Chechnya


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Chechnya

(chĕchnyä`, chĕch`nēə) or

Chechen Republic

(chəchĕn`), republic (1990 est. pop. 1,300,000, with neighboring Ingushetia), c.6,100 sq mi (15,800 sq km), SE European Russia, in the N Caucasus. GroznyGrozny
or Groznyy
, city (2006 est. pop. 230,000), capital of Chechnya, SE European Russia, in the northern foothills of the Greater Caucasus. It is the center of Chechnya's oil fields, linked by pipelines to Makhachkala on the Caspian Sea, to Tuapse on the Black Sea,
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 is the capital. Prior to 1992 Chechnya and IngushetiaIngushetia
or Ingush Republic
, republic, c.1,240 sq mi (3,210 sq km), Russian Federation, in the N Caucasus. The capital (since 2003) is Magas, a new city in the suburbs of Nazran, the former capital.
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 comprised the Checheno-Ingush Republic.

The mountainous region has important oil deposits, as well as natural gas, limestone, gypsum, sulfur, and other minerals. Its mineral waters have made it a spa center. Agriculture is concentrated in the Terek and Sunzha river valleys. Oil, petrochemicals, oil-field equipment, foods, wines, and fruit are produced. The population, which is concentrated in the foothills, is predominantly Chechen, or Nokhchi. The Chechen, like the neighboring Ingush, are Sunni Muslim, and speak a Caucasian language.

History

Recognized as a distinct people since the 17th cent., the Chechens were the most active opponents of Russia's conquest (1818–1917) of the Caucasus. They fought bitterly during an unsuccessful 1850s rebellion led by Imam ShamylShamyl
or Shamil
, 1798?–1871, imam (religious and political leader) of the E Caucasus. From 1834 to 1859 he led the Muslim tribes of the E Caucasus in their holy war to resist Russian conquest, waging guerrilla warfare with great skill.
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. The Bolsheviks seized the region in 1918 but were dislodged in 1919 by counterrevolutionary forces under Gen. A. I. DenikinDenikin, Anton Ivanovich
, 1872–1947, Russian general. The son of a serf, he rose from the ranks. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Nov., 1917 (Oct., 1917, O.S.), he joined General Kornilov, whom he succeeded (1918) as commander of the anti-Bolshevik forces in the south.
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.

After Soviet rule was reestablished, the area was included in 1921 in the Mountain People's Republic. The Chechen Autonomous Region was created in 1922, and in 1934 it became part of the Chechen-Ingush Region, made a republic in 1936. After Chechen and Ingush units collaborated with the invading Germans during World War II, many residents were deported (1944) to Central Asia. Deportees were repatriated in 1956, and the republic was reestablished in 1957.

In 1991, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Chechen-dominated parliament of the republic declared independence as the Republic of Ichkeria, soon better known as Chechnya. In June, 1992, Russia granted Ingush inhabitants their own republic (Ingushetia) in the western fifth of the territory; in subsequent years there have been disputes and tension between the two republics over territory.

Tensions between the Russian government and that of Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev escalated into warfare in late 1994, as Russian troops arrived to crush the separatist movement. Grozny was devastated in the fighting, and tens of thousands died. Russian forces regained control of many areas in 1995, but separatist guerrillas controlled much of the mountainous south and committed spectacular terrorist actions in other parts of Russia. Fighting continued through 1996, when Dudayev was killed and succeeded by Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. The Russians withdrew, essentially admitting defeat, following a cease-fire that left Chechnya with de facto autonomy.

Aslan Maskhadov, chief of staff of the Chechen forces, was elected president early in 1997 but appeared to have little control over the republic. In 1999, Islamic law was established. Terrorism, including a series of bombings in Moscow, erupted again, and after Islamic militants invaded neighboring DagestanDagestan Republic
or Daghestan Republic
, constituent republic (1999 pop. 2,074,000), c.19,400 sq mi (50,250 sq km), SE European Russia, bounded on the E by the Caspian Sea. Makhachkala (the capital) and Derbent are the chief cities.
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 from Chechnya, Russian forces bombed and invaded Chechnya, capturing Grozny and forcing the rebels into mountain strongholds. The rebels continued to mount occasional guerrilla attacks on Russian forces, as well as terror attacks in Moscow and other Russian cities outside Chechnya, but there have been no significant rebel attacks in Chechnya since 2004. Both sides were accused of brutality and terrorizing noncombatants.

In 2003 voters approved a new constitution for Chechnya, and Akhmad Kadyrov was subsequently elected president, but the election was generally regarded as neither free nor fair. Both the constitution and the president were backed by Russian government. Kadyrov was assassinated in 2004; Alu Alkhanov was elected to succeed him. Russian forces killed Maskhadov, who was considered a moderate Chechen rebel leader, in 2005 and Shamil Baseyev, a notorious and significant rebel commander, in 2006.

Alkhanov resigned as president in 2007 after a power struggle with Prime Minister Ramzan KadyrovKadyrov, Ramzan Akhmadovich,
1976–, Chechen rebel and political leader. The son of assassinated (2004) Chechnya president Akhmad Kadyrov, he was a guerilla leader in the first Chechen war (1994–96).
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, son of the former president, and Kadyrov was then appointed president (the post was renamed imam in 2010) by Russian president Putin. Kadyrov has been accused of terroristic and sadistic brutality; a number of his rivals and critics have been assassinated, and there also has been an increase in antigovernment terrorist attacks.

References in periodicals archive ?
Magomed Deniyev, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's branch in Chechnya, said Saturday that a series of clashes between police and the rebels in the past two days in the southern Vedeno region also left 11 police officers wounded, AP reported.
On his part, head of the Chechen delegation Kazbek Akhmetov, said Chechnya is looking forward to closer media cooperation with Kuwait in the coming period at a time when Russia is inclined to open new channels of media cooperation with Arab and Muslim countries.
The family was seeking refuge from the war in Chechnya, where an Islamist rebellion had been crippled by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Two soldiers died in the Shatoi district in the North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya after hitting an unidentified explosive device, the local police said on Sunday.
The group has helped solve a number of politically sensitive human rights abuse cases in Chechnya reportedly becoming a target of threats, smear and intimidation by the Chechen authorities.
For his part, Hassoun praised Kadyrov's position on combating terrorism in Syria, noting that many of the Chechens who joined terrorist organizations in Syria didn't come from Chechnya; rather they were living in Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, but the west is singling out Chechnya and trying to defame the Chechen people when addressing this issue.
After two separatist wars in the 1990s, Chechnya has become more stable under Kadyrov.
A: Chechnya declared independence in 1991 after the breakaway of Soviet republics that had never been part of Russia, but were members of the larger Soviet Union.
Throughout the crisis, now in its third day, the gunmen have demanded Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya and have said they are ready to die - and take the hostages with them - if that demand is unmet.
Earlier this year, two human rights advocates were abducted in Chechnya and killed.
In February 1996, Yeltsin admitted the Chechnya foray was 'maybe one of our mistakes,' announced a halt to military action and offered talks with rebels.
Among the wounded was the top Russian military commander in Chechnya, Colonel-GeneralValery Baranov, who had a leg amputated.