Fifteen years ago, on December 11, 1994, Russian troops entered the territory of the Chechen Republic, which marked the beginning of the First Chechen Campaign to root out terrorism and establish law and order in the troubled nation.
The events, which triggered the armed conflict, started developing in the autumn of 1991, when the Chechen administration declared sovereignty and announced its decision to pull out from the RSFSR and the USSR. During the next three years the Chechen government was busy with dissolving the previous power agencies, canceling the laws of the Russian Federation and establishing the armed forces of Chechnya with President Gen. Jokhar Dudayev at the head. The armed forces of Chechnya were armed with Soviet-made small arms and military hardware that were left in the republic after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
As a result of such separatist activities, Chechnya became a real threat to Russia and became a source of international terrorism. Military actions in the republic continued for nearly two years. Over 4,000 Russian servicemen were killed in the war, about 2,000 went missing and nearly 20,000 were wounded, RIA Novosti says
Russia and Chechnya signed the Khasavyurt Accord in 1996 - after two years of military actions – the ceasefire agreement, which marked the end of the First Chechen War. The document was signed by the head of Russia’s Security Council Alexander Lebed and the leader of the Chechen separatist movement Aslan Maskhadov.
Lebed died in a helicopter crash in 2002. Maskhadov, the leader of Chechen terrorists, was killed by Russian troops in 2005.
Chechnya became Russia’s strongest pain. Thousands of Russian families and people of other nationalities left the republic. The Chechen administration had a goal to build an independent Islamic state from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.
The second Chechen war began in the summer of 1999 with the intrusion of Shamil Basayev’s and Khattab’s gunmen in the Republic of Dagestan. Chechnya started living under the conditions of a counter-terrorist operation, which continued for ten years and was officially stopped only on April 16, 2009. All terrorist leaders were killed during the second campaign.
Many former separatists took the side of Chechnya’s legitimate administration chaired by pro-Russian politician Akhmad Kadyrov. Russia wired enormous funds to Chechnya to restore the nation’s economy.
The West could do nothing else but follow the policy of double standards and accuse Russia of violation of human rights in Chechnya.
Chechen terrorists conducted and claimed responsibility for a series of horrific terrorist acts in Russia throughout those years: apartment buildings were exploded in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk in 1999; hundreds were taken hostage at Moscow’s music theater in 2002. The Chechen gunmen conducted the most terrible terrorist act in September of 2004, when they killed tens of innocent children in Beslan.
Chechnya ’s sitting President Ramzan Kadyrov, who was a teenager during the First Chechen War, believes that the war in Chechnya was masterminded by the West. Western countries, Kadyrov thinks, instigated the war to make the USSR and then Russia collapse.
“It is an open secret nowadays that the Soviet Union fell apart contrary to the will of its people. They decided in the West that they should not stop at that. They wanted to fire up a local war which would embrace more regions and eventually weaken or even destroy Russia as a joint nation,” Kadyrov told journalists December 11 in Grozny.
“They wanted to trigger a local religious conflict in Chechnya and have the Muslim population involved in it. Afterwards, they wanted to provoke mass disturbances in the country. I am certain that there were no objective reasons to start the war with the use of aviation, artillery and hundreds of thousands of military men,” Interfax quoted Kadyrov as saying.
“The West was pursuing its goal, but Russia’s then-administration unconsciously did its bidding and let the local conflict grow into a national tragedy. No one can say today how many billions of dollars Russia had to spend on that war. It was the West that obtruded the war on Russia,” Kadyrov said.
It is worthy of note that the deployment of Russian troops in Chechnya was not a disturbance of the republic’s peaceful life. First blood was shed long before December 11, 1994. Chechnya was involved in a series of internal fratricidal wars before 1994.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign