Archivi tag: Budennovsk

Back to the Constitution: Francesco Benedetti interviews Ikhvan Gerikhanov

Dr. Ikhvan Gerikhanov has served the Chechen Republic since 1991. Doctor in law and specialist in comparative studies in international law, with the statute od judge of the highest category, Gerikhanov was Member of the Executive Committee of the National Congress of the Chechen People, Deputy of Parliament on first convocation, and President of the Constitutional Court from 1993 to 1998. He was one of the main authors of the Constitution of 1992, which still today represents the Basic Law of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.

Today Gerikhanov is the head of the national war crimes tribunal in the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. About this activity, he said: “The objective of our trinbunal is the collection and evaluation of evidence for the assessment of the presence of signs of genocide and ethnocide of the chechen people, starting from the the time of the Tsar’s autocracy, the communist regime and the modern russian invasion on our territory”.

He currently resides in France. The French government refused him and his family a few weeks ago, political refugee status.

We had a long conversation with him about the Constitution, the legitimacy of ChRI governments, as well as some of the most controversial laws, not forgetting his work as President of the Constitutional Court.

Ikhvan Gerikhanov in front of the text of the newly approved Constitution

Dr. Gerikhanov, when talk about a constitution started?

The first debates regarding the writing of the Constitution began at the moment of the creation of the Provisional Supreme Soviet, on September 7, 1991. This body was attended by former deputies of the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet and popular representatives, and was headed by the future Speaker of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, Hussein Akhmadov. Joint commissions were created, including a juridical commission for the elaboration of legislative projects concerning the election of the President and the Parliament of the Republic. As a member of the National Congress of the Chechen People (OKChN) and as the only legal scholar (at that time I was a district court judge of the Leninsky district of Grozny, and had recently defended a dissertation on international law at the University of Kiev) I was included in this legal commission, chaired by the former Second Secretary of the regional party committee, Lechi Magomadov. A wonderful person. Many people from all professional backgrounds participated in the discussion of these projects. The discussion was publicized in the media, including through television. Every citizen of the Republic was able to participate.

In 1994, when the war broke out, Magomadov would have been among the main exponents of the unionist government. Don’t you think that the work he did in the legal commission contradicts the choice to take the side of Russia during the First World War?

Magomadov was first of all a worthy and loyal person. Secondly, he fully supported the decisions of the Chechen People’s Congress. At that time he supported the reasons of the people, and did not participate in any opposition. From his work the Chechen nation only benefited. He died in Mecca during the pilgrimage.

If we had to judge people by the episodes, keep in mind that between 2010 and 2012 I directed the Arbitration Tribunal of the Chechen Republic, which is not part of the power system, but helps all those who turn to it in the resolution of civil cases . Due to conflicts with the local authorities, as well as the fact that I refused to pay the “tribute”, they tried to initiate a criminal case against me. And for this reason I was forced to leave my fatherland and my father’s house once again.

Therefore, one cannot judge people by episodes, as life makes its own adjustments, and sometimes a person is forced to live side by side with the enemy. Some supporters of independence still work in various structures today, while in the republic the protégés of the Kremlin rule. This does not mean that they have betrayed the idea of \u200b\u200bfreedom!

In the elections of 27 October 1991 you were elected deputy. Do you remember how Parliament developed the work on the Constitution?

I was elected in the Nadterechny constituency. Once formed, the Parliament adopted as a basis the draft already developed by the legal commission of the Provisional Supreme Soviet and, after a general discussion which also took place through the media, in the presence of journalists, jurists and simple interested parties, the Parliament adopted the Constitution of the Republic Chechen on March 12, 1991, a year and a half before Russia adopted its own. Personally, I was one of the main co-authors of the Constitution. The deputies did not have much time to adopt the Basic Law, since Russia had already declared the election of the President and Parliament illegal, and it was urgent to consolidate sovereignty by law, as promised to the Chechen National People’s Congress. Within the walls of the parliament of the Chechen Republic, in the body of lawyers’ deputies, there were very few lawyers, only four people out of 41 deputies, and it was not easy to adopt the Constitution when the body of deputies consisted of former farm workers and builders. But we all faced this task, and the Constitution of the Chechen Republic was adopted by the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, and we all rejoiced this holiday, regardless of profession and religion!

There were many opposition supporters in Nadterechny District. They declared that the elections were a farce and that they did not take place in their controlled areas. How do you respond to these accusations?

During the election period, there were opposition supporters in Nadterechny District, but only in one place, not everywhere. The population still did not realize what was happening, and was rather neutral. I have personally met with voters in two large settlements, where they know me well, and the electoral commission received the ballots and prepared the elections. Two representatives were elected in this constituency. Unfortunately my colleague died heroically in the First War!

After the promulgation of the constitution, the institutions foreseen by the Basic Law began to be established. One of these was the Constitutional Court, of which you were elected president in March 1993. How did this constitution process take place?


In early 1992, the Parliament of the Chechen Republic adopted the law “On the activities of the Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic” and, according to it, the number of judges was determined at seven people. Well-known lawyers from the Republic, from the Ministry of Justice, from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and from the Supreme Court of the Republic took part in the election of the President of the Constitutional Court. Usman Imaev was nominated by the President of the Chechen Republic, while my fellow deputies convinced me to participate in these elections. I can say that all the judges of the Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic were highly qualified specialists and experienced lawyers. I can be proud of all my colleagues who have had the opportunity to work with them, especially Judge Seda Khalidova, who went through a very difficult path with us and did not become a defector from another government, as some judges have done.

The three leaders of the first call parliament: from left to right, Bektimar Mezhidov (Vice-President), Hussein Akhmadov (President), Magomed Gushakayev (Vice-President)

Why did Dudayev want Imaev in that role?

Usman Imaev was a very knowledgeable lawyer and an excellent executor of all orders of Dzhokhar Dudayev. I would have been happy and satisfied if he had been elected head of the Constitutional Court, but the Parliament saw me, probably, not as an executor of someone else’s orders, but as a learned lawyer, and a person of principle. For example, once elected I was the first of the chechen leaders to meet V. Zorkin, President of the Russian Constitutional Court. On that occasion we prepared a joint agreement ready to be signed, but this was not possible due to the current crisis of power in the Republic.

What activities did the Constitutional Court perform?

The Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic fulfilled its direct duties of protection of the constitutional order and in strict compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, regardless of the origin of the legislative acts, be it the President or the Parliament.

We have repeatedly made decisions on the inconsistency of our Constitution with the Decrees of the President and the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, which at first were taken for granted.
Then, when the confrontation between the legislative and executive bodies became an open conflict, the intervention of our court, and that of its president were not fully received correctly and each side wanted to see the Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic as “partisan ”, which was impossible, because the court was established to protect the constitutional order and not the branches of power.

The Constitution establishes that Parliament holds the legislative power, and this has the right to approve presidential appointments and to control the work of civil servants. President Dudayev’s reluctance to follow these instructions has led to serious tensions between the president and parliament. What was the origin of these tensions?

The main reason for the confrontation between the legislature and the executive was the misunderstanding or non-acceptance of the fact that the Republic was parliamentary. Many members of the government, including the President, could not bear it. At the very beginning of the confrontation between these branches of power, the Constitutional Court and its chairman issued dozens of official statements on the need to follow the requirements of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic and on the fact that such an escalation of tension could lead to consequences unpredictable.

I don’t know the reason behind this non-acceptance of the parliamentary nature of the Republic, but I can say that around Dudayev there were many sycophants who could influence his decision. I myself was dumbfounded by his behavior, when he sent a late night messenger asking me or advice on key legal matters. After agreeing on these matters, Dzhokhar publicly stated the opposite, and when I asked him why he did this, he referred to unknown people who convinced him against our agreement!

Many members of the entourage of the President of the Chechen Republic literally influenced Dzhokhar Dudayev about the negative influence of the parliament of the Chechen Republic in state building, having their own personal and mercantile interests. Issues of a legislative nature were resolved at the household level, ignoring the requirements of the Constitution and other regulatory acts. First of all, it was a confrontation between the forces of order: the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Each of them resolved the issue from the point of view of his participation in the process of declaring sovereignty, and not from the legal point of view of fulfilling his direct duties.
All this led to chaos and mutual misunderstanding, while those who could not be authorized to manage state bodies also very actively intervened: various parties, organizations of the elderly, athletes and cultural figures, who were assigned positions in based on their popularity in their business field.


