As is known, the right of peoples to self-determination is one of the basic principles of international law, which means the right of each people to independently decide on the form of their state existence, freely determine their political status without outside interference and carry out their economic and cultural development.

He received recognition in the process of the collapse of the colonial system , and was enshrined in the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (adopted by Resolution No. 1514 of the XVth UN General Assembly of December 14, 1960) and subsequent international pacts and UN declarations.

This principle, along with other principles, is proclaimed in the UN Charter, which aims to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.” The same goal is set in the UN Charter in connection with the development of economic and social cooperation between states.

Further, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of December 19, 1966 (Article 1) state: “All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of this right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development … All States Parties to the present Covenant … must, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, promote the exercise of the right to self-determination and respect this right.

The Declaration on the Principles of International Law (October 24, 1970) also states: “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, enshrined in the UN Charter, all peoples have the right to freely determine their political status without outside interference and to carry out their economic, social and cultural development and every State has an obligation to respect that right in accordance with the provisions of the Charter.”

Ikhvan Gerikhanov with Vakha Arsanov

The same Declaration states that the means of exercising the right to self-determination can be “the creation of a sovereign and independent state, free accession to or association with an independent state, or the establishment of any other political status.”

Similar principles are enshrined in the documents of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe: the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the Final Document of the Vienna Meeting of 1986, the document of the Copenhagen Meeting of the OSCE Human Dimension Conference of 1990 and other international legal acts .

These international principles and the right to self-determination are directly related to the formation of the Chechen state. Without going into a historical digression about the existence of state formations among the Chechens since ancient times, we will dwell on the subject of the formation of the national statehood of the Chechens during the collapse of the USSR and after its liquidation.

According to Article 72 of the Constitution of the USSR, which was a amended by the Law of April 3, 1990, the right to secede from the Soviet Union was provided for only to the republics of the Union. It was also provided there, in the second and third parts of the said law, that “the decision to change the status and secession of an autonomous republic or an autonomous region from the USSR is possible only by a referendum. “

The first of the republics to use this right Russian Federation and on June 12, 1990, it proclaimed its sovereignty outside the USSR.

This initiative for self-determination was also supported on the territory of the Chechen Republic of China , where on November 23-25, 1990, the 1st Chechen National Congress was convened and a decision was made on behalf of the Chechen people to declare the sovereignty of the Chechen Republic of Nokhchicho . In fact, this was an act of a referendum, since the representatives of the congress, on behalf of the Chechen people, decided to choose a free path of development within the framework of the current legislation of the USSR and the RSFSR. It was precisely this path that the RSFSR chose when it convened its next congress of people’s deputies and proclaimed its sovereignty outside the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

So, the decision of the congress of the Chechen people was and legally fixed by the legally existing Supreme Council of the Chechen-Ingush Republic, which on November 27, 1990 issued a Resolution declaring the state sovereignty of the Chechen-Ingush Republic.

Dzhokhar Dudaev at the second session of the Congress, 1991

In a word, the Chechen people (taking into account that later the people of Ingushetia also wished to live as part of the RSFSR), in accordance with the generally recognized principles and norms of international law, while observing domestic law, expressed their will to self-determination at a new stage of their development. This corresponds to the legal establishment of the Declaration on the Principles of International Law (October 24, 1970 ) , which states that every people can freely determine its political status and carry out its economic, social and cultural development without outside interference.

Also, the said Declaration on State Sovereignty of the CHIR allowed to obtain an equal legal status, like the RSFSR, i.e. the status of a union republic.

This legal status did not change even after August 19, 1991 , when an attempt was made in Moscow against the president of the USSR , from which a wave of protests began throughout the entire territory of the union state.

Did not become an exception, which ultimately lost power in the republic and transferred powers again formed by the Provisional The Supreme Soviet is from among the deputies of the highest authority of the republic. The task of this Council was to prepare and conduct democratic elections to the state authorities of the republic, which it failed to cope with, and the election commission, created by the National Congress of the Chechen People, took over the preparation of the elections.

As a result, on October 27, 1991, parliamentary and presidential elections were held. Based on the will of the people, the President and the Parliament of the Republic were elected, thereby once again securing the right of the Chechen people to self-determination.

It follows from this that the inalienable right of the people to self-determination is connected with its national sovereignty and is the basis of its international legal personality. If peoples have the right to self-determination, then all other states have the duty to respect this right. This obligation also covers the recognition of those international legal relations in which the people themselves are the subject.

