Republic (/ˈtʃɛtʃɪn/; Russian: Чече́нская
Респу́блика, tr. Chechenskaya Respublika,
IPA: [tɕɪˈtɕɛnskəjə rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə]; Chechen:
Нохчийн Республика, Noxçiyn Respublika), commonly
referred to as
Chechnya (/ˈtʃɛtʃniə/; Russian: Чечня́,
IPA: [tɕɪˈtɕnʲa]; Chechen: Нохчийчоь, Noxçiyçö),
is a federal subject (a republic) of Russia.
It is located in the North Caucasus, situated in the southernmost part
of Eastern Europe, and within 100 kilometres (62 miles) of the Caspian
Sea. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny. As of the
2010 Russian Census[update], the republic was reported to have a
population of 1,268,989 people; however, that number has been
questioned by multiple demographers, who think such population growth
after two deadly wars is highly implausible.
After the dissolution of the
Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechen-Ingush
ASSR was split into two parts: the
Ingushetia and the
Chechen Republic. The latter proclaimed the Chechen
Ichkeria, which sought independence. Following the First Chechen War
Chechnya gained de facto independence as the Chechen
Republic of Ichkeria. Russian federal control was restored during the
Second Chechen War. Since then there has been a systematic
reconstruction and rebuilding process, though sporadic fighting
continues in the mountains and southern regions of the republic.
1.1 Origin of Chechnya's population
1.3 Early history
1.4 Caucasian Wars
1.5 Independent state
1.6 Soviet rule
1.7 Since 1990
1.8 First Chechen War
1.9 Inter-war period
1.10 Second Chechen War
1.11 Post-war reconstruction and insurgency
2.1 Cities and towns with over 20,000 people
3 Administrative divisions
4 Informal divisions
5.1 Vital statistics
5.2 Ethnic groups
6.1 Regional government
6.2 Separatist government
7 Human rights
7.1 Gay concentration camps, 2017
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Main article: History of Chechnya
Origin of Chechnya's population
According to Leonti Mroveli, the 11th-century Georgian chronicler, the
word Caucasian is derived from the
Vainakh ancestor Kavkas.
According to Professor George Anchabadze of Ilia State University
The Vainakhs are the ancient natives of the Caucasus. It is
noteworthy, that according to the genealogical table drawn up by
Leonti Mroveli, the legendary forefather of the Vainakhs was "Kavkas",
hence the name Kavkasians, one of the ethnicons met in the ancient
Georgian written sources, signifying the ancestors of the
Ingush. As appears from the above, the Vainakhs, at least by name, are
presented as the most "Caucasian" people of all the Caucasians
Caucasus – Kavkas – Kavkasians) in the Georgian historical
American linguist Dr.
Johanna Nichols "has used language to connect
the modern people of the
Caucasus region to the ancient farmers of the
Fertile Crescent" and her research suggests that "farmers of the
region were proto-Nakh-Daghestanians." Nichols stated: "The
Nakh–Dagestanian languages are the closest thing we have to a direct
continuation of the cultural and linguistic community that gave rise
to Western civilization." Dr. Henry Harpending, University of Utah,
supports her claims.
1855 Atlas Map of Turkey and the North Caucasus. Map of the American
cartographer J.H.Colton. Top right corner,
Chechnya is labeled as
Gelia, with Chechen cities: Grosnaja (Grozny), Basdet and Leshistan
cities: Andi, Metiro.
People living in prehistoric mountain cave settlements used tools,
mastered fire, and used animal skins for warmth and other
purposes. Traces of human settlement that date back to
40,000 BC were found near Lake Kezanoi. Cave paintings,
artifacts, and other archaeological evidence indicates continuous
habitation for some 8,000 years.
Nakh peoples to the slopes of the
Caucasus from the
Fertile Crescent. Invention of agriculture, irrigation, and the
domestication of animals.
Neolithic era. Pottery is known to the region. Old settlements near
Ali-Yurt and Magas, discovered in the modern times, revealed tools
made out of stone: stone axes, polished stones, stone knives, stones
with holes drilled in them, clay dishes etc. Settlements made out of
clay bricks discovered in the plains. In the mountains there were
discovered settlements made out of stone and surrounded by walls; some
of them dated back to 8000 BC.
Invention of the wheel (3000 BC), horseback riding, metal works
(copper, gold, silver, iron), dishes, armor, daggers, knives, arrow
tips. The artifacts were found near Nasare-Cort, Muzhichi, Ja-E-Bortz
(also known as Surkha-khi), Abbey-Gove (also known as
The kingdom in the center of the
Caucasus splits into
Alania and Noble
Alania (known from Russian as Царственные Аланы).
Peter Simon Pallas
Peter Simon Pallas believed that
Ingush people (Kist)
were the direct descendants from Alania.
Destruction of the
Alania capital of
Maghas (both names known solely
Muslim Arabs) and Alan confederacy of the Northern Caucasian
highlanders, nations, and tribes by
Batu Khan (a
Mongol leader and a
grandson of Genghis Khan) "
Magas was destroyed in the beginning of
1239 by the hordes of Batu Khan. Historically
Magas was located at
approximately the same place on which the new capital of
now built" – D.V.Zayats
War between the Alans, Tamerlan, Tokhtamysh, and the Battle of the
Terek River. The Alan tribes build fortresses, castles, and defense
walls locking the mountains from the invaders. Part of the lowland
tribes occupied by Mongols. The insurgency against Mongols begins. In
1991 the Jordanian historian Abdul-Ghani Khassan presented the
photocopy from old Arabic scripts claiming that
Alania was in Chechnya
and Ingushetia, and the document from Alanian historian Azdin Vazzar
(1395–1460) who claimed to be from Nokhcho (Chechen) tribe of
First Russian involvement in the Caucasus. 1558 Temryuk of Kabarda
sends his emissaries to
Moscow requesting help from Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible marries Temryuk's daughter
Maria Temryukovna. Alliance formed to gain the ground in the central
Caucasus for the expanding Tsardom of
Russia against stubborn Vainakh
Chechnya was a nation in the Northern
Caucasus that fought
against foreign rule continually since the 15th century. The Chechens
converted over the next few centuries to Sunni Islam, as
associated with resistance to Russian encroachment.
