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.
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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid