Archivi tag: Contemporary History

Zakatev scrive ai Radicali Italiani: sarete benvenuti come fratelli nella Cecenia libera!

A seguito del riconoscimento della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria da parte del Parlamento ucraino, il Primo Ministro Akhmed Zakayev si è rivolto ai Radicali Italiani per ringraziarli del loro sostegno. Nel Giugno scorso i Radicali avevano organizzato una visita a Roma per il Primo Ministro ceceno, durante la quale era stato ricevuto in via ufficiale dal Sottosegretario di Stato agli Esteri Benedetto della Vedova.

Ai nostri amici italiani di Radicali Italiani

A Silvja Manzi e Igor Boni

A Benedetto della Vedova e Riccardo Magi

18 ottobre 2022

Oggi il Parlamento ucraino ha riconosciuto la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria. Si tratta di un gesto molto più che formale: il popolo ucraino ha riconosciuto nella nostra battaglia la sua stessa battaglia, nelle nostre sofferenze le sue stesse sofferenze, nel nostro destino il suo stesso destino. Non potrà mai esserci libertà per nessuno, finché un solo popolo, e addirittura un solo uomo, dovrà subire la schiavitù.

Oggi gli Ucraini combattono per la loro indipendenza, così come i ceceni fanno ormai da ventidue lunghi anni. L’Europa, che prima non aveva capito l’importanza della nostra battaglia, oggi comincia a riconoscere che la guerra che oggi si combatte sulle sponde del Dnepr e nel Donbass è iniziato molti anni prima, quando la Russia ha preteso di piegare il nostro spirito spezzando i corpi dei nostri fratelli, dei nostri bambini, con i cingoli dei suoi carri armati.

In questo giorno così importante per la nostra nazione, che segna il primo, concreto passo verso la riconquista della nostra libertà dall’oppressione, rivolgo a voi, che in tutto questo avete creduto fin dall’inizio, il mio sentito ringraziamento per il sostegno che avete dato, e che continuate dare, alla nostra lotta. Spero che la purezza dei vostri ideali possa illuminare le coscienze di tutti gli uomini liberi.

Sarete benvenuti come fratelli nella Cecenia libera.

Akhmed Zakaev,

Primo Ministro della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria

ENGLISH VERSION

Following the recognition of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria by the Ukrainian Parliament, Prime Minister Akhmed Zakayev addressed the Italian Radicals to thank them for their support. Last June the Radicals had organized a visit to Rome for the Chechen Prime Minister, during which he was officially received by the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Benedetto della Vedova.

To our Italian friends of Radicali Italiani

To Silvja Manzi and Igor Boni

To Benedetto della Vedova and Riccardo Magi

October 18, 2022

Today the Ukrainian Parliament recognized the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. It is a much more than formal gesture: the Ukrainian people recognized their own battle in our battle, their own sufferings in our sufferings, their own destiny in our destiny. There can never be freedom for anyone, as long as a single people, and even a single man, has to suffer slavery.

Today the Ukrainians are fighting for their independence, just as the Chechens have been fighting for twenty-two long years now. Europe, which previously did not understand the importance of our battle, is now beginning to recognize that the war being fought today on the banks of the Dnieper and in the Donbass began many years earlier, when Russia tried to bend our spirit. breaking the bodies of our brothers, of our children, with the tracks of his tanks.

On this very important day for our nation, which marks the first concrete step towards regaining our freedom from oppression, I extend to you, who have believed in all this from the beginning, my heartfelt thanks for the support that you have given, and continue to dare, to our struggle. I hope that the purity of your ideals can enlighten the consciences of all free men.

You will be welcome as brothers in free Chechnya.

Akhmed Zakaev,

Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria

THE GENERAL OF NAUR – MEMORIES OF APTI BATALOV (PART IV)

Battle in Ilaskhan – Yurt

After leaving Argun, we moved to a wooded mountainous area in the Nozhai – Yurt district. Here we organized our base, well hidden in a gorge near the village of Shuani. On the afternoon of March 25, a messenger arrived at the base: we were ordered to go in force to the village of Novogrozny, today Oyskhara. When we arrived Maskhadov gave me a brief report on the situation: “The Russians have left Gudermes, and are moving in the direction of Novogrozny. They crushed our defenses. We have to delay them at least for a few hours, until we evacuate the hospital and the documents. I have no one else to send except your battalion. I ask you to detain the Russians as much as possible: there are many wounded in the hospital, if the Russians find them they will shoot them all. ” Then Maskhadov told me that on the eastern outskirts of Ilaskhan – Yurt a unit of militiamen from nearby was gathering and they would give us a hand.

There were few people with me, about thirty in all, because after the retreat from Argun many of the militiamen, cold and tired, had dispersed to the surrounding villages to recover their strength. We immediately set off towards Ilaskhan – Yurt and, having reached the goal, we reunited with 70 militia men. The Russians advanced on the wooded ridge overlooking the village, traveling in the direction of Novogrozny. We settled in positions previously equipped, and then later abandoned. Their conditions were not the best: due to the heavy rains of those days they were full of water, and we guarded the positions with mud up to our knees. We tried to drain them, but the water returned to fill them in a few hours, due to the damp soil.

Soon our presence was noticed by the Russians, who began bombing our trenches from their high positions. Using mortars and field artillery. In that bombing we suffered the wounding of three or four men. However , they did not proceed to an attack, allowing us to hold them back for many more hours. Having left in a hurry, we had brought neither food nor water with us: we spent the next night hungry and cold in our damp trenches, under constant enemy bombardment. We were so starved that, when we managed to get our hands on a heifer the next day, we ate its almost raw meat, but not before getting permission from a local clergyman.

March 29 , the first Russian patrol reached our trenches. We managed to repel the assault: the enemy lost two men and retreated quickly. From the uniforms and weapons found in the possession of the fallen Russians, we understood that we had a paratrooper unit in front of us. As soon as the Russians were back in their trenches the artillery began a pounding bombardment on our positions with mortars and 120 mm artillery, causing many injuries among our units. After a long preparatory bombardment, the infantry moved on to the attack, and we began the unhooking maneuvers: some of us took the wounded away, others retreated into the woods, or returned to their homes. Only five of us remained in position: Vakha from Chishka, Khavazhi from Naurskaya, Yusup from Alpatovo, Mammad from Naursk station and myself. When we finally managed to get away we were exhausted: I came out with chronic pneumonia, which would accompany me in the years to follow.

Combined Regiment Naursk

In April, if memory serves me well, on April 2, as he said, the head of the main headquarters of the armed forces of the CRI, General Maskhadov, came to my base. The Chief of Staff briefly introduced me to the latest events and changes on the lines of contact between us and the Russians: it was clear from his words that our situation was not good. Consequently he asked me to become subordinate to the commander of the Nozhai- Yurta leadership, Magomed Khambiev. The same day I went to Nozhai-Yurt, where I met the new commander. He assigned the battalion’s area of responsibility to a location not far from the village of Zamai-Yurt, southwest of this village. Once deployed, we dug trenches and equipped shooting points for the machine gun. Here at the base, we, in our Naur battalion, were joined by groups of militias from Gudermes and the Shelkovsky district, for a total of 200 people. As a result, our battalion became the “Combined Naur Regiment”. I was confirmed by Maskhadov himself as commander of this new unit.

The Regiment held the assigned position until the early days of 1995, fighting a war of position against Russian forces. These faced us mainly with artillery, throwing a hail of mortar rounds at us, and increasing the dose with incursions of combat helicopters MI – 42 and MI – 18. During this phase we mourned the death of one of us, Dzhamleila of Naurskaya , and the wounding of ten men. Finally, in the first days of June , we received the order to switch to guerrilla warfare.

VERSIONE ITALIANA

IL GENERALE DI NAUR – MEMORIE DI APTI BATALOV (PARTE 4)

Battaglia ad Ilaskhan – Yurt

Dopo aver lasciato Argun, ci trasferimmo in una zona montuosa coperta di boschi, nel distretto di Nozhai – Yurt. Qui organizzammo la nostra base, ben nascosta in una gola vicino al villaggio di Shuani. Nel pomeriggio del 25 Marzo giunse alla base un messaggero: ci era ordinato di dirigerci in forze al villaggio di Novogrozny, oggi Oyskhara. Quando arrivammo Maskhadov mi fece un breve rapporto sulla situazione: “I russi hanno lasciato Gudermes, e si stanno muovendo in direzione di Novogrozny. Hanno schiacciato le nostre difese. Dobbiamo ritardarli almeno per qualche ora, finchè non evacuiamo l’ospedale ed i documenti. Non ho nessun altro da inviare, tranne il tuo battaglione. Ti chiedo di trattenere i russi il più possibile: ci sono molti feriti nell’ospedale, se i russi li trovano li fucileranno tutti.” Poi Maskhadov mi disse che alla periferia orientale di Ilaskhan – Yurt si stava radunando un reparto di miliziani provenienti dalle vicinanze, i quali ci avrebbero dato man forte.

Insieme a me c’erano poche persone, una trentina in tutto, perché dopo la ritirata da Argun molti dei miliziani, infreddoliti e stanchi, si erano dispersi nei villaggi circostanti per recuperare le forze. Ci mettemmo subito in marcia verso Ilaskhan  – Yurt e, raggiunto l’obiettivo, ci ricongiungemmo con 70 uomini della milizia. I russi avanzavano sulla cresta boscosa che dominava il villaggio, viaggiando in direzione di Novogrozny. Ci sistemammo in posizioni precedentemente attrezzate, e poi successivamente abbandonate. Le loro condizioni non erano delle migliori: a causa delle forti piogge di quei giorni erano piene d’acqua, e presidiavamo le posizioni con il fango fino alle ginocchia. Cercavamo di drenarle, ma l’acqua tornava a riempirle in poche ore, a causa del terreno umido.

Ben presto la nostra presenza fu notata dai russi, i quali iniziarono a bombardare le nostre trincee dalle loro posizioni elevate. Usando mortai ed artiglieria da campagna. In quel bombardamento patimmo il ferimento di tre o quattro uomini. Tuttavia non procedettero ad un attacco, permettendoci di trattenerli ancora per molte ore. Essendo partiti in fretta e furia, non avevamo portato con noi né cibo né acqua: trascorremmo la notte successiva affamati ed infreddoliti nelle nostre trincee umide, sotto il costante bombardamento nemico. Eravamo così provati dalla fame che, quando il giorno dopo riuscimmo a mettere le mani su una giovenca, ne mangiammo la carne quasi cruda, ma non prima di aver avuto il permesso da un religioso locale.

A mezzogiorno del 29 Marzo la prima pattuglia russa raggiunse le nostre trincee. Riuscimmo a respingere l’assalto: il nemico perse due uomini e si ritirò velocemente. Dalle divise e dalle armi trovate in possesso dei russi caduti capimmo di avere davanti un reparto di paracadutisti.  Non appena i russi furono rientrati nelle loro trincee l’artiglieria iniziò un bombardamento martellante sulle nostre posizioni con mortai ed artiglieria da 120 mm, provocando molti ferimenti tra le nostre unità. Dopo un lungo bombardamento preparatorio, la fanteria passò all’attacco, e noi iniziammo le manovre di sganciamento: alcuni di noi portarono via i feriti, altri si ritirarono tra i boschi, o tornarono alle loro case. In posizione rimanemmo soltanto in cinque: Vakha da Chishka, Khavazhi da Naurskaya, Yusup da Alpatovo, Mammad dalla stazione di Naursk ed io. Quando finalmente riuscimmo ad allontanarci eravamo esausti: io ne uscii con una polmonite cronica, che mi avrebbe accompagnato negli anni a seguire.

Reggimento Combinato Naursk

Ad aprile, se la memoria mi serve bene, il due aprile, come ha detto, il capo del quartier generale principale delle forze armate della CRI, il generale Maskhadov, è venuto alla mia base. Il capo di stato maggiore mi ha brevemente presentato gli ultimi eventi e i cambiamenti sulle linee di contatto tra noi e i russi: era chiaro dalle sue parole che la  nostra situazione non era buona. Di conseguenza mi chiese di diventare subordinato al comandante di la direzione Nozhai-Yurta,  Magomed Khambiev. Lo stesso giorno mi recai a Nozhai-Yurt, dove incontrai il nuovo comandante. Egli assegnò l’area di responsabilità del battaglione ad una posizione non lontana dal villaggio di Zamai-Yurt, a sud-ovest di questo villaggio. Una volta schierati, abbiamo scavato trincee e attrezzato punti di tiro per la mitragliatrice. Qui alla base, noi, nel nostro battaglione Naur, siamo stati raggiunti da gruppi di milizie di Gudermes e del distretto di Shelkovsky, per un totale di 200 persone. Di conseguenza, il nostro battaglione divenne il “Reggimento Combinato Naur”. Fui confermato dallo stesso Maskhadov comandante di questa nuova unità.

Il Reggimento tenne la posizione assegnata fino ai primi di giorni del 1995, combattendo una guerra di posizione contro le forze russe. Queste ci affrontavano principalmente con l’artiglieria, lanciandoci contro una grandine di colpi di mortaio, e rincarando la dose con incursioni di elicotteri da combattimento MI – 42 e MI – 18. Durante questa fase piangemmo la morte di uno di noi, Dzhamleila di Naurskaya, ed il ferimento di dieci uomini. Nei primi giorni di Giugno, infine, ricevemmo l’ordine di passare alla guerra partigiana.

THE GENERAL OF NAUR: MEMORIES OF APTI BATALOV (Part III)

Defending Grozny

When the federal forces reached Grozny, my men and I were in Gudermes, where we had quartered to form an organized unit made up entirely of men from the Naur District . On January 4th , a runner sent by Maskhadov was placed in our command post. He gave me the order to converge on our capital with all the men at my disposal. Once in the city, I met a young volunteer, who made himself available to organize our group and put it in coordination with the other fighting units. It is called Turpal Ali Atgeriev. In conversation with him, I learned that he had taken part in the war in Abkhazia and that he had some fighting experience. There was not a single war veteran among us, starting with me: I was in desperate need of someone with combat experience. For this I asked Atgiriev to become my deputy, and he accepted my proposal. Since he didn’t have a weapon, I handed him an RPK-74 machine gun. Someone criticized my decision, accusing me of having appointed a stranger as my deputy. I was not interested in this gossip and intrigue, I was worried about only one thing itself: saving lives and at the same time beating the enemy.

We were deployed in defense of the Pedagogical Institute. A regiment of Russian marines had targeted the building: if this had been taken, it would have been possible to easily reach Maskhadov’s headquarters, which was literally fifty meters from our position, under the Presidential Palace. The Russians tried to break through our defenses almost every day, until January 19 , 1994, but without success. In these attacks they lost many soldiers, whose corpses remained in the middle of the road, in no man’s land, prey to stray dogs. We tried to remove them, to save their bodies, but without a respite we could not have prevented them from being eaten. Several times, during the fighting, our command and the Russian one reached an agreement for a 48-hour truce, precisely to clean the streets of the corpses of Russian soldiers. During these truces we talked to the Russian patrols stationed on the side streets. I remember one of these conversations with a Russian captain, to whom I had thrown a pack of cigarettes: Guys he said, quit, you will not win, because you are not fighting the police, but the army. His voice was not arrogant, he was a simple Russian peasant. That battle was also difficult because to supply our armories we had to capture weapons and ammunition from the Russians. In every disabled armored transport vehicle we found a heap of weapons, cartridges and grenades, which we looted. Later the Russians became more careful, and we didn’t find much in their means. On the other hand, their vehicles were stuffed with all sorts of carpets, dishes and other goods looted from the population.

January 19 , when it became clear that the defense of the Pedagogical Institute would no longer slow down the fall of the Presidential Palace, we withdrew. I was ordered to organize the defense of the Trampark area , and we occupied positions on Novya Street Buachidze . Trampark changed hands several times, and there were fierce battles until February 7th . Right in via Novya Buachidze suffered a shock from a tank bullet which, entering the window of the room where I was with some of my men, hit two of them in full, killing them. This shock still undermines my health. Finally, on the evening of February 7 , a messenger from Maskhadov handed me a note in which I was ordered to leave the position, join Basayev in Chernorechie and leave the city. I should have assumed the defense in the parking area in Via 8 Marzo, where the departments were concentrating to prepare for the exit from the city. Once there we counted all those present: also considering the staff of the Headquarters, we were 320 men. Obviously some departments were not present: detached units fought in other areas of the city, and besides them there were the so-called “Indians”, armed gangs who did not obey anyone, they fought when it was favorable gold and along the way they plundered everything that they could find. When Maskhadov lined up us in the square, he told us that our descendants would be proud of us, that the victory would be ours, that we were leaving Grozny only to return one day. The night between 7 and 8 Fenbbraio we left the capital.

The Naursk Battalion

It was after the retreat from Grozny that my unit, still an amalgam of more or less organized groups, began to become a real tactical unit. This same process was also taking place in the other units that had formed spontaneously at the beginning of the war. Moreover, in the Chechen resistance there were no military units and formations in the classical sense of the term: “battalions”, “regiments” and “fronts” were symbolic terms that did not correspond to a battle order in the classical sense. For example, what was called the “Argun Regiment” was an association of several groups, often poorly armed, made up of a variable number of people, each of which replied to its own commander. The members of these units, all volunteers, could leave at any time, there was no precise chain of command.

Our team spirit had already been forged in the battles we had fought together, and which unfortunately had forced us to count the first fallen. The first of our men to die for the defense of Chechnya was Beshir Turluev , who fell at the Ishcherskaya Checkpoint in December 1994. Since then, other young Chechens had sacrificed their lives for their homeland. Among those who remained alive, and who fought more assiduously with me, a group of “veterans” began to form, who by character or competence acquired the role of “informal officers”. Thus, for example, a 4th year student of a medical institute, whose name was Ruslan, became the head of the medical unit, while Sheikh Khavazhi , from the village of Naurskaya , became the head of logistics. The latter was in charge of keeping in touch with the Naur region , from which the supplies for our unit came. The inhabitants collected the food intended for our livelihood and delivered it to us via a KAMAZ truck, driven by Umar, from the village of Savelieva, and his companion Alkhazur . Sometimes money was also collected, usually a small amount, which was scrupulously recorded and distributed among the men. For the needs of the battalion, for the entire period of the 1994-1996 war, I, from the central command, did not receive more than 3 thousand dollars.

Defending Argun

After we had withdrawn from Grozny, Maskhadov ordered us to fall back on Argun, to help defend the city. We quartered ourselves in the city hospital, now empty and unused. The commander of the stronghold was Khunkarpasha Israpilov, and the commander of the largest unit, the so-called “Combined Regiment”, was Aslambek Ismailov. We were deployed in the sector of the so-called “Indian village”, a front of about 350 meters along the Argun River. On our left were the so-called “Black Wolves”, characterized by wearing very dark jeans. On the other side were Alaudi ‘s men Khamzatov , guard posts on the main bridge over the Argun. In front of us was a Russian paratrooper unit. We learned that we were facing special forces from a Russian soldier whom we captured when, with his squad, he attempted a reconnaissance close to our lines. At that juncture, as soon as the other side learned that their group had been identified and attacked, the Moscow artillery launched a massive bombing on our positions, during which two of our militiamen fell: Daud, coming from the village of Kalinovsky and Rizvan , from Naurskaya . To scare us, the Russians played Vladimir Vysotsky ‘s “Hunting for Wolves” at very high volume . We responded with “Freedom or Death”. The supply of the militias in the city of Argun, as well as in Grozny, was very scarce, there was a severe shortage of ammunition, there was a catastrophic lack of machine gun cartridges, RPG-7 grenade launcher shells and only dressing bandages they were more or less in abundance among the drugs.

On the morning of March 20, the Russians began testing our defenses along the entire line of contact, simulating a force attack from our side. In reality, the main attack took place, surprisingly, at the Moskovsky state farm . We did not expect the enemy to break in from that side, and after a fierce battle during which we lost many men (including the commander of the Melkhu – Khe militia , whose name was Isa and a brave, young Lithuanian named Nicholas) we had to leave the city, to retreat to the wooded region of Nozhai – Yurt. In the defense of Argun, Abuezid , from the village of Naurskaya , Umar, Mekenskaya , Muslim, Nikolaevskaya also fell , while another ten of us were wounded. We left Argun in the night between 21st and 22nd March 1995.

IL TRADIMENTO CHE NON CI FU – L’OPERAZIONE “SCHAMIL” (I Parte)

Quando, nel Febbraio del 1944, Stalin decretò la deportazione di massa dei Ceceni in Asia centrale, egli motivò la terribile “punizione” con la supposta collaborazione dei Ceceni con le forze armate germaniche. Tale collaborazione sarebbe avvenuta, secondo la versione ufficiale, nel corso del 1942, in concomitanza con un’azione di intelligence e sabotaggio compiuta dalla Wehrmacht, chiamata in codice “Operazione Schamil”. Il marchio dell’infamia, gettato su tutti i ceceni dalla teoria del “tradimento”, avrebbe condizionato l’esistenza di un intero popolo il quale, ridotto a paria nel consesso delle nazioni che abitavano l’impero sovietico, fu costretto ad accettare una frustrante discriminazione sociale, economica e politica. Questa condizione fu uno tra i detonatori del desiderio di rivalsa che pervase i ceceni alla fine degli anni ’80, e alimentò quel desiderio di libertà che poi si concretizzò con l’indipendenza nel 1991.

Oggi in Russia si è accettata l’idea che la deportazione del 1944 fu un crimine terribile. Eppure rimane ben radicata dell’opinione pubblica l’idea che questo tradimento dei ceceni si sarebbe realmente consumato, e che pertanto vi sia una “colpa” ancestrale che i Vaynakh dovrebbero “espiare” di fronte alla madrepatria. Tralasciando il fatto che molti ceceni non considerano affatto la Russia la loro casa, e che quindi non si sentirebbero affatto dei “traditori” di una patria che non riconoscono, il fatto è che questa “colpa” non è affatto certa. Anzi, è piuttosto chiaro, dalle evidenze storiche, che la maggior parte dei ceceni combattè con onore nelle file dell’Armata Rossa, e che la popolazione civile non solidarizzò con i tedeschi più di quanto non lo fecero le altre nazioni sottoposte al giogo di Stalin.

Recentemente Pieter Van Huis, ricercatore dell’Università di Leida, nei Paesi Bassi, ha pubblicato una tesi dal titolo Banditi di montagna e fuorilegge della foresta. Ceceni e Ingusce sotto il dominio sovietico nel 1918-1944. Lo studioso dedica un capitolo proprio alla celebre “Operazione Schamil”: attingendo alle fonti documentali disponibili presso gli archivi della Wehmacht e dell’NKVD, ha saputo ricostruire la genesi e lo svolgimento di questa azione. Riepiloghiamo in sintesi quanto è emerso dagli studi di Van Huis, a loro volta riportati da Anastasia Kirilenko sul sito del Nodo Caucasico: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/

I RAPPORTI LANGE

Le prime fonti cui fa riferimento Van Huis sono tre rapporti operativi, due firmati dal Tenente Maggiore Erhard Lange ed uno dal volontario osseto Boris Tsagolov. Tutte e tre le fonti, sebbene differenti nello stile, concordano sul fatto che l’operazione fu un sostanziale fallimento principalmente a causa della pronta reazione delle unità dell’NKVD, le quali procedettero a punire i residenti che davano ospitalità al nemico bruciando le loro case, o applicando punizioni collettive alle comunità che non si opposero attivamente al suo passaggio. Tutti e tre i rapporti, in ogni caso, concordano sul fatto che ad eccezione di alcune bande di irregolari, peraltro già attive prima dell’invasione, non fornirono un supporto sufficiente al buon esito dell’operazione.

Il primo di questi rapporti fu inviato da Ehrard Lange il 5 Gennaio 1943. In esso si riepiloga che l’Operazione Schamil ebbe inizio il 25 Agosto 1942, quando un aereo della Luftwaffe decollato da Armavir paracadutò 11 tedeschi e 19 volontari caucasici nei pressi di Chishki e di Dachu – Barzoi, a circa 30 kilometri da Grozny. Il cielo era sgombro, e la luce della luna illuminò fin da subito i paracadutisti, i quali furono presi di mira dal nemico. La maggior parte delle armi e dell’equipaggiamento fu quindi frettolosamente abbandonato, e ci vollero alcuni giorni prima che il gruppo potesse ricompattarsi, non prima di aver accertato alcune perdite e diserzioni. Il gruppo, ridotto a 22 uomini, tentò di racimolare qualche arma da fuoco sequestrandola agli abitanti dei villaggi vicini, mentre tentava di guadagnare un rifugio sicuro. Tuttavia, essendo stati notati fin dal loro arrivo, gli uomini del commando divennero da subito oggetto di una spietata caccia da parte dell’NKVD, che giunse a mobilitare addirittura 2.000 effettivi per stanarli. Lange tentò quindi di prendere contatto con i ribelli locali, arroccati sulle montagne, cercando di riunirli in un’unica banda organizzata, e di aggiungere a questa massa critica un contingente di 400 ribelli georgiani. Il piano, tuttavia, non riuscì a causa del fatto che il 24 Settembre 1942 l’NKVD intercettò Lange, costringendolo ad aprirsi una via di fuga con la forza. I sopravvissuti raggiunsero Kharsenoy, ma qui furono nuovamente intercettati e costretti a combattere. Dopo aver perduto altri uomini, Lange decise di abortire la missione. Dopo aver abbandonato le divise ed indossato abiti civili, riuscì a spacciare i resti del suo gruppo (cinque tedeschi e quattro caucasici) per una banda di banditi Cabardini, finché non riuscì ad ottenere la collaborazione di alcuni residenti locali, i quali accettarono di aiutarlo a patto i membri della banda fossero divisi e distribuiti secondo le loro volontà. Non potendo fare altro, Lange acconsentì. Lui e i suoi uomini rimasero nascosti fino al 9 Dicembre successivo, quando appresero che l’armata rossa aveva intercettato e distrutto la maggior parte dei ribelli operanti in Cecenia. Il giorno successivo Lange raccolse i suoi, e li portò oltre la linea del fronte. Rientrato alla base, l’ufficiale compilò una memoria nella quale indicò una lista di nomi di “103 persone assolutamente affidabili, che potrebbero fungere da guide”.

Successivamente, il 23 Aprile 1943, Lange depositò un secondo rapporto, nel quale specificava maggiormente lo scopo della sua missione: mettere in atto operazioni militari per ostacolare la ritirata nemica lungo la direttrice Grozny – Botlikh. Il compito, si specificava, non era stato portato a termine a causa del fatto che la maggior parte delle armi era andato perduto durante l’atterraggio, ma anche per via della scarsa collaborazione dei residenti locali. Secondo questo rapporto, una volta constatata la dispersione del “Gruppo Lange”, il comando tedesco aveva inviato una seconda unità, chiamata “Gruppo Rekert” a cercare di recuperare i dispersi. Questo secondo drappello, tuttavia, era stato sbaragliato ed i suoi componenti risultavano scomparsi. Rispetto al suo rapporto con i civili, Lange precisa che il gruppo era nelle mani della popolazione civile e correva quotidianamente il rischio di un tradimento da parte loro, e che soltanto dopo lunghe discussioni il commando riuscì a liberarsi da questa tutela. Infine, il resoconto specificava anche l’obiettivo secondario seguito da Lange una volta che quello principale (il sabotaggio) si rivelò irraggiungibile: Verificare la veridicità dei rapporti al Fuhrer secondo i quali ceceni e ingusci sarebbero particolarmente coraggiosi nella lotta contro i bolscevichi e, nel caso, fornire loro supporto logistico ed armi per proseguire la guerriglia. Per raggiungere questo secondo obiettivo Lang avrebbe dovuto passare alcune settimane in Cecenia, confidando nello spirito di ospitalità dei residenti locali. Egli sapeva che per un ceceno l’ospitalità è sacra. Nel rapporto riferisce, infatti: le regole locali sull’ospitalità richiedono di proteggere la vita di un ospite anche a costo della propria. Consci di questo, i tedeschi non risparmiarono ai ceceni veri e propri ricatti morali, minacciando di far sapere a tutti del disonore gettato sulla famiglia e sul Teip da persone che non accettavano di ospitarli e di collaborare con loro.

Se ottenere l’ospitalità dei ceceni sembrava piuttosto facile, molto più difficile risultò garantirsi la loro alleanza nel costituire un movimento di resistenza antisovietica. Sempre citando Lange:  I residenti locali non sono interessati a nulla, tranne che al destino del loro villaggio, nel quale vorrebbero vivere come contadini liberi. Essi non hanno alcun rispetto per il tempo, per lo spazio, né per il rispetto degli accordi presi. […] Tutto questo crea pessimi requisiti per una rivolta. Citando un evento accaduto al Gruppo Reckert, Lange ricorda che dopo aver ricevuto le armi, gli uomini sono tornati in fretta ai loro villaggi. A conclusione del suo rapporto, Lange consigliava di non investire uomini e mezzi in questa operazione, giacchè la popolazione locale non avrebbe combattuto per la Germania, ma al massimo per liberarsi delle fattorie collettive e riappropriarsi della terra.

ENGLISH VERSION


THE BETRAYAL THAT DID NOT HAPPEN – OPERATION “SCHAMIL” (Part I)

When, in February 1944, Stalin decreed the mass deportation of the Chechens to Central Asia, he motivated the terrible "punishment" with the alleged collaboration of the Chechens with the Germanic armed forces. According to the official version, this collaboration took place during 1942, in conjunction with an intelligence and sabotage action carried out by the Wehrmacht, codenamed "Operation Schamil". The stigma thrown on all Chechens by the theory of "betrayal", would have conditioned the existence of an entire people who, reduced to pariah in the assembly of nations that inhabited the Soviet empire, was forced to accept a frustrating social, economic and political discrimination. This condition was one of the detonators of the desire for revenge that pervaded the Chechens in the late 1980s, and fueled that desire for freedom which then materialized with independence in 1991.

Today in Russia it is accepted that the 1944 deportation was a terrible crime. Yet public opinion remains firmly rooted in the idea that this betrayal of the Chechens would actually be consummated, and that therefore there is an ancestral "guilt" that the Vaynakhs should "atone" in the face of the motherland. Leaving aside the fact that many Chechens do not consider Russia their home at all, and therefore would not at all feel like "traitors" to a homeland they do not recognize, the fact is that this "fault" is by no means certain. Indeed, it is quite clear from the historical evidence that most Chechens fought with honor in the ranks of the Red Army, and that the civilian population did not sympathize with the Germans any more than did other nations under Stalin's yoke. .