Hussein Akhmadov, speaker of the Parliament, with the vicepresidents, Mezhidov and Gushakayev

The will of the people, which elected the bodies of state power and administration , was once again enshrined in the Decree of the President of the Chechen Republic of November 1, 1991, proclaiming state sovereignty, thereby continuing the will of the Chechen people, expressed at the first congress on November 23-25, 1990.

Then, on March 12, 1992, the Constitution of the Chechen Republic was adopted and entered into force. And on June 12, 1992, all units of the former Soviet Army stationed on sovereign territory left the republics and, thereby de facto recognizing the sovereignty of the Chechen people.

It should be noted that since the declaration of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Chechen Republic, the latter has not taken part in all the ongoing activities to create authorities in the Russian statehood. Thus, the Chechen Republic did not sign federative agreements and did not participate in the formation of the state power of Russia, as well as when voting for the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which was adopted on December 12, 1993, i.e. almost more than a year and a half after the declaration of sovereignty and the adoption of the Constitution of the Chechen state

Thus, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria , which received a change in name in 1993, in terms of compliance with domestic and international requirements for self-determination, quite legally and reasonably established its legal personality, created its own institutions of state power and administration within the country , while creating representative offices in other states of the Caucasus and the world. That is, from the point of view of international law, we are talking about the activities of sovereign states a , with its inherent features of a subject of international law.

By the way, it will be said that in this period of time, before the start of the conflict with Russia, it was precisely as a subject of international law that CRI was recognized by states such as Georgia and Afghanistan, and our countries were already ready to open official representative offices of the state with the right to present credentials by ambassadors mutually. But, as you know, these intentions were frustrated due to the change in the format of power in Georgia and the beginning of the second Russian aggression against our republic.

Direct relations between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation also testify that there was compliance with the rules and protocol when interacting as subjects of international law.

While launching various Protocols and Agreements signed by these two states, both on the territory of Russia and in The Hague (Netherlands), when resolving the issue of resolving the military conflict, it should be recognized that the election of the President of the CRI on January 27, 1997 put a legal end to the issue on the status of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. In the presence of international observers from the OSCE member states, on the basis of the Constitution of the CRI and in accordance with international law, the result of the election of state bodies of the republic was recognized: the President and the Parliament of the CRI.

RUSSIA. May 12, 1997. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (R) and the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov after signing of the Russia-Chechen Peace Treaty. Alexander Sentsov, Alexander Chumichev/TASS –—

Recognizing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the CRI, the President, the Chairman of the Federation Council and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation officially congratulated the leadership of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria on democratic elections, that is, de jure recognized the CRI as a subject of international law. The latter is confirmed by such a signed interstate document as the “Treaty on Peace and Principles of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria” , where it was unequivocally stated that “ bilateral relations will be considered in the light of generally accepted norms and principles of international law”.

It follows from this that the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, in accordance with domestic and international law, established its authority on sovereign territory, and this fact was legally recognized by the subject of international law as the Russian Federation, from which, observing as currently in force domestic law , and the basic principles and norms of international law, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria separated as an independent state, and therefore as a subject of international law.

In relation to the current situation, the Russian armed forces occupied and even annexed the sovereign territory of the CRI, which is a violation of international legal obligations and principles of interaction between subjects of international law, in accordance with the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949.

It is indisputable that the very fact of occupation and annexation of foreign territory, according to the same Convention, does not acquire the right to sovereignty over this territory, regardless of the time of its occupation and retention by force. Therefore, the legal successor of the legitimate power – the Government of the CRI, located outside the country – continues legal and political work to de-occupy its territory.

The CRI government, repeating the previous statement, as a legitimate successor of a subject of international law, on the basis of the Constitution CRI conducts such diplomatic activities as the work of representative offices abroad and the opening of their own representative offices . Work is also underway to grant CRI citizenship to foreigners who wish and issue passports to citizens of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.

Meetings of the leadership of the CRI Governments at the highest level with representatives of the OSCE and other international organizations, as well as various diplomatic initiatives against the Russian occupation of the Chechen Republic and Ichkeria , statements to the International Criminal Court about crimes against humanity and war crimes by the political and military leadership of Russia, the existence of criminal cases and their investigations within the framework of the instructions of the Prosecutor General of the CRI and the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the CRI on political issues, this is not a complete list of the real activities of the Government of the CRI, which intends to wage a legal and political struggle until the complete de-occupation of its country from the aggressor.

History shows that similar situations were in the recent past in European countries. Thus, during the Second World War, the Polish government in exile continued its work in France and England for decades and was recognized by the world community as a legitimate representative of the Polish people.

A more striking example is the activity of the Baltic Governments, which achieved the return of the occupied territories, first by Nazi Germany, then by the Soviet Union, continuing the political struggle in exile until the final establishment of the independence of their countries.

From left to right: first – Said Khasan Abumuslimov, third – Vakha Arsanov, fourth – Ikhvan Gerikhanov

Military occupation, like annexation, as international practice shows, ends with the cessation of control by the aggressor. It makes no difference whether this will be done in a year or decades. Today, it must be recognized that the CRI is de facto under occupation by the Russian Federation, but this is not a fact of the loss of sovereignty, which was proclaimed by the legitimate power of the CRI on the basis of its Constitution and recognized by the participation of representatives of more than fifty and European states as international observers .

Summing up, we can state the following: The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, having proclaimed, at the will of the Chechen people, its independence and sovereignty, on the basis of the domestic law in force at that time, in compliance with the basic principles and norms of international law, and also defending its right to free development in the struggle with the aggressor in two bloody wars, which have no analogues in world history , continues the de-occupation of its territory through representatives of the CRI state authorities, while maintaining and protecting the status of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as a subject of international law.


First Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the CRI,                                President of the National Tribunal on war crimes in the CRI Doctor of Law, specialist in international law, expert on human and civil rights.


Frederick Carl Cuny (November 14, 1944, April 14, 1995) was an American citizen who throughout his life committed himself, officially for humanitarian reasons, to supporting the populations of countries in war, humanitarian and environmental crises. Active since 1969 in the consultancy and coordination of humanitarian services, he had worked in Biafra, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and dozens of other contexts, often very difficult, in which he had to deal not only with the difficult situation on the field, but also with the inefficiencies of humanitarian associations and the corruption of local governments. At the end of 1994 Cuny was contacted by George Soros’ Open Society Institute and sent to Chechnya with the aim of organizing a humanitarian plan for the safety of the inhabitants of Grozny. Returning the following March from his mission, during which he had witnessed the terrible siege of Grozny and made friends with Aslan Maskhadov, he had tried to involve the United States government in order to force Russia to stop military operations, negotiating a humanitarian truce. He held numerous conferences, public and private meetings with high-level politicians, and his article Killing Chechnya [1], in which he accused Russia of unleashing a war of aggression with genocidal purposes,went around the world. Despite his efforts and the support of some politicians in Congress, Cuny had failed to convince any of the high offices of state to intercede for him [2]. So he returned to Chechnya, to restart his mission on behalf of the Open Society. On April 1 , 1996, while on his way to Maskhadov’s headquarters in Orekhovo [3], he was captured in Starye Achkoy together with two Russian doctors and an interpreter [4], with whom he was crossing the country in an ambulance, after which he was lost traces completely. His search lasted for many months, after which his son and brother communicated that they had received reliable information according to which he would have been killed almost immediately after his arrest, presumably carried out by men of the Department of State Security, at that time directed by Abusupyan Mosvaev . His body and that of his colleagues would never be found. Charges regarding his killing fell on Colonel Rizvan Elbiev , State Defense Department officer in Achkhoy –Martan district. The latter, according to Cuny ‘s driver (the only one of the group left alive) after the ambulance had been stopped near Starye Achkhoy by a detachment of the State Department of Defense, requested that the members of the team of Cuny presented themselves to him to provide the personal details, and then accompany them to the Headquarters of Maskhadov. The volunteers sent the driver back with a note intended for Open Society in which they said they were fine, to postpone the scheduled appointments by 3 days and to alert the authorities if they did not return within the established time [5].

Days passed, then weeks, and no trace of Cuny was found. Family members involved the FBI, the US government, and even the Soros Foundation, which had financed the mission, began his research, spending up to eighty thousand dollars a month to obtain information [6]. Calls for the release of the American came from the American president Clinton, from the Russian Yeltsin and even from the Chechen one, Dudayev.

The following August, after months of unsuccessful attempts to locate Cuny and his friends, his family publicly announced that they had learned of the death of their relative, and all members of his group. Cuny ‘s son and brother publicly accused the Chechen government of responsibility for the murder, and likewise accused the Russian authorities of presenting Cuny as a spy. In the confidential report sent to the US government, the family specifically named Elbiev , whose name was given by the State Security Department soldier who had taken custody of the group. According to what they reported , Elbiev had all four shot on April 14th . This information was confirmed to the driver of the Cuny family , an ex combatant, in August 1995, on the basis of an indication given to him by a certain “A”, Bamut defense field officer [7].

In August 1996, a bloody bundle was found in the ruins of a house in Starye Achkhoy , and inside it were found the documents of all four members of Cuny ‘s team . Besides these there was a note, addressed to Maskhadov, in which was written: Esteemed Aslan, We have tried to come to you, with the medicines and the two doctors we had promised. With me is Fred Cuny , the American you already know, who came to hold the meeting that didn’t take place last time. to confirm that you are aware of us and our mission. Respectfully, Galina Oleinik . Soros Foundation. Being certain that it was Elbiev who seized the documents, it is quite probable that he was responsible for the deaths of Cuny and the others [8].

It is possible that Eldiev was only the material executor of the murder. According to what an anonymous Chechen source reported to Scott Anderson, journalist of the New York Times, and confirmed by Memorial in one of its reports, [9]the order to shoot Cuny and his friends would have come directly from the Director of the State Defense Department, Abusupyan Mosvaev who would have been deceived by a list of spies circulated by the FSB around Bamut, to push Chechen fighters into a false step [10]. The choice of Mosvaev , however, could also have been determined by another factor, a suspicion that opens up to a rather imaginative theory, based exclusively on a rumor: that in those parts, and precisely in the surroundings of Bamut, a short distance from Starye Achkhoy , the Chechen government was hiding radioactive material , or even a nuclear weapon. Let’s start again: these are theses that have no basis for proof, and we report them solely for the record.

Grozny in 1995

Bamut was one of the strongholds of the Chechen defense. The village, and the missile base located nearby, withstood a long and exhausting siege, which lasted from April 18 , 1995 to May 24, 1996. The Chechens defended that position with great fury, apparently out of the way of the heart of the Chechen defense system. It so happens that the village’s main point of interest was a base for launching ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Russians had already abandoned the base in 1992, solemnly declaring that they had stolen all unconventional weapons, and that they had brought all the radioactive material back to Russia . In mid- November , following a communication sent from Chechnya, the Russian authorities found a container containing an explosive sprinkled with radioactive material in a park in Moscow . There was talk of non-military material, therefore not coming from an atomic warhead, but the case produced a search for psychosis among the federal security forces. The other element that raises doubts is the route taken by Cuny to reach Yandi . Instead of taking a main road, perhaps passing through Rostov – Baku, for you to turn towards Katar – Yurt and from there you can easily reach Maskhadov’s headquarters, Cuny decided to cross Bamut and climb up a path that is very difficult to do by car, facing voluntarily an already difficult journey in itself, complicated by the fact that the village garrison, notoriously reluctant to collaborate with journalists and foreign volunteers, was about to end up under siege [11].

The cover of the Frontline program dedicated to Fred Cuny

Neither of these two leads, in any case, appears completely convincing. It seems strange, in fact, that a man with such extensive connections and knowledge as Fred Cuny would end up shot just because he was mentioned in a fabricated FSB document. And likewise the story of the investigation into the “Dudaev atomic bomb” is totally devoid of evidence (after all, no atomic warhead, nor box containing atomic material has ever been found). What happened then? A third theory is provided by Kommersant, in his April 21, 1999 edition:

This time [on his second trip, ed .] Cuny presented a specific plan for a truce between Moscow and Grozny. And therefore, he certainly had to meet with General Dudayev . That is why the inspection by the Chechen State Security Department did not worry him at all. However, on April 7 – this is the date Galina Oleinik feared – [in the note found in 1996, ed .] the Russian army began the famous “cleansing” of Samashki, the ancestral village of the Chechen president. The shootings continued there for two days. And they couldn’t help but ruin Cuny and his mission. By then Kewney was getting in the way of everyone: Russian hawks, Chechen warlords, and even his own country’s politicians. Kewney has not overestimated the extent of his influence and authority in the American establishment. Suffice it to say that US military doctrine changed largely under his influence […] not surprisingly, the “missionary” activities of Fred Cuny and that of the US military began to go hand in hand after the Gulf War. However, if at first Cuny and American politicians successfully cooperated, trying not to interfere in each other’s sphere of competence, very soon they began to compete. […] The death of a competitor has allowed politicians to become monopolists. And they reversed his plan: Cuny , starting from the elimination of the consequences of military operations, tried to build an international mechanism to prevent humanitarian catastrophes. Politicians have transformed his doctrine into “humanitarian wars” in which a humanitarian catastrophe is caused.

Whatever the reason that led to Cuny’s death, this will presumably be buried together with his body and that of his travel companions. Precisely with regard to his remains, in November 1998 unknown criminals tried to contact Fred’s family to return the body, which they claimed to have. As evidence, they sent a photo of a metal pin that had been inserted into Cuny ‘s leg many years earlier after he had been hit by a taxi. The family replied that they would never pay a ransom for the body, following the will of the father, who stated: you don’t pay for the body, with reference to the practice of ransom of corpses. Cuny was convinced that the practice of paying ransoms for kidnapped people or getting their remains back was one of the main drivers of kidnappings for ransom, and that if the ransoms were not paid, this heinous criminal activity would soon disappear from Chechnya [12].


Frontline article at

February 25, 1996 – What happened to Fred Cuny ?

Kommersant of 21 April 1999

New York Times of July 26 , 1999


[2]In particular, according to an article by Kommersant dated April 24 , 1999, the US ambassador in Moscow, Thomas Pickering, responded to Cuny ‘s requests that the United States had no strategic interest in this region and that if the Soros Foundation wanted to act in Chechnya he would have done so at his own peril.

[3]Today’s Yandi .

[4]The interpreter was Galina Oleinik , the two doctors were Sergei Makarov and Andrei Sereda .

[5]The contents of the ticket, like all the other circumstances described so far can be found in the Frontline article, Who killed Fred Cuny ? available at

[6]February 25, 1996 – What happened to Fred Cuny ?

[7] Mr. “A” could be Captain Shirvani Albakov , Bamut’s Chief of Defense Staff, shot in the neck on 16 June 1995. In this sense, it could be a settlement of accounts due precisely to the cover-up of the affair in question.

[8] Frontline, Who Killed Fred Cuny ? available on the site

[9]The account is quoted by Kommersant in an April 21 , 1999 article

[10]The news of the “list” presumably circulated by the FSB around Bamut to induce the Chechens to doubt foreign humanitarian agents would have been provided not only by the family of the deceased Cuny, but also by a witness interviewed by the New York Times , whose memoirs were published in the February 25, 1996 article What happened to Fred Cuny ? The circumstance is doubtful, because Cuny had arrived in Chechnya only a few days earlier, and the FSB would hardly have been able to organize such an operation in such a short time. On the other hand, it is strange that the Chechen government, always very helpful towards Western supporters at that stage of the conflict, had on its own initiative betrayed a consolidated relationship of trust with one of the most famous humanitarian workers in all of the West.

[11]New York Times of February 25 , 1996.

[12]New York Times of July 26 , 1999.



