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Back to the Constitution: Francesco Benedetti interviews Ikhvan Gerikhanov (Part 2)

In April 21, 1996, President Dudayev was killed, and Vice-President Yandarbiev assumed his interim powers. How did your relationship with him develop?

After the treasonous assassination of the President, I returned to Grozny and actively participated in the preparation of the new elections. I returned to my duties when President Yandarbiev accepted my condition that the Constitutional Court could begin its work only after the annulment of the unconstitutional decree concerning its dissolution in April 1993. This happened with the Decree from these promulgated on November 12, 1996, in which it was clarified that the dissolution order issued by Dudaev was to be considered devoid of any legal effect. At that point I started forming a new team of judges for the court, having to make up for the expressed refusal of some of the old members to collaborate with the new government, as well as the defections of others, who had left the territory of the Republic.

During his mandate, Yandarbiev initiated a series of legislative interventions aimed at establishing an Islamic republic, such as, for example, the creation of Sharia courts. Were these measures constitutionally correct? Has the Constitutional Court sanctioned them?


To take a specific decision on the introduction of Sharia courts, the Constitutional Court did not yet have the necessary quorum for a vote and the approval of the judges was and is the prerogative of the Parliament of the Chechen Republic, which during this period had not yet been renewed. Actions aimed at introducing Sharia courts directly contradict the Constitution of the Chechen Republic, which I have repeatedly expressed in the media and personally to Yandarbiev.

Zelimkhan Yandarbiev


Following the January 1997 presidential elections, Aslan Maskhadov became president. How was your work under his tenure?


After the election of President and of the Parliament, I have actively collaborated with the institutions and have looked for candidates to complete the ranks of the Constitutional Court , and obtain their nomination by the Parliament. However I failed to complete this task, due to the situation in the Republic and the introduction of Sharia courts. However, as head of the highest judicial authority, I have actively participated in all legal activities of national importance.

By Presidential Decree of May 6 , 1996, I was appointed an expert in the process of negotiating and drafting documents on relations between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, and also headed the office of the State Legal Commission to develop and improve the constitutional principles , with the creation of a code of Islamic law CHRI. This order was presented to the President on May 20, 1997. This code of laws was personally prepared by me and delivered to President Maskhadov under the name ” Korta Nizam “, meaning “main consensus”: this project included the combination of Muslim and secular law, without radical deviations from the mentality and customs ( adat ) of the Chechen people, but taking into account the rules of conduct for a Muslim according to the Koran and the Sunnah of our Prophet (SAS). This law should have been voted on in a referendum and subsequently should have been adopted by the Parliament. If the Chechen people had approved this bill, after it was adopted by its legislative body, it would have acquired the status of Constitution as Basic Law of the country.However, once again, the crisis of the institutions has not allowed this to be discussed, and possibly integrated into the Fundamental Law of the State.

In addition to this, I was involved in the work as a member of the State Commission for the Development of the National Security Doctrine of the CRI, according to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of July 31, 1997. Basically, we worked on guarantees for the country’s national security and so that the invasion of our country would not be repeated over the decades. We have tried to establish ChRI in the world community as a subject of international law and find protection through international institutions. In addition, we have worked on consolidating our statehood through the Charter of the United Nations, which should be the document guaranteeing our security, both as a state and as a whole and as an ethnic group in communion with the whole civilized world. Constitutional Court member Seda Khalidova worked actively with me. In 1997 we met with the new Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation M. Baglai and even prepared an agreement on the interaction of the two highest state judicial bodies. This draft agreement was not approved by the parties, for the well-known reasons we have already mentioned.

As the radical forces consolidated in the country, the possibility of creating an Islamic state was increasingly discussed. How could this idea fit into the 1992 Constitution?


In no way. The Constitution of the CRI and its norms are mandatory, i.e. mandatory, regardless of the situation, if changes to individual articles of the Constitution have not been made in accordance with the requirements of this Basic Law.

At the end of 1998, Maskhadov was tried by the Sharia court. Was this court constitutionally legal? Do you remember this process?

By that time I had left the republic and worked at the International Arbitration Tribunal, but as one of the authors of the 1992 Constitution of the Chechen Republic, I can state that such a decision grossly violates the requirements of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic!

How did your experience as President of the Constitutional Court ended?

I resigned in March 1998, after an unconstitutional vote of no confidence in the President of the Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic, ie in me, for my position against the introduction of Sharia courts and the use of public executions. In the Parliament of the CRI on the second convocation there were deputies who had their own candidates for the post of President of the Tribunal and, frankly, had their own mercantile interests, which under my leadership they could not have realized. Moreover, the very discussion regarding the issue of mistrust of me is an unconstitutional process, if I have not committed a crime or if, for health reasons, I cannot fulfill my duties, or I have committed other actions contrary to the ideas of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, prescribed by the law “On the activities of the Constitutional Court of the Chechen Republic”, adopted in 1992.

This question was initiated by two deputies, one of whom, as it was later established, worked for the FSB of Russia. The second deputy brought his name into disrepute during the proceedings of the first convocation Parliament. Their names are known and they, being refugees in Europe, continue to harm the legitimate authorities of the CRI.

Chechnya, 1997: Religious police impose corporal punishment for drunkenness

After the start of the Second Russo-Chechen War and Russia’s second invasion of the country, martial law was introduced in the CRI. Aslan Maskhadov’s mandate would have expired in February 2002, but he remained in office until his assassination in 2005. If you recall, what measure extended his mandate up to this point?

First of all, we must proceed from the fact that the President of the CRI, in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the CRI, declared martial law in connection with the invasion of the aggressor into the sovereign territory of the country.

Secondly, in connection with martial law and the purpose of centralized government, the chairman of the CRI, Aslan Maskhadov, issued a decree on October 5, 1999 on the introduction of martial law on the territory of the republic and the adoption of Annex No . 1 to it, according to which all state structures were subordinated to the established State Defense Committee (GKO), with the wording that ” all authorities stop their work of norm-setting “. Furthermore, the State Defense Committee, since martial law was declared, has been approved as ” the highest collegial body of state power…”. And with resolution no. 217, adopted at the same time, by decision of the GKO, the President of the CRI was endowed with additional powers corresponding to the highest legislative and executive power!

Thus, the chairman of the CRI, Aslan Maskhadov, as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the CRI and the head of the country’s State Defense Committee, during this wartime period could not and had no legal right to leave this post and remained in place until his treasonous assassination by Russian punishers.

After Maskhadov’s assassination, power passed to Vice President Abdul Khalim Sadulayev. Was such a transfer of power constitutionally acceptable?

Of course, and this right is enshrined in art. 75 of the Constitution of the Chechen Republic, which provides that in case of removal from office of the President or in other cases in which the President cannot perform his duties, the Vice-President is required to assume full powers.

After the assassination of Sadulaev , power passed to Dokku Umarov , who proclaimed himself President. There appear to be differences between the Maskhadov-Sadulayev succession and the Sadulayev- Umarov power . What do you think is the difference between these two phenomena?

I don’t see much difference, since CRI president Abdul- Khalim Sadulaev , by decree dated June 2, 2005, appointed Umarov Doku as Vice President of the CRI. As it was indicated above, the State Defense Committee is the only state authority for the period of martial law in the country, and such actions to transfer powers do not go beyond the legislation of the CRI, although they are of a temporary nature, until the end of war and the lifting of the state of emergency.

In October 2007, Umarov announced the dissolution of the CRI as part of the Caucasus Emirate. Is this process unconstitutional?

These actions grossly violate the requirements of the Constitution of the CRI and are criminally punishable as liquidation of the state system and its power structures!

Dokku Umarov (center) last President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and founder of the Caucasus Emirate


A few months after the birth of the Caucasus Emirate, the current Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Akhmed Zakayev, was elected to his current position by still capable deputies. How did this nomination come about? Was it constitutionally correct?

This process can be explained at length and it is impossible to complete it in this interview due to its large volume in the description. There is my October 10, 2020 Expert Opinion [attached at the bottom of this interview, NDR], made at the request of the Council of Elders of Europe, which has done a great job of consolidating disparate structures, as each of them it is declared a legitimate authority in accordance with the Constitution of the CRI. During this period, I was not a member of any diaspora or power group, so I conducted a thorough analysis and evaluation of the requirements of the Constitution of the CRI, as one of its authors and a scientist in the field of jurisprudence, and concluded that the CRI government in exile is a legitimate state authority of the CRI.

Is it true that in 2002 all powers were transferred to the GKO and that so far the institutional power of the CRI derives from the decisions of this committee, now renamed the State Deoccupation Commitee?

