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“There are forces more dangerous than any tank!” Dudaev’s first speech

On November 23, 1990, the first session (and also the only one with this name) of the Chechen National Congress took place. At the end of this event, Air Force General Dzhokhar Dudaev appeared to the general Chechen public for the first time. We will not dwell on the origins of the congress, nor on the figure of Dudaev but on the words he uttered. His intervention came at the end of the work of the congress, when the delegates had already decided to vote a Declaration of Sovereignty of the Chechen Republic, and to transform the congress into a permanent political platform. We publish Dudaev’s words first of all because the full text of the speech has never been translated from Russian, and it constitutes a fundamental historical source for understanding not only the General’s political parable, but also for framing the entire evolution of Chechen nationalism.

The original Dudaev’s speech

Dear brothers and sisters. Dear comrades, our dear guests.


I sincerely congratulate you and myself on the first hours and first day of citizenship of a sovereign state. The declaration has been adopted and I am fully convinced that even if someone has the idea to object, he will be a potential enemy of our people.


The delegates of the congress took on the extraordinary responsibility of being representatives of the people. The announcement itself is not that difficult. But there is a wise saying among the people: “don’t take out the dagger unnecessarily, if you take it out, use it”.


The dagger is unsheathed. Now we need to think about how to equip a sovereign state. This is an extremely delicate and complex process. I would like to warn my compatriots that the most dangerous period regarding possible provocation, conditioning of the minds of individuals, which can lead to bloodshed, is coming right now. There are sufficient forces for this. The young man who spoke earlier recalled the danger of an attack with tanks. The tank is vulnerable. It is clearly visible, you can lie under it with and detonate it with grenades. There are forces more dangerous than any tank, plane, and any weapon. Seven-story buildings (KGB) located on the next street. Even if one person sits in each of their offices, one can imagine what forces there are for this republic. Not a single autonomous republic has such potential, even just in terms of building. Probably down below too, a couple of floors underground.

The KGB building in Grozny before the war


No matter how difficult it is to recognize and assume this responsibility: if the sovereign republic does not have its own protection forces, guarantors of the republic’s security, and a Ministry of the Interior, if it is not willing to mobilize, to create its own formations, a sovereign republic, at the present stage, does not exist.


This confirms the course of events, the ongoing struggle in all regions. And as has been said here, now we must act and not wait for outside help. If we present a bill, my personal belief is that Russia should stay closer. Where is the evolved parliament, where are the capable forces, the forces of democracy and the master generator of perestroika. It is necessary to present to the allied department all the reports we are talking about for the damage suffered by our little and poor peoples on this earth.


The well-being that today is relatively available in the republic compared to other regions and is ensured, first of all, by the flexibility of the management, to which due must be recognized, and no less by the wisdom of the people. A beautiful land, one of the most fertile corners, nature always gives birth to beautiful people: soul, body, spirit, will, character, all positive natural qualities. Of which we talk a lot …


I asked my compatriots not to turn the glory of the past on them, the best people of Russia and all countries of the world spoke of this glory. When we talk about it ourselves, it means that the spiritual potential of the present generation has run out.

Dudaev at the first session of the Chechen National Congress


It would seem …


So, I have so many proposals, that (if the Organizing Committee of the Congress is interested), and with full conviction (if until now there were doubts about the possibility of maintaining democracy, the creation of a rule of law), then young people of the Organizing Committee, which in the most difficult conditions managed to convene the People’s Congress (the highest organization of our time), then there is the potential of young people, there is the strength of young people.


The rest of the proposals on Parliament, if they are of interest to the Management and the Organizing Committee, I will send them in writing.
Thanks for your attention, good luck and on.