Chechnya is a region in southern Russia that not many people could point out on the map, but 20 years ago The Chechen fight for independence made worldwide headlines. Despite Unresolved civil conflict & domestic insurgency, The majority of the world in 2014 does not seem to know anything on this civil conflict. Why is that? One Reason is that No Journalist are allowed in the country, that’s right, it is one of 5 countries where journalists are not allowed. another reason is that the Caucasus region where Chechnya is placed, lies in between Russia to the north, Europe to the east and asia minor to the south and south west. Geo-politically the area is prime real estate for world powers and Between the various political outlooks by its neighbors, the issues in Chechnya are easily swept out of world view.
Chechnya is a region of Russia, and in 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved, It was among the handful of countries that moved to split and form independent nations (along with the recently independent Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc). The fight for independence from Russia was the cause of the first Chechnya war. Following their Declaration of Independence, Russia Moved their troops into Chechnya to Annex and reclaim the mineral rich mountainous nation.
The first Chechnya war lasted from 1994 to 1996, Death estimates range from 30,000 – 200,000, and a 500,000 have been “displaced”. The war was ravage, utilizing civilian soldiers, insurgencies, Russian troops, and foreign militias. In the course of two years the society of Chechnya was that of perpetual civil unrest. The war and bloodshed succeeded, Chechnya gained independence for a brief period of time.
The war was split between Separatists ( who looked to split from the economic alliance with Russia & create an independent state of Chechnya) & Pro Russian Supporters. Despite larger firepower & larger amounts of soldiers, The Russian army was unable to gain a foothold on the region. Insurgency Raids, and full scale battle fronts caused the Russians a massive loss of men & tanks. In 1995 a year after the Russian forces invaded Chechnya, Chechen rebels took over a Russian hospital, holding all the clients hostage. This caused international attention and a lot of media outlets condemned the act as a terrorist attack. The next year a Laser guided missile provided by the US was used to Assassinate the first elected president of the newly independent Chechnya. As one reporter put it
” Dzhokar Dudayev, the moderate Chechen leader, was assassinated in April, 1996 by the Russian FSB thanks to technology reportedly supplied by the US National Security Agency. All the moderate Chechen leaders were assassinated, leaving only a handful of extreme militants. The US largely financed Yeltsin’s war.”
This bears strong parallels to other worldwide issues like Africa where countries are still attempting to break free from world superpowers and colonial era politics. A situation where civil uprising and a fight for political sovereignty is faced with Multiple world powers & the term “terrorist” or “rebels” are used to desensitize and attempt to misconstrue our idea of who are the “good guys”. Many human rights violations are overlooked as they occur within these super powers’ sphere of influence. This has been a cause of great worry to human rights groups around the world.
Aside from the Geo-political advantages of the Chechnya territory, It is also incredibly rich in minerals. Chechnya is sometimes referred to as “Ichkeyia” Which Literally Translates as “Land Of Minerals”. Their mineral rich land has oil deposits, as well as natural gas, limestone, gypsum, sulfur, and other minerals. This makes Chechnya an area of great economic importance to Russia, and its other partners. Following the first Chechnya war roughly 80% of the economy of Chechnya was destroyed, They attempted to create their own currency, but that was canceled with the second Chechnya war.
The Second Chechnya War last from 1999 and still to this day there are insurgency raids & civil war in the streets. This second conflict began when an apartment bombing took place, and the Russian government was quick to blame the Chechnya rebels. Many journalist have reported links to the secret forces of Russia, as a means to create a false flag. By February 2000 The separatist government fell and Russia had seemed to reclaim control of the region. Their 5 years of independence was brief, violent, and in retrospect became a decade of civil unrest in this beautiful region.
Chechen “rebels” continue to fight to this day, and with no outside journalist allowed inside the country, it is a very dark reminder of the isolationism of the 19th & early 20th centuries. in 2002 40-50 Chechen Rebels held up to 900 Russian civilians hostage in a Moscow theater. The death toll was extremely high, not due to gun fire, but due to a “mysterious aerosol gas” that was released in the theater by Russian Special Forces, this was to “Incapacitate those Inside”. In 2004 separatists occupied a school holding 1,100 people; the hostage situation lasted 3 days, resulting in the death of 331 people, including 183 children. The validity of these numbers and the source of the violence is of course misconstrued by various media outlets, but the motive is clear. A countries fight for independence from one of the largest, if not the largest, world power on the planet today.
In recent years Russia has again made headlines as it has had conflicts with Georgia, Crimea & most recently Ukraine. with the expanding European union and Russia scramble for economic stability and independence, the fight for these regions are fierce. Recently with Euro-maiden, Ukraine was moving toward greater trading & economic communication with The European Union. This is a direct threat to the economy of Russia and the outcome is a civil war between Pro Russian Forces & Separatists. The outcome of this and the Chechnya Battlegrounds are still yet to come to light but we can only hope the blood shed will be sparred in place for peace talks.