Pieter Van Huis, a researcher at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, recently published a thesis entitled Mountain Bandits and Forest Outlaws. Chechens and Ingush under Soviet rule in 1918-1944. The scholar dedicates a chapter to the famous "Operation Schamil": drawing on the documentary sources available in the Wehmacht and NKVD archives, he was able to reconstruct the genesis and development of this action. We summarize in summary what emerged from the studies of Van Huis, in turn reported by Anastasia Kirilenko on the Caucasian Node website: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/
THE LANGE REPORTS

The first sources to which Van Huis refers are three operational reports, two signed by Lieutenant Major Erhard Lange and one by the Ossetian volunteer Boris Tsagolov. All three sources, although different in style, agree that the operation was a substantial failure mainly due to the prompt reaction of the NKVD units, which proceeded to punish the residents who housed the enemy by burning their homes. , or by applying collective punishment to communities that did not actively oppose its passage. All three reports, in any case, agree that with the exception of some bands of illegal immigrants, which were already active before the invasion, they did not provide sufficient support for the success of the operation.
The first of these reports was sent by Ehrard Lange on January 5, 1943. It summarizes that Operation Schamil began on August 25, 1942, when a Luftwaffe plane taken off from Armavir parachuted 11 Germans and 19 Caucasian volunteers near Chishki. and Dachu - Barzoi, about 30 kilometers from Grozny. The sky was clear, and the light of the moon immediately illuminated the paratroopers, who were targeted by the enemy. Most of the weapons and equipment were therefore hastily abandoned, and it took a few days before the group could regroup, not before having ascertained some losses and desertions. The group, reduced to 22 men, attempted to scrape together some firearms by seizing them from nearby villagers, while trying to gain a safe haven. However, having been noticed since their arrival, the men of the commando immediately became the object of a merciless hunt by the NKVD, which even mobilized 2,000 troops to track them down. Lange then attempted to make contact with the local rebels, perched in the mountains, trying to unite them in a single organized band, and to add a contingent of 400 Georgian rebels to this critical mass. The plan, however, failed due to the fact that on September 24, 1942, the NKVD intercepted Lange, forcing him to forcibly open an escape route. The survivors reached Kharsenoy, but here they were again intercepted and forced to fight. After losing other men, Lange decided to abort the mission. After abandoning his uniforms and wearing civilian clothes, he managed to pass off the remains of his group (five Germans and four Caucasians) as a band of Cabardini bandits, until he succeeded in obtaining the collaboration of some local residents, who agreed to help him provided the members of the gang were divided and distributed according to their will. Unable to do anything else, Lange agreed. He and his men remained in hiding until the following December 9, when they learned that the Red Army had intercepted and destroyed most of the rebels operating in Chechnya. The next day Lange gathered his own, and carried them over the front line. Returning to the base, the officer compiled a memo in which he indicated a list of names of "103 absolutely reliable people, who could serve as guides".
Subsequently, on April 23, 1943, Lange filed a second report, in which he further specified the purpose of his mission: to carry out military operations to obstruct the enemy retreat along the Grozny - Botlikh route. The task, it was specified, had not been completed due to the fact that most of the weapons had been lost during landing, but also due to the lack of cooperation from local residents. According to this report, once the dispersion of the "Lange Group" was ascertained, the German command had sent a second unit, called the "Rekert Group" to try to recover the missing. This second squad, however, had been defeated and its members had disappeared. With respect to his relationship with civilians, Lange specifies that the group was in the hands of the civilian population and daily ran the risk of betrayal on their part, and that only after long discussions did the commandos manage to free themselves from this protection. Finally, the report also specified the secondary objective followed by Lange once the main one (sabotage) proved unattainable: Verifying the veracity of the reports to the Fuhrer according to which Chechens and Ingush are particularly courageous in the fight against the Bolsheviks and, in the case, provide them with logistical support and weapons to continue the guerrilla warfare. To achieve this second goal, Lang would have had to spend a few weeks in Chechnya, trusting in the spirit of hospitality of the local residents. He knew that hospitality is sacred to a Chechen. In fact, in the report he reports: the local rules on hospitality require you to protect the life of a guest even at the cost of your own. Aware of this, the Germans did not spare the Chechens real moral blackmail, threatening to let everyone know of the dishonor thrown on the family and on the Teip by people who did not accept to host them and to collaborate with them.
While obtaining the hospitality of the Chechens seemed easy enough, it was much more difficult to secure their alliance in forming an anti-Soviet resistance movement. Again quoting Lange: Local residents are not interested in anything except the fate of their village, in which they would like to live as free farmers. They have no respect for time, space, or compliance with the agreements made. […] All this creates bad conditions for a riot. Citing an event that happened to the Reckert Group, Lange recalls that after receiving the weapons, the men quickly returned to their villages. At the end of his report, Lange advised not to invest men and means in this operation, since the local population would not fight for Germany, but at most to get rid of the collective farms and regain possession of the land.

THE GENERAL OF NAUR – MEMORIES OF APTI BATALOV (Part II)

The first meeting with Maskhadov

My first meeting with Aslan Maskhadov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic took place a few days after my appointment. That day I was summoned to Grozny for a meeting of the commanders of the military units. When I arrived in Grozny, I introduced myself to his office, which if I remember correctly was on the second floor of the building that housed the Headquarters. After a short wait I was called by one of his guards and invited to enter. Maskhadov’s office, then still a Colonel, was not large. He was sitting on his desk and writing. I greeted him with the usual Chechen greeting, he got up from his chair and replied with a counter greeting. When he had finished, he looked at me and asked me what the purpose of my visit was.

I introduced myself, and Merzhuyev ‘s order regarding my appointment as Commander of the districts of Naursk and Nadterechny was placed on the table. Maskhadov took the document, read it, crossed out a sentence with his pen and said to me: Have it wright again, I don’t have enough cops. And he gave me back my order. I took the paper and looked at what he had erased. After seeing his correction the blood went to my head, my face started to burn with anger. Maskhadov had ticked “Police Captain”. Holding back the indignation with difficulty, I replied: I did not ask for this position, I will not go to anyone and I will not write anything! To be honest, in a way, I was satisfied with this “entry” into the ChRI authorities. Now I could legitimately refuse my appointment and go home in peace. But as I reached the door Maskhadov called me back: The meeting will start in an hour, please go to the Central Control Center. I didn’t know what he was talking about and so, after taking my leave, I asked a guard what the Central Control Center ( TsKP ) was, and where it was. The guard told me that it was the Central Command Post, and that I could reach it on the first floor of the Presidential Palace, in the right wing. I headed for my destination, keeping the order in my pocket. I still keep it in my personal archive. As I walked, I thought to myself: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The subsequent history of the Republic confirmed the validity of my hypothesis.

False alarms. Luckly!

Between 29 and 30 August , at the Ishcherskaya checkpoint , we arrested a boy of about 25 from the Stavropol District. Subjected to inspection, in his backpack we found a T-shirt, underwear, a black mask and a full-face balaclava, as well as a silk rope of about one meter in length. In his pocket we found a letter which, we discovered, was addressed to his sister. We questioned him about the purpose of his trip to Chechnya, and he replied without hesitation that he had come to join the opposition and protect the Russians from the oppression and violence of the Dudaevites. He said that he had already fought in Yugoslavia, on the side of the Serbs, and that the mask and the rope he had already used there. He said that once he reached his destination he would send the letter to his sister, the only one who loved him, to inform her of his arrival. After detaining him, I called for ad AN – 2 from Khankala delivered him to Grozny. A few days later the “volunteer” was shown on TV and President Dudaev, in front of the reporters, after showing the mask and the cordon, read aloud the “letter from a volunteer”.

As I wrote earlier, all settlements in the region were equipped with radio stations, there was a consolidated link between the district and the village commander’s offices, at any time of day I could contact the commander of each village and know the situation in this settlement. In addition to ensuring the safety of the Naur region from the Avturkhanov opposition, we, through our local supporters in the village of Znamenskoye , who were not few, monitored what was happening in the opposition camp, and relayed reports to Grozny. We had a signalman who knew radio stations well once he served in Afghanistan as radio operator in a GRU sabotage detachment.

One day, the operator tuned in to the opposition radio station in Znamenskoye , and listened to a radio conversation of our opponents that was endlessly repeated: Tonight , at zero – zero, the time X arrives. Fearing to be heard, I decided to deliver the report personally, and went to Grozny myself. Arriving at the Presidential Palace, I went to the Central Command Post, but found no one. It was late at night, but the news was too important, so I went to the sixth (or possibly seventh) floor, where Colonel Merzhuyev ‘s office was located . After listening to me, he confirmed my fears: Apparently tonight, or early in the morning, something will happen. The Ingush [I don’t know who he was referring to] received orders from Moscow to block the Rostov – Baku highway and to keep it ready for the mass advance of military vehicles.

Merzhuyev was visibly agitated by my message. Before leaving, he asked me to warn Abu Arsanukaev , commander of the Presidential Guard, to strengthen security around the Palace. Having found Arsanukaev , I sent him Mershuyev ‘s order , and he began to tinker with the armored vehicle parked at the entrance, a BRDM armed with a machine gun. After a brief check, it became clear that the vehicle’s machine gun was unable to fire. The guards present began to look for an alternative: it seems that a tank was available, stationed around a nearby corner, but that it was unable to move and that they should have towed it.

I thought, disconsolately, about the conversation with Merzhuyev , while observing the readiness or rather, the non-readiness of the defense of the Presidential Palace in the event of an attack. I returned to Ishcherskaya , waiting for the impending attack. Fortunately, neither that day nor the next day did anything happen. A week or two later Mershuyev apparently quit for health reasons.

Musa Merzhuyev (left) attends the Independence Day military parade, September 6, 1993

The hardest two hours of my life

On 23 August 1994 an opposition unit, mounted on trucks and escorted by two T – 64s, appeared near Chernokozovo, a few kilometers from Naurskaya. Waiting for him was a crowd of local residents, led by the Prefect, Aindi Akhaev , who literally seized the tanks, disarmed the avturkhanovites and sent them back, with a promise never to come back armed. Shortly thereafter, I received an ultimatum from Avturkhanov: either we would return the wagons to him and remove the roadblocks, or, in his words, he would march into the district in bloody boots . Receiving no response from us, he sent a messenger and asked me for a meeting on the bridge between Ishcherskaya and Znamenskoye . I accepted, and went to the birdge. Halfway there was a Volga, from which first a tall man with blond hair got out, then Avturkhanov.

We shook hands. His was sweaty, and visibly trembling. I mocked him, asking: What is it, Umar, don’t you have reliable Chechens to use as bodyguards? He muttered back to me, then moved on to threats. He asked me to return the tanks to him, and to my refusal he replied: I’ll give you two hours, otherwise I’ll reduce you to dust! He did not insist again on the dismantling of the roadblock, perhaps he had forgotten. I replied aloud, in Russian: we’ll see who cancels whom. We are waiting for you. I went back to my companions and told them about our conversation. We prepared to repel the attack. Fifteen minutes later, on the other side of the river we noticed a great commotion: civilian cars were massing at the checkpoint, a ZPU-2 anti-aircraft gun had appeared out of nowhere, and its turret rotated left and right, aimed at ours. locations.

The moment was very tense, and some of us started running away. A police officer who was with me along with four of his fellow soldiers stated that he had been urgently recalled to the District Police Department, and that they should leave us. I couldn’t resist, and I let them go. Other militiamen also left. I had to do something, so I ordered one of the tanks we had seized to be placed at the entrance to the Checkpoint, and aimed the gun at our opponents. At the sight of the tank, the opposition militants on the other side began to fidget, running back and forth. Two painful hours passed while we awaited the attack. If there had been a well-organized attack, we would never have been able to keep the bridge. They would have taken the tank back from us, and no one could have helped us. The difference between our forces and theirs was too great, we barely had two magazines each, and neither of us had military experience. If Avturkhanov had persisted, the bridge would have fallen. At the time I did not understand why he considered it so important to enter the Naursk District, being able to use the road from Lomaz – Yurt to Znamenskoye , along the right side of the Terek, to get to Grozny. Only some time ago, in a conversation with a guy who was an opposition militant at the time, I learned that the anti – Dudaevites had trouble getting the equipment through that street, because the inhabitants of Lomaz – Yurt (now Bratskoye ) they were for the most part supporters of Dudaev, and opposed arms in hand to the passing of arms against the government. Avturkhanov wanted to check the bridge in order to use the road on the left bank of the Terek. But these things I learned only later. I was not aware of this at the time, and I did not understand what this opposition showdown was for.

Eventually Avturkhanov gave up. There was no attack. The Avturkhanovites limited themselves to undermining their side of the bridge and damaging it, leaving only a narrow pedestrian passage. That day I learned about who was with me: I was very proud of the companions who remained. To be honest, these two hours were perhaps the hardest hours of my life for me. The most difficult because for the first time, I had to make a decision that could have had serious consequences. In those days the Chechens were not so indifferent to the bloodshed of their compatriots, they were not yet hardened by the hatred due to political differences!

After the war, when I was director of the National Security Service, I learned from an inmate that the Provisional Council had organized the August 23 Raid to try to take over the entire district. The raid on Naurskaya, stopped by Akhaev in Chernokozovo , was supposed to induce the population of the district to surrender, taking the militia behind while they were busy defending the checkpoints. What Avturkhanov’s strategists had not considered was the courage of the people of Naursk and Mekenskaya . They were simple people, but very determined, who with their courage made the plan of our adversaries fail.

Dudaev (left) Maskhadov (centre) Edilov (Right)

VERSIONE ITALIANA

PARTE II

Il primo incontro con Maskhadov

Il mio primo incontro con Aslan Maskhadov, Capo di Stato Maggiore Generale delle Forze Armate della Repubblica Cecena è avvenuto pochi giorni dopo la mia nomina. Quel giorno fui convocato a Grozny per una riunione dei comandanti delle unità militari. Arrivato a Grozny, mi presentai nel suo ufficio, che se non ricordo male si trovava al secondo piano dell’edificio che ospitava il Quartier Generale. Dopo una breve anticamera fui chiamato da una delle sue guardie ed invitato ad entrare. L’ufficio di Maskhadov, allora ancora Colonnello, non era grande. Egli era seduto sulla sua scrivania e scriveva. Lo salutai con il consueto saluto ceceno, lui si alzò dalla sedia e rispose con un contro saluto. Quando ebbe finito di scrivere, mi guardò e mi chiese quale fosse lo scopo della mia visita.

Mi presentai, e l’ordine di Merzhuyev riguardo la mia nomina a Comandante dei distretti di Naursk e Nadterechny gli fu posto sul tavolo. Maskhadov prese il documento, lo lesse, barrò una frase con la penna e mi disse: Fallo rifare, non ho abbastanza poliziotti. E mi restituì l’ordine. Io presi il foglio e guardai che cosa avesse cancellato. Dopo aver visto la sua correzione il sangue mi andò alla testa, il mio viso iniziò a bruciare di eccitazione. Maskhadov aveva barrato “Capitano della Polizia”. Trattenendo a fatica l’indignazione, risposi: Non ho chiesto io questa posizione, non andrò da nessuno e non scriverò nulla! Ad essere onesti, in un certo modo, ero soddisfatto di questo “ingresso” nelle autorità della ChRI. Ora potevo legittimamente rifiutare la mia nomina e tornare a casa in pace. Ma come raggiunsi la porta Maskhadov mi richiamò: La riunione comincerà tra un’ora, fatti trovare al Centro di Controllo Centrale. Io non sapevo di cosa stesse parlando e così, dopo essermi congedato, chiesi ad una guardia che cosa fosse il Centro di Controllo Centrale (TsKP), e dove si trovasse. La guardia mi precisò che si trattava del Posto di Comando Centrale, e che avrei potuto raggiungerlo al primo piano del Palazzo Presidenziale, nell’ala destra.

Dopo aver salutato, mi avviai verso la mia destinazione, tenendo l’ordine in tasca. Lo conservo ancora, nel mio archivio personale. Mentre camminavo, pensai tra me e me: “C’è del marcio in Danimarca”. La successiva storia della Repubblica confermò la validità di questa mia ipotesi.

Falsi allarmi. Per fortuna!

Tra il 29 ed il 30 Agosto, al posto di blocco di Ishcherskaya, fermammo un ragazzo di circa 25 anni proveniente dal Distretto di Stavropol. Sottoposto ad ispezione, nel suo zaino trovammo una maglietta, della biancheria, una maschera nera ed un passamontagna integrale, oltre ad una corda di seta di circa un metro di lunghezza. In tasca gli trovammo una lettera che, scoprimmo, era indirizzata alla sorella. Lo interrogammo riguardo lo scopo del suo viaggio in Cecenia, e lui rispose senza esitazione che era venuto per unirsi all’opposizione e proteggere i russi dall’oppressione e dalla violenza dei dudaeviti. Disse che aveva già combattuto in Jugoslavia, dalla parte dei serbi, e che la maschera e la corda li aveva già usati lì. Disse che una volta giunto a destinazione avrebbe inviato la lettera alla sorella, l’unica che gli volesse bene, per comunicarle il suo arrivo. Dopo averlo trattenuto, feci arrivare un AN – 2 da Khankala e lo feci consegnare a Grozny. Pochi giorni dopo il “volontario” fu mostrato alla TV ed il Presidente Dudaev, davanti ai giornalisti,  dopo aver mostrato la maschera ed il cordone, lesse ad alta voce la “lettera di un volontario”.

Come ho scritto in precedenza, tutti gli insediamenti della regione erano dotati di stazioni radio, c’era un collegamento consolidato tra il distretto e gli uffici del comandante del villaggio, a qualsiasi ora del giorno potevo contattare il comandante Di ogni villaggio e conoscere la situazione in questo insediamento. Oltre a garantire la sicurezza della regione di Naur da parte dell’opposizione di Avturkhanov, noi, attraverso i nostri sostenitori locali nel villaggio di Znamenskoye, che non erano pochi, monitoravamo quanto stava accadendo nel campo dell’opposizione, e trasmettevamo rapporti a Grozny. Avevamo un segnalatore che conosceva bene le stazioni radio, una volta ha attraversato l’Afghanistan dove era un operatore radio in un distaccamento di sabotaggio del GRU.

Un giorno, l’operatore si sintonizzò sulla stazione radio dell’opposizione a Znamenskoye, ed ascoltò una conversazione radio dei nostri avversari che si ripeteva incessantemente: Questa notte, a zero – zero, arriva l’ora X. Temendo che anche le nostre conversazioni fossero ascoltate, decisi di recapitare il rapporto personalmente, e mi recai di persona a Grozny. Giunto al Palazzo Presidenziale, mi recai al Posto di Comando Centrale, ma non trovai nessuno. Era notte fonda, ma la notizia era troppo importante, così mi recai al sesto (o forse al settimo) piano, dove si trovava l’ufficio del Colonnello Merzhuyev. Dopo avermi ascoltato, questi confermò i miei timori: A quanto pare questa notte, o al mattino presto, succederà qualcosa. L’Inguscio [non so a chi si riferisse] ha ricevuto ordini da Mosca di bloccare l’autostrata Rostov – Baku e di tenerla pronta per l’avanzata in massa di mezzi militari.

