Chechnya to bomb its cities. The conflict

Chechnya to bomb its cities. The conflict

Chechnya is home for about one million Chechens, who call themselves Nachtschi. After Chechnya had lost its independence in the Caucasian War (1817 – 1864) it became part of the Russian Empire and was later part of the Soviet Union. Before the decline of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chechnya declared its independence on November 27, 1990.

However, after President Boris Yeltsin took over leadership of the newly founded Russian Federation, Russian Forces penetrated Chechnya in November 1991 and started to bomb its cities. The conflict lasted for more than three years and was reopened on October 2, 1999, when Russian troops invaded the country again. This paper is to describe Chechnya and its population, the development of the conflicts in the 1990’s, and relevance to global issues. It is further intended to outline the crimes against humanity, committed by Russian troops, as reported by the United Nations. Chechnya is a republic in the eastern part of North Caucasia, southwestern Russia, with borders to the republic of Dagestan to the northeast and east, Georgia to the south, and the republic of Ingushetia to the west. Chechnya is one of the twenty-one republics of the Russian Federation.

It was part of the joint Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic of the Soviet Union from 1936 until 1991. Even though Chechnya declared its independence in 1991 the Russian government refused to recognize Chechnya’s it, and in December 1994 Russian troops invaded the republic. Fighting between Russian and Chechen forces, which continued until August 1996, resulted in more than 40,000 deaths and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The total land area of Chechnya is about 15,000 sq km.

The republic lies on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and encompasses several natural regions. The main range of the Caucasus occupies southern Chechnya, marking the republic’s southern border. The highest peak in Chechnya is Mount Tebulosmta (4493 m/14,741 ft). In the north are plains and lowlands consisting of sandy ridges and hills. The main rivers of Chechnya include the Terek, the Sunzha, the Argun, and the Assa. Fertile soil covers the lowlands and valleys, while dry steppe vegetation characterizes the northern plains.

Forests of beech, birch, hornbeam, and oak cover less than one-fifth of the republic and are located mainly on the mountain slopes. Chechnya has hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures are typically lower and precipitation levels higher in the mountain areas. In 1994 Chechnya had a population of about 800,000.The population of the republic declined significantly as a result of the war. Beside Chechens, who form the largest ethnic group in the republic, Russians and Ingush are also represented. The Chechens, who call themselves Nokhchii, are native to the Caucasus region.

The Chechen language belongs to the Nakh group of Caucasian languages and is closely Chechnya – the conflict 5 related to the language of the Ingush. The Chechens have been Sunni Muslims since the 18th century. Petroleum production is the major source of income for the Chechen economy. However, the war destroyed Chechnya’s major pipeline linking Caspian oil fields to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.Russian-Chechen relationships are marked by a series of wars starting in the early 1900’s and finally leading to the occupation of Chechnya in 1859 by Russian troops. The Chechens rebelled again during the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917.

During the 1930s Soviet leaders forced many of the Chechens onto collective farms and made efforts to restrict their religious practices. The Chechens suffered under these policies and fought fiercely for their beliefs and traditional way of life. In 1934 the Chechens and Ingush were united in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast within Soviet Russia.

In 1936 the oblast was raised to the status of an autonomous republic. In February 1944, during World War II, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the Chechen and Ingush people of collaboration with the Nazis and deported them to Central Asia. The Chechen-Ingush republic was abolished and was not restored until January 1957, when its former inhabitants were allowed to return from exile. About half of the Chechens died in Siberia.

In 1991 Chechen general Dzhokhar Dudayev expelled the Communist government in Groznyy. Presidential elections were held in October, and Dudayev won a resounding victory. In November 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chechnya declared itself an independent state. The Russian government refused to recognize it as Chechnya – the conflict 6 such. The Ingush separated from Chechnya and formed their own republic.

Dudayev set up a government in Groznyy but was unable to persuade any countries to recognize Chechnya’s independence or invest in its economy. In December 1994 the Russian Federation government under President Boris Yeltsin launched a full-scale invasion of Chechnya to halt the republic’s movement toward independence. Groznyy was almost completely destroyed before it was taken by the Russians in February 1995.Thousands of people were killed in the fighting.. Dudayev was forced into hiding, but his rebel forces refused to surrender, and fighting continued between the two sides; Dudayev was killed in a rocket attack in April 1996.

In late May 1996 President Yeltsin and acting Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev agreed to a cease-fire, but fighting continued on both sides. By June 1996, when further peace negotiations were held, more than 40,000 people—including large numbers of civilians—had been killed in the conflict, and an estimated 300,000 Chechens had fled to other parts of Russia. The Russian government offered the Chechens almost complete autonomy within the Russian Federation but refused to allow the republic to secede. While some Chechens were willing to support a negotiated settlement to end the war, the rebels continued to fight, claiming that they would settle for nothing less than complete independence from Russia.In August a major Chechen offensive to retake Groznyy was successful.