On April 10 and 17, 1993, President Dudayev issued a series of decrees establishing direct presidential rule and dissolving parliament, decrees which were declared illegal by the Constitutional Court. Do you remember exactly what these decrees contained and why he declared them illegal?

The Constitutional Court has recognized the President’s Decrees regarding the dissolution of the supreme legislative body as illegitimate, as they grossly contradict the provisions of the Constitution. The content of the decree of the President of the Chechen Republic on the dissolution of the supreme legislative body of the country stated that, in order to preserve the sovereignty and political system, and due to the loss of confidence in it, in accordance with Art. 73 of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic the Parliament of the Chechen Republic should have been dissolved. In truth, the art. 73 of the Constitution of the CRI does not guarantee the President these powers, not even in times of war. He could suspend the activities of all authorities by imposing martial law, but this was not done at the time, since there was no reason to do so. The action exercised by Dudayev, in legal language is called “seizure of power”. which is prohibited by art. 2 of the Constitution.

As mentioned above, the Constitutional Court has applied all means to resolve this conflict and, as the head of the highest legislative body, I have personally asked and spoken to the President of the Parliament and almost all the deputies, as well as the President of the Republic, so that this confrontation would not result in a violation of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic and in an armed conflict. However, each side considered itself on the right side, and we are all witnesses and eyewitnesses of what happened next. The Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic, on the basis of the obligation to control and safeguard the state system, has correctly pronounced the illegitimacy of the acts of dissolution of the supreme legislative body, not being able otherwise by the judicial body, called to respond to violations of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic.


In the same period, the parliament called a referendum on trust in President Dudayev and in Parliament itself, which the Constitutional Court deemed acceptable. Was this referendum legitimate?


When the confrontation between legislative and executive authority reached a critical point, the Parliament made use of its constitutional right, provided for by paragraph 24 of art. 64 of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic on the popular vote, to hold a referendum on the issue of trust in the authorities and regarding the form of government of the state. This decision is the prerogative of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic and only it can take such a decision, if it deems it necessary, without the consent of any branch of power. These days the crisis of power, with the exception of the judiciary, was in full swing and turned into an open confrontation, with the subsequent armed intervention of the police forces during the dissolution of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic.

Dzhokhar Dudaev votes in the elections of 27 October 1991

On June 3, 1993, Dudayev rejected the opinion of the Constitutional Court regarding the legitimacy of the referendum, declaring it a “perversion of the law”. Why, in your opinion, was Dudayev so against the referendum?


We have tried to solve this process with all diplomatic methods, up to involving respected people and elders. A conciliation group was created headed by the president of the Academy of Sciences, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences Khamzat Ibragimov, in which I was also included. I spoke to Dzhokhar repeatedly on this matter, but after every conversation he did not operate as required by the Constitution. He believed, like everyone in his entourage, that the parliament of the Chechen Republic acts in favor of the opposition, and that the parliamentarians themselves are on several “barricades” of this crisis.

After the coup d’état of 4 June 1993, the Constitutional Court remained the only institution recognized by the Constitution on a permanent basis. On 18 June it issued a statement on the illegality of the government’s actions. Do you remember the contents of this court statement? What reactions has it elicited?



The Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic suspended work on the administration of justice on my initiative, because after the court decision on the illegality of dissolving the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, our judges and staff began to fear retribution from the radicals , who saw in this decision only an opposition to the President of the Chechen Republic and nothing else. In this regard, this opinion still remains rooted in some supporters of sovereignty today, although there was and could not be any conflict between the Constitutional Court and the President, neither at an institutional level, nor at a personal level. The highest judicial body, within its powers, performed the duties assigned to it to protect the Constitution and the constitutional order, revealing violations that ignored the requirements of the Basic Law of the land, regardless of grades and degrees, and the position held in power and in this society.


How did relations develop between you and Dudayev, and between you and the government in general, after June 1993? Are you under pressure, threats or attempts on your life?

There was no, and there could be no public persecution and threats, since even to my detractors it was clear that I was fulfilling my duties, regardless of the roles and positions of violators of the requirements of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic.


With the outbreak of the First Russo-Chechen War the authorities of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria were placed under martial law. As a lawman, and a senior state official, how did you serve the cause of independence?


Since the beginning of the first war in December 1994, I have been at the forefront of opponents of armed conflict and have organized national and international conferences, as well as roundtables on the cessation of hostilities in my Motherland, condemning Russia’s military and political leadership. Having the moral and institutional responsibility to preserve sovereignty, as well as to stop hostilities on our territory, as president of the Constitutional Court, I have adopted all the methods and means at my disposal to inform the world and the Russian public opinion about the crime of this war and about the existence of the ongoing genocide against my people. To do this, I involved Russian government officials, as well as personally holding press conferences and organizing international conferences, with the participation of world-renowned scientists, conflict specialists and experts from the United Nations.

A number of conferences were held in the building of the international organization “Federation of Peace and Accord”, which has an advisory office at the United Nations. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the leadership of this organization, especially to the deputy chairman of the Society, MGIMO professor Andrey Melvil, who impartially helped me and provided every opportunity for the world to hear the voice of the Chechen people, who was being exterminated under carpet bombing by the Russian military forces.

Gerikhanov (right) participates in the negotiations for the release of hostages during the Budennovsk crisis

One of the events that saw you protagonist in the period 1994 – 1996 were the negotiations following the Budennovsk hostage crisis. Why were you involved in these negotiations, and how did they unfold?

During this time I was in Moscow and was approached by the Minister of Nationalities of Russia V. Mikhailov, who asked me for help in freeing the hostages, as I was one of the highest officials of the republic. Naturally I could not refuse this request, knowing that the hostages were women and children. Considering myself morally responsible and in general, as a lawyer and also as a simple person, not accepting this way of making war, I went to the place. Upon arrival in Budennovsk, I went to the headquarters for the release of hostages, where N. Yegorov, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation, Stepashin, the director of the FSB and other officials of the Russian side were. Then I went to the hospital, and finally participated in the negotiations and drafting of the documents relating to the conditions for the release of the hostages. At the same time, I had to involve the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation V. Chernomyrdin in this process through Mikhailov in order to have guarantees that the conditions set by Shamil Basaev were met.

My participation in the release of the hostages was decisive, because knowing the situation, I assumed responsibility as an official and as a Chechen: without this happening it would have been impossible to complete this negotiation. I was helped in this by two other compatriots of mine, whom I thank for the courage shown in this situation, in which we were all risking our lives. The important thing was that the result was positive: the hostages were released (over 1200 hostages, mostly women and children) and hostilities on the territory of the republic were stopped, which saved tens and hundreds of civilian lives, and started a dialogue between the warring parties which ended with negotiations peacemakers of Khasavyurt.

Besides that, you worked for the establishment of an international tribunal for Chechnya.

In 1995-1996 I was one of the organizers of the Public International Tribunal for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Chechen Republic. The presiding judge was Galina Starovoitova, who was killed for her civilian activity by war supporters. The books have been published for some time and are directly accessible via the Internet. The court worked in accordance with the current Russian Criminal Procedure Code, and the collection of materials and evidence took place in the court. The members of the court were former and current deputies of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, as well as well-known world-famous lawyers, both Russian and foreign. Among the observers were well-known specialists and distinguished diplomats.
By the way, one of the experts was Olof Palme’s brother Klaus Palme, and among the diplomats – the last USSR Foreign Minister Pankin. We have conducted several phases of the judicial investigation both inside and outside Russia and have examined evidence bordering on the genocide of the Chechen people. These judicial investigation materials are published in three printed books and are available on the Internet.

BILLINGSLEY INTERVISTA ILYAS AKHMADOV

Dodge Billingsley è un giornalista, scrittore e film maker statunitense. La sua attività lo ha portato sui principali teatri di guerra negli ultimi trent’anni, tra i quali i conflitti in Cecenia. Sull’argomento ha scritto il libro “Fangs of the lone wolf: chechen tactics in the Russian – Chechen wars” (Acquistabile QUI), una disamina sulla strategia di guerra dei ceceni desunta da una lunga serie di interviste ai protagonisti di quel conflitto. L’articolo che segue riporta alcuni stralci della sua intervista ad Ilyas Akhmadov, futuro Ministro degli Esteri della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria. L’Intervista è stata realizzata nel Gennaio 1998, nel bel mezzo del travagliato periodo interbellico tra il primo ed il secondo conflitto. Un documento interessantissimo per chi cerca informazioni sulle FORZE ARMATE della ChRi.

Puoi dirmi qualcosa riguardo al tuo background?

[…] Nel 1991, quando occorsero gli eventi riguardo alla sovranità della Repubblica Cecena che tutti noi conosciamo […] lavorai per sei mesi con il Ministero degli Esteri. In quel momento c’era un grosso problema nella regione montuosa del Karabakh. Fondamentalmente lavorai su quello, perché c’erano cittadini della repubbliche che erano stati coinvolti in quel conflitto, su base personale. Così le autorità di governo mi mandarono a riprenderli per riportarli a casa. Nello stesso tempo partecipai alla ricerca dei caduti, e nello scambio dei prigionieri. Durante la guerra (con la Russia 1994 -1996) e dopo che lasciai la città (Grozny) fui un membro della milizia per tre mesi. Quando ero nella milizia, feci soltanto quello che facevano gli altri soldati. Il Generale Basayev [Shamil Basayev, Ndr.] che a quel tempo era ancora Colonnello, mi assegnò al Quartier Generale, e per la maggior parte della guerra servii come ufficiale allo Stato Maggiore. Poi tornai da Basayev, dove servii come aiutante di campo.

Ilyas Akhmadov

Come funziona l’apparato militare ceceno? Sembra che ogni comandante di campo abbia il suo proprio esercito.

Basayev non ha il suo esercito. Era il comandante della Brigata Ricognizione e Assalto, che è l’unità d’elite dell’esercito ceceno. Ad oggi quella brigata, per tutti gli scopi pratici, è stata tolta dal servizio attivo e messa alle dipendenze del Comandante Supremo. Questo vuol dire che al momento l’unità non è acquartierata, ma in caso di guerra tornerà a formarsi. In questo senso non siamo soldati in servizio attivo. Questa brigata ha sostanzialmente cessato di esistere, ma si pone sotto l’autorità del Comandante Supremo in caso di guerra. La struttura attuale dell’esercito del Generale Raduev [Salman Raduev, Ndr.] invece, è una struttura autonoma. Ma questa è una conseguenza delle complicazioni generatesi nel periodo postbellico.

Prima della guerra non c’era alcun esercito ceceno, almeno non nei termini usati dai russi. Tutte le componenti e le unità vennero organizzate durante la guerra su base regionale, perché questo era l’unico modo possibile. Le milizie locali si organizzarono secondo la regione nella quale vivevano i loro componenti. Così i “Fronti” che  erano 7 (più tardi, evidentemente, ne furono costituiti altri di volta in volta, al punto che ad un certo punto furono addirittura 14) erano costituiti su base regionale.

[…] Solo adesso che la guerra è finita l’esercito ceceno sta iniziando ad organizzarsi secondo uno schema classico. Al momento è difficile distinguere tra il nuovo esercito che si sta organizzando ed il vecchio esercito, costituito dai resti delle unità che erano esistite durante la guerra. Non ci sono problemi particolarmente complessi rispetto al fatto che al momento sembra ci siano due differenti eserciti. In ogni caso, sono entrambi subordinati [al Quartier Generale, ndr.]. Questi ultimi sono i resti di quei fronti e di quelle unità che non sono state inserite nella struttura della Guardia Nazionale e delle forze ad essa integrate. Quando la formazione dell’esercito sarà completa, tutti coloro che portano armi e divise ma che non ne faranno parte consegneranno armi e munizioni. Per le nostre condizioni il nostro esercito non potrà contare più di cinque o seimila uomini, ma si tratta di un’approssimazione.