Merzhuyev era visibilmente agitato dal mio messaggio. Prima di prendere commiato, mi chiese di avvisare Abu Arsanukaev, comandante della Guardia Presidenziale, di rafforzare la sicurezza intorno al Palazzo. Trovato Arsanukaev, gli trasmisi l’ordine di Mershuyev, e questi si mise ad armeggiare con il mezzo blindato parcheggiato all’ingresso, un BRDM armato di mitragliatrice. Dopo un breve controllo, fu chiaro che la mitragliatrice del veicolo non era in grado di sparare. Le guardie presenti si misero a cercare un’alternativa: pare che fosse disponibile un carro armato, appostato dietro ad un angolo lì vicino, ma che non fosse in grado di muoversi e che avrebbero dovuto rimorchiarlo.

Ripensai, sconsolato, alla conversazione con Merzhuyev, mentre osservavo la prontezza o meglio, la non prontezza della difesa del Palazzo Presidenziale in caso di attacco. Tornai ad Ishcherskaya, aspettando l’attacco imminente. Fortunatamente, né quel giorno, né il giorno successivo accadde nulla. Una o due settimane dopo Mershuyev si licenziò a quanto pare per motivi di salute. Non l’ho più visto

Le due ore più difficili della mia vita

Il 23 Agosto 1994 un reparto dell’opposizione, montato su camion e scortato da due T – 64 comparve nei pressi di Chernokozovo, a pochi chilometri da Naur. Ad attenderlo c’era una folla di residenti locali, guidati dal Prefetto, Aindi Akhaev, i quali letteralmente sequestrarono i carri armati, disarmarono gli avturkhanoviti e li rispedirono indietro, con la promessa di non tornare mai più armati. Poco dopo ricevetti un ultimatum da Avturkhanov: o gli restituivamo i carri e rimuovevamo i posti di blocco, oppure, citando le sue parole, egli avrebbe marciato sul distretto con gli stivali insenguinati. Non ricevendo da noi alcuna risposta, inviò un messaggero e mi chiese un incontro sul ponte tra Ishcherskaya e Znamenskoye. Io accettai, e mi recai sul ponte. A metà strada c’era una Volga, dalla quale scese dapprima un uomo alto, coi capelli biondi, poi Avturkhanov.

Ci stringemmo la mano. La sua era sudata, e visibilmente tremante. Lo irrisi, chiedendogli: Che c’è, Umar, non hai ceceni affidabili da usare come guardie del corpo? Quello mi rispose bofonchiando, poi passò alle minacce. Mi chiese di restituirgli i carri armati, e al mio rifiuto rispose: ti do due ore, altrimenti vi riduco in polvere! Non insistette nuovamente sullo smantellamento del posto di blocco, forse se n’era dimenticato. Io gli risposi ad alta voce, in russo: vedremo chi cancellerà chi. Vi aspettiamo. Tornai dai miei compagni e raccontai loro della nostra conversazione. Ci preparammo a respingere l’attacco. Quindici minuti dopo, dall’altra parte del fiume notammo un gran trambusto: auto civili si stavano ammassando al posto di blocco, un cannone antiaereo ZPU – 2 era apparso dal nulla, e la sua torretta ruotava a destra e a sinistra, diretta contro le nostre posizioni.

Il momento era molto teso, ed alcuni di noi iniziarono a darsela a gambe. Un ufficiale di polizia che era con me insieme a quattro suoi commilitoni dichiarò che era stato richiamato urgentemente al Dipartimento di Polizia Distrettuale, e che avrebbero dovuto lasciarci. Non potevo oppormi, e li lasciai partire. Anche altri miliziani se ne andarono. Dovevo fare qualcosa, e allora ordinai che uno dei carri che avevamo sequestrato fosse posizionato all’ingresso del Checkpoint, e che puntasse il cannone contro i nostri avversari.  Alla vista del carro, dall’altra parte i militanti dell’opposizione iniziarono ad agitarsi, correndo avanti e indietro. Passarono due ore dolorose, mentre attendevamo l’attacco. Se ci fosse stato un attacco ben organizzato, non avremmo mai potuto tenere il ponte. Loro ci avrebbero ripreso il carro armato, e nessuno avrebbe potuto aiutarci. La differenza tra le nostre forze e le loro era troppo grande, noi avevamo appena due caricatori a testa, e nessuno di noi aveva esperienza militare. Se Avturkhanov avesse insistito, il ponte sarebbe caduto. Sul momento non capivo perché ritenesse così importante penetrare nel Distretto di Naursk, potendo utilizzare la strada che da Lomaz – Yurt procede pe Znamenskoye, costeggiando il lato destro del Terek, per arrivare a Grozny. Soltanto qualche tempo da, conversando con un tizio che a quel tempo era un militante dell’opposizione, ho saputo che gli anti – dudaeviti avevano problemi a far passare l’equipaggiamento da quella strada, perché gli abitanti di Lomaz – Yurt (oggi Bratskoye) erano per la maggior parte sostenitori di Dudaev, e si opponevano armi in pugno al passaggio di armi contro il governo. Avturkhanov voleva controllare il ponte per poter usare la strada sulla sponda sinistra del Terek. Ma queste cose le ho sapute soltanto dopo. All’epoca non ne ero informato, e non capivo a cosa servisse questa prova di forza da parte dell’opposizione. 

Alla fine Avturkhanov desistette. Non ci fu alcun attacco. Gli avturkhanoviti si limitarono a minare il loro versante del ponte e a danneggiarlo, lasciando soltanto uno stretto passaggio pedonale. Quel giorno imparai a conoscere chi era con me: fui molto orgoglioso dei compagni che erano rimasti. Ad essere sincero, per me  queste due ore sono state forse le ore più difficili della mia vita. Le più difficili perché per la prima volta, dovetti prendere una decisione che avrebbe potuto produrre gravi conseguenze. A quei tempi i ceceni non erano così indifferenti allo spargimento di sangue dei loro compatrioti, non erano ancora induriti dall’odio dovuto alle differenze politiche!

Dopo la guerra, quando ero direttore del Servizio di Sicurezza Nazionale, seppi da un detenuto che il Consiglio Provvisorio aveva organizzato il Raid del 23 Agosto per tentare di impossessarsi dell’intero distretto. Il raid su Naur, fermato da Akhaev a Chernokozovo, avrebbe dovuto indurre la popolazione del distretto ad arrendersi, prendendo la milizia alle spalle mentre era impegnata a difendere i posti di blocco. Quello che gli strateghi di Avturkhanov non avevano considerato era il coraggio delle popolazioni di Naursk e di Mekenskaya. Si trattava di persone semplici, ma molto determinate, che con il loro coraggio fecero fallire il piano dei nostri avversari.

THE GENERAL OF NAUR – MEMORIES OF APTI BATALOV (PART I)

Introduction

Apti Batalov was born in Ilic, in the Kamensky District of Kazakhistan, on October 19, 1956. Police officer, in September 1994 he was appointed military commander of the districts of Naur and Nadterechny, and in this role he organized the armed militias destined to become one of the most well-known military units of the Chechen army, the Naursk Battalion. The unit would have distinguished itself in many battles, and Batalov himself would have become, at the end of the conflict, one of the main officials of the Chechen army, coming to lead the General Staff of the Armed Forces with the rank of Brigadier General and the National Security Service.

Batalov agreed to share his war memories with me.

Winds of war

On June 20, 1994, I was appointed head of the Ishcherskaya Village Police Department in the Naursk District. The village is located on the left bank of the Terek, the north-eastern part of the village borders the Stavropol Territory while to the south, on the other side of the river, about a kilometer and a half, is the village of Znamenskoye, which at the time was the headquarters of the opposition. The city is crossed by a railway that leads from Russia to Dagestan. The western part of the village hosted a terminal for the loading of oil and a pumping station, through which the crude was shipped to Russia. The road that entered Chechnya from the Stavropol Territory forked in two: one route continued eastwards, reaching Chervlennaya and from there continuing to Dagestan, in the north, and another one run up to Grozny, in the south. The other crossed the Terek by a bridge, crossed the Nadterechny District and then penetrated deep into the country. Being a border settlement and a crossroads of roads to and from Russia, Ishcherskaya was one of the busiest places for criminals in all of Chechnya – a sort of criminal transit point.

At the end of June 1994 the chief of the district police, Zaindi Pashaev, called me and introduced me to the district military commander sent from Grozny. I was told to make myself available to the Commander and to assist him in organizing checkpoints around Ishcherskaya. He did not present any documents confirming his position, neither then nor subsequently. He was a man of about 25, 28 years, about five feet tall, very dynamic, fast in his movements and physically strong. A young man, who I later learned was President Dudaev’s son-in-law, having married the daughter of a brother of the President. His name was Duta Muzaev. He actively went to work, and I followed his directions, helping in all that needed to be done. We set up two checkpoints, one on the Russian-Chechen border, in front of the village of Galyugaevskaya, the other on the left access of the bridge over the Terek, in front of Znamenskoye.

In those days, while we were building the checkpoints, mass anti-Chechen pogroms began in the territories adjacent to Chechnya, a boy named Pashaev was killed, self-styled “Cossacks of Kursk” (actually agents of the GRU and FSK) began to damaging the houses where the Chechens lived, they burned the farms where cows and sheep were kept. It was not difficult to understand that behind these pogroms and murders there were forces interested in creating chaos and inter-ethnic massacres between the Cossack and Chechen populations. Refugees began pouring into Chechnya. Meanwhile , Russian armed units began to carry out all kinds of provocations. Armed units entered their armored vehicles in the Naur District and, under armed threat, carried out “passport control” operations declaring: “You are in our territory, and you are Russian citizens”.

In the first days of August Muzaev told me that he had had a physical problem with the muscles of his spine, and that he would have to return to Grozny for treatment. He left, and never came back. Shortly after Muzaev’s departure, I was summoned to Grozny by Colonel Merzhuyev. On 16 September I joined him in the capital and he informed me that due to the worsening of the situation on the borders of Ichkeria, since the Naursk District is located at the northern limit of the Republic, I had been recommended to the President to take the place of Military Commander in that district, and in the neighboring district of Nadterechny. To be honest this news surprised me, and shocked me, because it was clear that a war was about to break out between Russia and Chechnya. The Naur region was the most vulnerable, being on the border. After listening to Merzhuyev, I asked him: Don’t you really have a person more experienced than me for this position? I told him that I was absolutely not trained in military affairs, and that I had no idea how to play the role of military commander in these regions, especially in the Nadterechny District, which is almost entirely under the control of the opposition. Merzhuyev replied: Tell the President all this.

We went to meet the President, who received us after a short anteroom. It was my first meeting with Dudaev. He was dressed in civilian clothes, and he looked intelligent and serious. He asked me some not very important questions, after which he asked me: You have been recommended to me for the position of District Commander. Well, are you able to hold it? I was hoping that Merzhuyev would join the conversation, but looking at him I realized that he would remain silent. I’ll do whatever it takes, I replied. Dudaev did not detain us any longer, and dismissed us. Before leaving, Merzhuyev wrote an appointment order by hand, said he would send it to the Naur District Prefect, Aindi Akhaev, so that he would learn of the appointment and order his officials to carry out my orders. I had just become the first regional military commander in the history of Ichkeria. From that day on, my path was the struggle for Chechnya’s independence, which eventually led me to England.

Aindi Akhaev

Military Commander

Back in Naur, I started mobilizing volunteers for checkpoint service. People answered my call: they were ordinary Chechen boys, simple agricultural workers, yet they were people of great dignity, and with a deep sense of honor. Most of them were unarmed, some carrying shotguns, knives or daggers with them. My frequent appeals to Headquarters were eventually crowned with success, and they promised me from Grozny that they would send 10 AK-74 firearms. I thought I would get the guns from the State Security Department, but Geliskhanov, who at the time he led the department, found a different reason each time not to send the guns, and went on for about a month. When the weapons were finally delivered, I saw that they were old, worn, firearms, some even missing some parts. I had to sort it out differently, so I requisitioned the armory of the Naur Police Department. We managed to collect more than twenty AK 5.45 assault rifles, an RPK 5.45 machine gun, two PK – 7.62, two RPG grenade launchers, an automatic grenade launcher and a sniper rifle. I distributed all these weapons among the militia men on duty at the Checkpoints, and so we put on a well-armed force, able to counter the armed opposition deployed in Znamenskoye and the bandits who tried to penetrate taking advantage of the chaos. In addition to this, I formed local teams recruited from the residents of each village. We began holding gatherings in all the settlements in the region, leaving the residents to appoint their own commanders. These makeshift officers were the directors of state agricultural farms and other local businesses. In particular, they provided us with radio stations with which they were used to communicating with the district authorities. A person who specialized in these things helped us to establish communications, so that all units were coordinated with each other.

The summer and autumn of 1994 in Chechnya saw many social and political events. The Opposition has become more active in the districts of Urus – Martan, Gudermes and Grozny. In the village of Znamenskoye the armed groups of Labazanov and Gantemirov gathered, while the Cossacks of the Naur and Shelkov districts took action, sending delegations to Stavropol asking to annex the entire left bank of the Terek to Russia. Realizing that any public demonstration in support of this proposal would give courage and determination to the local opponents and the Cossacks, to prevent this from happening, I began to seek contacts to organize secret meetings with the leaders of the Chechen and Cossack opposition. I used to go to their house and there, over a cup of tea or vodka, I would say to them: If you want to gather, go to Znamenskoye, I promise you that none of your family will be punished for this. But if you start moving from that area, no one will be safe, not even you. They replied that they would not give in to my threats, but in the end no one in the Naur District spoke out against Dudaev in a public demonstration. A big help came from the district prefect, Aindi Akhaev, who was a very brave man and a devoted supporter of President Dudaev. The fortunate coexistence of these factors, in the end, determined the fact that the District of Naur remained loyal to Ichkeria until the end!

Umar Avturkhanov, leader dell’opposizione antidudaevita

Adding fuel to the fire

In the fall of 1994, enemy special services intensified their subversive activities throughout Ichkeria. In Grozny, terrorist attacks and all kinds of provocations began to occur frequently: the Russians actively sought to create an atmosphere of fear, panic and chaos throughout the Republic, while in several areas the so-called “opposition” declared with increasing certainty that they would not recognize the central government. Of course, the Naur District was also under attack from the special services. Several high-profile murders took place in the area, such as two Naurskaya residents, both of Cossack ethnicity, killed on the Tersky state farm. I, together with the district police chief, went to the scene of the crime: the murder had been committed with demonstrative cruelty, the victims’ stomachs had been slashed, and the bowels had been made out of the corpses. At the crime scene a trace was perfectly visible, as if it had been left on purpose, leading to a boy’s home: clothes smeared with blood, rubber boots with blood on the soles and other evidence clearly framing the young man.

However, something was not clear: the alleged perpetrator was a physically very weak, mentally unstable 17-18 year old boy. Furthermore, if the traces leading from the place where the bodies were found to his home were evident, there was no trace that led to the place where these people had been killed. It was obvious that this boy had been brought onto the scene by someone else, in order to be used as a scapegoat. When I asked the chief of the district police a few days later how the investigation was proceeding, he replied that because the district attorney had refused to arrest the suspect, the detainee had been released from custody. I was sure that the Russian special services were behind this crime, who were interested in creating a rift between Cossacks and Chechens, using the pretext of “genocide” to incite the former against the latter and provoke the secession of the northern districts from Chechnya.

Later, these suspicions of ours were proved by facts. The news of the brutal murder spread throughout the region with incredible speed, the Cossacks gathered in Naurskaya and demanded that the guilty be found, tried and sentenced. Aindi Akhaev met many of them, explained to them who the instigators of these murders were, and the Cossacks realized that the Russian government didn’t care about them at all, but was interested in using them as tools to provoke an inter-ethnic massacre. I too, present at this meeting, spoke in support of the Prefect’s version. Finally, thanks to him, the Naur region was spared from violence.