Later that month, Yeltsin’s national security adviser, Aleksandr Lebed, brokered a peace agreement with Chechen leaders in which both sides agreed to postpone a decision on Chechnya’s status until 2001. By December all Russian troops had withdrawn from the republic. In Chechnya’s presidential elections the following month, Yandarbiyev was defeated by the chief of staff of the Chechen forces, Aslan Maskhadov.

In May 1997 Maskhadov and Yeltsin signed a peace treaty that formalized the terms of the earlier truce. Both sides pledged to forever reject the use of force or threat of force. Separate preliminary Chechnya – the conflict seven agreements were signed regarding economic aid from Russia to help rebuild Chechnya’s ravaged infrastructure, industry, and housing. Unfortunately, the agreement turned to be of short validity. Ongoing efforts of Muslim separatists caused the Russian government in September 1999 to invade Chechnya for a second time.The invasion is marked by heavy bombardments and artillery attacks of the cities.

So far, the conflict has caused the destruction of Grozny, which is still held by the Muslim fighters, and other Chechen centers. Like the earlier conflict, numerous violations of human rights, mainly by the invading troops are a sad reality. The President’s Commission for Human Rights is unanimously of the opinion that events in the zone of armed conflict in the Chechen Republic constitute the most important and most tragic breach of human rights compliance in the Russian Federation in 1994 and 1995. In the magnitude and severity of the human rights violations, in the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, and in the brutalities perpetrated against the civilian population, the Chechen events are unparalleled since the era of mass political repressions in the USSR. The indiscriminate firing into populated areas, preventing the departure of civilians from Grozny before the storming of the city, failure to remove prisoners-of-war from sites subject to shelling and bombing by federation forces, beating of prisoners-of-war, execution of prisoners-of-war, desecration of soldiers’ corpses, and deliberate attacks on civilian buildings have become typical events in the war zones and the surrounding areas. Both sides of the conflict repeatedly committed crimes against humanity.

However, the actions of federal forces are the actions of lawful and supposedly disciplined armed forces under a single, responsible command. The legal government of the Russian Federation bears responsibility for the actions of these forces. This means that Chechnya – the conflict eight violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by federal forces is particularly ominous.The most flagrant violation of humanitarian law regarding the protection of victims of non-international conflicts has been the massive assault on the life and physical integrity of the civilian population. On the night of 20-21 December 1994, federal troops fired on the village of Artemovskaya near Grozny and a shell landed on a house with ten children in it.

Five of the children were killed in the explosion, two died in Grozny’s Children’s Hospital No. 2, and three with severe injuries were hospitalized. The village of Artemovskaya was outside the battle zone and the Chechen IAF did not maintain a permanent presence there. This is just one of the numerous examples of Russian troops deliberately attacking civilian buildings and areas that do not form any military target. Another incident happened on January 3, 1995, when the market and the hospital of Shali were bombed, killing fifty people and injuring one-hundred eighty six.

Murdering civilians is not only the result of artillery attacks and air-strikes, military missions also target the innocent. Crime committed by federal soldiers on January 17, 1995, on the road between Assinovskaya and Nesterovskoye received international publicity. A convoy of ten or eleven cars carrying refugees from Grozny was fired upon, killing eleven people and wounding three. The cars were crushed by a tank of the federal forces. The list of violations of human rights includes the unlawful detention of civilians by Russian troops without due cause, and execution without judicial procedures. Torture and beating of prisoners has been reported repeatedly and was confirmed by human rights organizations operating in Chechnya.

Although, the examples mentioned refer to the earlier conflict in the 1990’s, it is not likely that the human rights situation is any better in the recent war. The most recent attacks on Chechen centers caused an outcry of humanitarian organizations. Amnesty International expressed its concern about the humanitarian situation to the United Nations in an open letter, stating: “For example, it was alleged that during the air raids on 27 September, the Russian military bombed a school and housing estates in the town of Staraya Sunzha, a suburb in the north of Grozny: 21 civilians were reportedly killed and 44 wounded. Members of the Russian Human Rights Center “Memorial” who interviewed internally displaced people in Ingushetia in October, reported that during this attack, carried out by four Russian warplanes. A residential quarter was bombed and two houses were completely demolished. At least six people were killed in a garage basement: a family, which included a pregnant woman and two children, a girl of three and a boy of one year and a half.” The conflict seems to continue to result in severe civilian casualties, being marked by brutality and disobedience of international humanitarian standards.

Chechnya is home for about one million Chechens, who call themselves Nachtschi. After Chechnya had lost its independence in the Caucasian War (1817 – 1864) it became part of the Russian Empire and was later part of the Soviet Union. Before the decline of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chechnya declared its independence on November 27, 1990. However, after President Boris Yeltsin took over leadership of the newly founded Russian Federation, Russian Forces penetrated Chechnya in November 1991 and started to bomb its cities. The conflict lasted for more than three years and was reopened on October 2, 1999, when Russian troops invaded the country again.

This paper is to describe Chechnya and its population, the development of the conflicts in the 1990’s, and relevance to global issues. It is further intended to outline the crimes against humanity, committed by Russian troops, as reported by the United Nations. Chechnya is a republic in the eastern part of North Caucasia, southwestern Russia, with borders to the republic of Dagestan to the northeast and east, Georgia to the south, and the republic of Ingushetia to the west. Chechnya is one of the twenty-one republics of the Russian Federation.

It was part of the joint Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic of the Soviet Union from 1936 until 1991. Even though Chechnya declared its independence in 1991 the Russian government refused to recognize Chechnya’s it, and in December 1994 Russian troops invaded the republic. Fighting between Russian and Chechen forces, which continued until August 1996, resulted in more than 40,000 deaths and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The total land area of Chechnya is about 15,000 sq km. The republic lies on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and encompasses several natural regions.

The main range of the Caucasus occupies southern Chechnya, marking the republic’s southern border. The highest peak in Chechnya is Mount Tebulosmta (4493 m/14,741 ft). In the north are plains and lowlands consisting of sandy ridges and hills. The main rivers of Chechnya include the Terek, the Sunzha, the Argun, and the Assa.

Fertile soil covers the lowlands and valleys, while dry steppe vegetation characterizes the northern plains. Forests of beech, birch, hornbeam, and oak cover less than one-fifth of the republic and are located mainly on the mountain slopes. Chechnya has hot summers and cold winters. Temperatures are typically lower and precipitation levels higher in the mountain areas.

In 1994 Chechnya had a population of about 800,000.The population of the republic declined significantly as a result of the war. Beside Chechens, who form the largest ethnic group in the republic, Russians and Ingush are also represented. The Chechens, who call themselves Nokhchii, are native to the Caucasus region. The Chechen language belongs to the Nakh group of Caucasian languages and is closely Chechnya – the conflict 5 related to the language of the Ingush.

The Chechens have been Sunni Muslims since the 18th century. Petroleum production is the major source of income for the Chechen economy. However, the war destroyed Chechnya’s major pipeline linking Caspian oil fields to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.Russian-Chechen relationships are marked by a series of wars starting in the early 1900’s and finally leading to the occupation of Chechnya in 1859 by Russian troops. The Chechens rebelled again during the civil war that followed the Russian Revolution of 1917.

During the 1930s Soviet leaders forced many of the Chechens onto collective farms and made efforts to restrict their religious practices. The Chechens suffered under these policies and fought fiercely for their beliefs and traditional way of life. In 1934 the Chechens and Ingush were united in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast within Soviet Russia. In 1936 the oblast was raised to the status of an autonomous republic. In February 1944, during World War II, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the Chechen and Ingush people of collaboration with the Nazis and deported them to Central Asia. The Chechen-Ingush republic was abolished and was not restored until January 1957, when its former inhabitants were allowed to return from exile.

About half of the Chechens died in Siberia. In 1991 Chechen general Dzhokhar Dudayev expelled the Communist government in Groznyy. Presidential elections were held in October, and Dudayev won a resounding victory. In November 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chechnya declared itself an independent state. The Russian government refused to recognize it as Chechnya – the conflict 6 such.

The Ingush separated from Chechnya and formed their own republic. Dudayev set up a government in Groznyy but was unable to persuade any countries to recognize Chechnya’s independence or invest in its economy. In December 1994 the Russian Federation government under President Boris Yeltsin launched a full-scale invasion of Chechnya to halt the republic’s movement toward independence. Groznyy was almost completely destroyed before it was taken by the Russians in February 1995.Thousands of people were killed in the fighting..

Dudayev was forced into hiding, but his rebel forces refused to surrender, and fighting continued between the two sides; Dudayev was killed in a rocket attack in April 1996. In late May 1996 President Yeltsin and acting Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev agreed to a cease-fire, but fighting continued on both sides. By June 1996, when further peace negotiations were held, more than 40,000 people—including large numbers of civilians—had been killed in the conflict, and an estimated 300,000 Chechens had fled to other parts of Russia.

The Russian government offered the Chechens almost complete autonomy within the Russian Federation but refused to allow the republic to secede. While some Chechens were willing to support a negotiated settlement to end the war, the rebels continued to fight, claiming that they would settle for nothing less than complete independence from Russia.In August a major Chechen offensive to retake Groznyy was successful. Later that month, Yeltsin’s national security adviser, Aleksandr Lebed, brokered a peace agreement with Chechen leaders in which both sides agreed to postpone a decision on Chechnya’s status until 2001. By December all Russian troops had withdrawn from the republic. In Chechnya’s presidential elections the following month, Yandarbiyev was defeated by the chief of staff of the Chechen forces, Aslan Maskhadov.

In May 1997 Maskhadov and Yeltsin signed a peace treaty that formalized the terms of the earlier truce. Both sides pledged to forever reject the use of force or threat of force. Separate preliminary Chechnya – the conflict seven agreements were signed regarding economic aid from Russia to help rebuild Chechnya’s ravaged infrastructure, industry, and housing. Unfortunately, the agreement turned to be of short validity.

Ongoing efforts of Muslim separatists caused the Russian government in September 1999 to invade Chechnya for a second time.The invasion is marked by heavy bombardments and artillery attacks of the cities. So far, the conflict has caused the destruction of Grozny, which is still held by the Muslim fighters, and other Chechen centers.

Like the earlier conflict, numerous violations of human rights, mainly by the invading troops are a sad reality. The President’s Commission for Human Rights is unanimously of the opinion that events in the zone of armed conflict in the Chechen Republic constitute the most important and most tragic breach of human rights compliance in the Russian Federation in 1994 and 1995. In the magnitude and severity of the human rights violations, in the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, and in the brutalities perpetrated against the civilian population, the Chechen events are unparalleled since the era of mass political repressions in the USSR. The indiscriminate firing into populated areas, preventing the departure of civilians from Grozny before the storming of the city, failure to remove prisoners-of-war from sites subject to shelling and bombing by federation forces, beating of prisoners-of-war, execution of prisoners-of-war, desecration of soldiers’ corpses, and deliberate attacks on civilian buildings have become typical events in the war zones and the surrounding areas. Both sides of the conflict repeatedly committed crimes against humanity. However, the actions of federal forces are the actions of lawful and supposedly disciplined armed forces under a single, responsible command.

The legal government of the Russian Federation bears responsibility for the actions of these forces. This means that Chechnya – the conflict eight violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by federal forces is particularly ominous.The most flagrant violation of humanitarian law regarding the protection of victims of non-international conflicts has been the massive assault on the life and physical integrity of the civilian population. On the night of 20-21 December 1994, federal troops fired on the village of Artemovskaya near Grozny and a shell landed on a house with ten children in it.

Five of the children were killed in the explosion, two died in Grozny’s Children’s Hospital No. 2, and three with severe injuries were hospitalized. The village of Artemovskaya was outside the battle zone and the Chechen IAF did not maintain a permanent presence there. This is just one of the numerous examples of Russian troops deliberately attacking civilian buildings and areas that do not form any military target. Another incident happened on January 3, 1995, when the market and the hospital of Shali were bombed, killing fifty people and injuring one-hundred eighty six. Murdering civilians is not only the result of artillery attacks and air-strikes, military missions also target the innocent. Crime committed by federal soldiers on January 17, 1995, on the road between Assinovskaya and Nesterovskoye received international publicity.

A convoy of ten or eleven cars carrying refugees from Grozny was fired upon, killing eleven people and wounding three. The cars were crushed by a tank of the federal forces. The list of violations of human rights includes the unlawful detention of civilians by Russian troops without due cause, and execution without judicial procedures.

Torture and beating of prisoners has been reported repeatedly and was confirmed by human rights organizations operating in Chechnya.Although, the examples mentioned refer to the earlier conflict in the 1990’s, it is not likely that the human rights situation is any better in the recent war. The most recent attacks on Chechen centers caused an outcry of humanitarian organizations. Amnesty International expressed its concern about the humanitarian situation to the United Nations in an open letter, stating: “For example, it was alleged that during the air raids on 27 September, the Russian military bombed a school and housing estates in the town of Staraya Sunzha, a suburb in the north of Grozny: 21 civilians were reportedly killed and 44 wounded. Members of the Russian Human Rights Center “Memorial” who interviewed internally displaced people in Ingushetia in October, reported that during this attack, carried out by four Russian warplanes.

A residential quarter was bombed and two houses were completely demolished. At least six people were killed in a garage basement: a family, which included a pregnant woman and two children, a girl of three and a boy of one year and a half.” The conflict seems to continue to result in severe civilian casualties, being marked by brutality and disobedience of international humanitarian standards. Bibliography:

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