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Chechnya (chĕchnyäˈ, chĕchˈnēə) or Chechen Republic (chəchĕnˈ), 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. Grozny is the capital. Prior to 1992 Chechnya and Ingushetia 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.


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 Shamyl. The Bolsheviks seized the region in 1918 but were dislodged in 1919 by counterrevolutionary forces under Gen. A. I. Denikin.

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 Dagestan 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 Kadyrov, 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.

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References in periodicals archive ?
What passed for government in Chechnia was an alliance of money-grubbing senior party officials and dealers in the shadow economy.
Despite these crises the government concentrates on just one activity: frentically pumping Chechnia's oil reserves and shipping the refined product abroad.
Chechnia was a tragedy, as Treisman observes, but it was also an anomaly.
The final impetus for Towards Humanity, however, was the avalanche of war images from the Gulf, Bosnia and Chechnia. "I sank into a real depression," explains Wissam.
9) and for facilitating by such actions the prosecution of war in Chechnia.
The possibilities include using the current fighting in Chechnia as a pretext for giving Yeltsin "extraordinary" powers throughout Russia, or declaring him regent for an underage pretender to a restored monarchy.
When a coup in the North Caucasian Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic led to the proclamation of an independent republic of Chechnia, however, he wanted to send in troops, but the Supreme Soviet vetoed this.
Asked about the nationality of the ISIL members, he said, "Most of the foreign forces are from Chechnia, Saudi Arabia, other regional Arab countries and Turkey."
Ibragimova, Chechnia posle Kavkazskoi voiny (1863-1875 gg.): Po arkhivnym istochnikarn (Moscow: Dialog-MGU, MAKS Press, 2000), 87; and Bobrovnikov and Babich, Severnyi Kavkaz, 141.
Within the Russian Federation, of sixteen former autonomous republics, in only two (Chechnia and Tuva) has there been sustained violence between titulars and Russians.
Because Alania play some 60 miles away from war torn Chechnia, Rangers may need an escort of military fighters to get to the venue.
While in Chechnia in February 1944 to oversee the deportation of Chechens and Ingush, Beria wrote to Stalin suggesting the inclusion of the Balkars in the scheme as well.