Yes, it is this structure that continues to have the status of the only state authority of the CRI, as the successor to the State Defense Committee, represented by the State Deoccupation Commitee of the annexed territory by the Russian Armed Forces and their protégés.

From the point of view of constitutional law, can the current CRI authorities represented by the Cabinet of Ministers, chaired by Akhmed Zakaev , recognize themselves as legitimate?

Yes, and this does not contradict the requirements of the Constitution of the CRI, and proof of this is the fact that it was approved by the legal successor of the state power of the CRI – the State Deoccupation Commitee. A detailed analysis of the legitimacy of the Cabinet of Ministers of the CRI is contained in the opinion of 10.10.2020.

FREEDOM SOLD OR WAR BOUGHT? – REFLECTIONS BY APTI BATALOV (part 2)

The sharp deterioration of Russian-Chechen relations and the intensification of activities by the Russian special services in Ichkeria and neighboring territories began with Putin’s appointment as Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. Armed provocations were staged on the Russian-Chechen border. In April 1999, for example, Russian forces attacked a Chechen border post along the Kizlyar section of the border at night, killing one guard and wounding several others. This was evidently an attempt to draw the Chechens into an armed conflict in Dagestan. However Maskhadov, realizing what the Russians wanted to achieve, forbade any retaliatory action across the border. The Russian provocation, therefore, was not followed up. The next action was staged in the Herzel section of the border in May 1999. Fierce fighting took place here for several days, during which even field artillery was used. The Russians’ plan was the same – to lure the Dagestanis to their side. Once again, however, the President of Ichkeria managed to preserve the peace between the Chechen and Dagestani peoples. Even this cowardly enterprise failed, the Russians began to threaten the country with all kinds of ultimatums.

Aslan Maskhadov (left) and Alexander Lebed (right) sign the Khasavyurt’s Accords, August 1996

President Yeltsin’s second term was coming to an end, and to save themselves from prison this drunkard’s entourage began frantically looking for a replacement. However, this group did not have a candidate who could validly oppose Primakov, and with the latter’s coming to power, all this mess would end: everything they plundered would be confiscated from them. In an attempt to find a good man they first turned to Stephasin, who refused. After these appeared Putin, like a devil from a snuffbox. He was ready to accept all the conditions stipulated by the Yeltsin clique. However , he was not yet popular enough to oppose Primakov. Thus it was that the public relations specialists, led by Berezovsky, Voloshin and Pavlovsky played the “Chechen card” in favor of Putin.

Every presidential campaign in modern “democratic” Russia is shrouded in tragedy and blood. At that time the GRU and the FSB flooded Chechnya with their agents. The services were infiltrated into the restricted circle of Chechen political-military leaders, taking advantage of the latter’s indifference in the selection of their entourage, soon becoming confidants of their godfathers. As the struggle for the presidency intensified in Moscow, Russian agents accelerated their provocative and subversive activities, as was evident from the events that began to occur in Ichkeria. I recall that in the spring of 1997 rumors began to circulate about the imminent unification of Chechnya and Dagestan into a single Islamic state, and that a “cleansing” of Russians would soon begin in preparation for this unification. Various kinds of figures and emissaries began to appear in Chechnya, coming from Dagestan. These men found great hospitality, and the support of those who supported them. Without encountering any significant opposition from the authorities, supporters of the Imamate began to promote the idea of creating a Chechen-Dagestan state “to marry Dagestan to Ichkeria” as one of them put it.

Some time later, a congress of the Chechen and Dagestani peoples was held in Dzhokhar, in the presence of the same leadership of Ichkeria. Shamil Basayev was elected Imam of Chechnya and Dagestan, with the aim of establishing an Imamate. Analyzing everything that was happening, it was obvious that this was being done under the direction of the Lubyanka , but any sober remarks regarding this adventure met with strong opposition from the “advocates of pure Islam”, anyone who dared to say something objective in this matter he would have been branded as an “apostate”, an agent of the Russians, a Jew or belonging to other categories considered hostile to the Chechens.

Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab, the two main animators of the Congress of Peoples of Ichkeria and Dagestan

After using all sorts of provocations against Ichkeria, starting with the financing of slave traders and ending with battles on the Russian-Chechen border, without results, the Russian revanchists used the risk of an Islamic insurrection in the Caucasus as a strong argument for the 1999 presidential campaign. In the summer of 1999, Basayev and his supporters accelerated preparations for the invasion of Dagestan, making no secret of their plans. The leadership of Ichkeria, being in a serious internal crisis, did not have the opportunity to intervene.

At the end of August , more precisely on August 28, 1999, a meeting of the State Defense Committee (GKO) was held in the building of the Presidential Administration. Almost all of the country’s military-political leadership attended this meeting, as well as religious figures and some members of Parliament. The main argument was evidently the invasion of Dagestan. Basayev had shown himself to the whole world in the territory of Dagestan, with a watermelon in his hand. The GKO was expected to make a decision on this issue , and a proposal was made to ask Basayev to immediately leave Dagestan, and return to Chechnya.

The meeting took place in a tense atmosphere: the president assessed the situation as very difficult, and harshly accused Basayev of having exposed the Chechen people to serious consequences. Finally, he urged those present to prepare to repel the invasion of the Russians, as, according to him, another war was inevitable at this point. At the end of his speech, the President asked the members of the State Defense Committee to express their opinion on this issue. On the eve of the GKO meeting, I hoped that a collective statement condemning the actions of Shamil Basayev would be presented: I am sure that Shamil would not have remained indifferent to the GKO’s pronouncement. Yet this did not happen. Without boring the reader with a list of the names of those present, I will say that there were 35/40 people there. For the most part the speakers expressed little, and not very clearly. A clear and unequivocal position on the matter was expressed by no more than 3 – 4 people. Among them was Akhmed Zakayev. In his speech the Minister of Culture supported and approved Basayev’s actions without hesitation. I, in turn, called Basayev’s actions a crime against the Chechen people. Many of those who condemn Basayev’s action today remained silent then. The lack of a unanimous decision on this issue was a mistake on the part of the GKO. The leadership of Ichkeria, with its fragmentation, showed the side of Russian anti-Chechen propaganda. Our short-sightedness was very useful to the Russian revanchists.

Freedom or death! History of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria: The second volume in Italian is out today

The war in Ukraine started in Chechnya. It may seem like a provocation. Yet, this is the reality that the pages of this second volume reveal, entirely dedicated to the First Russo-Chechen War. The genesis, development and unfolding of this bloody conflict seem to be the draft of the script that the world has been witnessing in recent months between the Donbass and the Crimea.

Even then, as now, Russia invaded a free state, disguising the war it was waging behind the label of a “special operation.”

Even then, as now, the enemy of the Russian state had been labeled and demonized: if Zelensky and his government are called “Nazis” today, Dudayev and his ministers were then called “bandits”.

Even then, as today, convinced of their superiority, the military commands marched on the capital, claiming to bend a people to their will, as they had done several times in Soviet times. But even then, as now, they were forced to withdraw, only to unleash a bloody all-out war, the most devastating European war since 1945.

The First Russo-Chechen War was the first tragic product of Russian revanchism: the “zero point” of a parable that from Grozny leads to Kiev, passing through Georgia, Crimea, Belarus and Donbass. With one substantial difference: that the Russians lost that first war against Chechnya. Their imperial ambitions, resting on the worn foundations of a crumbling empire, ended up frustrated by the stubbornness of a nation immensely inferior in number and means, to that of Ukraine, which today defends its land from the war unleashed by Putin.

This story can teach those who have the patience to read it two important lessons: what happens when you indulge the ambitions of an empire, and how do you defeat it. If it is already too late to put the first into practice, we still have time for the second.

Purchase the volume here:

https://www.amazon.it/Libert%C3%A0-Storia-Repubblica-Cecena-Ichkeria/dp/B0BMSY666Y/ref=sr_1_4?crid=379QYOJIF1LQJ&keywords=libert%C3%A0+o+morte&qid=1670606213&sprefix=%2Caps %2C76&sr=8-4

Back to the Constitution: Francesco Benedetti interviews Ikhvan Gerikhanov

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Gerikhanov, when talk about a constitution started?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Why did Dudayev want Imaev in that role?

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

What activities did the Constitutional Court perform?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

Dzhokhar Dudaev votes in the elections of 27 October 1991

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


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

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



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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FREEDOM SOLD OR WAR BOUGHT? – REFLECTIONS BY APTI BATALOV (part 1)

I believe I am not mistaken when I say that one of the tragedies of the Chechen people originated on the day when Chechnya proclaimed itself an independent state. After choosing the first president, the Chechens naively believed that Russia would respect their choice. After all, Yeltsin said “take all the freedom you can swallow!” The Chechens did not know that “Swallowing freedom” they would regurgitate their blood.

The conquest of freedom

The Russians did not recognize the presidential elections held on October 27, 1991 in Chechnya. Rejecting any possibility of peaceful separation from Chechnya, the Kremlin has focused on the definitive solution of the Chechen “problem”. In planning actions against Chechen sovereignty, it was obvious that the Russian government would prioritize provocative and subversive activities, and this was evident from the growing activity of pro-Russian provocateurs on the territory of Chechnya. Funded and armed by Moscow, the leaders of the “anti-Dudaevites” began to form criminal groups under the cover of political slogans, calling themselves “opposition of the Dudaev regime”. In reality, the ideologues of this movement were full-time agents of the Russian special services and, following the instructions of the Lubyanka , they caused a civil war in the Chechens. Through these ” Mankurts ” [1], in the first half of the 90s of the twentieth century, Chechnya was transformed into a land of internal contrasts and social instability. Having already gained political independence from Moscow, many officials who held high positions in the state did what they could to discredit the idea of independence. With their actions they compromised the government, corrupted it, doing everything to make the Chechens repent of their choice. Every day, these people desecrated the idea of a free and sovereign state, and achieved many successes in this action, furthering the premises of the 1994/1996 Russo-Chechen War.

However, one detail had not been taken into consideration: the war imposed by the Kremlin would have ignited the genetic memory of the Chechens. All the people, with rare exceptions, took up arms and stood up to defend that choice. Evidently, after receiving the order to intensify their activities, the Russian special services agents began to increase their efforts to destabilize the political, economic and social situation throughout the Ichkeria territory. By sowing discord among the leaders of the state, creating an atmosphere of mutual distrust and enmity in the relations between yesterday’s comrades, the Russian mercenaries achieved the objectives set by Moscow. Instead of rallying around the president, in this hard and difficult time for the fate of the Chechen nation, and exercising their authority to defend and strengthen the authority of Ichkeria, the leaders of the country faced each other in the political arena with every sort of intrigue, against each other, using their credit only for speculative and populist purposes. After withdrawing troops from Ichkeria in 1996, the Russians invaded it with their agents. Terrible times came for Ichkeria, banditry assumed the proportions of a national catastrophe, kidnapping and the slave trade became the profession of a significant part of the former freedom fighters, lack of work and poverty swelled the ranks of criminals.

Heroes yesterday, enemies today

Thus there was no effective authority in Ichkeria. The comrades in arms of the President of yesterday, having had the opportunity to strengthen it, did not do so, but rather, having become politicians, they were the real antagonists of the President, doing everything to weaken his power. On every occasion, and under various pretexts, his authority was undermined: not a day passed without some “emergency” directed against the President. At that time I was convinced that these antagonists wanted to break Maskhadov psychologically. Imagine the state in which a person subjected to daily torture can be, every day more sophisticated and insidious. One fine day, the President collapsed… all this turmoil around the presidency drove the people to despair, their faith in authority and yesterday’s heroes disappeared. Social inequality, the absence of any guarantee of security, corrupt authorities at all levels, poverty and devastation: the Chechen people faced the 1999 war in these conditions … With an economic blockade, political and information isolation in place, the Chechen leadership he had no way of adequately preparing for Russian aggression.

The signs that the Russians were preparing a new war against Ichkeria appeared as early as February – March 1999. In February 1999, a demonstration of many thousands of people was held in support of the President’s policy in the city of Dzhokhar [formerly Grozny, NDR ]. The participants in the demonstration approved and supported in unison Maskhadov, the foreign and internal policy he pursued, and expressed the desire and willingness to take up arms to restore order in the country. Two or three Russian journalists were present at this gathering, being able to work without any restrictions. They assured me that the Russian media would report the demonstration, but not a single TV channel mentioned it. On the other hand, Russian public opinion began to be influenced by the idea that Maskhadov was a weak and indecisive person, that he had lost the support of the people, that power in Ichkeria was in the hands of the field commanders, that banditry and the slave trade flourished in Ichkeria. Obviously it would be wrong to deny these claims, which were partly true, but that the people did not support Maskhadov, or that he was weak, that was an absolute lie. The Chechen people had responded to the President’s appeal, and were willing to defend him. But the Russian media hid this fact from their audience. As for the field commanders, most of them obeyed without question the President and Commander the Chief of the Armed Forces.