автоматический перевод на русский

ГЕНЕРАЛ НАУРА – ВОСПОМИНАНИЯ АПТИ БАТАЛОВА (ЧАСТЬ I)

Введение

Апти Баталов родился 19 октября 1956 года в селе Илыч Каменского района Казахстана. Офицер полиции, в сентябре 1994 года назначен военным комендантом Наурского и Надтеречного районов, и в этой роли организовывал вооруженные формирования, предназначенные для стать одной из самых известных воинских частей чеченской армии, Наурским батальоном. Подразделение отличилось бы во многих боях, а сам Баталов стал бы по окончании конфликта одним из главных чинов чеченской армии, придя возглавить Генеральный штаб Вооруженных Сил в звании бригадного генерала. и Служба национальной безопасности.

Баталов согласился поделиться со мной своими военными воспоминаниями.

Ветры войны

20 июня 1994 года я был назначен начальником Ищерского РОВД Наурского района. Село расположено на левом берегу Терека, северо-восточная часть села граничит со Ставропольским краем, а южнее, по другую сторону реки, примерно в полутора километрах, находится село Знаменское, который в то время был штабом оппозиции. Город пересекает железная дорога, ведущая из России в Дагестан. В западной части поселка находился терминал по отгрузке нефти и насосная станция, через которую нефть отгружалась в Россию. Дорога, въезжавшая в Чечню со стороны Ставропольского края, разветвлялась на две части: одна шла на восток до Червленной и оттуда в Дагестан на севере, а другая доходила до Грозного на юге. Другая по мосту пересекла Терек, пересекла Надтеречный район и затем проникла в глубь страны. Будучи пограничным поселком и перекрестком дорог в Россию и из России, Ищерская была одним из самых оживленных мест криминала во всей Чечне — этаким криминальным перевалочным пунктом.

В конце июня 1994 г. мне позвонил начальник районной милиции Заинди Пашаев и представил присланному из Грозного окружному военачальнику. Мне сказали явиться к командиру и помочь ему в организации блокпостов вокруг Ищерской. Никаких документов, подтверждающих его позицию, он не предъявлял ни тогда, ни впоследствии. Это был мужчина лет 25-28, ростом около пяти футов, очень динамичный, быстрый в движениях и крепкий физически. Молодой человек, как я потом узнал, был зятем президента Дудаева, женившимся на дочери брата президента. Звали его Дута Музаев. Он активно брался за работу, а я следовала его указаниям, помогая во всем, что нужно было делать. Поставили два блокпоста, один на российско-чеченской границе, перед станицей Галюгаевской, другой на левом подъезде к мосту через Терек, перед Знаменским.

В те дни, пока мы строили блокпосты, на прилегающих к Чечне территориях начались массовые античеченские погромы, был убит мальчик по имени Пашаев, самозваные «казаки Курска» (на самом деле агенты ГРУ и ФСК) начали повредив дома, в которых жили чеченцы, они сожгли фермы, где содержались коровы и овцы. Нетрудно было понять, что за этими погромами и убийствами стояли силы, заинтересованные в создании хаоса и межнациональных погромов между казачьим и чеченским населением. Беженцы начали прибывать в Чечню. Тем временем российские вооруженные формирования начали проводить всевозможные провокации. Вооруженные формирования въехали на своей бронетехнике в Наурский район и под угрозой оружия провели операцию «паспортный контроль», заявив: «Вы находитесь на нашей территории, и вы – граждане России».

В первых числах августа Музаев сказал мне, что у него физически возникли проблемы с мышцами позвоночника, и что ему придется вернуться в Грозный для лечения. Он ушел и больше не вернулся. Вскоре после отъезда Музаева меня вызвал в Грозный полковник Мержуев. 16 сентября я присоединился к нему в столице, и он сообщил мне, что в связи с ухудшением обстановки на границах Ичкерии, поскольку Наурский район находится на северной окраине республики, я рекомендован Президенту принять место Военкомата в этом районе и в соседнем Надтеречном районе. Честно говоря, эта новость меня удивила и шокировала, потому что было ясно, что вот-вот разразится война между Россией и Чечней. Наурский район был самым уязвимым, находясь на границе. Выслушав Мержуева, я спросил его: неужели у вас нет на эту должность человека более опытного, чем я? Я сказал ему, что я совершенно не обучен военному делу и понятия не имею, как играть роль военного коменданта в этих районах, особенно в Надтеречном районе, который почти полностью находится под контролем оппозиции. Мержуев ответил: Расскажите обо всем этом Президенту.

Мы пошли встречать президента, который принял нас после короткой приемной. Это была моя первая встреча с Дудаевым. Он был одет в штатское, выглядел интеллигентным и серьезным. Он задал мне несколько не очень важных вопросов, после чего спросил: Вы мне рекомендованы на должность командующего округом. Ну, ты в состоянии держать его? Я надеялся, что Мержуев присоединится к разговору, но, глядя на него, понял, что он будет молчать. Я сделаю все, что потребуется, — ответил я. Дудаев больше нас не задерживал и отпустил. Перед отъездом Мержуев написал от руки приказ о назначении, сказал, что направит его префекту Наурского района Айнди Ахаеву, чтобы тот узнал о назначении и приказал своим чиновникам выполнить мои распоряжения. Я только что стал первым в истории Ичкерии областным военачальником. С этого дня моим путем стала борьба за независимость Чечни, которая в конце концов привела меня в Англию.

Военный командующий

Вернувшись в Наур, я начал мобилизовывать добровольцев для обслуживания блокпостов. На мой зов откликнулись люди: это были обычные чеченские мальчишки, простые сельскохозяйственные рабочие, но люди большого достоинства, с глубоким чувством чести. Большинство из них были безоружны, некоторые несли с собой дробовики, ножи или кинжалы. Мои частые обращения в Ставку в итоге увенчались успехом, и из Грозного мне пообещали прислать 10 автоматов АК-74. Я думал, что получу оружие из ОГБ, но Гелисханов, который в то время руководил управлением, каждый раз находил разные причины не присылать ружья, и ездил около месяца. Когда оружие, наконец, доставили, я увидел, что оно старое, изношенное, огнестрельное, у некоторых даже не хватает некоторых частей. Пришлось разбираться по-другому, поэтому я реквизировал арсенал Наурского полицейского управления. Нам удалось собрать более двадцати автоматов АК 5,45, пулемет РПК 5,45, два ПК-7,62, два гранатомета РПГ, автоматический гранатомет и снайперскую винтовку. Все это оружие я раздал милиционерам, дежурившим на блокпостах, и таким образом мы сформировали хорошо вооруженный отряд, способный противостоять вооруженной оппозиции, дислоцированной в Знаменском, и бандитам, пытавшимся проникнуть, воспользовавшись хаосом. Кроме того, я сформировал местные команды, набранные из жителей каждой деревни. Мы начали проводить сходы во всех населенных пунктах района, предоставив жителям самим назначать себе командиров. Эти импровизированные офицеры были директорами совхозов и других местных предприятий. В частности, они предоставили нам радиостанции, с помощью которых они привыкли общаться с районными властями. Человек, который специализировался на этих вещах, помог нам наладить связь, чтобы все подразделения были согласованы друг с другом.

Летом и осенью 1994 года в Чечне произошло много общественно-политических событий. Оппозиция активизировалась в районах Уруса – Мартановском, Гудермесском и Грозненском. В селе Знаменском собрались вооруженные отряды Лабазанова и Гантемирова, а казаки Наурского и Шелковского уездов выступили, направив в Ставрополь делегации с просьбой присоединить к России весь левый берег Терека. Понимая, что любая публичная демонстрация в поддержку этого предложения придаст мужества и решимости местным противникам и казакам, чтобы этого не произошло, я стал искать контакты для организации тайных встреч с лидерами чеченской и казачьей оппозиции. Бывало, я прихожу к ним домой и там за чашкой чая или водки говорю им: если хотите собраться, езжайте в Знаменское, обещаю вам, что никто из вашей семьи не будет за это наказан. Но если вы начнете двигаться из этой области, никто не будет в безопасности, даже вы. Они ответили, что не поддадутся на мои угрозы, но в итоге никто в Наурском районе не выступил против Дудаева на публичной демонстрации. Большую помощь оказал префект района Айнди Ахаев, очень храбрый человек и преданный сторонник президента Дудаева. Удачное сосуществование этих факторов, в конечном итоге, определило тот факт, что Наурский округ до конца остался верен Ичкерии!

Добавление масла в огонь

Осенью 1994 года спецслужбы противника активизировали диверсионную деятельность по всей Ичкерии. В Грозном участились теракты и разного рода провокации: русские активно стремились создать атмосферу страха, паники и хаоса по всей республике, а в ряде районов так называемая «оппозиция» со все большей уверенностью заявляла, что они не признавал центральную власть. Конечно, Наурский район также подвергся обстрелу со стороны спецслужб. В этом районе произошло несколько громких убийств, например, двое жителей Наурской, оба казачьей национальности, убиты в совхозе «Терский». Я вместе с участковым полицмейстером выехал на место преступления: убийство совершено с демонстративной жестокостью, животы жертв вскрыты, из трупов сделаны кишки. На месте преступления был прекрасно виден след, как будто специально оставленный, ведущий к дому мальчика: одежда, перепачканная кровью, резиновые сапоги с кровью на подошвах и другие улики, явно подставлявшие молодого человека .

Однако что-то было непонятно: предполагаемый преступник был физически очень слабым, психически неуравновешенным парнем 17-18 лет. Кроме того, если следы, ведущие от места, где были обнаружены тела, к его дому, были очевидны, то не было никаких следов, ведущих к месту, где были убиты эти люди. Было очевидно, что этого мальчика привел на сцену кто-то другой, чтобы использовать его в качестве козла отпущения. Когда через несколько дней я спросил начальника районной полиции, как продвигается следствие, он ответил, что из-за отказа окружного прокурора задержать подозреваемого задержанный был освобожден из-под стражи. Я был уверен, что за этим преступлением стоят российские спецслужбы, заинтересованные в том, чтобы создать раскол между казаками и чеченцами, под предлогом «геноцида» настроить первых против вторых и спровоцировать отделение северных районов от Чечни.

Позднее эти наши подозрения подтвердились фактами. Весть о зверском убийстве с невероятной скоростью разнеслась по округе, казаки собрались в Наурской и потребовали найти виновного, судить и осудить. Айни Ахаев познакомился со многими лотосами, объяснил им, кто был зачинщиком этих убийств, и казаки поняли, что российское правительство вообще не заботится о них, а заинтересовано в том, чтобы использовать их как инструменты для провоцирования межнациональной бойни. Я тоже, присутствовавший на этом собрании, высказался в поддержку версии префекта. Наконец, благодаря ему Наурский край был избавлен от насилия.

TRADUZIONE IN ITALIANO

IL GENERALE DI NAUR – MEMORIE DI APTI BATALOV (PARTE I)

Introduzione

Apti Batalov è nato ad Ilic, nel Distretto di Kamensky, il 19 Ottobre 1956. Funzionario di polizia, nel Settembre del 1994 fu nominato comandante militare dei distretti di Naur e di Nadterechny, ed in questa veste organizzò le milizie armate destinate a diventare una delle più note unità militari dell’esercito ceceno, il Battaglione Naursk. L’unità si sarebbe distinta in molte battaglie, dalla difesa di Grozny, nel 1995, alla sua riconquista, l’anno successivo, lo stesso Batalov sarebbe diventato, alla fine del conflitto, uno dei principali funzionari dell’esercito ceceno, giungendo a guidare lo Stato Maggiore delle Forze Armate col grado di Generale di Brigata.

Ho contattato Batalov di mia iniziativa, per raccogliere i suoi ricordi di guerra, e lui ha accettato di condividerle con me.

Venti di guerra

Il 20 Giugno 1994 fui nominato capo del dipartimento di polizia del villaggio di Ishcherskaya, nel Distretto di Naursk. Il villaggio è situato sulla riva sinistra del Terek, la parte nordorientale del villaggio confina con il Territorio di Stavropol mentre a Sud, dall’altra parte del fiume, a circa un chilometro e mezzo, è situato il villaggio di Znamenskoye, che all’epoca era il quartier generale dell’opposizione. Una volta Ishcherskaya era un grande insediamento cosacco, ma a quel tempo non c’erano più di dieci famiglie di cosacchi del Terek. Ishcherskaya è attraversata da una ferrovia che porta dalla Russia al Daghestan. Infine, la parte occidentale del villaggio ospitava un terminal per il carico  del petrolio ed una stazione di pompaggio, tramite la quale il greggio veniva spedito in Russia. All’altezza della cittadina, la strada che dal Territorio di Stavropol entrava in Cecenia si biforcava in due: una rotta proseguiva verso est, raggiungendo Chervlennaya e da qui proseguendo fino in Daghestan, a nord, e fino a Grozny, a sud. L’altra attraversava il Terek tramite un ponte, attraversava il Distretto di Nadterechny per poi penetrare in profondità nel Paese. Trattandosi di un insediamento di frontiera e di un crocevia di strade da e per la Russia, Ishcherskaya era uno dei posti più affollati da criminali in tutta la Cecenia: una sorta di punto di transito criminale.

Alla fine di Giugno del 1994 il capo della polizia distrettuale, Zaindi Pashaev, mi chiamò e mi presentò al comandante militare del distretto inviato da Grozny. Mi fu detto di mettermi a disposizione del Comandante e di affiancarlo nell’organizzazione di posti di blocco nei dintorni di Ishcherskaya. Egli non presentò nessun documento che confermasse la sua posizione, né allora né successivamente. Era un uomo di circa 25, 28 anni, alto circa un metro e settanta, molto dinamico, veloce nei movimenti e fisicamente forte. Un uomo giovane, che più tardi capii essere il genero del Presidente Dudaev, avendo sposato la figlia di un fratello del Presidente. Si chiamava Duta Muzaev. Egli si mise attivamente al lavoro, ed io eseguii le sue indicazioni, aiutando in tutto ciò che doveva essere fatto. Mettemmo su due posti di blocco, uno sul confine russo – ceceno, di fronte al villaggio di Galyugaevskaya, l’altro sull’accesso sinistro del ponte sul Terek, di fronte a Znamenskoye.

In quei giorni, mentre stavamo realizzando i checkpoint, nei territori limitrofi alla Cecenia iniziarono pogrom anti – ceceni di massa, un  ragazzo di nome Pashaev fu ucciso, sedicenti “Cosacchi di Kursk” (in realtà agenti del GRU e dell’FSK) iniziarono a danneggiare le case dove vivevano i ceceni, bruciarono le fattorie dove venivano tenute mucche e pecore. Non era difficile capire che dietro a questi pogrom e omicidi c’erano forze interessate a creare caos e massacri interetnici tra la popolazione cosacca e quella cecena. I rifugiati iniziarono ad affluire in Cecenia. Nel frattempo reparti armati russi iniziarono a compiere ogni tipo di provocazione. Unità armate penetrarono sui loro veicoli blindati nel Distretto di Naur e, sotto minaccia armata, portarono avanti operazioni di “controllo passaporti” dichiarando: “Siete nel nostro territorio, e siete cittadini russi”.

Nei primi giorni di Agosto Muzaev mi disse che aveva avuto un problema fisico ai muscoli della spina dorsale, e che avrebbe dovuto tornare a Grozny per curarsi. Se ne andò, e non tornò più. Poco dopo la partenza di Muzaev, venni convocato a Grozny dal Colonnello Merzhuyev. Il 16 Settembre lo raggiunsi nella capitale e questi mi informò che a causa dell’aggravarsi della situazione ai confini di Ichkeria, essendo il Distretto di Naursk posto al limite settentrionale della Repubblica, ero stato raccomandato al Presidente per prendere il posto di Comandante Militare in quel distretto, e nel vicino distretto di Nadterechny. Ad essere onesti questa notizia mi sorprese, e mi sconvolse, perché era chiaro che tra Russia e Cecenia stesse per scoppiare una guerra. La regione di Naur era il più vulnerabile, essendo al confine. Dopo aver ascoltato Merzhuyev, gli chiesi: Davvero non avete una persone più esperta di me per questa posizione? Gli dissi che non ero assolutamente preparato negli affari militari, e che non avevo idea di come svolgere il ruolo di comandante militare in queste regioni, specialmente nel Distretto di Nadterechny, quasi totalmente sotto il controllo dell’opposizione. Merzhuyev mi rispose: Di’ tutto questo al Presidente. Andammo a colloquio dal Presidente, il quale ci ricevette dopo una breve anticamera. Fu il mio primo incontro con Dudaev. Era vestito in abiti civili, e si mostrò intelligente e serio. Mi fece alcune domande non molto importanti, dopo di che mi chiese: Mi sei stato raccomandato per la posizione di Comandante di Distretto. Bene, sei in grado di tenerla? Speravo che Merzhuyev si unisse alla conversazione, ma guardandolo realizzai che sarebbe rimasto in silenzio. Farò tutto ciò che serve, risposi. Dudaev non ci trattenne oltre, e ci congedò. Prima di uscire, Merzhuyev scrisse a mano un ordine di nomina, disse che lo avrebbe inviato al Prefetto del Distretto di Naur, Zayndi Akhaev, in modo tale che questi venisse a conoscenza della nomina e ordinasse ai suoi funzionari di eseguire i miei ordini. Ero appena diventato il primo comandante militare regionale della Storia di Ichkeria. Da quel giorno la mia strada fu la lotta per l’indipendenza della Cecenia, la quale, alla fine, mi ha portato in Inghilterra.

Comandante Militare

Tornato a Naur, inziai a mobilitare volontari per il servizio ai checkpoint. Le persone risposero alla mia chiamata: si trattava di ragazzi ceceni ordinari, semplici lavoratori agricoli, eppure erano persone di grande dignità, e con un profondo senso dell’onore. Erano quasi tutti disarmati, qualcuno portò con sé fucili da caccia, coltellacci o pugnali. I miei frequenti appelli al Quartier Generale furono infine coronati dal successo, e da Grozny mi promisero che avrebbero inviato 10 armi da fuoco AK – 74. Pensavo che avrei avuto le armi dal Dipartimento per la Sicurezza dello Stato, ma Geliskhanov, che a quel tempo guidava il dipartimento, trovava ogni volta una ragione diversa per non inviare la armi, e tirò avanti la cosa per circa un mese. Quando poi le armi, finalmente, furono consegnate, vidi che erano vecchie, logore, armi da fuoco, alcune mancanti addirittura di alcune parti. Dovetti risolvere la cosa in altro modo, così requisii l’armeria del Dipartimento di Polizia di Naur. Riuscimmo a raccogliere così più di venti fucili d’assalto AK 5.45, una mitragliatrice RPK 5.45, due PK – 7.62, due lanciagranate RPG un lanciagranate automatico ed un fucile da cecchino. Distibuii  tutte queste armi tra gli uomini della milizia in servizio ai Checkpoint, e così mettemmo su una forza ben armata, in grado di contrastare l’opposizione armata schierata a Znamenskoye ed i banditi che tentavano di penetrare approfittandosi del caos. Oltre a questo, costituii squadre locali reclutate dai residenti di ogni villaggio. Iniziammo a tenere raduni in tutti gli insediamenti della regione, lasciando ai residenti il compito di nominare i propri comandanti. Questi ufficiali improvvisati erano i direttori delle fattorie agricole di stato e di altre imprese locali. Ci fornirono in particolare le stazioni radio con le quali erano abituati a comunicare con le autorità del distretto. Una persona specializzata in queste cose ci aiutò a stabilite le comunicazioni, in modo tale che tutte le unità fossero coordinate tra loro.

L’estate e l’autunno del 1994 in Cecenia hanno visto molti eventi sociali e politici. L’Opposizione è diventata più attiva nei distretti di Urus – Martan, Gudermes e Grozny. Nel villaggio di Znamenskoye i gruppi armati di Labazanov e di Gantemirov si radunavano, mentre i cosacchi dei distretti di Naur e di Shelkov si attivarono, inviando delegazioni a Stavropol le quali chiedevano di annettere alla Russia tutta la riva sinistra del Terek. Comprendendo che qualsiasi manifestazione pubblica a supporto di questa proposta avrebbe dato coraggio e determinazione agli oppositori locali ed ai cosacchi, per evitare che ciò avvenisse ho iniziato a cercare contatti per organizzare incontri segreti con i capi dell’opposizione cecena e cosacca. Solitamente mi recavo a casa loro e là, davanti ad una tazza di te o a una vodka, dicevo loro: Se volete radunarvi, andate a Znamenskoye, ti prometto che nessuno della tua famiglia sarà punito per questo. Ma se iniziate a muovervi da quella zona, nessuno sarà in salvo, nemmeno tu. Loro rispondevano che non avrebbero ceduto alle mie minacce, ma alla fine nessuno, nel Distretto di Naur, si pronunciò contro Dudaev in una manifestazione pubblica. Un grosso aiuto mi arrivò dal Prefetto del distretto, Aindi Akhaev, che era un uomo davvero coraggioso ed un sostenitore devoto del Presidente Dudaev. La fortunata compresenza di questi fattori, alla fine, determinò il fatto che il Distretto di Naur rimase fedele ad Ichkeria fino alla fine!

“BUCHA CECENA” – IL MASSACRO DI NOVYE ALDY

Nei giorni in cui viene pubblicato questo articolo la guerra tra Russia e Ucraina è in pieno svolgimento. E’ notizia di poche settimane fa il ritrovamento di decine di cadaveri lungo le strade e in una fossa comune nella cittadina di Bucha. Secondo il sindaco della cittadina le vittime sarebbero centinaia, uccise a sangue freddo dai militari russi in ritirata e abbandonate sul luogo dell’esecuzione. Sono state riportate anche testimonianze riguardanti strupri, saccheggi e devastazioni. La tragedia, se confermata, non sarebbe tuttavia la prima a vedere le forze armate russe responsabili di atrocità e crimini di guerra. Il triste copione di Bucha è stato più volte realizzato in Cecenia, sia durante la Prima che durante la Seconda Guerra Russo – Cecena. E in questi casi la responsabilità delle truppe del Cremlino è acclarata, e consegnata alla storia. Forse il più tragico di questi avvenimenti è quello che accadde nella cittadina di Novye Aldy, alla periferia meridionale di Grozny, il 5 Febbraio 2000.

OPERAZIONE DI “PULIZIA”

All’inizio della Seconda Guerra Cecena la cittadina di Novye Aldy contava circa trentamila abitanti. Ali primi di Gennaio del 2000 le forze federali raggiunsero i sobborghi occidentali e meridionali dell’abitato, nell’ambito dell’operazione di accerchiamento della capitale della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria. La cittadina aveva subito un primo bombardamento da parte dell’artiglieria e dell’aereonautica, a seguito del quale quasi tutti i residenti erano sfollati, cosicché alla fine del mese appena duemila persone, per lo più troppo anziane o malate per potersene andare, rimanevano acquattate nei seminterrati delle abitazioni, mentre nel cimitero cittadino si erano contate 75 nuove tumulazioni, in parte dovute alle esplosioni dei giorni precedenti. Novye Aldy era considerata dai russi un punto strategico non soltanto perché si trovava immediatamente a sud di Grozny (all’epoca chiamata “Dzhokhar” in onore del primo Presidente della ChRI, Dudaev) ma anche perché allo scoppio delle ostilità la sua moschea aveva ospitato una preghiera alla quale avevano partecipato il Presidente Maskhadov, l’ex Presidente Yandarbiev ed altre figure di alto profilo dell’Ichkeria. Era quindi definita una “roccaforte” degli indipendentisti, pur non essendo di fatto né trincerata, né difesa dalle forze regolari cecene.

Secondo quanto riportato dalle testimonianze dei residenti sopravvissuti, Aldy era stata temporaneamente occupata da unità alle dipendenze del Generale di Brigata Akhmed Zakayev, ma prima che i bombardamenti avessero inizio tale reparto si era già ritirato fuori dal centro abitato. Tuttavia quando le forze federali raggiunsero i suoi sobborghi, iniziò un fitto bombardamento sulla cittadina, che proseguì quasi ininterrottamente tra il 2 ed il 5 Febbraio, provocando decine di morti. Soltanto dopo che una rappresentanza di residenti locali ebbe modo di parlare con il comando militare russo, garantendo che la città fosse completamente libera da uomini armati, il bombardamento cessò, ed il giorno successivo, 5 Febbraio 2000, forze della polizia militare, la famigerata OMON, penetrarono nel villaggio per effettuare una “operazione di controllo dei passaporti”. L’operazione fu condotta da due distinti reparti: il reparto OMON della Polizia di San Pietroburgo ed un reparto eterogeneo composto da poliziotti, soldati a contratto e coscritti. Le due unità penetrarono dentro Novye Aldy da Nord e da Sud, abbandonandosi fin da subito al sistematico saccheggio delle abitazioni, prassi tristemente usuale durante entrambe le guerre russo – cecene.

IL MASSACRO

Ben presto tuttavia la portata dei crimini divenne ancora più drammatica: lungo la via principale della cittadina militari russi penetrarono casa per casa, lasciando dietro di loro una scia di morti: il primo a cadere fu il cinquantenne Sultan Temirov, che abitava al numero 170 di quella strada. Il suo corpo, privato della testa (che non fu mai ritrovata) fu rinvenuto fatto a brandelli davanti alla porta di casa. Dopo di lui fu la volta di altre ventirè persone, per lo più donne e anziane. La vittima più vecchia, Rakat Akhmadova, aveva 82 anni, e fu freddata con due colpi sul marciapiede davanti alla sua abitazione. Tra le vittime si contarono almeno sei giovani donne, una delle quali incinta, ed un bambino di un anno, giustiziato con due colpi alla testa e bruciato in strada.

I militari russi andavano di casa in casa, chiedendo la consegna di tutti gli oggetti di valore, ed ammazzando a sangue freddo chiunque opponesse resistenza, o che non consegnasse un riscatto sufficientemente alto. In altri casi, secondo le testimonianze, anche coloro che possedevano qualcosa furono successivamente giustiziate, in quanto non avevano prodotto i documenti di identità richiesti. In almeno un caso si ebbe uno stupro di gruppo ai danni di sei donne, tre delle quali successivamente strangolate. La maggior parte delle case di proprietà delle vittime furono devastate e date alle fiamme, probabilmente nel tentativo di coprire i crimini commessi. Quando, al tramonto, i militari russi se ne andarono dal villaggio, i pochi superstiti uscirono dai loro nascondigli per spegnere gli incendi, prestare soccorso ai feriti e seppellire i cadaveri. Davanti a loro si palesò il dramma di una vera e propria strage, assimilabile ad un atto di genocidio, contro civili la cui unica colpa era quella di trovarsi nel villaggio al momento dell’operazione di “pulizia” e di non possedere sufficienti risorse per comprare la loro salvezza e quella dei loro cari. Nelle case e sulle strade rimasero tra i 56 e gli 82 cadaveri. Contrariamente a quanto prescritto dalla tradizione islamica, i superstiti non seppellirono immediatamente i corpi delle vittime, ma li mantennero nelle loro posizioni originarie affinché potessero essere filmati. Nel corso dei giorni successivi furono realizzati numerosi video amatoriali, molti dei quali sono visibili oggi nel documentario Aldy: A Past That Cannot Be Forgotten che riportiamo qui di seguito.

COPERTURE DI STATO

Malgrado l’evidenza del crimine commesso, le autorità federali si mossero con estrema lentezza ed inefficacia. Dapprima si negò che la strage fosse avvenuta: interrogato sull’argomento, il Tenente Generale Stanislav Kavun dichiarò: Queste affermazioni non sono altro che un intruglio non supportato da fatti o prove. Le dichiarazioni di questa organizzazione per i diritti umani, basate esclusivamente sui resoconti verbali di testimoni anonimi, dovrebbero essere viste come una provocazione il cui obiettivo è screditare l’operazione delle forze federali contro i terroristi in Cecenia. Nel frattempo, un secondo raid dell’OMON ebbe luogo a Novye Aldyh il 10 Maggio. L’azione fu verosimilmente orchestrata per costringere i sopravvissuti al silenzio: non si registrarono ulteriori vittime, ma si verificò un nuovo, sistematico, saccheggio, e gli abitanti del villaggio furono malmenati e minacciati.

Soltanto il 14 Marzo, su pressione dell’Osservatorio dei Diritti Umani, si presentarono nel villaggio i primi investigatori. Le prime dichiarazioni degli inquirenti resero subito chiaro che l’intento del governo di Mosca fosse quello di sminuire la gravita dell’evento, e se possibile di attribuirne la responsabilità agli stessi ceceni, i quali si sarebbero travestiti da soldati russi ed avrebbero compiuto la strage con l’intento di screditare le forze federali. Nel corso degli anni successivi, nessun responsabile fu mai individuato dalle autorità russe, e l’unico soldato riconosciuto colpevole di saccheggio ed omicidio, un poliziotto OMON dell’unità di San Pietroburgo, dopo essere stato condannato fece perdere le proprie tracce, dopo di che la sua condanna fu sospesa. Neanche l’intervento del Tribunale Internazionale, delle Nazioni Unite e del Consiglio d’Europa (OSCE) hanno permesso di accertare le responsabilità della strage.

Un resoconto completo della tragedia è riportato nel rapporto dell’Osservatorio per i Diritti Umani che alleghiamo di seguito:

https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/russia_chechnya3/

“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.

Putin was raised on Chechen blood! Francesco Benedetti interviews Mayrbek Taramov

Francesco Benedetti : – Recently your book “The Crimes of the Russian Century in Chechnya” was published in Amazon . It contains terrible evidence of the crimes committed by the Russian army during the second invasion of the country. Why did you decide now to publish these testimonies of events that took place more than twenty years ago? Is this an act of testimony or a political choice?

Mairbek Taramov: – I began to publish the first materials described in the book “The Crimes of the Century of Russia in Chechnya” in Baku in the newspaper “Kavkazskiy Vestnik” almost immediately after I received these materials on several diskettes. This issue of the newspaper came out on November 27, 2000, that is, almost a year after those terrible crimes. Although it has been 22 years since those materials were given to me, I cannot name those who gave me these floppy disks. Some details about the publication of these materials are covered in the Afterword of the book, when I received a dissatisfied letter from the Nazran Department of the Memorial Human Rights Center (HRC). Their dissatisfaction was expressed by fear for the lives of the victims, who filed suits with the ECtHR for the crimes committed against them. And I, in turn, expressed indignation at the fact that Memorial’s employees are afraid of publicity for such monstrous crimes committed by the Russian authorities in Chechnya.

Three years later, I managed to combine these materials, and in early 2004 I published the book Crimes of the Russian Century in Chechnya. Here it is necessary to recall that this book was published illegally. Moreover, in order for the book to be released, and so that there would be no premature publicity, the Russian workers of the printing house were sent on a weekly paid vacation.

Initially, I provided the authorship of the book to HRC “Memorial” and GIA Chechenpress . Here I want to note that I, in turn, was afraid of persecution, and in order to somehow warn myself, I transferred my authorship. Later, information reached me that Memorial Human Rights Center declared that it had nothing to do with the book, thereby refusing authorship. In the end, I had to take ownership.

Today’s publications of these Russian crimes are explained by the following reasons…

Firstly, after the brazen and bloody invasion of the Russian troops into Ukraine, it was necessary to warn the Ukrainian leadership and the population that such cruel crimes could happen on their soil, which, unfortunately, was confirmed.

Secondly, I am sure that such monstrous crimes would not be repeated again and again anywhere in the world, their maximum publicity is necessary, so I turned to the world famous Amazon Corporation for publication , after translating the book into English. For the same purpose, I turn to your site www . ichkeria . net in the hope that these materials will be translated into Italian.

And thirdly – again and again I appeal to the population of Chechnya who suffered from these crimes – pass on information about these and other crimes committed against you and your relatives to the International Criminal Courts! Today, a unique situation is emerging when Russian criminals can suffer a well-deserved punishment, and you and your relatives will receive proper compensation, and not the miserable handouts that the ECHR paid earlier, which do not even make up a fifth of the affected Europeans or Americans.

– The evidence that you have collected in your book chills the soul and can shake the self-control of any person. Before you became the author of this book, you were a Chechen. How did you, as a blood brother of these victims, feel their suffering? How would you explain to the citizens of Italy, France or Germany what it means to experience what the people you describe in your book have experienced?

– To feel the pain and suffering of this or that people, another person, one must have a real heart, as our Creator commands, regardless of nationality. After all, why did Putin and the FSB create an information blockade in Chechnya on the eve of the second war? The special services are well aware of the effect of the information war – that Humanity will respond to the pain and suffering of people. Unfortunately, Putin’s plan came true – foreign journalists, on pain of death, were not allowed into the territory of war-torn Chechnya. But there were a few journalists who acted there at a deadly risk, one of which was Anna Politkovskaya. Although she was not a Chechen, the suffering Chechens trusted Anna as their sister or mother – 100%. And she literally splashed out the tears, blood and suffering of the Chechen people on the pages of Novaya Gazeta, which had a strong resonance.

Well, I was not such a popular journalist, very few people read my newspaper, although I published terrible materials there. But I am still alive, and have been continuing my activity for more than 20 years, although my health is naughty. Yes, of course, as a native Chechen, I feel the pain and suffering of my people stronger and closer, but as I said above, there are humanitarians in the world who have these feelings on the same level as me.

As an example, I will cite Inna and Andrey Kurochkin from the NEP information channel from Prague, who raised the Chechen problem to an all-time high level, as well as your fellow countryman (he says he is from Florence) Adriano Sofri , who wrote a wonderful story “If I was born in Chechnya.” And the worse Francesco Benedetti shining like a bright star in the information sky, raising the flag of independent and free Ichkeria high. The list goes on…

– In our previous conversation, you mentioned that the crimes that you mention in your book are the subject of criminal cases against the Russian government, and in the coming future will be considered in the International Criminal Courts (ICC). Can you tell me what stage these Chechen affairs are at and how it is currently progressing?

– As follows from the afterword of the book, an employee of the “Memorial” office from Nazran said that 6 criminal cases from those crimes that are described in the book are under consideration at the ECHR. But that was over 20 years ago. Of course, now there are many more of these cases. However, we do not know how many specific criminal cases are under consideration, and what are the results – lawyers should deal with this. I also do not know how the ECtHR will demand compensation if Russia is withdrawn from the European Council.

Therefore, at this time, Chechens must insist on the consideration of these criminal cases in the International Criminal Courts (ICC), in particular in The Hague, where a completely different mechanism for punishing criminals, imposing indemnities, compensations operates. Therefore, it is extremely important to explain to the affected citizens of Chechnya and their relatives how to file claims with the ICC.

dMayrbek Taramov

– You have been protecting human rights since the mid-2000s. What does it mean for a Chechen who has seen how the most elementary rights of his people are trampled with impudence and arrogance by a state that defines itself as “according to the law” to continue to fight for respect for human rights no matter what?

– Here it is necessary to distinguish between the activities of lawyers and human rights activists. I had to deal with the protection of the rights of Chechen refugees in Azerbaijan, seeing their absolutely powerless situation. Although I have been extremely busy doing journalism, I also had to work on defending the rights of Chechen refugees in 2002 by founding the Chechen Human Rights Center (CHRC). The main mission of the CLC was to prevent the deportations of Chechen refugees from Azerbaijan and Georgia and publicize the outcome of such deportations to Russia, which, as a rule , ended in torture and murder of the deportees. Similar deportations also took place in European countries where it would seem that human rights are protected, but … this is not at all the case. I have a whole list of deported Chechen refugees from Europe who, after being deported to Russia, were subjected to torture, murder and long prison terms. But in recent years, the activities of Chechen human rights organizations in Europe have become difficult due to the fact that it is now practically impossible to really establish whether this or that Chechen refugee is a member of the Resistance, or is it a simple refugee, tourist, businessman, and finally Kadyrovites who need asylum in Europe for cover. As a result, our Independent International Human Rights Group ceased its activities. But at the same time, Said- Emin Ibragimov, a professional lawyer and head of the human rights organization “Peace and Human Rights”, continues his legal activities, filing lawsuits with the International Criminal Courts on all crimes of the Russian army against the civilian population of Chechnya. But there are no results yet. My mission as a journalist and writer is to give maximum publicity to the crimes committed by the Russian leadership, which is what I am currently doing, and what I call on other journalists, including Francesco Benedetti .

– On this issue, organizations of the Chechen diaspora in Europe often oppose the deportation of Chechen citizens to Russia, and from there to Chechnya. Can you tell me more about these cases? Why is the repatriation of Chechens to Russia dangerous?

– This is too big a question. And in short, as I said above, any Chechen refugee deported from Europe to Russia, if he is a former member of the Resistance or somehow helped our fighters, he will be killed after prolonged torture. At best, he will receive a long or life sentence, which also ends in death. Or maybe he will become a Kadyrovite if he is forced to betray. It is this last category ( Kadyrovites ) that poses the greatest danger to Chechen refugees, in whom this traitor used to be trusted. But against such there is an antidote – not to communicate with such and not to believe a single word of the returnee . An important question or explanation… How to establish whether this or that refugee, asylum seeker, is a member of the Chechen Resistance? When we write Confirmations to the Migration Services of European countries, in order to establish the truth, we first address the question of this or that asylum seeker to authoritative Chechens, former commanders. And if the answer is positive, we write a Petition to the authorities of European countries. It is not difficult to establish the truth, since the population of Chechnya is not so large. And there were not so many fighters who fought. So, on August 6, 1996, only 750 fighters of the Chechen Resistance managed to defeat the many thousands of Russian troops. But taking into account those who helped our fighters to one degree or another, the total number of participants in the Resistance will increase to more than 20,000 people. It is important to note here that almost 90% of the population of Chechnya was on the side of the fighters defending the Freedom and Independence of their Motherland.

– Now Chechnya lives under the regime of Ramzan Kadyrov, a very loyal follower of the same Vladimir Putin, who organized and directed or, at least, covered up those crimes that you talk about in your book. How does the current Chechen government justify these actions against its people? And how do the residents of Chechnya say about it?

An important clarification is needed here. Putin and the entire leadership of Russia, primarily the military and special services, committed the very terrible crimes described in the book. Only after the end of active hostilities in Grozny did the Kremlin begin to form a puppet government in Chechnya, headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, a former mufti and mullah. He graduated from one of the Muslim universities in Central Asia, where it was impossible to enter without the knowledge of the KGB. Thus, Akhmad Kadyrov was a KGB agent during the Soviet era. The main stimulus in the formation of the puppet government was money, which generously financed the puppet officials. Of course, these puppets tried to justify the actions of the Russian troops in Chechnya, described in the book, and blamed the former authorities for the tragedy. Their main “trump card” was the following – if the CRI authorities had not called on the Chechen people to resist, then this war and these tragedies could have been avoided. Chechens living in their homeland, in the early 2000s, somehow expressed dissatisfaction with the occupation and puppet authorities, but their protests were brutally suppressed, and activists were persecuted. Human rights activists were most persecuted, who were simply kidnapped and killed, similarly cracked down on former members of the Resistance, who left Chechnya to save their lives. The current residents of Chechnya prefer to remain silent about past events, fearing for their lives.

What do you think, is there a discussion in Russia about the crimes committed by the Russian government against the Chechens? And is there any chance that the Russian public will find out about these crimes?

– What kind of discussions can be discussed in modern Russia? It must be admitted with great regret that today’s Russia is an empire! And in an empire, as you know, there can be no normal society. In the Russian Empire at this time, everything is decided by one person – Putin! And here the answer is very clear to you – Putin will never allow the emergence of a free Chechen state. But fortunately, after the war in Ukraine, the situation in Russia may change radically and lead to the disintegration of the country. Of course, in such a situation there is a real chance of regaining the lost independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. But it is extremely difficult to predict exactly how events will develop after the collapse of Russia. Such chaos is possible in Russia, which has never been in the history of any country. This is precisely the development of events that the West is afraid of, as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who is 98 years old, recently said. But time will tell how events will develop further …

– In your opinion, why did the events that engulfed Chechnya in the period from the early 1990s to the early 2000s not affect Western public opinion? Why didn’t Europe, which today is in danger because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, see an equally great danger in the invasion of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria?

– This is a question that the Western media prefer to avoid, because, as the proverb says, “their face is down.” After all, Putin came to power in Russia thanks to the support of the West. Western politicians had high hopes for Putin – and he did not deceive them at first. With the silent participation of the West, which only verbally expressed concern, Putin staged a genocide in Chechnya. I repeatedly spoke about this and wrote in my articles, and showed the document “Security Issues” (Journal for the leaders of the Russian Federation) for March 1999, which asserts the support of Putin by the West. If you remember, with the advent of Bush Jr. to the White House, the Global Anti-Terrorist Operation began, led by Bush Jr., Blair and Putin. Putin, with their support, started a war in Chechnya, and Bush, under the pretext of destroying chemical and bacteriological weapons, started a war in Iraq. In fact, it was a war declared on the Muslim world, under the pretext of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In fact, all this is highly doubtful.

And here I will make a very important summary – the United States of America is indeed a fair democratic state. After all, the US Congress called Bush Jr. to account for the unjustified invasion of Iraq. But the fact is that according to the laws of the United States, an American court cannot imprison the President of the United States, although the former one, officials from the environment of Bush Jr., who were sentenced to various prison terms, were held responsible. Well, what punishment did Putin suffer for the genocide arranged in Chechnya?! Ha ha ha!

But let’s return to our question … If at first Putin kept pace with the West, then after the seizure of Crimea and Donbass, their paths diverged. Western leaders have made an unforgivable mistake by not considering that Putin is a product of the KGB! Now in Ukraine, Putin has shown and proved that he is an imperialist and a fascist of the highest category! The West realized that if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, then he can go on to take over the rest of the world. Such is Russia – the Empire of Evil, as President Reagan put it. Fortunately, Russia does not have the large-scale resources that the Soviet Empire had, which means that Putin has already lost the war in Ukraine !

Do you see a parallel between what Putin did in Chechnya and what he is doing in Ukraine? In your opinion, is it correct to say that what is happening today in Ukraine is a copy of the process that began in Chechnya in 1994?

– The strongest parallel! However, I never thought that Putin would commit such monstrous crimes in Ukraine – in the former fraternal Slavic country of 40 million. This means that Putin is a criminal for whom there are no borders , but he learned these crimes in Chechnya , where the West allowed him everything . Putin was raised on Chechen blood!! “I take full responsibility for what is happening in Chechnya ! ”- so Putin said during the war going on in Chechnya. Where such confidence? From the fact that he had the strongest patrons. I often cite examples with this statement by Putin and Hitler’s quote to his soldiers : “I free you from the chimera called conscience”

Why, even after 20 years, many victims did not openly condemn the crimes committed against them ?

– I do not know the further fate of the victims, with some exceptions. I am not a lawyer, not a lawyer who would deal with the cases of specific victims. My task as a journalist is to give maximum publicity to the crimes that have occurred, which I have been doing for over 20 years. The victims described in the book, and not only in the book, can be conditionally divided into several categories. Firstly, these are those whose tragic stories are described in the book. Some of them received compensation through the ECtHR. The second part still do not dare to sue, fearing for their lives and for their relatives. As a rule , most of them are in their home country, and they know that if they are filed with the ECtHR, they are in mortal danger.

I can give an example from Zura Bitiyeva, whom I met at the Conference in Tbilisi in 2000 , who was tortured and humiliated in the Chernokozovo prison. Zura filed a lawsuit with the ECtHR and continued to live in Chechnya. But one night, Russian special forces broke into her and shot her and her whole family, only one boy escaped, who hid. There are victims who do not want to sue. One of those Raisa Khamzaeva is a very brave woman. She gave an interview to the newspaper “Kavkazsky Vestnik” , appeared on PIK television (this TV channel was under Saakashvili in Georgia). However, she does not want to file a lawsuit with the ECtHR, considering their compensation as small pennies. Maybe Raisa is right, given that compensation from the ECtHR to Chechens is only a fifth of what the affected Europeans or Americans receive.

Of course, in the current situation, when Putin is defeated in Ukraine, as a result of which he and all Russian war criminals will be called to account in the International Criminal Courts, the affected Chechens should immediately file not only with the ECHR, but also with other courts like the Haas, where they will receive full compensation for the crimes committed against them by the Russian authorities. This is what we all, together, must call on the entire Chechen people, who suffered almost without exception during the genocide organized by the Russian authorities. This is also necessary so that such crimes will never again be committed against the Chechen, Georgian, Ukrainian and other peoples!

Mayrbek Taramov (a destra) ed Alim Pasha Soltykhanov (a Sinistra) alla cerimonia di premiazione di un concorso letterario a Copenhagen, nel 2011

– You told amazing stories about how you were saved by noble people, among whom was Alexander Litvinenko . How could A. Litvinenko, who was in London, save you while you were in Baku ?

– Explanations are needed here … The fact is that I edited the articles of Alexander Litvinenko in the GIA Chechenpress agency and Sasha and I were in close contact. One day an amazing story happened. In Baku, I turned to various world embassies for help for Chechen refugees . I once addressed a delegation of Chechen public figures to the US Embassy in Baku, where we were warmly received, listened to, treated to tea and coffee. And the Embassy employee Mary ( I still remember her name ) said that we could meet in the cafeteria of the Hyatt Hotel to discuss the details. At the appointed time , my faithful friend Anvar and I arrived at the Hayat Hotel and met with an employee of the US Embassy . Over a cup of coffee , we discussed the situation with the disenfranchised position of the Chechen refugees , and Mary promised to bring this matter to the American ambassador. After that we parted ways.

And then miracles begin… And sometimes I was looking for information about myself through Google, and suddenly I discovered something amazing … I read on the website of Academgorodok in Novosibirsk: “A meeting of an employee of the US Embassy with human rights activist Mairbek Taramov took place at the Hayat Hotel, Baku. And then I was horrified – how can such information, where there were only three people at the table in the cafe – me, my friend and Mary, could be leaked to some Russian site?!?! I did not sleep all night, and on the second day I called Alexander Litvinenko.

I explained to Alexander what had happened, and he asked me – ” Hang up the phone, I’ll call you back ” . ( Sasha was a very kind guy, he didn’t want me to spend money on phone calls ). When Alexander called me back, telephone communication improved dramatically, to which Litvinenko responded: “Do you feel it? – Contacts are being cleared! ))” Sasha asked me – ” What hotel were you in” ? I replied. And then Litvinenko explains to me: “ At the end of January 1990, Soviet troops were brought into Baku to suppress the opposition. These troops included KGB units, one of which was commanded by me, Alexander Litvinenko. During the activities of the Soviet special services, I managed to recruit nine high-ranking officials from the government of Azerbaijan. Why am I telling you this, Mayrbeck, because they are listening to us now. So know, and let them know, who are listening to our conversation, – if something happens to you, Mayrbek, then I will announce the names of the Azerbaijani officials I recruited .

To be honest , I got scared, grabbed my head, and asked Litvinenko – “Alexander, what are you talking about? How can I live here now ?!” And he says – “Live in peace Mayrbek, and I repeat – if at least one hair falls from your head, they will answer in full!”

The question arises: – who transmitted information about the meeting Russian special services ? Sasha explained it this way : “ Your waiter transmitted the information to the Russians , who had a wiretapping sensor installed in a teapot or coffee pot .” And in the basement of the Baku hotel ” Hayat ” there is a listening room with appropriate equipment . Everything is simple! And next time you can turn to the waiter: “Comrade Colonel ! »

It was one of the examples of how the Almighty saved me through noble people!

The book “The Crimes of the Russian Century in Chechnya” can be purchased from the links on Amazon :

English version of Paperback : https://www.amazon.it/dp/B0B11BLZJZ

English version e – book : https://www.amazon.it/dp/B09WZDQZG2

Russian version of Paperback : https://www.amazon.de/dp/B09S259CNX

Russian version e – book : https://www.amazon.de/dp/B09YLGDTXH

MAYRBEK TARAMOV – MILESTONES OF CREATIVITY

Mairbek Taramov is a well-known Chechen journalist, writer and human rights activist. From his pen came hundreds of articles, interviews, appeals. Since 1998, he has been the founder and editor of the newspaper and website “Kavkazsky Vestnik”. In early 1999, at the founding conference in Grozny, Taramov M. was elected chairman of the Union of Caucasian Journalists. He was published in the Chechen, Russian and American media, in particular in the newspaper “Kaskad” from Baltimore, the magazine “Krugozor”, USA. After the outbreak of hostilities in Chechnya in November 1999, Taramov Mayrbek emigrated to Turkey, and then to Azerbaijan, where he continued his information and legal activities, defending the freedom and independence of his homeland. In 2002, he founded the Chechen Human Rights Center in Baku and was elected its leader, and later became a member of the Independent International Human Rights Group. In 2005, he received political asylum in Sweden, where he currently resides. In September 2005, he was appointed Representative of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in Sweden.

Mayrbek Taramov was appointed chairman of the jury of Literary competitions of the Chechenpress State Information Agency , holding three competitions in this position: in 2004, 2011 and 2014. At the beginning of 2022, Mairbek Taramov was appointed Commissioner for Human Rights of the CRI, and is also a member of the Council of Elders of the National Assembly of Chechens of Europe .