Frederick Carl Cuny (14 Novembre 1944, 15 Aprile 1995) era un cittadino americano che per tutta la vita si impegnò, ufficialmente per motivi umanitari, nel sostegno alle popolazioni di paesi in crisi bellica, umanitaria ed ambientale. Attivo fin dal 1969 nell’attività di consulenza e coordinamento dei servizi umanitari, aveva lavorato in Biafra, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, e dozzine di altri contesti, spesso molto difficili, nei quali doveva confrontarsi non soltanto con la difficile situazione sul campo, ma anche con le inefficienze delle associazioni umanitarie e la corruzione dei governi locali. Alla fine del 1994 Cuny era stato contattato dall’Open Society Institute di George Soros ed inviato in Cecenia con lo scopo di organizzare un piano umanitario per la sicurezza degli abitanti di Grozny. Rientrato nel Marzo successivo dalla sua missione, durante la quale aveva assistito al terribile assedio di Grozny ed aveva stretto amicizia con Aslan Maskhadov, aveva cercato di coinvolgere il governo degli Stati Uniti ad entrare in campo per costringere la Russia ad interrompere le operazioni militari, negoziando una tregua umanitaria. Tenne numerose conferenze, incontri pubblici e privati con politici di alto livello, ed il suo articolo Killing Chechnya[1], nel quale accusava la Russia di aver scatenato una guerra di aggressione con scopi genocidi,fece il giro del mondo. Nonostante il suo impegno e l’appoggio di alcuni politici al Congresso, Cuny non era riuscito a convincere nessuna delle alte cariche dello stato ad intercedere per lui[2]. Così era tornato in Cecenia, per ricominciare la sua missione per conto della Open Society. Il 1 Aprile 1996, mentre si dirigeva al Quartier Generale di Maskhadov, ad Orekhovo[3], venne catturato a Starye Achkoy insieme a due medici russi ed un interprete[4], con i quali stava attraversando il paese a bordo di un’ambulanza, dopodiché di lui si persero completamente le tracce. Le sue ricerche si protrassero per molti mesi, dopodichè il figlio ed il fratello comunicarono di aver ricevuto informazioni affidabili secondo le quali egli sarebbe stato ucciso quasi subito dopo il suo arresto, operato presumibilmente da uomini del Dipartimento per la Sicurezza dello Stato, a quel tempo diretto da Abusupyan Mosvaev. Il suo corpo e quello dei suoi colleghi non sarebbero mai strati ritrovati. Le accuse riguardo la sua uccisione ricaddero sul Colonnello Rizvan Elbiev, ufficiale del Dipartimento per la Difesa dello Stato nel distretto di Achkhoy – Martan.  Questi, secondo quanto riferito dall’autista di Cuny (l’unico del gruppo rimasto in vita) dopo che l’ambulanza era stata fermata nei pressi di Starye Achkhoy da un distaccamento del Dipartimento per la Difesa dello Stato, richiese che i componenti della squadra di Cuny si presentassero da lui per fornire le generalità, per poi accompagnarli al Quartier Generale di Maskhadov. I volontari rimandarono l’autista indietro con un biglietto destinato ad Open Society nel quale dicevano di stare bene, di spostare gli appuntamenti in programma di 3 giorni e di allertare le autorità qualora non fossero rientrati entro il tempo stabilito[5].

Passarono i giorni, poi le settimane, e di Cuny non si trovò traccia. I familiari coinvolsero l’FBI, il governo americano, ed anche la Fondazione Soros, che aveva finanziato la missione, iniziò le sue ricerche, spendendo fino ad ottantamila dollari al mese per ottenere informazioni[6]. Appelli alla liberazione dell’americano giunsero dal presidente americano Clinton, da quello russo Eltsin e perfino da quello ceceno, Dudaev.

Nell’Agosto successivo, dopo mesi di inutili tentativi di rintracciare Cuny ed i suoi amici, la sua famiglia annunciò pubblicamente di essere venuta a conoscenza della morte del loro congiunto, e di tutti i membri del suo gruppo. Il figlio ed il fratello di Cuny accusarono pubblicamente il governo ceceno della responsabilità dell’omicidio, e parimenti accusarono le autorità russe di aver presentato Cuny come una spia. Nel rapporto confidenziale inviato al governo degli Stati Uniti, la famiglia fece precisamente il nome di Elbiev, il cui nome era stato fatto dal militare del Dipartimento per la Sicurezza dello Stato che aveva preso in custodia il gruppo. Secondo quanto riferito da questi, Elbiev avrebbe fatto fucilare tutti e quattro il 14 Aprile. Tale informazione fu confermata all’autista della famiglia Cuny, un ex combattente, nell’Agosto del 1995, sulla base di un’indicazione a questi fornita da un certo “A”, ufficiale di campo della difesa di Bamut[7].

Nell’Agosto del 1996, tra le rovine di una casa di Starye Achkhoy fu rinvenuto un fagotto insanguinato, e all’interno di questo furono trovati i documenti di tutti e quattro i membri della squadra di Cuny. Oltre a questi c’era un biglietto, indirizzato a Maskhadov, nel quale c’era scritto: Stimato Aslan, Abbiamo cercato di passare da te, con le medicine e i due dottori che avevamo promesso. Con me c’è Fred Cuny, l’americano che già conosci, che è venuto per tenere l’incontro che l’altra volta non c’è stato. per confermare che sei a conoscenza di noi e della nostra missione. Con rispetto, Galina Oleinik. Fondazione Soros. Essendo certo che fu Elbiev a sequestrare i documenti, è piuttosto probabile che fosse lui il responsabile della morte di Cuny e degli altri[8].