This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone
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Main article: Caucasian War
Imam Shamil of
Dagestan surrendering to Russian general
Baryatinsky in 1859; painting by Aleksey Kivshenko
Map of the Caucasian Isthmus
by J. Grassl, 1856
Russia set off for the first time to increase its political
influence in the
Caucasus and the
Caspian Sea at the expense of
Safavid Persia, Peter I launched the Russo-Persian War (1722–1723),
Russia succeeded in taking much of the Caucasian territories
from Iran for several years. Notable in Chechen history, this
particular Russo-Persian War marked the first military encounter
Russia and the Vainakh.
Russians took control of the Caspian corridor and moved into
Persian-ruled Dagestan, Peter's forces ran into mountain tribes. Peter
sent a cavalry force to subdue them, but the
Chechens routed them.
In 1732, after
Russia already ceded back most of the
Persia, now led by Nader Shah, following the Treaty of Resht, Russian
troops clashed again with
Chechens in a village called Chechen-aul
along the Argun River. The
Russians were defeated again and
withdrew, but this battle is responsible for the apocryphal story
about how the Nokchi came to be known as "Chechens"-the people
ostensibly named for the place the battle had taken place. The name
Chechen was however already used since as early as 1692.
Under intermittent Persian rule since 1555, in 1783 the eastern
Kartl-Kakheti led by
Erekle II and
Russia signed the
Treaty of Georgievsk. According to this treaty,
protection from Russia, and Georgia abjured any dependence on
Iran. In order to increase its influence in the
Caucasus and to
secure communications with Kartli and other minority Christian regions
of the Transcaucasia which it considered useful in its wars against
Persia and Turkey, the Russian Empire began conquering the Northern
Caucasus mountains. The Russian Empire used Christianity to justify
its conquests, allowing
Islam to spread widely because it positioned
itself as the religion of liberation from tsardom, which viewed Nakh
tribes as "bandits". The rebellion was led by Mansur Ushurma, a
Naqshbandi (Sufi) sheikh—with wavering military support from
other North Caucasian tribes. Mansur hoped to establish a
Transcaucasus Islamic state under shari'a law. He was unable to fully
achieve this because in the course of the war he was betrayed by the
Ottomans, handed over to Russians, and executed in 1794.
Following the forced ceding of the current territories of Dagestan,
most of Azerbaijan, and Georgia by
Persia to Russia, following the
Russo-Persian War (1804–1813)
Russo-Persian War (1804–1813) and its outcoming Treaty of Gulistan,
Russia significantly widened its foothold in the
Caucasus at the
expense of Persia. Another successful
Caucasus war against Persia
several years later, starting in 1826 and ending in 1828 with the
Treaty of Turkmenchay, and a successful war against
Ottoman Turkey in
Russia to use a much larger portion of its army in
subduing the natives of the North Caucasus.
The resistance of the
Nakh tribes never ended and was a fertile ground
for a new Muslim-Avar commander, Imam Shamil, who fought against the
Russians from 1834 to 1859 (see Murid War). In 1859, Shamil was
Russians at aul Gunib. Shamil left Boysangur Benoiski,
a Chechen with one arm, one eye, and one leg, in charge of command at
Gunib. Benoiski broke through the siege and continued to fight Russia
for another two years until he was captured and killed by Russians.
The Russian tsar hoped that by sparing the life of Shamil, the
resistance in the
North Caucasus would stop, but it did not. Russia
began to use a colonization tactic by destroying
Nakh settlements and
building Cossack defense lines in the lowlands. The Cossacks suffered
defeat after defeat and were constantly attacked by mountaineers, who
were robbing them of food and weaponry.
The tsarists' regime used a different approach at the end of the
1860s. They offered
Chechens and Ingush to leave the
Caucasus for the
Ottoman Empire (see Muhajir (Caucasus)). It is estimated that about
Chechens and Ingush left the
Caucasus during the deportation.
It weakened the resistance which went from open warfare to insurgent
warfare. One of the notable Chechen resistance fighters at the end of
the 19th century was a Chechen abrek Zelimkhan Gushmazukaev and his
comrade-in-arms Ingush abrek Sulom-Beck Sagopshinski. Together they
built up small units which constantly harassed Russian military
convoys, government mints, and government post-service, mainly in
Ingushetia and Chechnya. Ingush aul Kek was completely burned when the
Ingush refused to hand over Zelimkhan. Zelimkhan was killed at the
beginning of the 20th century. The war between
Nakh tribes and Russia
resurfaced during the times of the Russian Revolution, which saw the
Nakh struggle against
Anton Denikin and later against the Soviet
On December 21, 1917, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and
Russia and formed a single state: "United Mountain
Dwellers of the North Caucasus" (also known as the Mountainous
Republic of the Northern Caucasus) which was recognized by major world
powers. The capital of the new state was moved to Temir-Khan-Shura
(Dagestan). Tapa Chermoyev, a prominent Chechen statesman,
was elected the first prime minister of the state. The second prime
minister elected was Vassan-Girey Dzhabagiev, an Ingush statesman, who
also was the author of the constitution of the republic in 1917, and
in 1920 he was re-elected for the third term. In 1921 the Russians
attacked and occupied the country and forcefully absorbed it into the
Soviet state. The Caucasian war for independence restarted, and the
government went into exile.
During Soviet rule,
Ingushetia were combined to form
Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In the 1930s
Chechnya was flooded with many
Ukrainians fleeing the Holodomor. As a
result many of the
Ukrainians settled in Chechen-Ingush ASSR
permanently and survived the famine.
Although over 50,000
Chechens and over 12,000 Ingush were fighting
Nazi Germany on the front line (including heroes of the USSR:
Abukhadzhi Idrisov, Khanpasha Nuradilov, Movlid Visaitov), and
although Nazi German troops were fought to a complete stop at two
Chechen-Ingush ASSR cities
Malgobek and Ordzhonikidze (renamed to
Vladikavkaz) after capturing half of the
Caucasus in less than a
Chechens and Ingush were falsely accused as Nazi supporters and
entire nations were deported during Operation Lentil to the Kazakh SSR
(later Kazakhstan) in 1944 near the end of
World War II
World War II where over 60%
of Chechen and Ingush populations perished. American historian
Norman Naimark writes:
Troops assembled villagers and townspeople, loaded them onto
trucks – many deportees remembered that they were Studebakers,
fresh from Lend-Lease deliveries over the Iranian border – and
delivered them at previously designated railheads. ...Those who could
not be moved were shot. ...[A] few fighters aside, the entire Chechen
and Ingush nations, 496,460 people, were deported from their
The deportation was supposedly justified by the materials prepared by
Bogdan Kobulov accusing
Chechens and Ingush in
a mass conspiracy preparing rebellion and providing assistance to the
German forces. Many of the materials were later proved to be
fabricated. Even distinguished
Red Army officers who fought
bravely against Germans (e.g. the commander of 255th Separate
Chechen-Ingush regiment Movlid Visaitov, the first to contact American
forces at Elbe river) were deported. There is a theory that the
real reason why
Chechens and Ingush were deported is the desire of
Russia to attack Turkey, a non-communist country, as
Ingush could impede such plans. In 2004, the European Parliament
recognized the deportation of
Chechens and Ingush as an act of
The territory of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic was divided between
Stavropol Krai (where
Grozny Okrug was
Dagestan ASSR, the North Ossetian ASSR, and the Georgian
Chechens and Ingush were allowed to return to their land after
1956 during de-Stalinization under Nikita Khrushchev when
Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was restored but
both boundaries and ethnic composition of the territory significantly
changed. There were many (predominantly Russian) migrants from other
parts of the Soviet Union, who often settled in the abandoned family
Chechens and Ingushes. The republic lost its Prigorodny
District which transferred to
North Ossetian ASSR
North Ossetian ASSR but gained
Naursky District and
Shelkovskoy District that
is considered the homeland for Terek Cossacks.
Russification policies towards
Chechens continued after 1956, with
Russian language proficiency required in many aspects of life, and for
advancement in the Soviet system.
Part of a series on the
History of Chechnya
North Caucasian Emirate
Chechen National Okrug
Chechen Autonomous Oblast
Chechen–Ingush Aut. Oblast
Republic of Ichkeria
On November 26, 1990, the Supreme Council of Chechen-Ingush ASSR
adopted the "Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Chechen-Ingush
Republic". This declaration was part of the reorganization of the
Soviet Union. This new treaty would have been signed August 22, 1991,
which would have transformed 15 republic states into more than 80. The
1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt
1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt led to the
abandonment of this reorganization.
With the impending dissolution of the
Soviet Union in 1991, an
independence movement, the Chechen National Congress, was formed, led
Soviet Air Force
Soviet Air Force general and new Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudayev. It campaigned for the recognition of
Chechnya as a separate
nation. This movement was opposed by Boris Yeltsin's Russian
Federation, which argued that
Chechnya had not been an independent
entity within the Soviet Union—as the Baltic, Central Asian, and
other Caucasian States had—but was part of the Russian Soviet
Republic and hence did not have a right under the
Soviet constitution to secede. It also argued that other republics of
Russia, such as Tatarstan, would consider seceding from the Russian
Chechnya were granted that right. Finally, it argued
Chechnya was a major hub in the oil infrastructure of
hence its secession would hurt the country's economy and energy
In the ensuing decade, the territory was locked in an ongoing struggle
between various factions, usually fighting unconventionally and
forgoing the position held by the several successive Russian
governments through the current administration.
First Chechen War
Main article: First Chechen War
A Chechen man prays during the Battle of Grozny.
First Chechen War
First Chechen War took place over a two-year period that lasted
from 1994 to 1996, when Russian forces attempted to regain control
over Chechnya, which had declared independence in November 1991.
Despite overwhelming numerical superiority in men, weaponry, and air
support, the Russian forces were unable to establish effective
permanent control over the mountainous area due to numerous successful
full-scale battles and insurgency raids. In three months,
more tanks (over 1,997 tanks) in
Grozny than during the Battle of
Berlin in 1945. The
Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis
Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis in 1995
shocked the Russian public and led to international condemnation of
the Chechen rebels.
In April 1996 the first democratically elected president of Chechnya,
Dzhokhar Dudayev, was killed by Russian forces using a booby trap bomb
and a missile fired from a warplane after he was located by
triangulating the position of a satellite phone he was using.
The widespread demoralization of the Russian forces in the area and a
successful offensive to re-take
Grozny by Chechen resistance forces
Aslan Maskhadov prompted
Boris Yeltsin to
declare a ceasefire in 1996, and sign a peace treaty a year later that
saw a withdrawal of Russian forces.
Main article: Chechen
Republic of Ichkeria
After the war, parliamentary and presidential elections took place in
January 1997 in
Chechnya and brought to power new President Aslan
Maskhadov, chief of staff and prime minister in the Chechen coalition
government, for a five-year term. Maskhadov sought to maintain Chechen
sovereignty while pressing the Russian government to help rebuild the
republic, whose formal economy and infrastructure were virtually
Russia continued to send money for the rehabilitation
of the republic; it also provided pensions and funds for schools and
hospitals. Most of these funds were taken by Chechen authorities and
divided between favored warlords. Nearly half a
million people (40% of Chechnya's prewar population) had been
internally displaced and lived in refugee camps or overcrowded
villages. There was an economic downturn. Two Russian brigades
were permanently stationed in Chechnya.
In lieu of the devastated economic structure, kidnapping emerged as
the principal source of income countrywide, procuring over
US$200 million during the three-year independence of the chaotic
fledgling state, although victims were rarely killed. In 1998,
176 people were kidnapped, 90 of whom were released, according to
official accounts. President Maskhadov started a major campaign
against hostage-takers, and on October 25, 1998, Shadid Bargishev,
Chechnya's top anti-kidnapping official, was killed in a
remote-controlled car bombing. Bargishev's colleagues then insisted
they would not be intimidated by the attack and would go ahead with
their offensive. Political violence and religious extremism, blamed on
"Wahhabism", was rife. In 1998,
Grozny authorities declared a state of
emergency. Tensions led to open clashes between the Chechen National
Islamist militants, such as the July 1998 confrontation in
Second Chechen War
Main article: Second Chechen War
The War of
Dagestan began on August 7, 1999, during which the
Islamic International Brigade
Islamic International Brigade (IIPB) began an unsuccessful incursion
into the neighboring Russian republic of
Dagestan in favor of the
Dagestan which sought independence from Russia. In
September, a series of apartment bombs that killed around 300 people
in several Russian cities, including Moscow, were blamed on the
Chechen separatists. Some journalists contested the official
explanation, instead blaming the Russian Secret Service for blowing up
the buildings to initiate a new military campaign against
Chechnya. In response to the bombings, a prolonged air campaign of
retaliatory strikes against the Ichkerian regime and a ground
offensive that began in October 1999 marked the beginning of the
Second Chechen War. Much better organized and planned than the first
Chechen War, the Russian military took control over most regions. The
Russian forces used brutal force, killing 60 Chechen civilians during
a mop-up operation in Aldy,
Chechnya on February 5, 2000. After the
Grozny in February 2000, the Ichkerian regime fell
Post-war reconstruction and insurgency
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Postage stamp issued in 2009 by the
Russian Post dedicated to Chechnya
Chechen rebels continued to fight Russian troops and conduct terrorist
attacks.[page needed] In October 2002, 40–50 Chechen rebels
Moscow theater and took about 900 civilians hostage. The
crisis ended with 117 hostages and up to 50 rebels dead, mostly due to
an unknown aerosol pumped throughout the building by Russian special
forces to incapacitate the people inside.
In September 2004, separatist rebels occupied a school in the town of
Beslan, North Ossetia, demanding recognition of the independence of
Chechnya and a Russian withdrawal. 1,100 people (including 777
children) were taken hostage. The attack lasted three days, resulting
in the deaths of over 331 people, including 186
In response to the increasing terrorism,
Russia tightened its grip on
Chechnya and expanded its anti-terrorist operations throughout the
Russia installed a pro-Russian Chechen regime. In 2003, a
referendum was held on a constitution that reintegrated Chechnya
Russia but provided limited autonomy. According to the Chechen
government, the referendum passed with 95.5% of the votes and almost
The Economist was skeptical of the results, arguing
that "few outside the Kremlin regard the referendum as fair".
After the 2004 school siege, Russian president Vladimir Putin
announced sweeping security and political reforms, sealing borders in
Caucasus region and revealing plans to give the central government
more power. He also vowed to take tougher action against domestic
terrorism, including preemptive strikes against Chechen
separatists. In 2005 and 2006, prominent separatist leaders Aslan
Shamil Basayev were killed.
Chechnya has been run by Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov's rule
has been characterized by high-level corruption, a poor human rights
record, and a growing cult of personality. However, his rule
has also seen
Chechnya rebuild, with much of
In April 2009,
Russia ended its counter-terrorism operation and pulled
out the bulk of its army. The insurgency in the North Caucasus
continued even after this date. The
Caucasus Emirate has fully adopted
the tenets of being a Salafist-takfiri jihadist group through its
strict adherence to upholding tawhid, its obedience to the literal
interpretation of the
Quran and the Sunnah, and its complete rejection
of bid‘ah, taqlid, and ijtihad.
The mountains in the area Sharoi
Situated in the eastern part of the North Caucasus, partially in
Chechnya is surrounded on nearly all sides by Russian
Federal territory. In the west, it borders
North Ossetia and
Ingushetia, in the north, Stavropol Krai, in the east, Dagestan, and
to the south, Georgia. Its capital is Grozny.
Area: 15,300 kilometers (9,500 mi)
Republic of North Ossetia–
Stavropol Krai (NW)
Cities and towns with over 20,000 people
Map of Chechen
Main article: Administrative divisions of the Chechen Republic
There are no true districts of Chechnya, but many believe that the
different dialects of the
Chechen language define different districts.