Mairbek Taramov is the author of the following books:

1. “The Crimes of the Russian Century in Chechnya” (“The Chechen Question: The Final Solution”),

in which the gravest crimes of the political and military leadership of Russia are exposed. This book is based on documentary evidence of the bombing of the Chechen capital and its settlements at the end of October 1999 by tactical surface-to-ground ( SCUD ) missiles, as well as the shelling of “humanitarian corridors” through which the civilian population left the shelled settlements of Chechnya. The book presents documentary materials about the trade in the corpses of murdered Chechens and the internal organs of murdered citizens of Chechnya. Carte blanche to carry out the genocide of the civilian population of Chechnya was given personally by Vladimir Putin, who became president of Russia on the blood of innocent people. This book has been published three times and translated into English.

2. “The terrorist operation of Russia in Chechnya 1999-2004. Facts and comments. This book is essentially a chronicle of the “second Chechen war”, which contains unique information about the war from autumn 1999 to 2004, which cannot be found in other publications. In this book, the false information of the Russian news agencies is dispelled by the author’s accurate comments. This book is published by the American publishing house Igrulita-Press .

3. “All the power of the FSB!” – a collection of Mayrbeck ‘s best articles Taramov , exposing the cruel, inhuman methods of the Russian special services.

4. “Generals of the Russian Imperial Army of foreign origin and from the natives of the Caucasus – participants in the Russian-Caucasian wars of 1722-1917.”

The reader will be extremely surprised to learn the true quantitative and national composition of the generals of the Russian Imperial Army, who fought for almost 200 years against a handful of Caucasian highlanders, whom these generals called savages. Note that most of the generals were ethnic Germans. So:

Germans – 145; Georgians – 51; Armenians – 49; Poles – 34; Swedes – 12; French – 11; Italians – 10; Azerbaijanis – 10; Greeks – 9; Serbs – 6; British – 5; Austrians – 5; Danes – 4; Crimean Tatars – 3; Romanians – 2; Belarusians – 1; Swiss – 1; Finns – 1; Bulgarians – 1; Jews – 1; Lithuanians – 1; Arabs – 1; Spaniards – 1.

A total of 364 generals. And there are only 460 higher ranks: 364 of them are foreign generals and 96 generals from local highlanders, according to very relative estimates.

5. “Nothing is forgotten, no one is forgiven!” This book, which includes documentary facts and testimonies, is dedicated to the deportation of the Chechen people to Siberia and Central Asia. This book contains the Resolution of the European Parliament, one of the paragraphs of which states that the deportation of the Chechen people on February 23, 1944, carried out by Stalin and his entourage, is an act of genocide. Unfortunately, this fact has not yet been recognized by any country in the world.

6. “When children turn gray…” – a bleeding colorful album that touches all human feelings, which proves and shows the Russian genocide against Chechen children. The album was published with the participation of the American photo artist Sergei Melnikoff . The album has been translated into English.

These milestones of creativity, published in many media, for the Italian site www . ichkeria . net , I decided to add some exclusive materials of my biography, which I present for the first time.

I was not a participant in direct hostilities in Chechnya, but I always sympathized and was on the side of the Chechen Resistance. Since 1997, I have been conducting information activities in Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, becoming a journalist for the popular newspaper “Chechenets”, and later worked in other publications. Then I became the founder and editor of the independent newspaper Kavkazskiy Vestnik.

With the beginning of a new Russian aggression in Chechnya in the second half of 1999, I was at home and described in the newspaper the missile and air strikes by the Russian army on the city of Grozny and other settlements in Chechnya.

By mid-October 1999, it was already pointless to stay in the city, where there was practically no civilian population left, who, saving their lives, left for rural areas and beyond the borders of the republic. And then I decided to join the units of the Chechen Resistance. Putting on a military uniform and taking a weapon, I, along with my friend, went to the legendary commander Shamil Basayev, whom I knew well, and told him about my decision. Shamil, after a short silence, flashing his eyes, announced to us in a raised tone:

– What kind of war are you talking about, you adults!? After all, you are educated people, and your war, your front is different – informational! This is where you must protect us Chechen warriors against Russian expansion. I will issue you the relevant documents and help you get to Georgia, and then to Turkey, where you will have to continue your information activities, informing the world community about the ongoing genocide of the Chechen people.

And so it happened … After working for more than a year in Turkey as a member of the Caucasian-Chechen Committee and publishing the newspaper “Kavkazskiy Vestnik”, I moved to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where I continued my information activities. I published the newspaper “Kavkazsky Vestnik” and ran a website of the same name, held conferences in the Baku Press Center, in which Alla Dudayeva, the widow of the First President of the CRI, also took part, I spoke on Baku television and in the local press, in particular, in the newspapers “Zerkalo”, Echo and others.

I was often asked the question – how did you manage to do such open informational and human rights activities when the authorities of Azerbaijan and Georgia handed over many Chechen refugees to the Russian special services? I cannot unequivocally answer this question, but it seems to me that the answer lies in the following… The Russian leadership, having issued appropriate decrees, in violation of any International Conventions on Combatants, persecuted former members of the Chechen Resistance, who had already become refugees and were undergoing treatment and recovery. I, as mentioned above, was not a direct participant in the Chechen Resistance, although I was a warrior of the information front.

Secondly. Yes, I was persecuted, as they say, “I walked on a knife edge.” But I had reliable friends who protected me, among whom were Alexander Litvinenko from London, Khozh -Akhmed Nukhaev – the director of the Kavkor corporation , Akhmed Zakaev – the prime minister of the government of the unrecognized CRI, and others whose names I will not name yet. You ask – “But how could Alexander Litvinenko protect you while in London?” And so it did, which I was extremely surprised. Well, I can tell you about this separately, if you want.

And third, perhaps most importantly, I believed and felt the protection of the Almighty, working in my field for free. After all, He, in the Holy Quran, claims that those who speak the truth are under His care, and if death overtakes such on the Righteous Path, then such, without a doubt, acquires the highest degree of Paradise. I am well aware of the Qur’anic truths, as I have studied and published the verses of the Qur’an in the newspaper.

I would like to add the following to the above… The book “The Crimes of Russia’s Century in Chechnya” was first published in Baku in early 2004, but illegally. I take this opportunity to thank the director of the publishing house, whose name I do not know, Anvar Berusoy , who took over the editing of the book, as well as Akhmed Zakayev , with whose financial support this project was made possible.

LA PACE PRECARIA – Il trattato di pace Russo – Ceceno

Il 12 Maggio 1997 la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria e la Federazione Russa firmarono un trattato di pace con il quale intendevano porre fine alla Prima Guerra Russo – Cecena. Nonostante che in esso la Russia riconoscesse De Jure la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria, le clausole contenute nell’accordo furono interpretate in maniera assai differente dalle due parti. Il diverso approccio tenuto da Mosca e da Grozny rispetto al Trattato di Pace avrebbe impedito la risoluzione pacifica del conflitto, e creato le premesse per una nuova guerra.

Il testo del trattato in inglese e in russo

IL TRATTATO DI MOSCA

Il 12 Maggio1997 la delegazione cecena, composta da Maskhadov, Ugudov e Zakayev raggiunse Mosca, dove procedette alla firma solenne del Trattato di Pace tra la Federazione Russa e la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria. La firma del Trattato fu un evento epocale: per la prima volta in quattrocento anni di guerre e tensioni il governo di Mosca e quello di Grozny si promettevano ufficialmente la pace. Vennero firmati due documenti: il primo si intitolava “Trattato di Pace e Principi di Relazione tra la Federazione Russa e la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria”, il secondo si chiamava “Accordo tra il governo della Federazione Russa e il governo della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria sulla cooperazione economica reciprocamente vantaggiosa e la preparazione delle condizioni per la conclusione di un trattato su vasta scala tra la Federazione Russa e la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria”. I due documenti, dagli altisonanti titoli, avrebbero dovuto essere la base giuridica sulla quale si sarebbero costruiti i rapporti tra Russia e Cecenia. Il “Trattato di Pace” iniziava con un epico preambolo riguardo la reciproca volontà di “[…] Porre fine al confronto secolare, cercando di stabilire relazioni forti, uguali e reciprocamente vantaggiose […]”. Un iniziò di tutto rispetto, dal quale ci si aspetterebbe un lungo ed articolato Trattato. E invece niente di questo. Il Documento si costituiva di cinque articoli, e soltanto tre contenevano qualcosa di politicamente rilevante. In essi Russia e Cecenia si impegnavano:

  • A rinunciare in modo permanente all’uso ed alla minaccia dell’uso della forza come forma di risoluzione di eventuali controversie;
  • A Costruire le loro relazioni conformemente ai principi ed alle norme generalmente riconosciuti dal diritto internazionale, e ad interagire in aree definite da accordi specifici;
  • A considerare il Trattato come base per la conclusione di qualsiasi altra negoziazione.

Di per sé le tre affermazioni possono essere considerate solide basi di negoziazione politica, ma a ben guardare si prestano a molteplici interpretazioni, come tutti gli altri “documenti”, “dichiarazioni” e “protocolli” firmati fino ad allora dalla marea di delegazioni che fin dal 1992 avevano cercato di trovare un accordo tra le parti. In particolare Maskhadov considerò il Trattato come il riconoscimento dell’Indipendenza cecena, dichiarando che la sua sottoscrizione apriva “Una nuova era politica per la Russia, il Caucaso e l’intero mondo musulmano”. Uno dei funzionari della politica estera cecena, delegato in Danimarca per conto della Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria, Usman Ferzauli, quando venne inviato da Maskhadov a firmare le Convenzioni di Ginevra, dichiarò: “[…] La Russia, firmando nel maggio 1997 il Trattato di Pace con la Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria di fatto ha riconosciuto la Repubblica. Abbiamo il diritto di considerarci un soggetto di diritto internazionale. […].”. Anche alcuni ricercatori internazionali, come Francis A. Boyle, professore presso il College Law dell’Università dell’Illinos, produssero ricerche giuridiche sul Trattato. Nella discussione di Boyle si legge: “L’elemento più importante del trattato è il suo titolo: “Trattato sulla pace e i principi delle interrelazioni tra la Federazione russa e l’Ichkeria della Repubblica cecena”

Maskhadov ed Eltsin si stringono la mano

IL PARERE FAVOREVOLE

Secondo i principi di base del diritto internazionale, un “trattato” è concluso tra due stati nazionali indipendenti. In altre parole, il CRI viene trattato dalla Federazione Russa come se fosse uno stato nazionale indipendente ai sensi del diritto e delle prassi internazionali. […] Allo stesso modo, l’uso del linguaggio “Trattato sui … principi di interrelazione” indica che la Russia sta trattando la CRI come uno stato nazionale indipendente anziché come un’unità componente della Federazione Russa. Normalmente, “i principi delle interrelazioni” tra uno stato federale come la Federazione Russa e un’unità componente sono determinati dalla Costituzione dello stato federale. Questo documento non dice nulla della Costituzione della Federazione Russa.  […]Certamente l’elemento più importante del titolo del Trattato è l’uso del termine “Repubblica Cecena di Ichkeria”. Questo è il nome preciso che il popolo ceceno e il governo ceceno hanno deciso di dare al loro stato nazionale indipendente. In altre parole, ancora una volta, la Federazione Russa ha fornito ai Ceceni il riconoscimento di fatto (anche se non ancora di diritto) come stato nazionale indipendente alle loro condizioni. […] L’articolo 1 del trattato è sostanzialmente in linea con il requisito dell’articolo 2, paragrafo 4 della Carta delle Nazioni Unite secondo cui gli Stati membri “si astengono dalle loro relazioni internazionali dalla minaccia o dall’uso della forza ….” Allo stesso modo, la Carta delle Nazioni Unite Articolo 2, paragrafo 3, impone agli Stati membri di “risolvere le loro controversie internazionali con mezzi pacifici ….” Quindi, con questo Trattato, la Federazione Russa ha formalmente riconosciuto il suo obbligo di trattare la CRI in conformità con questi due requisiti fondamentali della Carta delle Nazioni Unite. […] Il secondo articolo dell’accordo è estremamente importante: “Costruire le nostre relazioni corrispondenti ai principi e alle norme generalmente accettati del diritto internazionale …” Secondo la mia opinione professionale, l’unico modo in cui l’articolo 2 del presente trattato può essere correttamente letto alla luce di tutto ciò che è stato detto in precedenza nel suo testo è che la Federazione russa sta trattando l’IRC come se fosse di fatto (anche se non ancora de jure) stato nazionale indipendente ai sensi del diritto e delle prassi internazionali, con una propria personalità giuridica internazionale. Solo gli stati nazionali indipendenti sono soggetti ai “principi e norme generalmente accettati del diritto internazionale”.  […].”

Accordi di Khasavyurt: Maskhadov e Lebed si stringono la mano

IL PARERE CONTRARIO

Il governo Russo negò questa interpretazione, considerando l’assenza di qualsiasi affermazione chiara in merito. Rispetto a questo, negli anni successivi sarebbe sorto un lungo dibattito, il che già di per sé dimostra quanto generici fossero gli impegni assunti dalle parti e quanto poco chiaro fosse il documento in se. In una sua trattazione del tema, il ricercatore russo Andrei Babitski scrisse:

“L’essenza di questo documento è semplice. E’ solo un documento sulla cessazione delle operazioni militari. […] Non menziona la capitolazione da parte di nessuna delle parti, non proclama nessuno vincitore e non formula principi chiari per governare le relazioni tra Russia e Cecenia. La risposta a queste domande è stata rinviata. La cosa più importante era terminare la guerra.”.

Silvia Serravo, ricercatrice esperta in questioni caucasiche, specificò in un’intervista:

“Il documento contiene la possibilità di interpretazioni diverse. […] L’indipendenza della Cecenia non è stata riconosciuta. Tuttavia, il documento ha reso possibile, almeno per la parte cecena, interpretarlo come il riconoscimento da parte della Russia dell’indipendenza cecena. […] Il trattato può certamente essere considerato un risultato. […] Tuttavia si può sempre speculare sulla misura in cui le parti erano sincere quando fu firmato questo documento e se la conclusione del Trattato si basava su alcuni motivi fraudolenti.”

INDIPENDENZA “SOSPESA”

Il secondo documento, collaterale al primo, conteneva un altra generica serie di intese difficilmente realizzabili. In esso si definiva l’attuazione dei contenuti degli Accordi di Khasavyurt in fatto di ripristino dei servizi vitali per la popolazione civile, il regolare pagamento delle pensioni e degli stupendi pubblici da parte della Federazione Russa,  il pagamento di un risarcimento alle vittime dei combattimenti, la “piena attuazione del programma di ripristino del complesso socioeconomico” del paese, il rilascio di ostaggi e prigionieri, e lo scioglimento della Commissione Governativa congiunta riguardo alla gestione del periodo interbellico, contemporaneamente all’entrata in vigore del Governo uscito dalle Elezioni del Gennaio precedente.

Se il primo documento, come abbiamo visto, poteva lasciar pensare che la Russia volesse trattare la Cecenia come uno Stato indipendente, il secondo assomigliava molto ad un accordo interfederale tra una repubblica autonoma bisognosa di aiuto ed un governo centrale che intendeva corrisponderglielo. Particolarmente evidente era l’impegno, da parte di Mosca, di erogare gli stipendi pubblici dell’amministrazione cecena. Questo passo è fondamentale, perchè accettandolo Maskhadov riconobbe implicitamente l’autorità di Mosca di mantenere la struttura amministrativa della Cecenia esattamente come faceva ai tempi dell’Unione Sovietica. Non un solo accenno era previsto riguardo al riconoscimento, anche formale, all’indipendenza del paese. Il Trattato di Pace firmato da Maskhadov fu un documento utile ad accreditare lui presso l’opinione pubblica ma fallì nel rappresentare uno strumento diplomatico utile a risolvere alcunchè. Certamente pose ufficialmente fine alla guerra e ad ogni palese ingerenza del governo federale sulla politica interna del paese, ma niente oltre a questo.

Il Trattato non riconobbe in maniera inequivocabile l’indipendenza del paese, ma si limitò a stabilire gli strumenti tramite i quali i due stati avrebbero comunicato tra loro. Dette ampia libertà di interpretazione sia al governo ceceno, che vide in quelle poche righe un implicito riconoscimento da parte di Mosca, che al governo russo, che ci riconobbe esclusivamente l’impegno assunto a riportare su binari politici il conflitto. Sul momento comunque sia Maskhadov che Eltsin poterono dirsi soddisfatti: il primo tornava in patria con un trattato di pace tra le mani, qualcosa che i Ceceni non avevano mai visto in tutta la loro storia. Il secondo tirava un sospiro di sollievo e metteva un temporaneo tampone a quella emorragia di consensi che era stata la Prima Guerra Cecena.