E’ possibile che Eldiev fosse soltanto l’esecutore materiale dell’omicidio. Secondo quanto riferito da una fonte anonima cecena a Scott Anderson, giornalista de New York Times, e confermato da Memorial in uno dei suoi resoconti[9] l’ordine di fucilare Cuny ed i suoi amici sarebbe venuto direttamente dal Direttore del Dipartimento per la Difesa dello Stato, Abusupyan Mosvaev il quale sarebbe stato tratto in inganno da una lista di spie fatta circolare dall’FSB nei dintorni di Bamut, per spingere i combattenti ceceni ad un passo falso[10]. La scelta di Mosvaev, tuttavia, avrebbe potuto essere determinata anche da un altro fattore, un sospetto che apre ad una teoria piuttosto fantasiosa, basata esclusivamente su una diceria: che da quelle parti, e precisamente nei dintorni di Bamut, a poca distanza da Starye Achkhoy, il governo ceceno nascondesse materiale radiattivo, o addirittura un’arma nucleare. Premettiamo nuovamente: si tratta di tesi che non hanno alcun fondamento di prova, e le riportiamo unicamente per dovere di cronaca.

Bamut era uno dei capisaldi della difesa cecena. Il villaggio, e la base missilistica situata nei suoi pressi, resistettero ad un lungo ed estenuante assedio, protrattosi dal 18 Aprile 1995 al 24 Maggio 1996. I ceceni difesero con grande accanimento quella posizione, apparentemente defilata rispetto al cuore del sistema difensivo ceceno. Il caso vuole che il punto di interesse principale del villaggio fosse una base per il lancio di missili balistici capaci di trasportare testate nucleari. I russi avevano abbandonato la base già nel 1992, dichiarando solennemente di aver sottratto qualsiasi arma non convenzionale, e di aver riportato in Russia tutto il materiale radiattivo. A metà Novembre, a seguito di una comunicazione inviata dalla Cecenia, le autorità russe rinvennero in un parco di Mosca un contenitore contenente un esplosivo cosparso di materiale radiattivo. Si parlava di materiale non militare, quindi non proveniente da una testata atomica, ma il caso produsse una cerca psicosi tra le forze di sicurezza federali. L’altro elemento che solleva dei dubbi è il percorso fatto da Cuny per raggiungere Yandi. Anziché prendere una strada principale, magari passando dalla Rostov – Baku, per voi svoltare verso Katar – Yurt e da lì raggiungere agilmente il Quartier Generale di Maskhadov, Cuny decise di attraversare Bamut e di inerpicarsi su un sentiero molto difficile da fare in automobile, affrontando volontariamente un viaggio già difficile di per sé, complicato dal fatto che la guarnigione del villaggio, notoriamente poco incline a collaborare con giornalisti e volontari stranieri, stava per finire sotto assedio[11].

Nessuna tra queste due piste, in ogni caso, appare completamente convincente. Appare strano, infatti, che un uomo con agganci e conoscenze così vaste come Fred Cuny finisse fucilato soltanto perché citato in un documento artefatto dall’FSB. E parimenti la storia dell’indagine sulla “atomica di Dudaev” è totalmente priva di elementi di prova (del resto nessuna testata atomica, né scatola contenente materiale atomico è mai stata ritrovata). Che cosa successe, quindi? Una terza teoria è fornita da Kommersant, nella sua edizione del 21 Aprile 1999:

Questa volta [durante il suo secondo viaggio, ndr.] Cuny ha presentato un piano specifico per una tregua tra Mosca e Grozny. E quindi, doveva certamente incontrare il generale Dudayev. Ecco perché l’ispezione da parte del Dipartimento per la sicurezza dello Stato ceceno non lo impensieriva affatto. Tuttavia, il 7 aprile – questa è la data che temeva Galina Oleinik – [nel biglietto ritrovato nel 1996, ndr.] l’esercito russo ha iniziato la famosa “pulizia” di Samashki, il villaggio ancestrale del presidente ceceno. Le sparatorie sono continuate lì per due giorni. E non potevano fare a meno di rovinare Cuny e la sua missione. A quel punto Kewney stava intralciando tutti: falchi russi, signori della guerra ceceni e persino i politici del suo stesso paese. Kewney non ha sopravvalutato la portata della sua influenza e autorità nell’establishment americano. Basti dire che la dottrina militare degli Stati Uniti è cambiata in gran parte sotto la sua influenza […] non sorprende che l’attività “missionarie” di Fred Cuny e quella dell’esercito americano, dopo la Guerra del Golfo, abbiano cominciato ad andare di pari passo. Tuttavia, se all’inizio Cuny e i politici americani hanno collaborato con successo, cercando di non interferire nella sfera di competenza l’uno dell’altro, molto presto hanno iniziato a competere. […] La morte di un concorrente ha permesso ai politici di diventare monopolisti. E hanno ribaltato il suo piano: Cuny, partendo dall’eliminazione delle conseguenze delle operazioni militari, ha provato a costruire un meccanismo internazionale per prevenire le catastrofi umanitarie. I politici hanno trasformato la sua dottrina in “guerre umanitarie” in cui si provoca una catastrofe umanitaria.

Quale che fosse il motivo che portò Cuny alla morte, questo rimarrà presumibilmente sepolto insieme al suo cadavere ed a quello dei suoi compagni di viaggio. Proprio riguardo ai suoi resti, nel Novembre del 1998 ignoti criminali cercarono di contattare la famiglia di Fred per restituire il cadavere, che dichiaravano di detenere. Come prova inviarono una foto che ritraeva un perno di metallo che era stato inserito in una gamba di Cuny molti anni prima, dopo che era stato investito da un taxi. La famiglia rispose che non avrebbe mai pagato un riscatto per il corpo, seguendo la volontà del padre, il quale affermava: non si paga per il corpo, con riferimento alla pratica del riscatto dei cadaveri. Cuny era convinto che la prassi di pagare i riscatti per persone rapite o per riavere i loro resti era uno dei motori principali dei sequestri a scopo estorsivo, e che se i riscatti non fossero stati pagati ben presto tale odiosa attività criminale sarebbe sparita dalla Cecenia[12].


Articolo di Frontline su

New York Times Magazines del 25 Febbraio 1996 – What happened to Fred Cuny?

Kommersant del 21 Aprile 1999

New York Times del 26 Luglio 1999


[2] In particolare, secondo quanto riportato da un articolo di Kommersant del 24 Aprile 1999, l’ambasciatore statunitense a Mosca, Thomas Pickering, rispose alle sollecitazioni di Cuny che gli Stati Uniti non avevano interessi strategici in questa regione e che se la Soros Foundation avesse voluto agire in Cecenia lo avrebbe fatto a proprio rischio e pericolo.

[3] Odierna Yandi.

[4] L’interprete era Galina Oleinik, i due medici si chiamavano Sergei Makarov e Andrei Sereda.

[5] Il contenuto del biglietto, al pari di tutte le altre circostanze finora descritte sono reperibili sull’articolo di Frontline, Who killed Fred Cuny? disponibile sul sito

[6] New York Times Magazines del 25 Febbraio 1996 – What happened to Fred Cuny?

[7] Il Signor “A” potrebbe essere il Capitano Shirvani Albakov, Capo di Stato Maggiore della Difesa di Bamut, ucciso con un colpo alla nuca il 16 Giugno 1995. In questo senso potrebbe trattarsi di un regolamento di conti dovuto proprio all’insabbiamento della vicenda in questione.

[8] Frontline, Who killed Fred Cuny? disponibile sul sito

[9] Il resoconto è citato da Kommersant in un articolo del 21 Aprile 1999

[10] La notizia della “lista” fatta circolare presumibilmente dall’FSB nei dintorni di Bamut per indurre i ceceni a dubitare degli agenti umanitari stranieri sarebbe stata fornita, oltre che dalla famiglia del defunto Cuny, anche da un testimone intervistato dal New York Times, le cui memorie sono state pubblicate sull’articolo del 25 Febbraio 1996 What happened to Fred Cuny? La circostanza è dubbia, perché Cuny era arrivato soltanto pochi giorni prima in Cecenia, e difficilmente l’FSB sarebbe stato in grado di predisporre una simile operazione in così poco tempo. D’altra parte è strano che il governo ceceno, sempre molto disponibile verso i sostenitori occidentali in quella fase del conflitto, avesse di propria iniziativa tradito un rapporto consolidato di fiducia con uno degli operatori umanitari più celebri di tutto l’Occidente.

[11] New York Times del 25 Febbraio 1996.

[12] New York Times del 26 Luglio 1999.