The main dialects are: Grozny, also known as the Dzhokhar dialect, is
the dialect of people who live in and in some towns around Grozny.
Naskhish, a dialect spoken to the northeast of Chechnya. The most
notable difference in this dialect is the addition of the letters
"ȯ", "ј" and "є" Day, pronounced like the word 'die' is spoken in a
small section of the south, around and in the town of Day.
There are other dialects which are believed to define districts, but
because these areas are so isolated, not much research has been done
on these areas.
World War II
World War II veterans during celebrations on the 66th
anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War
According to the 2010 Census, the population of the republic is
1,268,989, up from 1,103,686 recorded in the 2002 Census. As
of the 2010 Census,
Chechens at 1,206,551 make up 95.3% of
the republic's population. Other groups include
Russians (24,382, or
Kumyks (12,221, or 1%), Ingush (1,296 or 0.1%) and a host of
smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total
population. The Armenian community, which used to number around 15,000
Grozny alone, has dwindled to a few families. The Armenian
Grozny was demolished in 1930. The birth rate was 25.41 in
2004. (25.7 in Achkhoi Martan, 19.8 in Groznyy, 17.5 in Kurchaloi,
28.3 in Urus Martan and 11.1 in Vedeno). According to the Chechen
State Statistical Committee, Chechnya's population had grown to
1.205 million in January 2006.
At the end of the Soviet era, ethnic
Russians (including Cossacks)
comprised about 23% of the population (269,000 in 1989).
According to some Russian sources, from 1991 to 1994 tens of thousands
of people of non-Chechen ethnicity (mostly Russians, Ukrainians, and
Armenians) left the republic amidst reports of violence and
discrimination against the non-Chechen population, as well as
widespread lawlessness and ethnic cleansing under the government of
However, regarding this exodus, there is an alternative view.
According to the Russian economists Boris Lvin and Andrei Iliaronov,
The Chechen authorities are regularly accused of crimes against the
population, especially the Russian-speaking people. However, before
the current war the emigration of the Russian-speaking population from
Chechnya was no more intense than that from Kalmykia,
Grozny itself there remained a 200,000 strong
Russian-speaking population which did not hasten to leave it.
The languages used in the
Republic are Chechen and Russian. Chechen
belongs to the Vaynakh or North-central Caucasian language family,
which also includes Ingush and Batsb. Some scholars place it in a
wider Iberian-Caucasian super-family.
Chechnya has one of the youngest populations in the generally aging
Russian Federation; in the early 1990s, it was among the few regions
experiencing natural population growth. Since 2002,
experienced a classic post-conflict baby-boom. Chechen
demographers in 2008 termed highly implausible the reported overall
population growth as infant mortality in
Chechnya was said to be 60
percent higher than the Russian average in 2007 and to have risen by
3.9 percent compared with 2006. Many experts have expressed doubts
about the increase from 1.1 million in the 1990s to an estimated
nearly 1.3 million in 2010 following two devastating wars that
displaced hundreds of thousands of people and virtually eliminated the
large ethnic Russian minority in the republic. According to
Russian demographer Dmitry Bogoyavlensky, the 2002 census results were
clearly manipulated in the North Caucasus: an estimated 800,000 to
1 million non-existent people were added to the actual population
of the region. Another Russian demographer, Anatoly Vishnevsky,
pointed out that according to the 2002 census, some age groups, like
those born in 1950, appeared to be larger in 2002 than in 1989.
With the 2002 census,
Moscow wanted to show there were not too many
casualties and that the refugees had returned to Chechnya, while the
local authorities wanted to receive more funds and thus needed a
higher population to justify their demands. Also, in the
multiethnic republics of
North Caucasus normally unlike in other parts
of Russia, government positions are distributed among the ethnicities
according to their ratio in the general population. So ethnicities
are zealously guarding their numbers in order not to be outnumbered by
others and thereby left with less representation in the government and
the local economy. Some 40 percent of newborns had some kind of
Ethnolinguistic groups in the
Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service
Average population (x 1000)
Crude birth rate (per 1000)
Crude death rate (per 1000)
Natural change (per 1000)
Total fertility rate
Note: TFR 2009–12 source.
(in the territory of modern Chechnya)[unreliable source]
1 2,515 people were registered from administrative databases, and
could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of
ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared
group.2 Note that practically all Chechen and
Ingush people were
Central Asia or killed in 1944. They were, however,
allowed to return back to the Northern
Caucasus in 1957 by Nikita
Khrushchev. See Deportation of the
Chechens and Ingush
Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque
Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque in Grozny
Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya, practiced by 95% of
those polled in
Grozny in 2010.
Chechens are overwhelmingly
adherents to the
Madhhab of Sunni Islam, the republic
having converted to
Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries. Due
to historical importance, many
Chechens are Sufis, of either the
Naqshbandi orders. Most of the population follows either the
Shafi'i or the Hanafi, schools of jurisprudence, fiqh. The Shafi'i
school of jurisprudence has a long tradition among the Chechens,
and thus it remains the most practiced.
The once-strong Russian minority in Chechnya, mostly Terek Cossacks
and estimated as numbering approximately 25,000 in 2012, are
predominantly Russian Orthodox, although presently only one church
exists in Grozny. In August 2011, Archbishop Zosima of
Makhachkala performed the first mass baptism ceremony in the history
of the Chechen
Republic in the
Terek River of
Naursky District in
which 35 citizens of Naursky and Shelkovsky districts were converted
On 19 January 2015, 12 days after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, a march
took place in
Grozny against the publication of caricatures of the
prophet Mohammed. The Chechen Ministry of Interior reported that
more than a million people participated, while according to the
Caucasian Knot the number was between 350,000 and
Main article: Politics of Chechnya
Since 1990, the Chechen
Republic has had many legal, military, and
civil conflicts involving separatist movements and pro-Russian
Chechnya is a relatively stable federal republic,
although there is still some separatist movement activity. Its
regional constitution entered into effect on April 2, 2003, after an
all-Chechen referendum was held on March 23, 2003. Some
controlled by regional teips, or clans, despite the existence of pro-
and anti-Russian political structures.
The former separatist religious leader (mufti) Akhmad Kadyrov, looked
upon as a traitor by many separatists, was elected president with 83%
of the vote in an internationally monitored election on October 5,
2003. Incidents of ballot stuffing and voter intimidation by Russian
soldiers and the exclusion of separatist parties from the polls were
subsequently reported by the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors. On May 9, 2004, Kadyrov was
Grozny football stadium by a landmine explosion that
was planted beneath a VIP stage and detonated during a parade, and
Sergey Abramov was appointed to the position of acting prime minister
after the incident. However, since 2005
Ramzan Kadyrov (son of Akhmad
Kadyrov) has been the caretaker prime minister, and in 2007 was
appointed as the new president. Many allege he is the wealthiest and
most powerful man in the republic, with control over a large private
militia referred to as the Kadyrovtsy. The militia, which began as his
father's security force, has been accused of killings and kidnappings
by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch.
In 2009, the US government financed American organization Freedom
Chechnya in the "Worst of the Worst" list of most
repressive societies in the world, together with Burma, North Korea,
Tibet, and others.
Shamil Basayev, Chechen militant
Islamist and a leader of the Chechen
Akhmad Kadyrov, former separatist and head of the Chechen Republic,
Russian President Vladimir Putin
In addition to the Russian regional government, there was a separatist
Ichkeria government that was not recognized by any state (although
members have been given political asylum in European and Arab
countries, as well as the United States).
Ichkeria is/was a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples
Organization. Former president of Georgia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia deposed
in a military coup of 1991 and a participant of the Georgian Civil
War, recognized the independence of the Chechen
Republic of Ichkeria
in 1993. Diplomatic relations with Ichkeria were also established
by the partially recognized
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under the
Taliban government on January 16, 2000. This recognition ceased with
the fall of the
Taliban in 2001. However, despite Taliban
recognition, there were no friendly relations between the
Ichkeria—Maskhadov rejected their recognition, stating that the
Taliban were illegitimate. Ichkeria also received vocal support
from the Baltic countries, a group of Ukrainian nationalists and
Poland; Estonia once voted to recognize, but the act never was
followed through due to pressure applied by both
Russia and the
The president of this government was Aslan Maskhadov, the Foreign
Minister was Ilyas Akhmadov, who was the spokesman for Maskhadov.
Aslan Maskhadov had been elected in an internationally monitored
election in 1997 for 4 years, which took place after signing a peace
agreement with Russia. In 2001 he issued a decree prolonging his
office for one additional year; he was unable to participate in the
2003 presidential election since separatist parties were barred by the
Russian government, and Maskhadov faced accusations of terrorist
offenses in Russia. Maskhadov left
Grozny and moved to the
separatist-controlled areas of the south at the onset of the Second
Chechen War. Maskhadov was unable to influence a number of warlords
who retain effective control over Chechen territory, and his power was
diminished as a result. Russian forces killed Maskhadov on March 8,
2005, and the assassination of Maskhadov was widely criticized since
it left no legitimate Chechen separatist leader with whom to conduct
peace talks. Akhmed Zakayev, Deputy Prime Minister and a Foreign
Minister under Maskhadov, was appointed shortly after the 1997
election and is currently living under asylum in England. He and
others chose Abdul Khalim Saidullayev, a relatively unknown Islamic
judge who was previously the host of an Islamic program on Chechen
television, to replace Maskhadov following his death. On June 17,
2006, it was reported that Russian special forces killed Abdul Khalim
Saidullayev in a raid in a Chechen town Argun.
The successor of Saidullayev became Doku Umarov. On October 31, 2007,
Umarov abolished the
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and its presidency
and in its place proclaimed the
Caucasian Emirate with himself as its
Emir. This change of status has been rejected by many Chechen
politicians and military leaders who continue to support the existence
of the republic.
Mass grave in
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that after
hundreds of thousands of ethnic
Chechens fled their homes
following inter-ethnic and separatist conflicts in
Chechnya in 1994
and 1999, more than 150,000 people still remain displaced in Russia
On September 1, 1997, Criminal Code reportedly being implemented
in the Chechen Republic-Ichkeriya, Article 148 punishes "anal sexual
intercourse between a man and a woman or a man and a man". For first-
and second-time offenders, the punishment is caning. A third
conviction leads to the death penalty, which can be carried out in a
number of ways including stoning or beheading.
Human rights groups criticized the conduct of the 2005 parliamentary
elections as unfairly influenced by the central Russian government and
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch reported that pro-Russian Chechen forces
under the command of Ramzan Kadyrov, as well as federal police
personnel, used torture to get information about separatist forces.
"If you are detained in Chechnya, you face a real and immediate risk
of torture. And there is little chance that your torturer will be held
accountable", said Holly Cartner, Director of the Europe and Central
Asia division of the Human Rights Watch.
On February 1, 2009, the
New York Times
New York Times released extensive
evidence to support allegations of consistent torture and executions
under the Kadyrov government. The accusations were sparked by the
assassination in Austria of a former Chechen rebel who had gained
access to Kadyrov's inner circle, 27-year-old Umar Israilov.