Soldati della Guardia Nazionale effettuano un’esercitazione dimostrativa

La guerra ha attraversato tre fasi. Nelle pianure i ribelli ceceni soffrirono parecchio. Soffrirono anche nel centro, tra le pianure e le montagne.

Prima di tutto non esistono ribelli ceceni. Questa è una creazione dei media russi. La parola “ribelle” fa riferimento ad un’organizzazione semi – clandestina. Un’organizzazione di questo tipo è gestita da “ribelli”. Ma noi non abbiamo mai avuto nessun “ribelle”. Sfortunatamente alcuni dei nostri comandanti meno educati si sono appropriati di questa parola senza pensare troppo alle implicazioni derivanti da suo uso. Da questi essa ha iniziato a girare tra di noi. Come dicevo, al Dicembre 1994 avevamo 4 unità in servizio attivo. Tutto il resto era organizzato essenzialmente come una milizia locale. Poi, verso la fine di Febbraio [1995, ndr.] Dudaev dette l’ordine di smantellare le milizie, le quali dal momento divennero parte della struttura dell’esercito regolare. Quindi, dal Febbraio 1995 in avanti avemmo le forze armate della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria. In questo senso non è possibile chiamarle “ribelli”.

Riguardo le fasi? Se ti basi sulle regioni [di combattimento, ndr.] ebbene, ci furono tre fasi. La Battaglia per la città (Grozny) dal 31 dicembre 1994 al 23 Febbraio 1995; la battaglia nelle pianure dal Marzo 1995 al 10 Maggio 1995; e dal 10 Maggio 1995, all’avvio dell’invasione su larga scala di Vedeno, Shatoi e Chiri – Yurt, completata nel Giugno del 1995. Il raid del Battaglione di Ricognizione e Sabotaggio a Budennovsk sotto il comando dell’allora Colonnello Basayev rovinò i loro [dei russi, ndr.] piani.

Quale fu la portata del Raid di Basayev sulla città russa di Budennovsk?

In primo luogo il raid di Budennovsk ebbe una portata più politica che tattica. Ma se lo guardi sotto il profilo dell’arte della guerra, questo mostra che, a dispetto degli annunci dei leader militari russi secondo i quali il nostro esercito era stato distrutto, che Dudaev aveva perso il controllo delle sue unità, l’ingegnosa azione 350 chilometri nelle retrovie russe, la cattura del territorio, con un gruppo di 150/160 soldati, parla da solo. Il Generale Basayev perse soltanto 19 uomini durante quell’operazione di cinque giorni. Se non vado errato, solo 3 dei suoi uomini furono uccisi dalle truppe d’elite dell’esercito russo durante un blitz durato cinque ore. […]. Guardandolo dal punto di vista militare […] Penso che neanche gli americani, e non intendo essere offensivo, quando evacuarono la loro ambasciata in Iran, fecero più errori di quanti ne fece Basayev nel condurre la sua operazione. […].

Raid di Budennovsk: Shamil Basayev (a destra) e Aslambek Ismailov (a sinistra) durante le trattative con le autorità federali.

Mi hai detto che la guerra può essere divisa in tre fasi. Quante perdite ci furono in ognuna di queste?

È piuttosto difficile rispondere, perché come dicevo l’esercito ceceno non aveva ancora sviluppato un ordine di battaglia in senso classico. […] Le perdite totali tra i nostri combattenti sono state basate includendo anche i civili i quali, in determinate occasioni, si sono uniti ai combattimenti. Loro morirono in maggior quantità, perché non avevano esperienza. […] La maggior parte delle vittime si ebbero durante le battaglie del 1995, fra la gente che, non possedendo un’arma, cercava costantemente di catturarne una. La tattica era estremamente semplice. Se un soldato russo con un fucile d’assalto veniva lasciato nella zona neutrale, i cecchini russi usavano la seguente tattica: chiunque fosse arrivato all’arma per primo veniva ferito. Egli avrebbe, naturalmente, chiesto aiuto. Puoi lasciare un cadavere fino al calar delle tenebre, quando è possibile recuperarlo, ma quando un soldato ferito chiede aiuto, normalmente tre o quattro persone moriranno cercando di soccorrerlo. In questo modo era possibile uccidere, con un fucile d’assalto, cinque o sei persone che non avevano un’arma e cercavano di prenderne una.[…].

Com’era per un membro ordinario della milizia partecipare alle operazioni militari? Puoi parlarci della tua esperienza personale?

Da un punto di vista, ovviamente, era difficile per noi combattere con i russi, perché loro erano completamente equipaggiati. […] D’altra parte la maggior parte dei soldati aveva servito nei ranghi dell’esercito sovietico. […] E’ un bel vantaggio quando il nemico parla una lingua che tu capisci molto bene. Usavamo piuttosto spesso tattiche di disinformazione via radio. Le radio presenti nei veicoli catturati venivano sintonizzate sulla frequenza della loro stessa unità. I nostri operatori radio spesso riuscivano a dirigere il fuoco dell’artiglieria russa contro le loro stesse posizioni. Usavamo spesso anche la tattica di viaggiare parallelamente alle colonne russe per penetrarvi in mezzo. Questo spesso succedeva quando le colonne marciavano di notte, o quando riuscivamo a penetrare tra due posizioni, a causa della carenza di coordinamento tra le unità dell’esercito federale e quelle del Ministero degli Interni. Era sufficiente penetrare tra le due colonne, sparare qualche colpo in una direzione e nell’altra, e quelle colonne si sarebbero ingaggiate a vicenda per tre o quattro ore. Queste tattiche erano usate molto spesso.

I resti di un carro da battaglia federale distrutto lungo la strada. Gola di Yarish – Mardy

ASLANBEK ABDULKHADZHIEV: biografia di “BIG ASLANBEK”

Nato a Germenchuck il 12/04/1962

Morto a Shali il 26/08/2002

Lavoratore stagionale, partecipò alla Rivoluzione Cecena, arruolandosi nella nascente Guardia Nazionale. Volontario in Abkhazia tra il 1992 e il 1993, militò nelle Brigate Internazionali della Confederazione dei Popoli dei Caucaso, diventando uomo di fiducia di Shamil Basayev.

Appuntato da Dudaev comandante militare del Distretto di Shali, combattè la I Guerra Cecena al comando di un distaccamento di grosse dimensioni, con il quale partecipò al Raid su Budennovsk (1995) e probabilmente anche al Raid su Klizyar, alla Battaglia del Primo Maggio ed al Raid su Grozny (1996). Uno dei principali comandanti sul campo durante l’Operazione Jihad, dopo la riconquista di Grozny fu comandante militare pro – tempore della città in qualità di Commissario Militare. Per i suoi meriti di guerra fu nominato Generale di Brigata e decorato con l’Onore della Nazione.

Eletto deputato alle elezioni parlamentari del Gennaio 1997, “Big Aslanbek” (nomignolo con il quale era uso distinguersi dal “collega” Generale di Brigata Aslanbek Ismailov, soprannominato “Little Aslanbek”) tentò di conquistare la presidenza dell’assemblea, ma fu superato dal candidato filogovernativo Ruslan Alikhadzhiev. Sostenitore del partito nazional – radicale, fu promotore della “Legge sulla lustrazione” con la quale si intendeva rimuovere dai pubblici uffici tutti coloro che avevano collaborato con il governo filo – russo durante la guerra. I ritardi nell’approvazione di questa legge furono all’origine delle sue dimissioni da deputato, nel 1998.

Presidente della società di stato Chechenkontrakt dal Giugno 1997, allo scoppio della II Guerra Cecena abbandonò gli incarichi civili e costituì un reparto di circa 80 uomini, con il quale combattè durante l’Assedio di Grozny (1999 – 2000) per poi abbandonare la città nel Gennaio 2000 e ripiegare nella gola dell’Argun. Passato alla lotta partigiana, combattè le truppe federali fino al 26/08/2002, quando venne intercettato a Shali e ucciso in uno scontro a fuoco.

Video commemorativo del Generale di Brigata Aslanbek Abdulkhadzhiev
Abdulkhadzhiev a Novogroznensky nel Gennaio del 1996
Abdulkhadzhiev come Commissario Militare di Grozny

per approfondire leggi “Libertà o Morte! Storia della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria”, acquistabile QUI)