Incidents » Conflicts
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Chechens Oust Russians from Chechnya

Chechnya-based Cossacks complain of being ignored

The genocide of Russian people in Chechnya has been lasting for more than ten years already. Over 300,000 Russians have been ousted from the Chechen republic since 1990. The mourning list includes hundreds of people, thousands of rapes and robberies. However, the Russian government has not passed a law that would develop a mechanism to protect Russian people.

According to the official information from the Russian Ministry for National Affairs, more than 21,000 Russian people have been killed in Chechnya since 1991, not to mention Russian servicemen that have been killed during the two Chechen wars. Furthermore, more than 100,000 apartments and houses (owned by the people of non-Chechen nationalities) have been seized, more than 46,000 people have been virtually turned to slaves. No one will ever know how many Russians died in basements and pits, waiting for to be rescued. Russian military men often find hundreds of Russian passports when they liberate Chechen settlements.

Cossack ataman Nikolay Lozhkin (40 years old) was kidnapped and then brutally killed in the beginning of the current year in the Chechen settlement of Ischerskaya. Lozhkin has become the eighth ataman, who has been killed by Chechen bandits over recent years. Nikolay Lozhkin was deputy chairman of the local administration. His death caused an outburst of indignation among the Russian part of the Chechen population. Russian people have recently held a meeting near the ataman's grave. "We are tired of looking for any gratitude in the Kremlin's policy for mutilated lives, seized houses and stolen property," the statement from Chechnya-based Russian Cossacks runs. The statement has been sent to President Putin and to presidential envoy in the southern administrative district, Viktor Kazantsev.

Vasily Bondarev, the ataman of the Tersky Cossack unit in Chechnya believes that no one cares for Russians either in the federal center or in the Chechen government. Russian people continue leaving native Cossack lands in Chechnya, and the attitude to Cossacks remains scornful.

The Tersky Cossack district was formed in Chechnya more than a year ago. The district was meant to unite Chechnya-based Cossacks, although it had not been registered by the head of the Chechen administration. About 17,000 Russian people have stayed in Naursky and Shelkovskoy districts of Chechnya. "We have heard of the federal program to help people return to their homes, although we do not see that this program is being implemented. This might lead of the total ousting of Russians from native Cossack towns," ataman Cherkashin said.

Cossacks have been writing letters, complaints and statements  to Moscow since 1995, but the government has not responded yet. Russians make up two percent of the population in Chechnya's Cossack lands, although the Cossack population in those areas used to reach 70 percent. The massive migration of the Chechen population from mountains to plains makes Russians leave their homes.

About two years ago presidential envoy Viktor Kazantsev said that he would like Cossacks to take an active part in the restoration of peaceful life in Chechnya. Atamans are ready to start, but they have no funds or support for it. Cossacks do not ask Viktor Kazantsev for help anymore, now they insist on a meeting with the president of Russia.

Nikolay Lozhkin's family decided to leave Chechnya for good. Cossacks of the Tersky district helped them buy a house in a settlement of the Stavropol region of Russia. That was all they could do for their killed ataman.

Maria Bondarenko
Nezavisimaya Gazeta