Second Chechen War

Second Chechen War

Infobox War

caption=Russian artillery shells separatist positions near the village of Duba-Yurt, January 2000.
conflict=Second Chechen War
*Active battle phase: August 1999 — May 2000
*Insurgency: May 2000 — end of 2004
*Localised sporadic fighting: 2005 — Present
place=North Caucasus, Russia
casus=War in Dagestan, 1999 bombings
status= (see Status)
*Separatist rebel government ousted
*Insurgency in Chechnya
*Federal control re-established
*Broadening of Conflict
*Chechen rebels largely disabled
strength1=At least 93,000 in Chechnya in 1999. [ [ Russia's Forces Unreconstructed] by Pavel Felgenhauer]

About 50,000 to over 60,000 federal and republican forces in Chechnya in 2006. [ [ New Chechen Army Threatens Moscow] AIA 12.07.2006]
More in neighbouring regions.
strength2=22,000 in 1999 (Russian estimate). [ [ Федеральным силам в Чечне противостоят 22 тыс. боевиков.] Russian Ministry of Defense]
casualties1= over 5,000 (official figures, number is most likely higher) [ [] 4,572 servicemen of all security agencies killed by December 2002, 680 Russian Armed Forces soldiers killed in 2003-2007 [] ] - Memorial (society) estimate, [ FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM RUSSIA] , Reuters, 11-04-2007]
casualties2= Over 15,000 killed (Russian estimate)Fact|date=June 2008
5,000 killed (Chechen Claim)
The actual number is most likely somewhere in between these two estimates.
casualties3=Civilian casualties:
Est. up to 25,000 killed and up to 5,000 "disappeared" in Chechnya (AI estimate) [ [ What justice for Chechnya's disappeared?] ]
Est. 50,000 killed in Chechnya (GfbV estimate [ [ Effective human rights work is the best weapon against terrorism] ] )
More in neighbouring regions
More than 600 killed during terrorist attacks in Russia

The Second Chechen War, in a later phase better known as the War in the North Caucasus, [cite news|title=War in the north Caucasus |publisher=The Economist |date=June 2004 |url =] was launched by the Russian Federation starting August 26 1999, in which Russian federal forces largely re-took control of the separatist region of Chechnya.

The Second Chechen War was started in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the IIPB, and the Russian apartment bombings which Russia blamed on Chechen separatists, although no evidence linking Chechens with the bombings has been released to the public. The campaign largely reversed the outcome of the First Chechen War, in which the region gained "de facto" independence as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Although it is regarded by many as an internal conflict within the Russian Federation, the war attracted a large number of Jihadist foreign fighters.

During the initial campaign, Russian military and pro-Russian Chechen paramilitary faced Chechen separatists in open combat, and seized the Chechen capital Grozny after a winter siege that lasted from late 1999 to the following February. Russia established direct rule of Chechnya in May 2000 and after the full-scale offensive, Chechen guerrilla resistance throughout the North Caucasus region continued to inflict heavy Russian casualties and challenge Russian political control over Chechnya for several more years. Some Chechen rebels also carried out terrorist attacks against civilians in Russia. These terrorist attacks, as well as widespread human rights violations by Russian and rebel forces, drew international condemnation.

Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus. [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Russia ] ] Large-scale fighting has been replaced by guerrilla warfare and bombings targeting federal troops and forces of the regional government, with the violence more often spilling over into adjacent regions since 2005. The exact death toll from this conflict is unknown. Unofficial estimates range from 25,000 - 50,000 dead or missing, mostly civilians in Chechnya. No clear figures for Russian losses are known to the public. Both Chechen wars remain largely unpublicized abroad.

Historical basis of the conflict

Russian Empire

Chechnya is a region in the Northern Caucasus which has constantly fought against foreign rule, including the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century. The Russian Terek Cossack Host was established in lowland Chechnya in 1577 by free Cossacks who were resettled from the Volga to the Terek River. In 1783 Russia and the Georgian kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti signed the Treaty of Georgievsk, under which Kartl-Kakheti became a Russian protectorate. To secure communications with Georgia and other regions of the Transcaucasia, the Russian Empire began spreading its influence into the Caucasus region, starting the Russian Invasion of the Caucasus in 1817. Russian forces first moved into highland Chechnya in 1830, and the conflict in the area lasted until 1859, when a 250,000 strong army under General Baryatinsky broke down the mountaineers' resistance. However, many troops from the annexed states of the Caucasus also fought unsuccessfully against Russia in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78.

oviet Union

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Chechens established a short-lived Caucasian Imamate which included parts of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia; there was also secular pan-Caucasian Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus. [Armstrong, Patrick. "Conflict in Chechnya: A Background Perspective." "Journal of Conflict Studies." November 1999; Evangelista, Matthew. "The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?" Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003. ISBN 0815724985; Dunlop, John B. "Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict." Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 052163184X; Seely, Robert. "Russo-Chechen Conflict, 1800-2000: A Deadly Embrace." Florence, Ky.: Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0714649929.] The Chechen states were opposed by both sides of the Russian Civil War and most of the resistance was crushed by Bolshevik troops by 1922. Then, months before the creation of the Soviet Union, the Chechen Autonomous Oblast of RSFSR was established. It annexed a part of territory of the former Terek Cossack Host. Chechnya and neighbouring Ingushetia formed the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936. In 1941, during World War II, a Chechen revolt broke out, led by Khasan Israilov. Chechens were accused by Stalin of aiding Nazi forces. In February 1944 Stalin deported nearly all the Chechens and Ingushs to Kazakh SSR and Kirghiz SSR, and Siberia. Up to a quarter of these people died during the "resettlement." [In one estimate, based on a report by Lavrenti Beria to Joseph Stalin, 150,000 of 478,479 deported Ingush and Chechen people (or 31.3 percent) died within the first four years of the resettlement. See: Kleveman, Lutz. "The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia." Jackson, Tenn.: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003. ISBN 0871139065. Another scholar puts the number of deaths at 22.7 percent: Extrapolating from NKVD records, 113,000 Ingush and Chechens died (3,000 before deportation, 10,000 during deportation, and 100,000 after resettlement) in the first three years of the resettlement out of 496,460 total deportees. See: Naimark, Norman M. "Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe." Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN 0674009940. A third source says a quarter of the 650,000 deported Chechens, Ingush, Karachais and Kalmyks died within four years of resettlement. See: Mawdsley, Evan. "The Stalin Years: The Soviet Union 1929-1953." Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2003. ISBN 0719063779. However, estimates of the number of deportees sometimes varies widely. Two scholars estimated the number of Chechen and Ingush deportees at 700,000, which would have the percentage estimates of deaths. See: Fischer, Ruth and Leggett, John C. "Stalin and German Communism: A Study in the Origins of the State Party." Edison, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2006. ISBN 0878558225] [Conquest, Robert. "The Nation Killers." New York: Macmillan, 1970. ISBN 0333105753] The European Parliament recognized this as an act of genocide on February 26, 2004. [ [ Campana, Aurélie. "Case Study: The Massive Deportation of the Chechen People: How and why Chechens were Deported." Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. November 2007.] Accessed August 11, 2008; [ Nurbiyev, Aslan. "Relocation of Chechen 'Genocide' Memorial Opens Wounds." "Agence France Press." June 4, 2008] ; Jaimoukha, Amjad M. "The Chechens: A Handbook." Florence, Ky.: Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0415323282.] In 1953, after the death of Stalin, Khrushchev allowed the Chechens to return and the Chechen republic was reinstated. Although the population of the republic experienced widespread political and religious repression, the authority of the Soviet government gradually eroded.

The First Chechen War

During the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chechnya declared independence. In 1992, Chechen and Ingush leaders signed an agreement splitting the joint Chechen-Ingush republic in two, with Ingushetia joining the Russian Federation and Chechnya remaining independent. The debate over independence ultimately led to a small-scale civil war since 1992, in which the Russians supported the opposition forces against Dzhokhar Dudayev. Thousands of people of non-Chechen ethnicity (mostly Russians) fled the Chechen Republic and Chechnya's industrial production began failing after Russian engineers and workers fled or were expelled. The First Chechen War began in 1994, when Russian forces entered Chechnya to "restore constitutional order". Following nearly two years of brutal fighting, in which an estimated tens of thousands to more than 100,000 people died, and the 1996 Khasavyurt ceasefire agreement, the Russian troops were withdrawn from the republic.

Prelude to the Second Chechen War

Chaos in Chechnya

Following the first war, the separatist government's grip on the chaotic republic was weak, especially outside the ruined capital Grozny. The areas controlled by extremist groups grew larger and the country became increasingly lawless.cite web|title=Second Chechnya War - 1999-???||url=|accessdate=2008-04-15] The war ravages and lack of economic opportunities left large numbers of heavily armed and brutalized former guerrillas with no occupation but further violence. The authority of the government in Grozny was opposed by the unruly warlords like Arbi Barayev and Salman Raduyev. Abductions and raids into other parts of the Northern Caucasus by various Chechen warlords had been steadily increasing.Fact|date=February 2008 In lieu of the devastated economic structure, kidnapping emerged as the principal source of income countrywide, procuring over $200 million during the three year independence of the chaotic fledgling state. [Tishkov, Valery. "Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society." Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. Page 114.] It has been estimated that up to 1,300 people were kidnapped in Chechnya between 1996 and 1999, and in 1998 a group of four Western hostages were executed. Political violence and religious extremism, blamed on "Wahhabism", was rife as well. In 1998, a state of emergency was declared by the authorities in Grozny. Tensions led to the open clashes like the July 1998 confrontation in Gudermes in which some 50 people died in the fight between Chechen National Guard and Islamist militants.

Russian-Chechen relations 1996–1999

The 1997 election brought to power the separatist president Aslan Maskhadov. In 1998 and 1999 President Maskhadov survived several assassination attempts,Fact|date=April 2008 blamed on the Russian intelligence services. In March of 1999, General Gennady Shpigun, the Kremlin's envoy to Chechnya, was kidnapped at the airport in Grozny, and ultimately found dead in 2000 during the war.

Within the Russian government, there was a concern that allowing Chechnya substantial autonomy might lead to a domino effect — other regions within the already-fragmented former Soviet Union might choose to follow suit. The political tensions were fueled in part by allegedly Chechen or pro-Chechen terrorist activity in Russia, as well as border clashes. Former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin claimed in an interview in January 2000 that the autumn invasion in Chechnya had been planned since March 1999: "As to Chechnya, I can say the following. A plan for active operations has been shaped since March. And we were going to reach Terek in August or September." [ [ Sergey Pravosudov. Interview with Sergei Stepashin.] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 142000(in Russian)]

Terrorist incidents and border clashes

On November 16 1996, in Kaspiysk (Dagestan) a bomb destroyed an apartment building housing Russian border guards; 68 people died. The cause of the blast was never determined, but many in Russia blamed it on Chechen rebels. [ [ BBC News | EUROPE | Deadly blast hits Russian parade ] ] Three people died on April 23 1997, when a bomb exploded in the Russian railway station of Armavir (Krasnodar Krai), and two on May 28 1997, when another bomb exploded in the Russian railway station of Pyatigorsk (Stavropol Krai).

On December 22 1997, forces of Dagestani militants and Chechnya-based Arab warlord Ibn al-Khattab raided the base of the 136th Motor Rifle Brigade of the Russian Army in Buynaksk, Dagestan, inflicting severe losses on the men [ [ The Jamestown Foundation; CHECHEN GUNMEN ATTACK RUSSIAN ARMY UNIT IN DAGESTAN.] ] and equipment of the unit. On April 16 1998, a Russian army convoy was ambushed in Ingushetia near the Chechen border; among the dead was a general and two colonels, and the local Ingush militants were blamed.Fact|date=January 2008 On April 7 1999, four Russian policemen patrolling the border were killed near Stavropol.Fact|date=January 2008 In late May Russia announced that it was closing the Russian-Chechnya border in an attempt to combat terrorist and criminal activity; border guards were ordered to shoot suspects on sight. On June 18 1999, seven servicemen were killed when Russian border guard posts were attacked in Dagestan. On July 29 1999, the Russian Interior Ministry troops destroyed a Chechen border post and captured a 800 meter-section of strategic road. On August 22 1999, 10 Russian policemen were killed by an anti-tank mine blast in North Ossetia, and on August 9 1999 six servicemen were kidnapped in the Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz. On several occasions, Russian special forces raided deep inside the Chechen territory.Fact|date=January 2008

Planning of the war by Russian government

Former FSB director and prime minister of Russia Sergei Stepashin said in an interview to Novaya gazeta that "the decision to invade Chechnya was made in March 1999... I was prepared for an active intervention. We were planning to be on the north side of the Terek River by August-September of 1999". Yuri Felshtinsky and Vladimir Pribylovsky "The Age of Assassins. The Rise and Rise of Vladimir Putin", Gibson Square Books, London, 2008, ISBN 190-614207-6, page 105. The interview was given on 14 January, 2000 ] But the operation was apparently accomplished later.

Conflict in Dagestan

:"See: Dagestan War"

In August and September 1999, Shamil Basayev (in association with the Saudi born Khattab, Commander of the Mujahedeen) led two armies of up to 1,400 Chechen, Dagestani, Arab and Kazakh militants from Chechnya into the neighbouring Republic of Dagestan. The purpose was to help local separatist rebels who were attacking Russian Federation forces in the villages of Kadar, Karamakhi, and ChabanmakhiFact|date=January 2008. This conflict saw the first use of aerial-delivered fuel air explosives (FAE) in populated areas, notably in the village of Tando. By mid-September 1999, the militants were routed from the villages and pushed back into Chechnya. At least several hundred people were killed in the fighting; the Federal side reported 279 servicemen killed and approximately 900 wounded.

Bombings in Russia

Before the wake of the Dagestani invasion had settled, a series of bombings took place in Russia (in Moscow and in Volgodonsk) and in the Dagestani town of Buynaksk. On September 4, 1999, 62 people died in an apartment building housing members of families of Russian soldiers. Over the next two weeks, the bombs targeted three other apartment buildings and a mall; in total nearly 300 people were killed. The Russian government, including then-President Boris Yeltsin, blamed Chechen separatists for the attacks; accused Khattab and Basayev however denied involvement in the bombings. Some high-profile individuals, including the self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky [cite web
title=Boris Berezovsky vs. the FSB
] and U.S. Senator John McCain, [cite web
] as well as FSB officer turn defector Alexander Litvinenko, have suggested that the FSB staged the bombings to provide a pretext for an invasion of Chechnya. [cite web
title= Terror 99: A Bloody September
] On September 29, Russia demanded that Chechnya extradite the criminals responsible for the bombings in Russia; a day later, Russian troops began their ground offensive.

On January 12 2004, in a hearing at Moscow City Court closed to the public and the press, Adam Dekushev and Jusuf Krymshankhalov were sentenced to life sentences for delivering explosives to the residential buildings. Both were the members of Karachay-based pro-Chechen Wahhabi group, trained by emir Khattab in Chechnya. The alleged mastermind of the bombings, Achemez Gochiyaev, has never been apprehended. [cite web
title=Agence France-Presse September 8 2002 Alleged suspect for 1999 bombings hiding in Georgia: Russian FSB CORRECTION:
] The bombing trial, however, has raised questions by observers. [cite web
title=Human rights activist says Moscow blasts verdict "sheds no light"
] cite web
title=Rights activists say the true guilty parties of 1999 bombings have not been found

1999–2000 Russian offensive

Air war

:"See also: List of Russian aircraft losses in the Second Chechen War"

In late August and September 1999, Russia mounted a massive air campaign over Chechnya, with the stated aim of wiping out militants who invaded Dagestan the previous month. On August 26 1999 Russia acknowledged bombing raids in Chechnya. [ [ Russia acknowledges bombing raids in Chechnya] , CNN, August 26 1999] The Russian air strikes were reported to have killed hundreds of civilians Fact|date=January 2008 and forced at least 100,000 Chechens to flee their homes to the safety; the neighbouring region of Ingushetia was reported to have appealed for United Nations aid to deal with tens of thousands of refugees. [ [ Russia launches more air strikes against Chechnya] , RTÉ news, 27 September 1999] On October 2 1999, Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations admitted that 78,000 people have fled the air strikes in Chechnya; most of them were heading for Ingushetia, where they were arriving at a rate of 5,000 to 6,000 a day.

As of September 22 1999 Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov said that Russian troops had surrounded Chechnya and were prepared to retake the region, but the military planners were advising against a ground invasion because of the likelihood of heavy Russian casualties. By the end of September Russian forces made repeated incursions onto Chechen soil, and had captured some territory.Fact|date=February 2008

Land war

The Chechen conflict entered a new phase on October 1 1999, when Russia's new Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared the authority of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov and his parliament illegitimate. At this time, Vladimir Putin announced that Russian troops would initiate a land invasion but progress only as far as the Terek River, which cuts the northern third of Chechnya off from the rest of the republic. Putin's stated intention was to take control of Chechnya's northern plain and establish a "cordon sanitaire" against further Chechen aggression; however, later recalled that the cordon alone was "pointless and technically impossible," apparently because of Chechnya's rugged terrain. According to Russian accounts, Putin accelerated a plan for a major crackdown against Chechnya that had been drawn up months earlier. [David Hoffman [ Miscalculations Paved Path to Chechen War] "Washington Post", 20 March 20 2000]

The Russian army moved with ease in the wide open spaces of northern Chechnya and on October 5 1999, reached the Terek River. On this day, a bus filled with refugees was reportedly hit by a Russian tank shell, killing at least 11 civilians; [ [ Refugee bus reportedly shelled by Russian tank] CNN, October 7 1999] two days later, Russian Su-24 fighter bombers dropped cluster bombs on the village of Elistanzhi, killing some 35 people. [ Russian warplanes kill dozens of villagers] The Independent, Oct 11, 1999] On October 10, 1999, Maskhadov outlined a peace plan offering a crackdown on renegade warlords; the offer was rejected by the Russian side. He also appealed to NATO to help end fighting between his forces and Russian troops, without effect. [ [ Russia to 'display' truth on Chechnya] , Reuters, October 9 1999]

On October 12 1999, the Russian forces crossed the Terek and began a two-pronged advance on the capital Grozny to the south. Hoping to avoid the significant casualties which plagued the first Chechen War, the Russians advanced slowly and in force, making extensive use of artillery and air power in an attempt to soften Chechen defences. Many thousands of civilians fled the Russian advance, leaving Chechnya for neighbouring Russian republics. Their numbers were later estimated to reach 200,000 to 350,000, out of the approximately 800,000 residents of the Chechen Republic. The Russians appeared to be taking no chances with the Chechen population in its rear areas, setting up "filtration camps" in October in northern Chechnya for detaining suspected members of "bandformirovaniya" ("bandit formations").

On October 15 1999, Russian forces took control of a strategic ridge within artillery range of the Chechen capital Grozny after mounting an intense tank and artillery barrage against Chechen fighters. In response, President Maskhadov declared a "gazavat" (holy war) to confront the approaching Russian army. Martial law was declared in Ichkeria and reservists were called; but no martial law or state of emergency had been declared in Chechnya or Russia by the Russian government. [ [ CHAMBER JUDGMENTS IN SIX APPLICATIONS AGAINST RUSSIA] European Court of Human Rights, 24.2.2005] The next day, Russian forces captured strategic Tersky heights within sight of Grozny, dislodging 200 entrenched Chechen fighters. After heavy fighting, Russia seized the Chechen base in the village of Goragorsky, west of the city. [ [ Europe: Russians 'within sight' of Grozny] BBC News, October 16 1999]

On October 21, 1999, a Russian short-range ballistic missile strike on the central Grozny killed more than 140 people, including many women and children, and left hundreds more wounded. A Russian spokesman said the busy market place was targeted because it was used by rebels as an arms bazaar. [ [ Phase Two - The Ground Campaign - October-November 1999]] Eight days later Russian aircraft carried out a rocket attack on a large convoy of refugees heading into Ingushetia, killing at least 25 civilians including Red Cross workers and journalists. [ [ Crimes Of War Project > Expert Analysis ] ] Two days later the Russian forces conducted a heavy artillery and rocket attack on Samashki. Some claimed that civilians were killed in Samashki in revenge for the heavy casualties suffered there by Russian forces during the first war. []

On November 12 1999, the Russian flag was raised over Chechnya's second largest city, Gudermes, when the local Chechen commanders, the Yamadayev brothers, defected to the federal side; the Russians also entered the bombed-out former Cossack village of Asinovskaya. Two days later, 30 Russian solders were killed during a Chechen counterattack on the outskirts of the village of Kulary;Fact|date=January 2008 the fighting in and around Kulary continued until January 2000. On November 17 1999, Russian soldiers dislodged rebels in Bamut, the symbolic rebel stronghold in the first war; dozens of Chechen fighters and many civilians were reported killed, and the village was leveled in the FAE bombing. Two days later, after a failed attempt five days earlier, Russian forces managed to capture the village of Achkhoy-Martan.

On November 26 1999, Deputy Army Chief of Staff Valery Manilov said that phase two of the Chechnya campaign was just about complete, and a final third phase was about to begin. According to Manilov, the aim of the third phase was to destroy "bandit groups" in the mountains. A few days later Russia's Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said Russian forces might need up to three more months to complete their military campaign in Chechnya, while some generals said the offensive could be over by New Year's Day. The next day the Chechens briefly recaptured the town of Novogroznensky. [ [ Can Russia win the Chechen war?] BBC News, 10 January, 2000]

On December 1 1999, after weeks of heavy fighting, Russian forces under Major General Vladimir Shamanov took control of Alkhan-Yurt, a village just south of Grozny. The Chechen and foreign fighters inflicted heavy losses on the Russian forces, reportedly killing more than 70 Russian soldiers before retreating [ [ RUSSIA/CHECHNYA: "NO HAPPINESS REMAINS": CIVILIAN KILLINGS, PILLAGE, AND RAPE IN ALKHAN-YURT, CHECHNYA] ] , suffering heavy losses of their own. [ [ A letter of Sgt. S.Durov] ] During the two weeks that followed, Russian forces went on a rampage, looting and burning the village and executing at least 17 civilians.Fact|date=April 2008 On the same day, Chechen separatist forces began carrying out a series of counterattacks against federal troops in several villages as well as in the outskirts of Gudermes. Chechen fighters in Argun, a small town five kilometers east of Grozny, put up some of the strongest resistance to federal troops since the start of Moscow's military offensive.Fact|date=April 2008 The rebels in the town of Urus-Martan also offered fierce resistance, employing guerrilla tactics Russia had been anxious to avoid; by December 9 1999, Russian forces were still bombarding Urus-Martan, although Chechen commanders said their fighters had already pulled out. Fact|date=April 2008

On December 4 1999, the commander of Russian forces in the North Caucasus, General Viktor Kazantsev, claimed that Grozny was fully blockaded by Russian troops. The Russian military's next task was the seizure of the town of Shali, 20 kilometers southeast of the capital, one of the last remaining separatist-held towns apart from Grozny. Russian troops started by capturing two bridges that link Shali to the capital, and by December 11 1999, Russian troops had encircled Shali and were slowly forcing rebel forces out. On December 13 1999, two Russian helicopters were destroyed while searching for an Su-25 attack plane that crashed near the village of Bachi-Yurt earlier.Fact|date=January 2008 An ultimatum issued by General Gennady Troshev ordered Shali to surrender or face "destruction".Fact|date=January 2008 By mid-December the Russian military was concentrating attacks in southern parts of Chechnya and preparing to launch another offensive from Dagestan.

iege of Grozny

Meanwhile, the assault on Grozny started in early December. The battle accompanied by the struggle for the neighbouring settlements ended when the Russian army seized the city on February 2 2000.

According to the official Russian figures, at least 368 federal troops and an unknown number of pro-Russian militiamen died in Grozny. The rebel forces too suffered heavy losses, including losing several top commanders. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said that 1,500 rebels were killed trying to leave Grozny. The rebels said they lost at least 400 fighters in the mine field at Alkhan-Kala. [ [ Russia may withdraw some troops from Chechnya] ]

The siege and fighting left the capital devastated like no other European city since World War II; in 2003 the United Nations called Grozny the most destroyed city on Earth. [ [ Scars remain amid Chechen revival] BBC News, 3 March 2007]

The Russians suffered heavy losses also as they advanced elsewhere, and from the series of Chechen counter attacks and convoy ambushes. On January 26, 2000, the Russian government announced that 1,173 servicemen had been killed in Chechnya since October [cite web
title= Russia admits heavy casualties
] - a more than double rise from 544 killed reported just 19 days earlier. [cite web
title= Russian army battered in Grozny
] On February 4 2000, in an attempt to stop the Chechen retreat, Russian forces bombed the village of Katyr-Yurt and then a civilian convoy under white flags, killing at least 170 civilians in the action later proven in the court to be a war crime.Fact|date=August 2008

Battle for the mountains

Heavy fighting accompanied by a massive shelling and bombing continued through the winter of 2000 in the mountainous south of Chechnya, particularly in the areas around Argun, Vedeno and Shatoy, where the fighting involving Russian paratroopers raged since the late 1999.

On February 9 2000 a Russian tactical missile hit a crowd of people who had come to the local administration building in Shali, a town previously declared as one of the "safe areas", to collect their pensions. The attack was a response to a report that a group of fighters had entered the town. The missile is estimated to have killed some 150 civilians, and was followed by an attack by combat helicopters causing further casualties. [Oleg Orlov [ War Crimes and Human Rights Violations in Chechnya] May 26 2000] Human Rights Watch has called on the Russian military to stop using FAE, known in Russia as "vacuum bombs", in Chechnya, concerned about the large number of civilian casualties caused by what it calls "the widespread and often indiscriminate bombing and shelling by Russian forces". [ [ Russians urged to stop 'vacuum' bombings] BBC News, 15 February, 2000] On February 18 2000, a Russian army transport helicopter was shot down in the south, killing 15 men aboard, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said in a rare admission by Moscow of losses in the war. [ [ Chechens down Russian helicopter] BBC News, 19 February, 2000]

On February 29 2000, United Army Group commander Gennady Troshev said that "the counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya is over. It will take a couple of weeks longer to pick up splinter groups now." Russia's Defense Minister, Marshal of the Russian Federation Igor Sergeyev, evaluated numerical strength of the rebels at between 2,000 and 2,500 men, "scattered all over Chechnya." On the same day, a Russian VDV paratroop company from Pskov was attacked by Chechen and Arab fighters near the village of Ulus-Kert in Chechnya's southern lowlands; at least 84 Russian soldiers were killed in the especially heavy fighting. The official newspaper of the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that at least 400 rebels were killed, figures which they said were based on radio-intercept data, intelligence reports, eyewittnesses, local residents and captured Chechens. [ [ Reassessing Strategy: A Historical Examination] ] On March 2 2000, a unit of OMON from Podolsk opened fire in Grozny on another OMON unit from Sergiyev Posad; at least 24 Russian servicemen were killed in the incident.

In March a large group of more than 1,000 Chechen fighters led by field commander Ruslan Gelayev, pursued since their withdrawal from Grozny, entered the village of Komsomolskoye in the Chechen foothills; they held off a full-scale Russian attack on the town for over two weeks, but suffered hundreds of casualties in the process;Fact|date=April 2008 the Russians also admitted more than 50 killed. On March 29 2000, a total of about 52 Russian soldiers were killed as a result of the rebel ambush on the OMON convoy from Perm.Fact|date=April 2008

On April 23 2000, a 22-vehicle convoy carrying ammunition and other supplies to the airborne unit was ambushed near Serzhen-Yurt in the Vedeno Gorge, by an estimated 80 to 100 "bandits" according to General Troshev; in the ensuing 4-hour battle the federal side lost 15 government soldiers, according to the Russian defense minister. General Troshev told the press that the bodies of four rebel fighters were found. The Russian Airborne Troops headquarters later stated that 20 rebels were killed and 2 taken prisoner. [Captain Adam Geibel [ Ambush at Serzhen Yurt: Command-Detonated Mines in the Second Chechen War] Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers, Feb, 2001] Soon, the Russian forces seized last populated centres of the organized resistance. (Another offensive against the remaining mountain strongholds was launched by the Russian forces in December 2000.)

Restoration of federal government

Russian President Vladimir Putin established direct rule of Chechnya in May 2000. The following month, Putin appointed Akhmad Kadyrov interim head of the pro-Moscow government. This development met with early approval in the rest of Russia, but the continued deaths of Russian troops dampened public enthusiasm. On March 23 2003, a new Chechen constitution was passed in a controversial referendum which international observers described as deeply flawed. The 2003 Constitution granted the Chechen Republic a significant degree of autonomy, but still tied it firmly to Russia and Moscow's rule, and went into force on April 2 2003. The referendum was strongly supported by the Russian government but met a harsh critical response from Chechen separatists; many citizens chose to boycott the ballot. Fact|date=January 2008 Since December 2005, Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the pro-Moscow militia leader known as "kadyrovites", had been functioning as the Chechnya's "de-facto" ruler. Kadyrov, whose irregular forces are accused of carrying out many of the abductions and atrocities, has become Chechnya's most powerful leader and on February 2007, with support from Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov replaced Alu Alkhanov as president.


Guerrilla war in Chechnya

:"Guerrilla phase by year: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008"

Although large-scale fighting within Chechnya had ceased, daily attacks continued particularly in the southern portions of Chechnya, spilling into nearby territories of the caucasus as well, especially since the Caucasus Front was established. Typically small rebel units target Russian and pro-Russian officials, security forces, and military and police convoys and vehicles. The rebel units employ IEDs and sometimes group up for larger raids. Russian forces then retaliate with artillery and air strikes, as well as counter-insurgency operations. Most soldiers in Chechnya are now "kontraktniki" (contract soldiers) as opposed to the earlier conscripts. While Russia continues to maintain military presence within Chechnya, Russia's federal forces play less of a direct role in Chechnya. Pro-Kremlin Chechen forces under the command of the local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, known as the "kadyrovtsy" now dominate law enforcement and security operations, with many members (including Kadyrov himself) being former Chechen rebels who have defected since 1999. Since 2004, the Kadyrovtsy were partly incorporated into two Interior Ministry units "North" and "South" ("Sever" and "Yug"). Two other units of the Chechen pro-Moscow forces, "East" and "West" ("Vostok" and "Zapad"), are commanded by Sulim Yamadayev ("Vostok") and Said-Magomed Kakiyev ("Zapad") and their men. [ [,,1796576,00.html Land of the warlords | World news | ] ]

uicide attacks

Between June 2000 and September 2004 Chechen insurgents added suicide attacks to their tactics. During this period there have been 23 Chechen related suicide attacks in and outside Chechnya. The profiles of the Chechen suicide bombers have varied just as much as the circumstances surrounding the bombings, most of which targeted military or government-related targets.


Both sides of the war carried out multiple assassinations. The most prominent of these included the February 13 2004, killing of exiled former separatist Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Qatar, and the May 9 2004, killing of pro-Russian Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov during the parade in Grozny.

Caucasus Front

While the anti-Russian local insurgencies in the North Caucasus started even before the war, in May 2005, two months after Maskahdov's death, the Chechen separatists officially announced that they had formed a Caucasus Front within the framework of "reforming the system of military-political power." Along with the Chechen, Dagestani and Ingush "sectors," the Stavropol, Kabardin-Balkar, Krasnodar, Karachai-Circassian, Ossetian and Adyghe "jamaats" were included in it. This, in essence, means that practically all the regions of the Russia's south are involved in the hostilities.

The Chechen separatist movement has taken on a new role as the official ideological, logistical and, probably, financial hub of the new insurgency in the North Caucasus. [ [ Beslan's unanswered questions] International Herald Tribune, May 30 2006] Increasingly frequent clashes between federal forces and local militants continue in Dagestan, while sporadic fighting erupts in the other southern Russia regions, most notably in Ingushetia, but also elsewhere, notably in Nalchik on October 13 2005.

Human rights and terrorism

Human rights and war crimes

Russian officials and Chechen rebels have regularly and repeatedly accused the opposing side of committing various war crimes including kidnapping, murder, hostage taking, looting, rape, and assorted other breaches of the laws of war. International and humanitarian organizations, including the Council of Europe and Amnesty International, have criticized both sides of the conflict for "blatant and sustained" violations of international humanitarian law.

Russian rights groups estimate there have been about 5,000 forced disappearances in Chechnya since 1999. [ [ Russia censured over Chechen man] BBC] They say Russian troops haveused abduction, rape and torture as weapons there and that the government has done too little to punish those responsible.Fact|date=April 2008

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted in her March 24 2000, speech to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights:

:We cannot ignore the fact that thousands of Chechen civilians have died and more than 200,000 have been driven from their homes. Together with other delegations, we have expressed our alarm at the persistent, credible reports of human rights violations by Russian forces in Chechnya, including extrajudicial killings. There are also reports that Chechen separatists have committed abuses, including the killing of civilians and prisoners. ... The war in Chechnya has greatly damaged Russia's international standing and is isolating Russia from the international community. Russia's work to repair that damage, both at home and abroad, or its choice to risk further isolating itself, is the most immediate and momentous challenge that Russia faces. [ [ U.S. Response to Human Rights Commission Resolution on Chechnya] U.S. Mission Geneva]

According to the 2001 annual report by Amnesty International:

:There were frequent reports that Russian forces indiscriminately bombed and shelled civilian areas. Chechen civilians, including medical personnel, continued to be the target of military attacks by Russian forces. Hundreds of Chechen civilians and prisoners of war were extra judicially executed. Journalists and independent monitors continued to be refused access to Chechnya. According to reports, Chechen fighters frequently threatened, and in some cases killed, members of the Russian-appointed civilian administration and executed Russian captured soldiers. [ [ Russian Federation 2001 Report] Amnesty International]

In 2001 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has placed Chechnya on its Genocide Watch List:

:Chechnya was devastated, including the almost complete destruction of Grozny, the Chechen capital. Russian artillery and air indiscriminately pounded populated areas. Human rights organizations also documented several massacres of civilians by Russian units. Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Chechnya pacified by Spring 2000. But peace has been elusive for Chechen civilians, victims of a continuing war of attrition. They are plagued by abuses committed by Russian forces - arbitrary arrest, extortion, torture, murder. Chechen civilians also suffer because there have been no sustained efforts to rebuild basic social services, such as utilities or education. Chechen fighters also commit abuses against civilians, but neither on the same scale nor with the same intensity as Russian forces. [ [ Chechnya Overview] Holocaust Memorial Museum]

The Russian government failed to pursue any accountability process for human rights abuses committed during the course of the conflict in Chechnya. Unable to secure justice domestically, hundreds of victims of abuse have filed applications with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In March 2005 the court issued the first rulings on Chechnya, finding the Russian government guilty of violating the right to life and the prohibition of torture with respect to civilians who had died or forcibly disappeared at the hands of Russia's federal troops. [ [ European Court Rules Against Moscow] Institute for War and Peace Reporting, March 2, 2005M] Many similar claims were ruled since against Russia.

Terrorist attacks

Between May 2002 and September 2004, the Chechen and Chechen-led militants, mostly answering to Shamil Basayev, launched a campaign of terrorism directed against civilian targets in Russia. About 200 people were killed in a series of bombings (most of them suicide attacks), most of them in the 2003 Stavropol train bombing (46), the 2004 Moscow metro bombing (40), and the 2004 Russian aircraft bombings (89).

Two large-scale hostage takings, the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis (850 hostages) and the 2004 Beslan school siege (about 1,200), resulted in the deaths of more than 386 civilians when the FSB OSNAZ forces stormed the buildings on the third day of each standoff, using a lethal chemical agent in Moscow and indiscriminate firepower in Beslan. Some 20 Beslan hostages were also executed by their captors.

Other issues

Pankisi crisis

Russian officials have accused the bordering republic of Georgia of allowing Chechen rebels to operate on Georgian territory and permitting the flow of guerrillas and materiel across the Georgian border with Russia. In February 2002, the United States began offering assistance to Georgia in combating "criminal elements" as well as alleged Arab mujahideen activity in Pankisi Gorge as . Without resistance, Georgian troops have detained an Arab man and six criminals, and declared the region under control. [ [ Georgia says gorge 'under control'] BBC News, 2 September, 2002] In August 2002, Georgia accused Russia of a series of secret air strikes on purported rebel havens in the Pankisi Gorge in which a Georgian civilian was reported killed.

On October 8 2001, a UNOMIG helicopter was shot down in Georgia in Kodori Valley gorge near Abkhazia, amid fighting between Chechens and Abkhazians, killing nine including five UN observers. [ [ UN helicopter shot down in Georgia] BBC News, 8 October, 2001] Georgia denied having troops in the area, and the suspicion fell on the armed group headed by Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev, who was speculated to have been hired by the Georgian government to wage proxy war against separatist Abkhazia. On March 2 2004, following a number of cross-border raids from Georgia into Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan, Gelayev was killed in a clash with Russian border guards while trying to get back from Dagestan into Georgia.

Unilateral ceasefire of 2005

On February 2 2005, Chechen rebel president Aslan Maskhadov issued a call for a ceasefire lasting until at least February 22 (the day preceding the anniversary of Stalin's deportation of the Chechen population). The call was issued through a separatist website and addressed to President Putin, described as a gesture of goodwill. On March 8 2005, Maskhadov was killed in an operation by Russian security forces in the Chechen community of Tolstoy-Yurt, northeast of Grozny.

Shortly following Maskhadov's death, the Chechen rebel council announced that Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev had assumed the leadership, a move that was quickly endorsed by Shamil Basayev (Basayev himself died in July 2006). On February 2 2006, Sadulayev made large-scale changes in his government, ordering all its members to move into Chechen territory. Among other things, he removed First Vice-Premier Akhmed Zakayev from his post (although later Zakayev was appointed a Foreign Minister [ [ Указы Президента ЧРИ А-Х. Садулаева] , Chechenpress, 27.05.06] ). Sadulayev was killed in June 2006, after which he was succeeded as the rebel leader by the veteran guerrilla commander Doku Umarov.


As of November 2007, there were at least seven amnesties for separatist guerrillas, as well as federal servicemen who committed crimes, declared in Chechnya by Moscow since the start of the second war. The first one was announced in 1999 when about 400 Chechen switched sides. (However, according to Putin's advisor and aide Aslambek Aslakhanov most of them were since killed, both by their former comrades and by the Russians, who by then perceived them as a potential "fifth columnists". [ [ "Убивал -- не убивал, попал -- не попал"] , Kommersant, 07.08.2006] Some of the other amnesties included one during September 2003 in connection with the adoption of the republic's new constitution, and then another between mid-2006 and January 2007. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, himself former rebel, more than 7,000 separatist fighters defected to the federal side ("returned to the peaceful life") by 2005. In 2006 more than 600 militants in Chechnya and adjacent provinces reportedly surrendered their arms in response to a six-month amnesty "for those not involved in any serious crimes". [ [ Law enforcers killed 72 militants in Chechnya in 2007] , RIA Novosti, 16/ 01/ 2008] In 2007, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights published a report entitled [ Amnestied People as Targets for Persecution in Chechnya] , which documents the fate of several persons who have been amnestied and subsequently abducted, tortured and killed.

Government censorship of the media coverage

The first war, with its extensive and largely unrestricted coverage (despite deaths of many journalists), convinced the Kremlin more than any other event that it needed to control national television channels, which most Russians rely on for news, to successfully undertake any major national policy. By the time the second war began, federal authorities had designed and introduced a comprehensive system to limit the access of journalists to Chechnya and shape their coverage. [ [ Smokescreen Around Chechnya] The Moscow Times, March 18 2005]

The Russian government's control of all Russian television stations and its use of repressive rules, harassment, censorship, intimidation [ [ Russian TV accuses military of censorship] , BBC News, 23 January, 2000] and attacks on journalists almost completely deprived the Russian public of the independent information on the conflict. Practically all the local Chechen media are under total control of the pro-Moscow government, Russian journalists in Chechnya face intense harassment and obstruction [ [ KREMLIN STIFLES CRITICAL COVERAGE OF CHECHNYA] ] leading to widespread self-censorship, while foreign journalists and media outlets too are pressured into censoring their reports on the conflict. [ [ Silencing Chechnya] Moscow Times, January 27 2005] In some cases Russian journalists reporting on Chechnya were jailed (Boris Stomakhin) or kidnapped by the federal forces (Andrei Babitsky), and foreign media outlets (American Broadcasting Company) banned from Russia. [ [ Russia Bars ABC News for Interview With Rebel] , The New York Times, August 2 2005] The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society was shut down on "extremism and national hatred" charges. According to a 2007 poll only 11 percent of Russians said they were happy with media coverage of Chechnya.


Civilian losses

Civilian casualty estimates vary widely. According to the pro-Moscow government, 160,000 combatants and non-combatants died or have gone missing in the two wars, including 30,000–40,000 Chechens and about 100,000 Russians; [ [ Chechen official puts death toll for 2 wars at up to 160,000] International Herald Tribune, August 16 2005] [ [ Russia: Chechen Official Puts War Death Toll At 160,000] RFE/RL, August 16 2005] while rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov (deceased) repeatedly claimed about 200,000 ethnic Chechens died as a consequence of the two conflicts. [ [ Death Toll Put at 160,000 in Chechnya] The Moscow Times, August 16 2005] As in the case of military losses, these claims can not be independently verified. According to a count by the Russian human rights group Memorial in 2007, up to 25,000 civilians have died or disappeared since 1999. [ Chechnya war] , Reuters AlertNet, 11-04-2007] According to Amnesty International in 2007, the second war killed up to 25,000 civilians since 1999, with up to another 5,000 people missing. [ [ Amnesty International Issues Reports on Disappearances] Jamestown Foundation, May 24 2007] However, the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society set their estimate of the total death toll in two wars at about 150,000 to 200,000 civilians.

=Environmental da

Environmental agencies warn that the Russian republic of Chechnya, devastated by war, now faces ecological disaster. A former aide to Boris Yeltsin believes Russian bombing has rendered Chechnya an "environmental wasteland." [ [ Chechnya Conflict and Environmental Implications] ] There is a special concern over widespread oil spills and pollution from sewers damaged by war (the water is polluted to a depth of 250 m [ [ Chechen Republic // GENERAL INFORMATION] , Kommersant, Mar. 10, 2004] ), and chemical and radioactive pollution, as a result of the bombardment of chemical facalities and storages during the conflict. Chechnya's wildlife also sustained heavy damage during the hostilities, as animals that had once populated the Chechen forests have moved off to seek safer havens. [ [ Military operations greatly alter Chechen mountain life] , Prague Watchdog, May 4 2003] In 2004, Russian government has designated one-third of Chechnya a "zone of ecological disaster" and another 40% "a zone of extreme environmental distress". [ [ 'In the Caucasus, you can buy anything'] , Al-Ahram Weekly, 2004]

Land mines

Chechnya is the most land mine-affected region worldwide. [ [ Chechnya: Land Mines Seen As Continuing Scourge] RFE/RL, October 19 2004] Since 1999 there have been widespread use of mines, by both sides (Russia is a party to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons but not the 1996 protocol on land mines and other devices). The most heavily mined areas of Chechnya are those in which rebels continue to put up resistance, namely the southern regions, as well as the borders of the republic. [ [ Chechnya] , LM Report 2004, 8 Feb 2005] No humanitarian mine clearance has taken place since the HALO Trust was evicted by Russia in December 1999. In June 2002, Olara Otunnu, the UN official, estimated that there were 500,000 land mines placed in the region. UNICEF has recorded 2,340 civilian land mine and unexploded ordnance casualties occurring in Chechnya between 1999 and the end of 2003.

Military losses

Military casualty figures from both sides are impossible to verify and are generally believed to be higher. In September 2000, the National Endowment for Democracy compiled [ the list of casualties officially announced in the first year of the conflict] , which, although incomplete and with little factual value, provide a minimum insight in the information war. According to the figures released by the Russian Ministry of Defence on in August 2005, at least 3,450 Russian Armed Forces soldiers have been killed in action 1999-2005. [ [ May 2001: Summary of main news related to the conflict in Chechnya.] ] This death toll did not include losses of Internal Troops, the FSB, police and local paramilitaries, all of whom at least 4,720 were killed by October 2003. [ Civil and military casualties of the wars in Chechnya] Russian-Chechen Friendship Society] The independent Russian and Western estimates are much higher; the Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia for instance estimated about 11,000 Russian Army servicemen have been killed between 1999 and 2003. In 2007, Memorial estimated about 15,000 Russian soldiers have died in two wars, while others estimate up to 40,000.

Political radicalization of the rebel movement

The Chechens had become increasingly radicalized. Former Soviet Army officers Dzhokhar Dudayev and Aslan Maskhadov have been succeeded by people who rely more on religious ideology, rather than the nationalistic feelings of the population. While Dudayev and Maskhadov were seeking from Moscow recognition of the independence of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria, other leaders spoke out more about the need to expel Russia from the territory of the whole North Caucasus, an impoverished mountain region inhabited mostly by Muslim, non-Russian ethnic groups.Fact|date=April 2008

In April 2006, asked whether negotiations with Russians are possible, the top rebel commander and future president Doku Umarov answered: "We offered them many times. But it turned out that we constantly press for negotiations and it's as if we are always standing with an extended hand and this is taken as a sign of our weakness. Therefore we don't plan to do this any more." In the same month, the new rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov said that attacks should be expected anywhere in Russia: "Today, we have a different task on our hands -- total war, war everywhere our enemy can be reached. (...) And this means mounting attacks at any place, not just in the Caucasus but in all Russia." Reflecting growing radicalization of the Chechen-led guerrillas, Udugov said their goal was no longer Western-style democracy and independence, but the Islamist "North Caucasian Emirate".Fact|date=April 2008

This trend ultimately resulted in the October 2007 declaration of Caucasus Emirate by Doku Umarov where he also urged for a global Jihad, and the political schism between the moderates, and the radical Islamists fighting in Chechnya and the neighbouring regions with ties in the Middle East. [ [,,2214769,00.html The battle for the soul of Chechnya] , The Guardian, November 22 2007] Some commanders, still fighting along with Doku Umarov, like Anzor Astemirov, have publicly denounced the idea of a global Jihad, but keep fighting for the independence of Caucasus states. [ [ Chechnya Weekly from the Jamestown Foundation ] ]

The struggle has garnered support from Muslim sympathizers around the world nonetheless, and some of them have been willing to take up arms. Many commentators think it is likely that Chechen fighters have links with international Islamist rebel groups. The BBC said in an online Q&A on the conflict: "It has been known for years that Muslim volunteers have traveled to Chechnya to join the fight, reportedly after attending training camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan."

Impact on the Chechen population

According to a 2006 report by Doctors Without Borders, "the majority of Chechens still struggle through lives burdened by fear, uncertainty and poverty." A survey conducted by MSF in September 2005 showed that 77% of the respondents were suffering from "discernible symptoms of psychological distress". [ [MSF Activity Reports on The Russian Federation: 2006] , Doctors Without Borders]

As of 2005, infant mortality may have been as high as 50 per 1,000, more than double that of the rest of Russia; [ [ Feature - Health crisis brews in Russia's Chechnya] , Reuters, 06 Mar 2005] as of 2004, WHO said it was 29.4 per 1,000. [] There are reports of growing a number of genetic disorders in babies and unexplained illnesses among schoolchildren. [ Chechnya habitat 'ravaged by war'] , BBC News, 22 June 2006] One child in 10 is born with some kind of anomaly that requires treatment. Some children whose parents can afford it are sent to the neighbouring republic of Dagestan, where treatment is better; Chechnya lacks sufficient medical equipment in most of its medical facilities. [ [ A determined spirit guides Grozny] , The Boston Globe, November 14 2007] According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), since 1994 to 2008 about 25,000 children in Chechnya have lost one or both parents. [ [ Grozny's lost boys] , "Sydney Morning Herald", March 22 2008] A whole generation of Chechen children is showing symptoms of psychological trauma. In 2006, Chechnya's pro-Moscow deputy health minister, said the Chechen children had become "living specimens" of what it means to grow up with the constant threat of violence and chronic poverty. [ [ A Mystery Malady in Chechnya] , Los Angeles Times, March 10 2006] In 2007, the Chechen interior ministry has identified 1,000 street children involved in vagrancy; the number was increasing. [ [ Large numbers of street children discovered in Chechnya] , Prague Watchdog, March 23 2007] []

According to official statistics Chechnya's unemployment rate in 2007 was 61.5%, the highest percentage among Russian regions. [ [ Чечня — лидер по уровню безработицы среди регионов России] , 5.12.2007] Many people remain homeless because so much of Chechnya's housing was destroyed by the Russian federal forces and many people have not yet been given compensation. [ [ Amnesty International Urgent Action] , Amnesty International, 25 January 2008] Not only the social (such as housing and hospitals) and economic infrastructure but also the foundations of culture and education, including most of educational and cultural institutions, were destroyed over the course of the two wars in Chechnya. [ [ The Consequences of War for Education and Culture in Chechnya] ] However ongoing reconstruction efforts have been rebuilding the region at a quick pace over the past few years, including new housing, facilities, paved roads and traffic lights, a new mosque and restoration of electricity to much of the region. [ [ Spring rebuilding in Chechnya] ] Governmental, social and commercial life remain hobbled by bribery, kidnapping, extortion and other criminal activity; reports by the Russian government estimate that the organized crime sector is twice the Russian average and the government is widely perceived to be corrupt and unresponsive. [ [ The Crisis in Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus at a Glance] , IRC, 31 Jan 2006]

Hundreds of thousands of Chechens were displaced by the conflict, including 300,000 at the height of the conflict in 2000. Most of them were displaced internally in Chechnya and in neighbouring republic of Ingushetia, but thousands of refugees also went into exile, as of 2008 most of them residing in the European Union countries.

=Impact on the Russian population=

The start of the war bolstered the domestic popularity of Vladimir Putin as the campaign was started one month after he had become Russian prime minister. However, the war eventually became less popular; according to a March 2007 poll 70% of Russians believe there should be negotiations with the separatists, and only 16% believe the military campaign should continue. [ POLL FINDS A PLURALITY OF RUSSIANS DISTRUST RAMZAN] The Jamestown Foundation, March 27 2007] The conflict greatly contributed to the deep changes in the Russian politics and society. [ The warlord and the spook] The Economist, March 31 2007]

Since the Chechen conflict began in 1994, cases of young veterans returning embittered and traumatized to their home towns have been reported all across Russia. Psychiatrists, law-enforcement officials and journalists have started calling the condition of psychologically scarred soldiers "Chechen syndrome" (CS), drawing a parallel with the post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by Soviet soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. According to Yuri Alexandrovsky, deputy director of the Moscow Serbsky Institute in 2003, at least 70% of the estimated 1.5 million Chechnya veterans suffered CS. [ [,8816,901031006-490663,00.html Chechnya's Walking Wounded] TIME/CNN, Sep. 28, 2003] Many of the veterans came back alcoholic, unemployable and antisocial. Thousands were also physically disabled for life and left with very limited help from the government [ [ Island lessons for Russian war vet] , Oakland Tribune, Apr 30, 2003 ] .

According to the 2007 study by Memorial and Demos human rights organisations, Russian policemen lose their qualifications and professional skills during their duty tours in Chechnya. [ The Geography of OMON Deployments in the North Caucasus] , The Jamestown Foundation, April 3 2008] This conflict was linked to the rising brutality and general criminalisation of the Russian police forces. According to human rights activists and journalists, tens of thousands of police and security forces have been to Chechnya learned patterns of brutality and impunity and brought them to their home regions, often returning with disciplinary and psychological problems. Reliable numbers on police brutality are hard to come by, but in a statement released in 2006, the internal affairs department of Russia's Interior Ministry said that the number of recorded crimes committed by police officers rose 46.8% in 2005. In one nationwide poll in 2005, 71% of respondents said they didn't trust their police at all; in another, 41% Russians said they lived in fear of police violence. [ [ For Russians, Police Rampage Fuels Fear] "Washington Post", March 27 2005] [ [ Russia: Police Brutality Shows Traces Of Chechnya] RFE/RL, June 20 2005] According to Amnesty International, torture of detainees in Russia is now endemic. Since 2007, police officers from outside Caucasus are now not only being sent to Chechnya, but to all the region's republics.

The wars in Chechnya, and the associated Caucasian terrorism in Russia, were a major factors in the growth of intolerance, xenophobia and racist violence in Russia, directed in a great part against the people from Caucasus. A 2004 poll found 33% of Russians would support banning all Chechens from entering Russian cities.Fact|date=April 2008 [ru icon cite news|date=September 16, 2004 |title=How to end terrorism in Russia? |accessdate=2006-07-29] The Russian authorities were unlikely to label random attacks on people of non-Russian ethnicity as racist, preferring calling it "hooliganism". The number of murders officially classified as racist more than doubled in Russia between 2003 and 2004. The violence included an acts of terrorism such as the 2006 Moscow market bombing which killed 13 people. [ [ Political turmoil erupts again in deadly protests] IHT, November 2 2005] [ [ Migrants flee town after racial violence] People's Daily, September 14 2006] In 2007, 18-year old Artur Ryno claimed responsibility for 37 racially-motivated murders in the course of one year, saying that "since school [he] hated people from the Caucasus." [ [ Teenager Admits to Over 30 Murders] The Moscow Times, May 29 2007] On June 5, 2007, an anti-Chechen riot involving hundreds of people took place in the town of Stavropol in southern Russia. Rioters demanded the eviction of ethnic Chechens following the murder of two young Russians who locals believed were killed by Chechens. The event revived memories of a recent clash between Chechens and local Russians in Kondopoga over an unpaid bill, when two Russians were killed. [ [ Nationalists rally in Russian town near Chechnya] Reuters, Jun 5, 2007] The Caucasians also face ethnic-related violence in the ranks of Russian Army. [ [ Racist Violence Plagues Russian Army] IWPR, 15-Sep-00]


In 2005 there were about 60,000 Russian troops in Chechnya, but that number has since decreased significantly. Tony Wood, a journalist and author who's written extensively about Chechnya, estimated there were about 8,000 pro-Moscow security forces remaining in the region as of 2007. Independent analysts say there are no more than 2,000 armed separatist combatants still fighting, while Russia says only a few hundred remain. There is still some sporadic fighting in the mountains and south of the republic, but Russia has scaled down its presence significantly leaving the pro-Moscow government to stabilize things further. In February 2008 the President of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, Dokka Umarov, spoke of "thousands of fighters" when he addressed a speech to all his fighters in the mountains. [ [ Dokka Umarov speech] ]

Most of the more prominent past Chechen separatist leaders have died or have been killed, including former president Aslan Maskhadov and leading warlord and terrorist attack mastermind Shamil Basayev. Meanwhile, the fortunes of the Chechen independence movement sagged, plagued by the internal disunity between Chechen moderates and Islamist radicals and the changing global political climate after September 11 2001, as well as the general war weariness of the Chechen population. Large-scale fighting has been replaced by guerrilla warfare and bombings targeting federal troops and forces of the regional government, with the violence often spilling over into adjacent regions. Since 2005, the insurgency has largely shifted out of Chechnya proper and into the nearby Russian territories, such as Ingushetia and Dagestan; the Russian government, for its part, has focused on the stabilization of the North Caucasus.

Throughout the years Russian officials have often announced that the war is over. In April 2002 President Vladimir Putin's declared that the war in Chechnya was over.cite news |first=David |last=Johnson |title=Rebels kill 18 pro-Russians in Chechnya, Putin says war is over |url= |work=Russia Weekly |publisher=Center for Defense Information |location=Washington, D.C. |date= April 19 2002 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] The Russian government maintains the conflict officially ended in April 2002, [cite news |title=Chechen peace amid gunfire |url= | |publisher=Cable News Network |date=December 21, 2002 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] and since then has continued largely as a peacekeeping operation.In a July 10, 2006, interview with the BBC, Sergei Ivanov, Russia's then-prime minister and former minister of defense, said that the "the war is over," and that "the military campaign lasted only 2 years," [cite news |first=Stephen |last=Sakker |title=Sergey Ivanov: "The war in Chechnya is over" |url= |location=London |publisher=British Broadcasting Corp. |date=July 10, 2006 |accessdate=2007-12-19 |language=Russian ]
Ramzan Kadyrov, the current president of the Chechnya, has also stated the war is over. [cite news |first=Tim |last=Borisov |title=Ramzan Kadyrov: Since the war ended forever |url= |location=Moscow |publisher=Rossiiskaya Gazeta |language=Russian |date=July 10, 2007 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] Others believe the war ended in 2003 with the passage of a Moscow-backed constitutional referendum and the election of pro-Moscow president Akhmad Kadyrov, while some consider the conflict on-going. [cite news |title=The Situation in Chechnya |url= |format=PDF |publisher=Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly |location=Ontario |page=5 |year=2007 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] Some independent observers, including Álvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy for the Council of Europe, and Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have said that the war has largely concluded as of 2006. [cite news |first=Adrian |last=Blomfield |title= Chechnya's new leader: a boxer with his own army |url= | |publisher=Telegraph Media Group |location=London |date=July 6, 2006 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] [cite news |first=Pyotr |last=Romanov |title=Outside View: End of Caucasian war |url= |work=World Peace Herald |publisher=News World Communications |location=Washington, D.C. |date=July 11, 2006 |accessdate=2007-12-19 ]

The separatists, however, deny that the war is over, and guerrilla warfare continues throughout the entire North Caucasus. Colonel Sulim Yamadayev, Chechnya's second most powerful loyalist warlord after Kadyrov, also denies that the war is over. In March 2007, Yamadayev claimed there were well over 1,000 separatist rebels and foreign Islamic militants entrenched in the mountains of Chechnya alone: "The war is not over, the war is far from being over. What we are facing now is basically a classic partisan war and my prognosis is that it will last two, three, maybe even five more years." [] According to the CIA's factbook, Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement, although sporadic violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus. [ [ Russia Factbook] Central Intelligence Agency] The overall security situation in Chechnya remains exceedingly difficult to accurately report due to the near monopoly the Russian government has on media covering the issue. [ [ Second Chechnya War ] ] In May 2007 Amnesty International refuted claims by the government that the conflict has ended, stating "while large-scale military operations have been reduced, the conflict continues." [ [ Russian FederationWhat justice for Chechnya's disappeared?] ] The strength of the rebels has for many years been unknown. Although Russia has killed a lot of rebels throughout the war, many young fighters have joined the rebels. [ [ The Alkhazurovo Operation: Are Chechnya's Rebels on the Rebound?] ]

An estimation, based on the war reports, shows that in the past three years Federal casualties are higher than the amount of coalition casualties of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present). [ [ iCasualties | Operation Enduring Freedom ] ] [ [ Ингушетия: хроника терактов, обстрелов, похищений] ] [ [ Дагестан: хроника террора (1996-2007 гг.)] ] With the abolition of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the proclamation of the Caucasus Emirate by the president of the rebel movement Dokka Umarov, the conflict in Chechnya and the rest of the North Caucasus is often referred to as the "War in the North Caucasus". The Russian government has has given no new name to the conflict while most international observers still refer to it as a continuation of the Second Chechen War. [ [] ]

In late April, 2008, the Human Rights Commissioner for the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg, visited Russia's Caucasian republics. After wrapping up the week long visit, he said he observed a number of positive developments in Chechnya, and that there was "obvious progress". He also noted that the judicial system in Chechnya was functioning properly. According to Hammarberg, missing people and the identification of missing bodies were still the two biggest human rights issues in the region, and he expressed his wish that further efforts be done to clarify the issue. President Putin responded to his comments, saying that the visit was of "great significance", and that Russia will take into account what the council had to say. [ [ Commissioner Hammarberg meets Putin and Medvedev] Retrieved: 8-26-08] [ [ Russian Caucasus 'stabilising': EU Commissioner] Retrieved: 8-26-08] [ [ Thousands still missing in Chechnya] Retrieved: 8-26-08]

People of the Second Chechen War

Russian political leaders and commanders

:;President of Russia: (in chronological order) Boris Yeltsin (died 2007), Vladimir Putin (Prime Minister from 2008):;Chiefs of the FSB, the GRU, and the General Staff of the Armed Forces: Nikolai Patrushev - Valentin Korabelnikov - Anatoly Kvashnin, Yuri Baluyevsky:;Commander of the Joint Group of Forces in the North Caucasus: (in chronological order) Vladimir Moltenskoy, Sergey Makarov, Valery Baranov (maimed 2004), Yakov Nedobitko:;Commander of the North Caucasus Military District: (in chronological order) Viktor Kazantsev, Gennady Troshev, Vladimir Boldyrev, Alexander Baranov:;Defence Minister of the Russian Federation: (in chronological order) Igor Sergeyev, Sergei Ivanov, Anatoliy Serdyukov:;Interior Minister of Russia: (in chronological order) Vladimir Rushailo, Boris Gryzlov, Rashid Nurgaliyev :;Military commandant of Chechnya: Yevgeniy Abrashin, Ivan Babichev, Grigory Fomenko, Leonid Krivonos:;President of the Chechen Republic: (in chronological order) Akhmad Kadyrov (assassinated 2004), Alu Alkhanov, Ramzan Kadyrov:;Pro-Russian Chechen commanders and politicians: Salman Abuyev (assassinated 2001), Artur Akhmadov, Ruslan Alkhanov, Abu Arsanukayev, Aslambek Aslakhanov, Movladi Baisarov (assassinated 2006), Shamil Burayev, Zina Batyzheva, Odes Baysultanov, Alimbek Delimkhanov, Adam Demilkhanov, Adam Deniyev (assassinated 2000), Rudnik Dudayev †, Taus Dzhabrailov, Bislan Gantamirov, Musa Gazimagomadov (died 2003), Hussein Isayev (assassinated 2004), Idris Gaibov, Muslim Ilyasov, Zelimkhan Kadyrov (died 2004), Said-Magomed Kakiyev, Nusreda Khabuseyeva †, Magomed Khambiyev, Ibragim Khultygov, Rezvan Kutsuyev, Supyan Makhchayev, Malik Saidullayev, Sultan Satuyev, Movsar Temirbayev, Raybek Tovzayev (killed 2001), Ruslan Tsakayev (died 2003), Said-Selim Tsuyev, Dzhabrail Yamadayev (assassinated 2003), Khalid Yamadayev, Ruslan Yamadayev, Sulim Yamadayev, Alambek Yasayev, Aud Yusupov †, Akhmad Zavgayev (assassinated 2002), and others:;Russian commanders and politicians: Sergei Abramov, Mukhu Aliyev, Aslambek Aslakhanov, Mikhail Babich, Viktor Barsukov, Aleksandr Bespalov, Yuri Budanov (imprisoned 2003), Boris Fadeyev, Gaidar Gadzhiyev (assassinated 2001), Magomed Gazimagomedov, Nikolai Goridov (assassinated 2002), Aleksandr Kayak (assassinated 2005), Oleg Khotin, Alexander Kolmakov, Dzhabrail Kostoyev (assassinated 2006), Abukar Kostoyev (killed 2004), Anatoly Kyarov (assassinated 2008), Alexander Lentsov, Adilgerei Magomedtagirov, Magomedali Magomedov, Ibragim Malsagov, Mikhail Malofayev (killed 2000), Valery Manilov, Mark Metsayev †, Magomed Omarov (assassinated 2005), Boris Podoprigora, Aleksandr Potapov, Anatoly Pozdnyakov (assassinated 2001), Mikhail Rudchenko (assassinated 2002), Yan Sergunin (assassinated 2004), Vladimir Shamanov, Igor Shifrin (assassinated 2002), Georgy Shpak, German Ugryumov (died 2001), Pavel Varfolomeyev (assassinated 2001), Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Sergei Zveryev (assassinated 2000), Murat Zyazikov, and others

eparatist political leaders and commanders

:;President of Ichkeria: (in chronological order) Aslan Maskhadov (killed 2005), Sheikh Abdul Halim (killed 2006), Dokka Umarov:;Chechen separatist commanders and politicians: Salman Abuyev (defected), Aslambek Abdulkhadzhiev (killed 2002), Artur Akhmadov (defected), Ilyas Akhmadov, Uvais Akhmadov, Ruslan Alikhadzhyev (forcibly disappeared 2000), Ruslan Alkhanov (defected), Vakha Arsanov (killed or murdered in captivity 2005), Turpal-Ali Atgeriev (died or murdered in captivity 2002), Akhmed Avtorkhanov (killed 2005), Arbi Barayev (killed 2001), Movsar Barayev (killed 2002), Shamil Basayev (killed 2006), Rizvan Chitigov (killed 2005), Lecha Dudayev (killed 2000), Suleiman Elmurzayev (killed 2007), Idris Gaibov (defected), Ruslan Gelayev (killed 2004), Sultan Geliskhanov (captured 2006), Lecha Islamov (died or murdered in capitivity 2005), Aslambek Ismailov (killed 2000), Khunkarpasha Israpilov (killed 2000), Magomed Khambiyev (defected), Umar Khambiyev, Ibragim Khultygov (defected), Isa Munayev, Isa Muskiyev (killed 2006), Abu Movsayev (killed 2000), Khozh-Ahmed Noukhayev (unknown fate), Salman Raduyev (died or murdered in captivity 2002), Salautdin Temirbulatov (imprisoned), Movladi Udugov, Yamadayev brothers (defected), Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev (assassinated 2004), Akhmed Zakayev, and others:;North Caucasian and foreign militant leaders: Anzor Astemirov, Muslim Atayev (killed 2005), Alan Digorsky, Ilias Gorchkhanov (killed 2005), Rappani Khalilov (killed 2007), Ibn al-Khattab (assassinated 2002), Abdul Madzhid (killed September 2008), Rasul Makasharipov (killed 2005), Muhannad, Abu Hafs al-Urduni (killed 2006), Abu al-Walid (killed 2004), Akhmed Yevloyev, and others

Other associated people

:;Journalists: Andrei Babitsky, Supian Ependiyev (killed 1999), Adlan Khasanov (killed 2004), Ramzan Mezhidov (killed 1999), Robert Young Pelton, Anna Politkovskaya (assassinated 2006), Roddy Scott (killed 2002), Fatima Tlisova, and others:;Victims of human rights abuses: Ruslan Alikhadzhyev (kidnapped 2000, presumed dead), Shakhid Baysayev (kidnapped 2000, presumed dead), Zura Bitiyeva (murdered with her family 2003), Elza Kungayeva (kidnapped, raped and murdered 2000), Nura Luluyeva (kidnapped and murdered 2000), Zelimkhan Murdalov (forcibly disappeared 2001, presumed dead), Malika Umazheva (murdered 2002), Khadzhi-Murat Yandiyev (forcibly disappeared 2000, presumed dead), and others:;Various: Ruslan Aushev, Shamil Beno, Aleksey Galkin, Nur-Pashi Kulayev (imprisoned 2006, unknown fate), Sergei Lapin (imprisoned 2005), Timur Mucuraev, Lidia Yusupova, and others

ee also

*First Chechen War
*Chechen people
*Command responsibility
*International response to the Second Chechen War
*Islam in Russia
*List of wars
*Peoples of the Caucasus



* [] "Three Worlds Gone Mad" Author: Robert Young Pelton
* [ "A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya"] Author: Anna Politkovskaya
* [ "A Military History of Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to the War in Chechnya"] Author: David R. Stone (preview available)
* [ "A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya"] Author: Anna Politkovskaya (preview available)
* [ "Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya"] Author: Sebastian Smith (preview available)
* [ "Chechnya: From Nationalism to Jihad"] Author: James Hughes (preview available)
* [ "Chechnya: From Past To Future"] Author: Richard Sakwa and others (preview available)
* [ "Chechnya: Life in a War-Torn Society"] Author: Valery Tishkov (preview available)
* [ "Chechnya: The Case for Independence"] Author: Tony Wood
* [ "Chechnya: To the Heart of a Conflict"] Author: Andrew Meier
* [ "Chienne de Guerre: A Woman Reporter Behind the Lines of the War in Chechnya"] Author: Anne Nivat
* [ "Crying Wolf: The Return of War to Chechnya"] Author: Vanora Bennett
* [ "My Jihad"] Author: Aukai Collins
* [ "One Soldier's War"] Author: Arkady Babchenko
* [ "Open Wound: Chechnya 1994-2003"] Author: Stanley Greene
* [ "Putin's Russia"] Author: Anna Politkovskaya
* [ "Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat"] Author: Olga Oliker (preview available)
* [ "Russia's Islamic Threat"] Author: Gordon M. Hahn
* [ "Russia's Restless Frontier: The Chechnya Factor in Post-Soviet Russia"] Author: Dmitri Trenin, Anatol Lieven {preview available)
* [ "Russia's Wars with Chechnya 1994-2003"] Author: Michael Orr
* [ "Russian Military Reform, 1992-2002"] Author: Anne Aldis, Roger N. McDermott
* [ "Russo-Chechen Conflict, 1800-2000: A Deadly Embrace"] Author: Robert Seely (preview available)
* [ "The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War"] Author: Asne Seierstad
* [ "The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?"] Author: Matthew Evangelista (preview available)
* [ "The Lone Wolf and the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule"] Author: Moshe Gammer (preview available)
* [ "The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire"] Author: Khassan Baiev
* [ "The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror"] Author: Paul J. Murphy (preview available)
* [ "Welcome to Hell": Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya"] Author: Human Rights Watch (preview available)

External links

;Timelines and chronologies
* [ BBC Timeline: Chechnya]

* [ CHECHNYA: TWO FEDERAL INTERVENTIONS] Conflict Studies Research Centre
* [ Second Chechnya War - 1999-???] GlobalSecurity.Org

;Human rights issues
* [ Video: Is it safe in Chechnya? A European human rights body has described the situation in Russia's Chechen republic as critical (April 21 2008)]
*Council of Europe resolutions on 'The human rights situation in the Chechen Republic':
** [ Resolution 1323 (2003)]
** [ Resolution 1403 (2004)]
* [ Human Rights Violations in Chechnya] Society for the Russian-Chechen Friendship
* [ The Trauma of ongoing War in Chechnya] Doctors Without Borders

* [ "The North Caucasus," Russian Analytical Digest No. 22 (5 June 2007)]
* [ Critical media coverage of Chechnya stifled]
* [ Shifting Battlefields of the Chechen War (April 2006)]
* [ The Chechen resistance movement: 2006 in review] Jamestown Foundation
* [ ISN Case Study: The North Caucasus on the Brink (August 2006)]

;Advocacy groups and mailing lists
* [ The Terror of 9/99: Fact Sheet]
* [ Chechnya-sl mailing list]

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