On July 1, 2009,
Amnesty International released a detailed report
covering the human rights violations committed by the Russian
Federation against Chechen citizens. Among the most prominent features
was that those abused had no method of redress against assaults,
ranging from kidnapping to torture, while those responsible were never
held accountable. This led to the conclusion that
Chechnya was being
ruled without law, being run into further devastating
On March 10, 2011,
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch reported that since
Chechenization, the government has pushed for enforced Islamic dress
code and other traditions which violently repress women. The
Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as saying "I have the right to
criticize my wife. She doesn't. With us [in Chechen society], a wife
is a housewife. A woman should know her place. A woman should give her
love to us [men]... She would be [man's] property. And the man is the
owner. Here, if a woman does not behave properly, her husband, father,
and brother are responsible. According to our tradition, if a woman
fools around, her family members kill her... That's how it happens, a
brother kills his sister or a husband kills his wife... As a
president, I cannot allow for them to kill. So, let women not wear
shorts...". He has also openly defended honor killings on several
On July 9, 2017, Russian newspaper
Novaya Gazeta reported that a
number of people were subject to an extrajudicial execution on the
night of January 26, 2017. It published 27 names of the people known
to be dead, but stressed that the list is "not all [of those killed]";
the newspaper asserted that 50 people may have been killed in the
execution. Some of the dead were gay, but not all; the deaths
appeared to have been triggered by the death of a policeman, and
according to the author of the report, Elena Milashina, were executed
Gay concentration camps, 2017
Gay concentration camps in Chechnya
Gay concentration camps in Chechnya and LGBT rights in
In 2017, it was reported by
Novaya Gazeta and human rights groups that
Chechen authorities had allegedly set up concentration camps, one of
which is in Argun, where gay men are interrogated and subjected to
Grozny in 2013
During the war, the Chechen economy fell apart. In 1994, the
separatists planned to introduce a new currency, but that did not
happen due to Russian troops re-taking
Chechnya in the Second Chechen
The economic situation in
Chechnya has improved considerably since
2000. According to the New York Times, major efforts to rebuild Grozny
have been made, and improvements in the political situation have led
some officials to consider setting up a tourism industry, though there
are claims that construction workers are being irregularly paid and
that poor people have been displaced.
Chechnya's unemployment was 67% in 2006 and fell to 21.5% in 2014
Total revenues of the budget of
Chechnya for 2017 are
59.2 billion rubles. Of these, 48.5 billion rubles are
so-called "gratuitous receipts" from the federal budget of the Russian
Wildlife of Chechnya
^ Decree #164
^ Президент Российской
Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая
2000 г. «О полномочном представителе
Президента Российской Федерации в
федеральном округе». Вступил в
силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован:
"Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст.
2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian
Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the
Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian
Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
^ Госстандарт Российской
Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995
г. «Общероссийский классификатор
2. Экономические районы», в ред.
Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (
Gosstandart of the Russian
Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian
Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as
amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
^ Law #4071-1
^ Constitution of the Chechen Republic, Article 59.5
^ Official website of the Chechen Republic. Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov
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закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об
исчислении времени», в ред.
Федерального закона №271-ФЗ от 03
июля 2016 г. «О внесении изменений в
Федеральный закон "Об исчислении
времени"». Вступил в силу по
истечении шестидесяти дней после дня
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2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская
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2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #271-FZ
of July 03, 2016 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating
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Республики. Указ №164 от 15
июля 2004 г. «О государственном гимне
Чеченской Республики». Вступил в
силу после одобрения
Государственным Советом Чеченской
Республики и официального
опубликования. Опубликован: БД
"Консультант-Плюс". (President of the Chechen
Republic. Decree #164 of July 15, 2004 On the
State Anthem of the Chechen Republic. Effective as of after the
ratification by the State Council of the Chechen
subsequent official publication.).
Референдум. 23 марта 2003 г.
«Конституция Чеченской Республики», в
ред. Конституционного закона №1-РКЗ
от 30 сентября 2014 г. «О внесении
изменений в Конституцию Чеченской
Республики». Вступил в силу со дня
официального опубликования по
результатам голосования на
референдуме Чеченской Республики.
(Referendum. March 23, 2003 Constitution of the Chechen
Republic, as amended by the Constitutional Law #1-RKZ
of September 30, 2014 On Amending the Constitution of the
Chechen Republic. Effective as of the day of the official
publication in accordance with the results of the referendum of the
Федерации. Закон №4071-1 от 10
декабря 1992 г. «О внесении изменений в
статью 71 Конституции (Основного
Закона) Российской Федерации –
России». Вступил в силу 10 января 1993
г.. Опубликован: "Ведомости СНД и ВС РФ",
№52, ст. 3051, 31 декабря 1992 г. (President of the
Federation. Law #4071-1 of December 10, 1992
On Amending Article 71 of the Constitution (Basic Law) of the
Russian Federation–Russia. Effective as of January 10,
Anderson, Scott. The Man Who Tried to Save the World.
Babchenko, Arkady. One Soldier's War In Chechnya. Portobello, London
Baiev, Khassan. The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire.
Bennigsen-Broxup, Marie. The
North Caucasus Barrier: The Russian
Advance Towards the
Muslim World. ISBN 1-85065-069-1
Bird, Chris. To Catch a Tartar: Notes from the Caucasus.
Bornstein, Yvonne and Ribowsky, Mark. "Eleven Days of Hell: My True
Story Of Kidnapping, Terror, Torture And Historic FBI & KGB
Rescue" AuthorHouse, 2004. ISBN 1-4184-9302-3.
Conrad, Roy. Roy Conrad. Grozny. A few days...
Dunlop, John B.
Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist
Conflict ISBN 0-521-63619-1
Evangelista, Mathew. The Chechen Wars: Will
Russia Go the Way of the
Soviet Union?. ISBN 0-8157-2499-3.
Gall, Charlotta & de Waal, Thomas. Chechnya: A Small Victorious
War. ISBN 0-330-35075-7
Gall, Carlotta, and de Waal, Thomas Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus
Chechnya Diary : A War Correspondent's Story of
Surviving the War in Chechnya. M E Sharpe (2003).
Hasanov, Zaur. The Man of the Mountains. ISBN 099304445X (facts
based novel on growing influence of the radical
Islam during 1st and
Khan, Ali. The Chechen Terror: The Play within the Play
Khlebnikov, Paul. Razgovor s varvarom (Interview with a barbarian).
Lieven, Anatol. Chechnya : Tombstone of Russian Power
Mironov, Vyacheslav. Ya byl na etoy voyne. (I was in this war)
Biblion – Russkaya Kniga, 2001. Partial translation available
online [dead link].
Mironov, Vyacheslav. Vyacheslav Mironov. Assault on
Mironov, Vyacheslav. Vyacheslav Mironov. I was in that war.
Murphy, Paul J. The Wolves of Islam:
Russia and the Faces of Chechen
Terror. ISBN 1-57488-830-7
Oliker, Olga Russia's Chechen Wars 1994–2000: Lessons from Urban
Combat. ISBN 0-8330-2998-3. (A strategic and tactical analysis of
the Chechen Wars.)
Pelton, Robert Young. Hunter Hammer and Heaven, Journeys to Three
World's Gone Mad (ISBN 1-58574-416-6)
Politkovskaya, Anna. A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya
Rasizade, Alec. Chechnya: the Achilles heel of Russia. = Contemporary
Review (Oxford) in three parts: 1) April 2005 issue, volume 286,
number 1671, pages 193–197; 2) May 2005 issue, volume 286, number
1672, pages 277–284; 3) June 2005 issue, volume 286, number 1673,
Seirstad, Asne. The Angel of Grozny. ISBN 978-1-84408-395-4
Wood, Tony. Chechnya: The Case For Independence Book review in The
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chechnya.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chechnya.
Official site of the
Chechnya (in Russian)
Chechnya at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Chechnya and the
North Caucasus at the Wayback Machine
(archived September 11, 2012)
"Chechnya's Hidden War". Frontline / World Dispatches. USA: Public
Broadcasting Service. 22 March 2010. (video)
Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to U.S. Homeland?: Joint
Hearing before the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging
Threats and the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One
Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, April 26, 2013
Subdivisions of Russia
Ukraine and considered by most of the international
community to be part of Ukraine
2Administratively subordinated to Tyumen Oblast
3Administratively subordinated to Arkhangelsk Oblast
Internal additional non-constitutional divisions by different
Economic regions (by Ministry of Economic Development)
Military districts (by Ministry of Defence)
Federal districts (by President)
Judicial districts (by law "On arbitration courts")
Countries and regions of the Caucasus
1 Partially-recognized states
First Chechen War
First Chechen War (1994–1996)
Second Chechen War
Second Chechen War (1999–2009)
Insurgency in the
North Caucasus (since 2009)
First Chechen War
Grozny (November 1994)
Battle of Dolinskoye
Battle of Khankala
1995 Shali cluster bomb attack
Grozny (August 1996)
Russia–Chechen Peace Treaty
Second Chechen War
1999 Russian bombing of Chechnya
Battle for Height 776
Battle of Komsomolskoye
2002 Khankala Mi-26 crash
2004 raid on Grozny
2005 raid on Nalchik
1995 Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis
1996 Black Sea hostage crisis
MV Avrasya hijacking
1996 Kizlyar hostage crisis
1999 Russian apartment bombings
Moscow theater hostage crisis
Grozny truck bombing
2004 Russian aircraft bombings
Beslan school siege
Crimes and terrorism
Politics of Chechnya
Wars in culture
Angel of Grozny
Ant in a Glass Jar
Polina Zherebtsova's Journal
The 3 Rooms of Melancholia
The Search (2014 film)
War (2002 film)
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Federal Security Service
Main Intelligence Directorate
Special Forces (Spetsnaz)
Republic of Chechnya
† Akhmad Kadyrov
† Dzhabrail Yamadayev
† Ruslan Yamadayev
† Sulim Yamadayev
Republic of Ichkeria
Islamic Djamaat of Dagestan
† Dzhokhar Dudayev
† Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev
† Aslan Maskhadov
† Abdul-Halim Sadulayev
† Ruslan Gelayev
† Shamil Basayev
† Arbi Barayev
† Salman Raduyev
† Turpal-Ali Atgeriyev
† Vakha Arsanov
† Movsar Barayev
† Rasul Makasharipov
† Ilyas Gorchkhanov
† Rappani Khalilov
Islamic International Brigade
† Magomed Suleimanov
† Aliaskhab Kebekov
† Dokka Umarov
(POW) Aslambek Vadalov
(POW) Ali Taziev
† Anzor Astemirov
† Supyan Abdullayev
† Khuseyn Gakayev
(POW) Tarkhan Gaziyev
† Said Buryatsky
† Magomed Vagabov
† Rustam Asildarov
† Asker Dzhappuyev
† Arthur Getagazhev
† Ibn al-Khattab
† Abu al-Walid
† Abu Hafs al-Urduni
† Abdulla Kurd