News / Europe

Chechnya: A History of Conflict

Russian soldiers protect their ears as they fire a mortar against a suspected rebel base near the Chechen village of Samashki, 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of Grozny, Chechnya, Russia, Aug. 10, 2000.
Russian soldiers protect their ears as they fire a mortar against a suspected rebel base near the Chechen village of Samashki, 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of Grozny, Chechnya, Russia, Aug. 10, 2000.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Chechnya, one of several small majority Muslim republics in Russia's North Caucasus, has been the scene of two bloody conflicts between separatist rebels and the Russian government during the past two decades.

In 1994, then Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent 100,000 Russian troops into Chechnya to depose the region's separatist leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev. That military intervention sparked a two year conflict that claimed the lives of several thousand Russian troops and tens of thousands of Chechen civilians. Dudayev was killed in a Russian airstrike in April, 1996.

Chechnya Republic, RussiaChechnya Republic, Russia
x
Chechnya Republic, Russia
Chechnya Republic, Russia
In 1999, Yeltsin's successor, President Vladimir Putin, intervened militarily in Chechnya again, after Chechnya-based Islamic militants mounted an armed incursion into the neighboring region of Dagestan. The ensuing conflict claimed the lives of at least 5,000 Russian troops and 25,000 to 50,000 civilians.

While the Chechen insurgency was initially primarily nationalistic, it took on an increasingly Islamist character over the years.  The leader of the insurgency's radical wing, Shamil Basayev, worked together with international jihadist militants like Ibn al-Khattab, a Saudi national with close connections to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida, who fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s and went to fight in Chechnya in the mid-1990s.  

In 2002, Chechen militants seized a theater in the Russian capital Moscow, and 129 hostages were killed when security forces attempted to free them. In 2004, militants loyal to Basayev seized a school in the town of Beslan in North Ossetia, another republic in Russia's North Caucasus. More than 330 people, half of them children, died in that siege.

Also in 2004, several bombings on the Moscow metro that killed dozens of people were blamed on suicide bombers from the North Caucasus.

On August 24, 2004, two Russian airliners blew up in midair almost simultaneously. Authorities later said the planes were brought down by bombs triggered by two female Chechen suicide bombers, and, in September, Basayev took responsibility for bringing the planes down.

Basayev was killed in July, 2006.

While Islamist insurgents have been less active in Chechnya lately, mainly due to the iron-fisted rule of Chechnya's current pro-Moscow leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, they continue to carry out attacks targeting police and other officials in neighboring republics of the North Caucasus, including Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria.

They have also continued to strike Russian targets outside the North Caucasus: In January 2011, an Islamic militant from Ingushetia carried out a suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo that killed 37 people.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid