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 ?
The 'Million Dollar Baby' star was joined by co-actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, British violinist Vanessa Mae, and British singer Seal to mark, the Chechnyan President's 35th birthday.
When Chechnyan guerrillas seized a Moscow theatre in 2002 and held 850 hostages, the Russian authorities decided to subdue the insurgents by pumping the calmative fentanyl (or a fentanyl derivative) through the ventilation system.
13, 2004, affidavit for the search warrant she and others used to enter an Ashland building used by the foundation, where they seized computers, documents and video tapes featuring footage from the Chechnyan conflict.
More recently, Russia has been unsympathetic to calls for recognition because recognition of Somaliland would have direct implications on Russia's position on Chechnyan independence.
Surely the host population was a prime interest of such movements as the IRA, the PKK in Turkey, and even the indigenous Chechnyan leadership of the Chechnyan rebellion (as opposed to the imported Wahhabis).
Bernard-Henry Levy asked, "Where were the demonstrators in Cairo or Paris when 200,000 Chechnyan Muslims were murdered?
A kidnapped aid worker who was repeatedly raped by a Chechnyan rebel has revealed how Wales inspired her to forgive her attacker.
Thomas de Waal's "The English House" summons the specter of Stalin's 1944 Chechnyan genocide, inaugurating generations of strife.
GANGS: AN INTERNATIONAL APPROACH 340-41 (2000) (describing organized crime in Russia, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, and the Ukraine); FEDERICO VARESE, THE RUSSIAN MAFIA: PRIVATE PROTECTION IN A NEW MARKET ECONOMY 178-79 (2001) (discussing rivalries between Russian organized crime and Chechnyan and Cossack groups).
The United States, for example, felt the sting of the "Kosovo effect" in late 1999 when Russian decision makers informed the Clinton administration that they were following in Chechnya the example of NATO intervention in the Balkans (by declaring both the interest-based need to protect sovereign Russian territory and the "human rights" of Russian citizens) as Russian airpower systematically destroyed the capital, Grozny, and its vicinity, leaving tens of thousands of refugees and a ruined Chechnyan infrastructure.
In exchange, Russia may have a freer hand to attack Chechnyan rebels in Georgia; China may be able to crush Muslim militants and benefit from renewed military ties with Washington.
Putin's Russia made sympathetic noises about a global anti-terrorist campaign, but its primary focus was the unresolved war in Chechnya and its determination to designate Chechnyan separatism as another form of terrorism.