof the Chechen constitution, see also Diane Curran, Fiona Hill, and Elena Kostritsyna,The Search for Peace in Chechnya: A Sourcebook, 1994-1996 (Cambridge, MA: John F.Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Strengthening DemocraticInstitutions Project, March 1997), pp. 9 9 - 1 4 1 .

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218 Russia confronts Chechnya

productive. If it is not present in regard to Tatarstan, then why shouldChechnya after so many losses . . . be forced into that kind of relation-ship? The variant of a state associated with the Russian state, with a highdegree of external ties, is, in my view, fully acceptable."24

In a similar vein, Vladimir Lysenko, chairman of the Russian StateDuma's Subcommittee on the Development of Federal Relations, hasobserved that the "idea of a confederative union" linking Russia andChechnya was a potentially fertile and workable one. "De facto,"Lysenko noted at the end of 1994, "according to the treaty signedbetween Moscow and Kazan', Tatarstan is in such a [confederative]position. Such a non-standard approach could also have been applied toChechnya. I would remind you that even in the [pre-revolutionary]Russian Empire its various parts had different statuses."25

As we saw in chapter 5 (pp. 187-88), the contours of a "Tatarstan-plus" type of agreement were visible to intelligent observers as early asin 1992. Chechnya would receive sovereignty and independence (neza-visimosi!) from the Russian Federation but would agree, in turn, to form"a single economic and military space" with Russia. Chechnya, further,would agree not to enter into any military unions or blocs directed atRussia. Chechen military cadres would be trained at Russian militaryacademies, while Chechen military hardware would be repaired atRussian facilities.

Such an agreement would have involved painful concessions on thepart of the Russian Federation. But compared to the widespread humanand economic devastation which would result from war, it was arelatively small price to have to pay. Concessions to an ethnic groupwhich had lost at least a quarter of its populace to Stalin-era genocideand which had been a "punished people" throughout the Khrushchevand Brezhnev periods were both called for and necessary.

As we saw in chapter 5 (pp. 188-91), Deputy Premier Shakhrai dideverything that he could in the wake of the signing of the Russia-Tatarstan treaty in February 1994 to ensure that Chechnya would face aharsher bargaining position on Russia's part than Tatarstan had beenconfronted with.26 A perusal of the text of the Russia-Tatarstan treatyimpresses with the flexibility and looseness of its language, and with its

24 In Novoe vremya, 15 (1995), 2 2 - 2 3 .25 Vladimir Lysenko, Ot Tatarstana do Chechni: stanovlenie novogo rossiiskogo federalizma

(Moscow: Institut sovremennoi politiki, 1995), p. 188.26 For the text of the Russia-Tatarstan treaty, see Rossiiskaya gazeta, 17 February 1994, p.

6. See also Sbornik dogovorov i soglashenii mezhdu organami gosudarstvennoi vlastiRossiiskoi Federatsii i organami gosudarstvennoi vlasti sub"ektov Rossiiskoi Federatsii orazgranichenii predmetov vedeniya i polnomochii (Moscow: Izdanie GosudarstvennoiDumy, 1997), pp. 212-18.

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Conclusion 219

conceptual "wriggle room." As Valerii Tishkov has underscored, thistreaty nowhere explicitly states that Tatarstan is a "subject of theRussian Federation."

What Shakhrai and Yeltsin were prepared to do for Tatarstan, theywere apparently unwilling to do for Chechnya, presumably because oftheir personal detestation of Dudaev. As was shown in chapter 5 (pp.188-90), a precondition stipulated by Shakhrai for the drawing up of atreaty with Chechnya was the prior holding of new elections to both theorgans of power within the Chechen Republic and to the two chambersof the Russian Federal Assembly. Shakhrai got the Russian State Dumato adopt a decree embodying such a harsh bargaining position towardChechnya in late March 1994.

"The Russian political-military leadership," Major Aleksandr Belkinhas concluded, "did not use all the peaceful means available to resolvethe problem. Instead, its civilian part represented by so-called intellec-tuals . . . unsuccessfully exercised the policy of 'carrots' and 'sticks.'They failed to propose to Dudaev a 'carrot' big enough so that he couldnot reject it (as they had done in the case of Tatarstan)."27

Another key flaw in the Russian leadership's approach to negotiationswith Chechnya was its simultaneous dealings with and clear-cut pre-ference for the so-called Chechen opposition. As Timothy Lee Thomas,an analyst with the US military, has commented: "A final factor workingagainst any Russian attempt at mediation was the fact that, while talkingto Dudaev's people, Russia simultaneously held separate talks with theDudaev opposition, the group it had supported with arms, training, andmen in the November [1994] attack on Groznyi. As a result, Russianmediation was not considered impartial or credible by the Chechens butrather condescending. Thus the stage was set for a bloody confronta-tion."28

If, as Major Aleksandr Belkin has noted, the Russian leadership didnot, on the whole, skillfully employ the "carrots" available to it indealing with Chechnya, it also notably failed to employ available"sticks." The Tishkov group has pointed out that, "a number of neces-sary measures were not taken [by the Russian Federation] in the sphereof the economy and controls over the borders and air space which areusually taken by a state in the case of the appearance of a rebelliousregion." The Russian Foreign Ministry, they note, did not announce tothe international community that "an internal crisis was taking place."

2 7 Belkin, "War in Chechnya."2 8 Timothy Lee Thomas , The Caucasus Conflict and Russian Security: The Russian Armed

Forces Confront Chechnya (January 1995, U S Army, Foreign Military Studies Office,Fort Leavenworth, KS) .

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220 Russia confronts Chechnya

And, lastly, corrupt Russian officials behaved "extremely unprofession-ally" in permitting Dudaev "to create a network of support in [Russian]federal structures."29

The plan for the resolution of the Chechen crisis elaborated in 1994by the Analytical Center of the President of the Russian Federation (i.e.,by Emir Pain, Arkadii Popov, and their colleagues) advocated a similar,but more aggressive approach. The Analytical Center, as we saw inchapter 5 (pp. 200-03), urged that all rail, air, and road connections tothe republic be blockaded; that customs, tax, and police controls beestablished on Chechnya's borders; and that those regions of therepublic (Nadterechnyi and Urus-Martan districts) which recognizedRussian laws be transformed into showcase districts through thepayment by Russia of pensions and other benefits ("a peaceful competi-tion of two systems"). The idea was to isolate Chechnya, to show theChechens the economic and social benefits of cooperating with Russia,and to wait for the scheduled 1995 elections in Chechnya which wouldlikely bring a new leadership to power.30 This was an aggressiveapproach, but it might conceivably have worked.

The so-called half-force variant sponsored by Deputy PremierShakhrai and by others in the Kremlin, which employed the FSK totrain and assist Chechen opposition forces, might also have producedresults, but only if the Russian leadership had been prepared toacquiesce to Ruslan Khasbulatov's accession to the position of Chechenhead of state. The Govorukhin Commission has drawn attention to theopinion of General Aleksandr Kotenkov, first deputy chairman of theMinistry of Nationalities under Sergei Shakhrai, who believes that, inthe summer of 1994, "none of the active leaders of opposition groupscould compare with R. Khasbulatov, who had come to Chechnya withhis 'peacemaking' mission; if the Moscow politicians had risked stakingtheir cards on him, then power could have been taken."31

General Kotenkov would seem to be right. A prickly and obstinateleader with a penchant for ruthlessness and intrigue, Ruslan Khasbu-latov should, nonetheless, from the Kremlin's perspective, have beenpreferable to Dudaev, because, unlike Dudaev, he was not a militarygeneral but, rather, an experienced, professional politician who almostcertainly would have been able, and would have wanted, to conclude a2 9 Tishkov, et al., Chechenskii krizis, p. 51 .3 0 For the Analytical Center's program, see Rossiiskie vesti, 9 September 1994, p. 1;

Izvestiya, 10 September 1994, p. 1; and Emil A. Payin and Arkady A. Popov,"Chechnya," in Jeremy R. Azrael and Emil A. Payin, eds., US and Russian Policymakingwith Respect to the Use of Force, Part I (Santa Monica, CA: R A N D , 1996) , posted onDiscussion List about Chechnya, 6 November 1996, [emailprotected].

3 1 In Komissiya Govorukhina (Moscow: Laventa, 1995) , pp. 5 9 - 6 0 .

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Conclusion 221

Tatarstan-type treaty with Russia. The fact that Khasbulatov wasmanifestly not a "Moscow stooge" could have helped him immensely inpersuading his fellow Chechens to agree to such a treaty.

In point of fact, as we saw in chapter 4 (pp. 161-63), the "half-force"variant actually seems to have worked. On 15 October 1994, oppositionforces allied with Khasbulatov took the city of Groznyi with a minimalloss of life (seven persons on both sides). But Moscow apparentlybridled at the prospect of a Khasbulatov accession to power and orderedBislan Gantamirov's opposition forces out of the city. Moscow clearlywanted "puppet" Chechens to rule Chechnya and not the largelyuncontrollable Khasbulatov. This significant miscalculation onMoscow's part rendered a transition from a "half-force" to a "full-force" variant virtually certain. Beginning on 26 November 1994, thethreatened Russian invasion was transformed in the minds of a majorityof Chechens into a clear-cut national threat.

As Sergei Arutyunov has noted, the Russian-Chechen conflict of1991-94 is, in a number of ways, reminiscent of the charged politicalsituation obtaining in Central Europe and the Balkans in the yearspreceding the Great War. "As we all know," he writes, "although WorldWar I was triggered by a fanatic nationalist intellectual, the basicresponsibility for the war lies with the designs of the great powers -Germany, Austria-Hungary, and others as well - to establish theirdomination over ever-larger territories. The same is true of the conflictsin the Caucasus today. They are all triggered by extremist statements andirresponsible actions of local ethnic minority patriots, but the basicresponsibility for them lies with the central governments and rulingelites of larger nations such as Russia, who still hope to solve theirproblems by force. And in the end, most will probably be defeated [bythe secessionist regions] ,"32

A chief reason that the expansionist designs of Russia (and of Georgiaand Azerbaijan) in the Caucasus region will likely fail, Arutyunovbelieves, is that "Georgian, Azeri, and Russian troops hate to fight fortheir governments' domination on lands which are very far from mostsoldiers' own homes." And Arutyunov concludes on an optimistic note:"[Tjhere are all reasons to believe that the already shrunken territory ofRussia is not going to shrink any more. When real democracy finallywins in Russia, there will be room for all minorities and autonomies, asthere is room for them in modern Germany or Spain . . . But the waytoward this relative democratic stability in Russia may be even moreprolonged and painful than it was in Germany or Spain."33

3 2 Arutiunov, "Ethnicity and Conflict,** pp. 1 6 - 1 8 . Emphasis in the original.3 3 Ibid.

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222 Russia confronts Chechnya

One can concur with Arutyunov's assertion that the "basic responsi-bility for the war" between Russia and Chechnya which broke out inDecember 1994 lies with the outbreak of a virulent form of Russian neo-imperialism. As we have seen, the Russian "black" operations carriedout in Chechnya were modeled on earlier secret operations conductedby the FSK and the Russian military in Georgia, Azerbaijan, andMoldova. The aim behind these secret operations was, it seems, toreassemble the "space" of the former Soviet Union into a single state or,failing that, to create a coerced Russian "sphere of influence" in whichthe newly independent states would be forced to do Russia's politicaland economic bidding. A concomitant goal was to ensure that Russiaobtained a major share of the oil and gas riches of the Caspian region.Since obdurate Chechnya sat athwart Russia's neo-imperial thrustsouthwards - and, moreover, since, when the Soviet Union collapsed in1991, Chechnya had, by historical accident, found itself within theinternationally recognized boundaries of the Russian Federation - therepublic's desire for independence had to be swiftly crushed by force ofarms.

Summing upThe December 1994 Russian military invasion of Chechnya was theresult of a massive intelligence failure and of an egregious miscalcula-tion. The Dudaev-led Chechens constituted a martial people - highlymotivated, courageous, and skillful in battle - who nourished burninggrievances against the Russian state. It should have been self-evident tothe Russian leadership that the Chechens would fight long and hardagainst a perceived foreign invader. But the Yeltsin leadership had littleinkling of who the Chechens were. The Russian "party of war" likewisehad little apparent understanding of the pronounced weaknesses of theRussian state and of its military and "power" structures. A rickety,corrupt, and collapsing military machine was to be pitted against akeenly motivated and well-armed warrior people adept at guerrillatactics. The results should have been predictable.

Unfortunately, the Yeltsin leadership, when confronted with aChechnya bent on secession, elected not to conduct serious negotiationswith President Dudaev. A "Tatarstan-plus" type of agreement could, inmy opinion, have been reached. But the Russian leadership choseinstead to resort to Brezhnev (and even Stalin)-era practices: "black"operations, destabilization campaigns, assassinations, and the installa-tion of "puppet" regimes. The Yeltsin regime, however, lacked the willand the ability to utilize such coercive tools successfully. Moreover, a

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Conclusion 223

relatively free press and other structures of emerging semi-democracyrendered a reversion to communist-era practices difficult and in manyways unfeasible.

Behind the decision to invade Chechnya lay the arrogance and hubrisof the Russian "party of war," A "great power," it was believed, mustswat aside its enemies and opponents like so many flies. A disturbingethnic dimension also seems to have played a role in the invasion.Nationality ministers Sergei Shakhrai and Nikolai Egorov were both bybackground Russian Cossacks who seem to have internalized thatcommunity's historic animus against the Chechens. The results of theirapparent inability or unwillingness to be dispassionate and fair-mindedtoward the pro-secession Chechens were unfortunate, even cata-strophic.

War broke out because of a conviction on the part of a significantsegment of the Russian leadership that ethnic grievances can be resolvedthrough the use of force and through "black" operations rather thanthrough patient negotiation. With the invasion of Chechnya in Dec-ember 1994, Russia's new "Time of Troubles" deepened and becameincreasingly murky.

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Abashidze, Asian, 95Abdulatipov, Ramazan, 180-81Abkhaziya, 90, 116, 140, 193

and planned resurrection of MountainRepublic, 141

war with Georgia, 142-44adat (customary law), 10, 21, 26, 34, 147Adygei, 4, 12, 140, 141Akbulatov, Aslambek, 190-91Akhmadov, Khusein, 108, 109, 110, 180,

214Alexander I, emperor, 14Alexander II, emperor,

1864 decree of, 34, 35on "cleansing" the Crimea, 29

Ali-Bek Haji, 32Aliroev,Isa, 106, 107, 173, 194amanaty (hostages), 25, 52Arabic, 21, 22, 24, 33, 37, 38, 46-47, 54Ardzinba, Vladislav, 142Armenia, 9, 29, 40, 140Arsamikov, Isa, 121, 143Arsanov, Akhmet, 116-17Arsanukaev, Magobed-bashir-Khadzhi,

160Arutyunov (Arutiunov), Sergei, x

on 1991 Chechen presidential elections,114-15

on Chechen losses under tsars andcommunists, 212

on Chechnya as a "military democracy,"211-12

on extent of criminality in Russia andChechnya, 132, 133

on historical memory of Chechens, 211on larger nations resorting to force,

221-22on persecution of Chechens by Cossacks,

134-35relation of unemployment to criminality

in Chechnya, 213on support for Dudaev among Chechens

in late 1994, 201

on threatened Russian invasion ofChechnya in November 1992, 174-75

Aslakhanov, Aslambek, 100, 103account of November 1992 crisis,

175-78background on, 105role in Zavgaev's resignation, 105-06on taking of Groznyi KGB headquarters,

113on threatened November 1991 RSFSR

invasion, 119Assembly of the Mountain Peoples of the

Caucasus, 141August coup of 1991, effects in Chechnya,

100-02Aushev, Ruslan, 104, 176-77

on negative role of Sergei Shakhrai, 216Avars, 3, 11, 23, 24, 28, 41, 74, 116, 172,

180Avtorkhanov, Abdurakhman,

on fate of Chechen intelligentsia, 56on Stalin, 40

Avturkhanov, Umar, 122, 149, 154, 155,156, 160,200,206,214

on behalf of Provisional Council appealsto Yeltsin for recognition, 196

holds Congress of the Peoples ofChechnya, 193

meets with Sergei Filatov, 196military operations of Provisional

Council, 157-58role in almost bloodless taking of

Groznyi in October 1994, 161-63wanted "treaty on delimitation of

powers," 156Azerbaijan, 22, 40, 66, 140, 153, 195, 201,


Baddeley, John,book of, 27on Peter the Great's 1722 campaign, 6on Russia's imperial strategy in

Caucasus, 13

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Index 225

on Yermolov's ruthless policy, 17Bakhmadov, Bandi, 110, 111Balkars, 43, 51, 57, 62, 63, 67, 70, 73, 76,

140, 148Barannikov, Viktor, 118, 119, 179Barsukov, Mikhail, 203Bart (first overtly political organization in

Checheno-Ingushetiya duringGorbachev period), 89-90

Basaev, Shamir, 33, 143, 152excursus on, 144-45hijacks Russian plane to Turkey, 121,

144Basaev, Shirvani, 33Baskhanov, Bek, 155Beibulat, 22Belhorev, Sheikh Qureish (leader of

1944-47 resistance movement), 67-68Belkin, Aleksandr, 217, 219Belovezhskaya Pushcha accords, 195Beriya, Lavrentii, 74, 83

and 1944 deportation, 62-67Blank, Stephen, 194, 210Bliev,M. M., 16-17

book of, 27Bokov, Khazhbikar, Kommunist article of,

82-83Borshchev, Valerii, 215-16Brezhnev, Leonid, 14, 31, 82, 84, 85, 218,

219Budennovsk, 12, 121,215Bugai, Nikolai, 68-70Burbulis, Gennadii, 106-07Burlatskii, Fedor, 106, 216

Catherine the Great, 5, 7-8, 11,211worst-ever military defeat, 11

Caucasus War (1817-64), 19, 27, 28-29,35,99

census,of 1897,30of 1937 and 1939,56,70-71of 1989,86, 122

Chechen Constitutional Court, 150, 151,158

Chechen National Congress, 92, 93Chechen national guard, 104, 105, 110,

112, 116, 154, 170Chechen "opposition,"

attempted coup of 31 March 1992, 149,170-71

encouragement from Yeltsin leadership,196

Government of National Rebirth namedin November 1994, 163

journalist Maria Eismont on, 155-56

launch helicopter attacks, 200meeting in Moscow in July 1994, 194Provisional Council and "half-force"

variant, 193-94recognized in a secret Russian

government decree, 197role in failed attack on Groznyi on 26

November 1994, 204-06role of Yaragi Mamodaev, 150role of Yusup Soslambekov, 150takes Groznyi on 15 October 1994, then

gives it up, 161-63Umar Avturkhanov elected chairman of

the Provisional Council ofNadterechnyi district, 122-23

"Chechen Revolution" of 1990-91, x,85-123

factors behind, 85-88village labor surplus, 85-86

Checheniya (name by which present-dayChechens refer to Chechnya), 2

Chechens,1925 "pacification" of, 44-451939-42 uprising under Hassan Izrailov,

57-581958 pogrom of, 80-81attack Russian fort in 1707, 7Chechen National Congress, 91,92"Chechen Revolution," 1990-91, 48,

85-123clash with Russian cavalry in 1722, 7and collectivization, 49-51Common National Congress (OKChN)

of, 95corruption and criminality of, 127-29Council of Elders, 28, 91Declaration on State Sovereignty, 93decorations won in Red Army, 60-61education level of, 81, 88effect of "Law on Rehabilitation of

Repressed Peoples," 94emergence of national intelligentsia,

34-35escape of Chechen prisoners from

GULAG, 72executions of, 55fertility rate of, 70-71, 79, 84, 86first deportation of, 16forces in late 1991, 116formation of national guard, 112"free" communities of, 20losses in Caucasus War, 28-29mass arrests of, 53-56mass participation in Shamir's

movement, 25-26"Mountaineer" consciousness, 84

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226 IndexChechens (cont.)

native speakers of Chechen, 86October 1991 presidential elections,

113-15patriarchal structure of, 10persecuted historians, 82petition to return to homeland, 38placed in sovkhozes and working

settlements, 79-80Popular Front of, 88, 90as "punished people," 84purge of intelligentsia, 53-56quiescent following 1944 deportation,

82-83rebellion of 1877, 32response to attempted putsch of March

1992, 149response to August 1991 coup, 100-03response to RSFSR MVD troops, 117return home after Stalin's death, 75-80Russian name taken from, 1second deportation of, 27-28self-perception of, 36sense of national identity, 21Sheikh Belhorev resistance movement,

67-68some elude NKVD arrest net, 67-68support for Yeltsin in 1991 election, 96term themselves "Nokhchii," 1termed "bandits," 43"terrorist acts" during collectivization,

50,53third deportation of, 29-30tribes of, 20turnout and vote in March 1991

referendum, 94unrest of 1862-63, 31"voluntary union" with Russians, 82-83

Chechnya,addition of Shelkovskii, Kargalinskii, and

Naurskii districts to, 78area under tsars, 2borders adjusted, 47-48breakdown of economy under Dudaev,

124-29Chechen Autonomous Oblast/ created,

44Chechen-Ingush ASSR, 46Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast',

46Cyrillic alphabet for, 47districts renamed, 73forest zone of, 2Latin alphabet for, 47made part of Soviet Mountain Republic,


as "military democracy," 211-12obtains temporary recognition of

"sovereignty and independence,"169-71

officially wiped off the map, 73redrawing map of, 78-79renamed "Chechen Republic-/c/z&my<z,"

151-52Russian name taken from, 1severed from Mountain Republic, 44

Chermoev, Tapa, 37, 54-55Chernomyrdin, Viktor, 138, 160, 185, 214,

215Circassians, 27, 29-30, 31, 207clans of Chechnya (teipy), 10, 20-21, 26,

48, 53, 98, 127, 141, 151, 153, 158,160,201,212

development under Dudaev, 147-48Clinton, Bill, 178, n. 41collectivization, 48, 49-51, 52-53Common National Congress of the

Chechen People (OKChN), 95,101-02, 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110,111,113, 114

Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS), 86

Communist Party of Checheno-Ingushetiya,

1989 plenum, 88-89cadres in Checheno-Ingushetiya, 53

Confederation of Mountain Peoples,121-22

Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus(KNK), 140-47

conference in Sukhumi in 1989, 141congress in Groznyi in 1992, 141role at time of threatened November

1992 invasion, 174,214signing of confederative treaty, 141

Congress of Mountain Peoples of theCaucasus, 90

Conquest, Robert,on borders of resurrected Chechen-

Ingush ASSR, 78on Chechen population loss from 1944

deportation, 70Constitution of the Chechen Republic,

182,217Cossacks, 16, 19, 20, 29, 35, 84, 174, 223

alleged persecution of Chechens by,134-36

Chechen wives of, 4contribution to Abkhaz separatist effort,

144-45effect of "Law on the Rehabilitation of

Repressed Peoples" on, 94-95, 135

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Index 227

Greben Cossacks, 4integrated into Russian state, 6Terek Cossacks, 4, 33, 78, 80treaty between Don Cossack Host and

Dudaev, 139Council of Elders (Mekhk khel), 28, 91,


absorbed by Russia, 8"cleansing" of, 29Crimean War, 27-28, 41exodus of Crimean Tatars, 29, 212

Dadi-Yurt, massacre at, 15-16Dagestan, 1, 5, 6, 11, 14, 21, 22, 24, 31,

38, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 51, 73, 76, 78,86, 107, 111, 116, 136, 140, 172, 178,186,209

Chechens deported from, 65founding of Soviet Socialist Republic of

Dagestan, 43Daryal Pass, 1 ,3 ,7 ,8death toll, during and following 1944

deportation, 70-71, 84Denikin, Anton, 38, 40deportation,

conditions for deportees in Central Asia,68-70

first deportation of Chechens, 16fourth deportation (1944), 45-46, 60-68genesis of 1944 deportation plan, 62-64Kommunist article on, 83riding the death trains, 68second deportation, 27-28Soviet regime's rationalization of, 61-62third deportation, 29-30, 76undernourishment and infectious

diseases, 69Derbent, 4, 6"divide and rule," 46, 143Dudaev, Dzhokhar, 85, 86, 103, 104, 106,

108, 110, 120, 122, 123, 134, 136,137, 145, 159, 209, 213, 214, 215,220, 222

agreement with General Grachev onweapons transfer, 164-68

assassination attempt of May 1994, 190,192-93,214

assassination attempts prior to 1994,152,154-55

bombing raids in Afghanistan, 97-98on Chechen "opposition," 157as commander of Tartu garrison, 93, 98conflicts with Chechen "opposition," 157construction of an ethnocratic Chechen

state, 134-39

corruption and criminality under,129-34

elected chairman of executive committeeof Common National Congress of theChechen People, 93, 95

elected Chechen president in October1991,113-15

excursus on, 97-99forces commanded by in late 1991, 116as leader of "military democracy,"

211-12meeting with Zviad Gamsakhurdia,

95-96named on arrest list, 111plan for a union of Caucasus republics,

140policies and breakdown of Chechen

economy, 124-29reaches out to Russian rightists, 195rejects protocol of Russian-Chechen

negotiations, 181response to attack on Groznyi on 26

November 1994, 204-06response to attempted Russian invasion

of November 1992, 173-78response to August 1991 coup, 100-02response to Russian threat, 111-12response to threatened invasion, 117retires from Soviet Air Force, 94on rusism, 154sends letter to Yeltsin, 183on signed statement of captured FSK

officer, 198signs decree initiating a military

mobilization, 197on single "defense and financial space

with Russia," 172stages coup in September 1991, 105sworn in as Chechen president, 117takeover of Groznyi KGB headquarters,

112-13takes control of negotiation process with

Russia, 182-84talks with General Grachev on weaponry,

123and visit by Sergei Shakhrai to Groznyi,

180-81writes last appeal to Yeltsin in October

1994, 199Dudaeva, Alia, 97, 155Dunaev, Andrei, 109dvoevlastie (dyarchy),

following August coup in Chechnya,103-05

in Russian Federation during 1992-93,103,124,175, 182,214

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (241)

228 IndexEgorov, Nikolai, 193, 200, 203, 223Eismont, Maria,

on 15 October 1994 events, 162-63on adoption of secret resolution by

Russian government to recognizeAvturkhanov's Provisional Council,197

on Chechen "opposition," 155-56on recruitment of military personnel by

FSK, 194on Sergei Shakhrai and Doku Zavgaev,

190Esambaev, Makhmud, 184

Fateev, Valerii, calls for renewal of talksbetween Russia and Chechnya, 191

Federation Treaty of 1992, 142, 168-69,170, 185

Fedor, Tsar, 5Fel'gengauer (Felgenhauer), Pavel, 118

on consequences of failed 26 November1994 attack on Groznyi, 206

on "half-force" variant, 193Filatov, Sergei, 194

conditions for beginning of negotiations,190

on meeting of Yeltsin and Dudaev, 192meets with Umar Avturkhanov, 196rules out Yeltsin-Dudaev meeting, 198

Gaidar, Egor, role in November 1992crisis, 175-76, 180

Gammer, Moshe,book of, 27on Yermolov's brutality, 17

Gamsakhurdia, Zviad, 109, 142, 195, 201meeting with Dudaev, 95-96removal from power, 123

Gamzat-Bek, Imam, 24Gantamirov (Gantemirov), Bislan, 93, 152,

153,154,161,163,221criminality of, 129

gazavat (holy war), 10, 11, 12, 22, 26, 32,35,41,188

declared by sh*ta Istamulov, 51Dudaev plans to declare, 197

Gelaev, Ruslan, 152Geliskhanov, Sultan, 153, 157Georgia, 3, 40, 66, 73, 95-96, 97, 123,

140,146, 195,201,221,222annexed to Russian Empire, 13appeal to Catherine the Great, 8appeals to Muscovy, 56war with Abkhazian separatists,

142-44Godunov, Boris, 5

Gorbachev, Mikhail, 62, 84, 85, 88, 115,121,213

effects of glasnostf and perestroika, 88encouragement of neformaly, 88March 1991 referendum of, 94sovereignty struggle of, 91thwarts November 1991 invasion of

Chechnya, 118-20Govorukhin, Stanislav, 99, 102, 105, 132,

175on Chechen "criminal revolution," 129Govorukhin Duma Commission, 167,

168, 186,220Grachev, Andrei, 119-20Grachev, Pavel, 132, 203, 207, 208

agreement with Chechen leadership onarms transfer, 164—68

talks with Dudaev on military weaponry,123

threatens to introduce paratroop unitsinto Chechnya, 166

"Great Russian Highway," 28Groznyi (Groznaya), 14, 23, 34, 50, 64, 82

airport in, 127almost bloodless taking of in October

1994,161-63,221attempted coup of March 1992, 149bombed by Russian military aviation,

209during August 1991 coup, 100-02failed invasion of 26 November 1994,

198,204-06Groznyi Autonomous City, 47-48Groznyi (Groznenskaya) oblast', 73, 75,

78gun market in, 127pogrom in, 80-81site of Congress of Confederation of

Peoples of the Caucasus, 141takeover of KGB headquarters in,


Hill, Fiona,on Chechen elite and economy, 125on geopolitical ambitions of

Confederation of Peoples of theCaucasus, 142

on North Ossetian-Ingush conflict,146-47

Ibragimov,Vakha, 111, 120, 194Ichkeriya, 20, 26, 151-52, 171, 197Idigov, Isa (Akh"yad), 151Ingush, 2, 21, 23, 32, 33, 35, 37, 38, 43,

46, 47, 53-68, 70-84, 86, 88, 89, 90,91, 92, 94, 96, 97, 103-05, 108, 110,

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (242)

Index 229

122, 141, 174-77, 181, 185, 186, 194,196,214

and 1944 deportation, 62referendum on separation from

Chechnya, 122Ingushetiya, 47, 55, 56, 57, 58, 62, 63, 79,

85-104, 107, 116, 118, 120, 128, 171,176, 178, 181, 186, 191, 194, 196,199,206,209,216

administrative oblast' of SovietMountain Republic, 43

border with Chechnya, 171Chechen-Ingush ASSR, 46Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast',

46conflict with North Ossetiya, 146establishment of "Ingush Autonomous

Republic within the RSFSR" in 1991,108

lack of desire to secede from Russia,169

November-December 1991 referendumin, 122

role during attempted Russian invasionof Chechnya in November 1992,173-74

Iran (Persia), 6, 13,81Islam, 3, 53, 58, 60, 80, 98, 102, 104, 108,

116,142, 1511944 deportation directed against, 62attacked in Kommunist, 83attacks on by Bolsheviks, 40change of tactics by Sufi brotherhoods,

32development under Dudaev, 147-49Islamization of northwest Caucasus, 12Khrushchev's anti-religious campaign,

81-82medressehs shut down, 48mosques and medressehs in Chechnya,

33Naqshbandiya brotherhood, 10, 21pilgrimages to Mecca prohibited, 49poll on Chechen religious beliefs, 81-82polls on Chechen adherence to, 148-49Qadiriya brotherhood, 31-32regime's "divide and rule" policy toward,

46Shamil' and, 26-27uprising of Sheikh Uzun Haji, 37-39

Istamulov, Hassan, 50, 52Istamulov, sh*ta, 50-51, 54

assassination of, 52Ivan the Terrible, 4Ivanenko, Viktor, 109, 112Ivanov, A. M., 133-34, 171-72

Izrailov, Hassan (leader of 1939-42insurrection), 57-58, 59

Kabarda, 7, 11, 12, 20, 23, 38, 43, 51, 63,140, 141, 148

Kalmykov, Yurii, 207-08, 215Kalmyks, 63, 76, 86Karachai, 43, 51, 57, 62, 63, 68, 69, 70,

73,75,76,77,78, 140Kazakh SSR (Kazakhstan), 66, 68-70, 75,

77-78, 86"special settlements" in, 71-72

Kazi (Gazi), Imam, 23-24, 26Khadzhiev, Salambek, 93, 125, 128, 188,

206background of, 104named prime minister of Government of

National Rebirth of Chechnya, 163Khaibakh, massacre at, 65Khasbulatov, Ruslan, 71, 72, 100, 103-04,

105, 106, 120, 124, 157, 173, 176,178, 182, 183, 185, 199, 202-03, 204,206

on 1990 Chechen National Congress,92-93

on 1991 attempted RSFSR invasion, 118on effects of failed 26 November 1994

attack on Groznyi, 206establishes base in Tolstoi-Yurt, 158-59as feasible alternative to Dudaev, 220-21at Fifth Congress of RSFSR Deputies,

115"peacekeeping mission" of, 159-60resolution "on the political situation in

the Chechen-Ingush Republic,"110-11

response to fall of Zavgaev, 106—08role in almost bloodless taking of

Groznyi, 161-63travels through Chechnya in 1994,

158-60Khrushchev, Nikita, 62, 79, 84, 95, 135,

218anti-religious campaign of, 81-82Twentieth Party Congress under, 75, 76

Kirgiz SSR (Kyrgyzstan), 68-70, 78"special settlements" in, 71-72

Kizlyar, 7, 9, 23, 74, 761996 battle at, 7attacked by Sheikh Mansur, 11-12

Korotkov, Vadim, 136-37Korzhakov, Aleksandr, 131

analytical center of, 202leading member of "party of war," 203

Kotenkov, Aleksandr, 176-77, 193on Ruslan Khasbulatov, 220

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (243)

230 IndexKoval'skaya, Galina, 217Kozyrev, Andrei, 208Kraft, G., 52, 54, 55Krasnodar krai, 87, 134, 154, 192, 193Kumyks, 4, 11,20,31, 172KuntaHaji, 31-32, 148Kutsenko, Vitalii, 101

death of, 105, 110

Labazanov, Ruslan, 154, 157, 196"land question," 33-34, 43, 95, 107"Law on the Rehabilitation of Repressed

Peoples,"effect on Chechens, 94effect on Cossacks, 94-95

Lenin, Vladimir, 43, 89Leont'eva, Lyudmila, 197Lermontov, Mikhail, 18Lewis, Bernard, 21Little Ice Age, 3Lobov, Oleg, 203,211Lozovoi, Vladimir, 194, 199Lunev, Stanislav, on Russian support for

separatist movements, 143-45Lysenko, Vladimir, 182

on effect on Russian leadership ofsigning of treaty with Tatarstan, 188

on "idea of a confederative union" withChechnya, 218

on Russian payment of pensions toinhabitants of Chechnya, 185

Malgobek, 59, 78Mamodaev, Yaragi, 93, 102, 175, 177, 180,

182,214conflict with Dudaev over the economy,

150Mansur, Sheikh, 8, 9-13, 26

square named after, 152Maskhadov, Asian, 146Mezhidov, Bektimar (Bek), 173, 179, 180Mikoyan, A. I., 44military, Russian,

contribution to Abkhaz separatistmovement, 145

little understanding of historicalexperience of Chechens, 209

tsarist campaign against Sheikh Mansur,11-13

Mirzhuev, Colonel, 187Mountain Republic, 50, 54

Arabic language in, 46breakup of, 43-44composition of, 43establishment of, 37, 140relations with Stalin, 42-43

Mozdok,9, 12, 118, 161,205"cornerstone of Russian conquest," 7

Muzaev, Timur,on 1991 Chechen presidential elections,

114on Chechen losses in Caucasus War,

28-29coins term "Chechen national radicals,"

90on fate of Chechen intelligentsia, 56on loss of support by Dudaev, 149

MVD (Ministry of Interior) of RussianRepublic, 129, 138

aborted incursion into Chechnya in1992,172

troops flown into Groznyi, 117-20

Nadterechnyi district, 89, 122, 149, 154,155-57, 161, 193, 197,220

Najmuddin of Hotso (Gotsinskii), 37, 46capture of, 45political leader of 1920 rebellion, 41

Nakh, branch of Caucasian group oflanguages, 1-2

Naqshbandiya, Sufi brotherhood, 10, 30,32,36,46,147

brought to Chechnya, 21origins of, 22revival of, 37-39under Shamir, 26-27

Nazran',23, 108,176, 178negotiations,

in 1993,179-84in 1994, 186-87between Russia and Chechnya in 1992,

168-72, 173,179effect of signing of Russia-Tatarstan

treaty, 187errors committed by Russian leadership,

210-23on role of Sergei Shakhrai in reducing

chances of a settlement, 18891Russian strategy of excluding Dudaev,

184-86Sergei Filatov's conditions for, 190views of Analytical Center of the

President of the Russian Federation,201-02

Nekrich, Alexander,on Chechen attitudes toward Nazis,

58-59on Chechen common ownership of

property, 49on Chechen population loss from 1944

deportation, 70-71on "pauperization" of deportees, 72

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (244)

Index 231

on redrawing map of Chechen-IngushASSR, 78

Nicholas I, emperor, 211on suppression of mountaineers, 18

Nogai, 12,20, 78, 136North Caucasus Military District, 44, 51,

56,114,116,135, 156, 162,165North Caucasus state, 1917 developments,

36-37North Ossetiya, 73, 91, 96, 111, 146, 173,

178, 181, 186, 193, 196, 199, 205, 209

oil industry in Chechnya, 34-35, 50, 74,87, 102, 126-28, 130-31, 186, 222

pipelines, 130-31, 153"project of the century," 153

Old Believers, 6Ordzhonikidze, Sergo, 43Ormrod, Jane, on slow growth of national

consciousness in the North Caucasusregion, 48

Orthodox Christianity, 3, 5, 8, 9, 30, 33Oshaev, Khalit, 54, 55Ossetians, 8, 9, 38, 43, 51, 122, 174

Pain (Payin), Emil', x, 98on 1991 Chechen presidential elections,

114on alleged "bold robbery" of Russian

military arsenals, 167at Analytical Center for the President of

the Russian Federation, 201, 220on Chechen support for Yeltsin in 1991

election, 96comments on effect upon Chechnya of

Gorbachev-Yeltsin struggle, 92on conflict between president and

parliament in Chechnya, 182on contraband at Groznyi Airport, 132on death of Vitalii Kutsenko, 105on Dudaev's state coup, 151on functions of Russian Security

Council, 207on Georgia and Azerbaijan as models for

"black" operations, 195on Khasbulatov and Dudaev, 108on negotiations as possible smokescreen,

191opposes meeting of Yeltsin and Dudaev,

184,202on outmigration of Russians from

Chechnya, 126proposals for negotiating with Chechnya,

201-02rejects Khasbulatov as possible leader of

Chechnya, 202-03

on Russian and Chechen participation inGeorgian-Abkhaz War of 1992-93,143

on Russian contribution to Chechencrime, 130

on Russian officials interested inpreserving crime-ridden Chechnya,186

on seizure of Groznyi KGBheadquarters, 116

on stipulation by Russian State Dumathat new elections be conducted inChechnya, 189

on use of force versus "ChechenRevolution," 103, 115-16

on Yeltsin leadership waiting too long toside with Chechen "opposition," 158

on Yeltsin-Shakhrai strategy for dealingwith Dudaev, 183-84

on Yeltsin's 1991 declaration ofemergency rule, 117

Peter the Great, 1722 military campaignof, 6

Poltoranin, Mikhail, 106-07Polyakov, Boris, 206Primakov, Evgenii, 132, 208Provisional Council of the Chechen

Republic, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158,160, 163, 193, 196, 197, 198, 200

Pugachev, Emel'yan, 11

Qadiriya, Sufi brotherhood, 31-32, 36, 148

Red Army,1925 "pacification" operation, 44-451929 operation in Chechnya, 51suppresses 1920 rebellion, 41-42

Roi, Sergei, on Dudaev's alleged "Nazism,"141

Romanov, Mikhail, 5Rostov oblast', 40, 52, 57, 66, 87, 134RSFSR Supreme Soviet, 110, 111, 120,

124, 159, 169, 171, 175, 183, 190,213

Russian constitution (adopted inDecember 1993), 185

Russian Security Council, 165, 210, 215,216

functions of, 207key meetings of 28 and 29 November

1994,206-08launches "half-force" variant, 178-79secret decrees adopted by, 208

Russian State Duma, 189, 190Russians (ethnic Russians), 47, 48, 66, 73,

80-83,85,89,97, 103, 185,211,223

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (245)

232 IndexRussians (ethnic Russians) (cont.)

alleged maltreatment under Dudaev,134-39

outmigration from Checheno-Ingushetiya, 86, 126, 136, 137

Russian nationalism, 111, 135, 141, 189at time of threatened invasion of

Chechnya in November 1992, 174"voluntary union" with Chechens,

82-83Russification, 35, 46-48, 78-79, 82-84Rutskoi, Aleksandr, 107, 112, 124, 173,

179,185intrigues in Groznyi in October 1991,

109-10playing "Russian card," 111

Ryabov, Nikolai, 182, 183

Said-Bek (leader of 1920 rebellion), 41, 42,43

Savost'yanov, Evgenii, 161, 162secret police (cheka, GPU, NKVD, KGB,

FSK, etc.), 41, 44-45, 97-98, 102,103,109, 116

and 1944 deportations, 62-64arrest of Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, 101assassination of sh*ta Istamulov, 52atrocity at Khaibakh, 65awards for carrying out mass arrests, 66chiefs of NKVD sections assassinated,

56demand return of captured FSK officer,

200deny they have any officers in Chechnya,

200fabrications of, 54-55FSK petitions Russian procurator

general to begin criminal proceedingsagainst Dudaev and his entourage,198

"General Operation for the Removal ofAnti-Soviet Elements," 55-56

loading freight cars, 67participate in 1929 operation, 51persecution of Chechen and Ingush

historians, 82plunder Chechen homes, 74promulgating defamatory view of

Chechens, 129-30recruitment of Russian military

personnel for "black" operations, 194role in failed attack on Groznyi on 26

November 1994, 204-06seized by Chechens, 50signed statement of captured FSK

officer, 198

slanting information on Chechens,137-38

takeover of Groznyi KGB headquarters,113

troika courts, 55Shaimiev, Mintimir, on Yeltsin-Dudaev

relations, 216Shakhrai, Sergei, x, 146, 179, 186, 188,

194, 196,208,218,219affirms unequivocally that Chechnya is

part of Russia, 199alleged pro-Cossack views, 181-82assessment of role in preparing invasion

of Chechnya, 214-16on criminality in Chechnya, 128deputy prime minister and minister of

nationalities, 153, 168and draft treaty on delimitation of

powers, 179-82and "half-force" variant, 220influence of Cossack background, 223on outmigration of Russians from

Chechnya, 136, 138presentation before Russian

Constitutional Court, 169on "raging of criminality" in Chechnya,

187-88released from post of minister of

nationalities, 192removed as chief Russian negotiator for

Russian-Chechen dispute, 200role in November 1992 crisis, 176-77rules out dialogue with Dudaev, 197,

199takes actions in 1994 which reduce

chances of reaching a settlement withChechnya, 188-92

Yeltsin-Shakhrai strategy for dealingwith Dudaev, 183-84

Shamil', Imam, 12, 24-26, 41, 147assessment of, 24-25view of Chechens, 28

Shaposhnikov, Evgenii, 118, 164, 165, 166sharia (Islamic religious law), 10, 22, 23,

24,26,37,147,149attacked in Kommunist, 83"shariat constitution," 43

shariat courts, 50Sheinis, Viktor, 168Sheripov, Mairbek (leader of 1942

uprising), 58, 59Shevardnadze, Eduard, 142

on Russian and Chechen contribution toAbkhaz separatist movement, 145-46

Shoigu, Sergei, 179Shumeiko, Vladimir, 208

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (246)

Index 233

proposed Russian-Chechen negotiationstrategy, 191

Smith, M. A., "A Chronology of theChechen Conflict," 195-96

Soldatova, Galina,on 1991 referendum in Ingushetiya, 122on Chechen historical development, 35

Soskovets, Oleg, 131as leading member of "party of war," 203

Soslambekov, Yusup, 95, 98, 105, 111,121,180, 182,214

account of negotiations with Russia inlate 1992, 179

chosen chairman of parliament ofConfederation of Peoples of theCaucasus, 142

on meetings of anti-Dudaev"opposition" in Moscow, 170, 194

response to threatened Russian invasionof November 1992, 174

on sale of Russian weaponry toChechens, 167

sovereignty, 91, 93, 96, 169, 170, 171, 173,181,191,214,218

Stalin, Iosif, 44, 46, 50, 58, 62, 70, 72, 80,83,84, 174,211,222

and founding of a "Soviet MountainRepublic," 42-43

Stankevich, Sergei, 1991 warning toChechens, 99-100

Stavropol' krai, 74, 78, 86, 87, 95, 133,134, 136, 139, 186

Stepankov, Valentin, 111Stepashin, Sergei, 98, 130, 199, 203

on murders committed under Dudaevrule, 137-38

Sterligov, Aleksandr, 139, 195Sufism, 21, 22, 31, 32, 37, 41, 57, 62, 72,

148Suleimenov, Ibragim, 152, 153

Tajik SSR (Tajikistan), 68Tatarstan, 169

bilateral treaty with Russia as possiblemodel for Chechnya, 124, 156, 180,187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 218-19, 222

Terek River, 7, 14,76Thomas, Timothy Lee, 219Tishkov, Valerii, x, 164, 188, 189

on Chechen population loss from 1944deportation, 70

on debacle of 26 November 1994, 206on degree of criminality in Chechnya,

133on "half-force" option, 156on measures to control borders, 219

on negotiation errors by Russianleadership, 215

on November 1992 crisis, 175resignation from Goskomnats, 168on rise of the Russian "party of war,"

203-04on Russian-Chechen negotiations, 184on Yeltsin's view of Dudaev, 216-18

Tolstoi, Lev, 1author of Hadji Murat, 19, 211on Russia's "civilizing mission," 19

Treaty on the Delimitation and MutualDelegation of Powers, 180, 181, 183,189

Tsagalov, Kim, 193, 194Turgenev, Aleksandr, 17Turkey, 6, 8, 10, 29, 31, 36, 81, 96, 121,

140, 144war with Russia, 13

Udugov, Movladi, 111, 166, 172Umkhaev, Lechi, 92, 94, 95Unshlikht, I. S., 44-45Urus-Martan district, 81, 155, 160, 197,

220Uzbekistan, 68, 76Uzun Haji, Sheikh, 38-39, 41

founder of "North Caucasus Emirate,"38

theocratic state of, 39

Vainakh (Veinakh), 46, 58, 84, 108, 122,173

name referring to Chechens and Ingushtogether, 2

Vainakh Democratic Party, 90, 93, 100,101, 111

Veryaminov, General, 20, 23, 24Vladikavkaz, 8, 12, 36, 51, 65, 176, 179

"War Communism," 40"Wild Division," 36, 60World War II, 58-61

Yakh"yaev, Salaudi, 93, 101Yakovlev, Aleksandr, 62Yandarbiev, Zelimkhan (Zelimkha), ix, 93,

100, 120-21, 146, 155, 167, 181, 185on 2 November 1991 RSFSR decree as

"declaration of war," 115account of attempted November 1991

RSFSR invasion, 120-21account of November 1992 crisis, 178on arrest list, 111on attempted coup of 31 March 1992,


Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (247)

234 IndexYandarbiev, Zelimkhan {com.)

on Chechen volunteers serving inAbkhaziya, 143

on corruption of Chechen officials,128-29

on debacle of 26 November 1994,205-06

declared acting vice president ofChechnya, 150

on desired union of Caucasus republics,140

on effect of signing of Russia-Tatarstantreaty, 188

on Gamsakhurdia's removal, 123meeting with Sergei Stankevich, 99-100on negotiations with Russia in 1992,

169-71on negotiations with Russia in 1993,

182-83on October 1994 Dudaev letter to

Yeltsin, 199participation in Bart, 90reaction to August 1991 coup, 100-01on Rutskoi's visit to Groznyi, 109-11on "treachery" of Chechen

commanders, 152-53Yaragskii, Mohammed, 22, 23Yarov,Yurii, 173, 179, 185Yavlinskii, Grigorii, 125Yeltsin, Boris, x, 33, 89, 91, 92, 94, 99,

110,112,115, 124, 131, 133, 136,154, 159, 160, 162, 175, 176, 181,186, 188, 191, 192, 193, 195, 196,198,199,203,206,219,222

and adoption of new Russianconstitution, 185

apparent favoritism toward Cossacks,135

appeal of 29 November 1994 "to theparticipants of the armed conflict inthe Chechen Republic," 209

assessment of role in preparing militaryinvasion of Chechnya, 215-17

elected Russian president, 96, 100introduces emergency rule into

Checheno-Ingushetiya, 116-20open letter to, 138-39on "opposition" in Chechnya, 156-57,

197plan to replace Zavgaev with Khadzhiev,

103-04pushes for invasion of Chechnya, 207-08RSFSR declaration of sovereignty, 91rules out use of force in Chechnya, 164sovereignty struggle with Gorbachev, 91,

213strategy for dealing with Dudaev, 183-84threatens to introduce emergency rule,

209ultimatum to Chechens, 112use of demeaning language toward

Chechens, 11,43Yerin, Viktor, 179,203Yermolov, General Aleksei, 13-18, 27, 28,

31,36,81,83assessments of, 17-18work continued, 18-19

Yusef, Shamsudin, 185Yushenkov, Sergei, 107

attempts to forestall Russian invasion ofChechnya, 210-11

on debacle of 26 November 1994, 205on role of Sergei Shakhrai in reducing

chances of a Russian-Chechensettlement, 189-90,216

Zavgaev, Doku, 89, 90, 94, 95, 96, 103,157, 170, 188, 193,206,214

background of, 89named Yeltsin adviser, 153resignation of, 105-08role during August 1991 coup, 100-02role in Chechen National Congress, 92

Zhigulin, V., held negotiations withChechen separatists, 169, 171

Zhilin, Aleksandr, 208

Dunlop - Russia Confronts Chechnya - [PDF Document] (2024)


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