But, as they say, no family is without monsters. On the occasion of the second anniversary of the signing of the Peace Treaty between Ichkeria and Russia on May 12 , 1997, well-organized celebrations were held in the city of Dzhokhar: events were held in the city center, horse races were held on the outskirts of the capital, with prizes in prize money, including “VAZ” 6 car models. It was a bright and festive day, during which the Ichkeria leadership showed all its desire for peace with Russia. Once again, Russian TV reporters worked on the event, as always without restrictions. And once again the media did not say a single word about the fact that similar celebrations were held in the city of Dzhokhar. All of this suggested that there would be no celebration the following year.


[1] Figuratively speaking, the word ” mankurt ” refers to people who have lost touch with their ethnic homeland , who have forgotten their kinship . For further information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mankurt

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.

MEMOIRS OF A CHECHEN FARMER

Story of Khamzat

I was born in 1959. From 1989 to 1992 I was a public figure and I participated in the socio-political life of our Achkhoy -Martan district of the Chechen Republic. At the first democratic elections of perestroika, I was elected representative in the municipality of the village of Achkhoy – Martan and helped to carry out an agrarian reform, thanks to which the first private farms in the district appeared, with the acquisition of owned land. I participated in the presidential and parliamentary elections of 27 October 1991 as a member of the district electoral commission, for the elections of the first President, Dudaev, and of the first independent parliament, in 1997 I was a member of the electoral committee of Aslan Maskhadov. From 1992 to 2002, I continued my social and political work, and organized my farm. In April 2004 I emigrated to Poland, from November 2004 to today I live in a small French town in the Vendée department.

The 90s, for me, were the happiest time of my life. At that time I was younger. But that’s not it. It was the sense of freedom that pervaded everyone.

The origins

Between the end of 1988 and the beginning of 1989 the Komsomol Secretary for the Achkhoy – Martan District, Ruslan Ezerkhanov , began to oppose the then First District Secretary of the CPSU, Ruslan Bazgiev , exploiting the Glasnost and the recognized freedom of speech. from Gorbachev’s Perestroika. At the time, the District Committee, headed by Bazgiev, was the local governing body. Due to his pressure, Ezerkhanov was removed from his post, so he began to mobilize people against the district authorities. I immediately joined him, and together we formed a movement called the Popular Front. We wanted to implement Perestroika in our territory. At that moment I met Ruslan Kutaev, who participated in political life at the national level and supported us in every possible way.

The Popular Front arose spontaneously in many cities of Chechnya, and Bisultanov was only its best-known figure. He was a participant in the Kavkaz association, whose organizers were Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Movladi Ugudov, Lecha Umkhaev, Yusup Elmurzaev and others, and whose purpose was to steer Chechnya in the right direction. It was they who gave a name to the informal movement that was developing in the country, calling it the Popular Front for assistance to Perestroijka. After some time Bisultanov was expelled from this group, constituting the Popular Front (devoid of other attributes) and began holding demonstrations in Gudermes, against the construction of a biochemical plant for the production of lysine, an enzyme that serves to grow the muscle mass of cows. As it later became known, he had been introduced into the movement with the sole purpose of promoting the appointment of Zavgaev as First Secretary of the Regional Party Committee, and then of directing the movement of the masses in his direction. To do this, he needed to weaken the position of Yandarbiev and his comrades in the struggle, not giving them the opportunity to influence the course of the processes taking place in the Republic.

After the abolition of article 6 of the USSR Constitution “On the leadership role of the CPSU”, instructions for the transfer of powers to representative councils elected by regular elections were sent to the District Committee. We had those instructions from a member of the Committee, who secretly sympathized with us. We began to study these directives as we prepared for the elections of local deputies. On February 15 , 1990, we started demonstrating against the First Secretary, Bazgiev . At that time the leadership of our movement, in Achkhoy – Martan, had passed from Ezerkhanov to Shepa Gadaev, future deputy of the republic. I had known Gadaev for many years already. He had helped me when, in 1984, due to a conflict with the manager of the hospital where I worked, I was illegally fired. Gadaev was a lawyer, and with his help I was able to return to work, remaining there for more than ten years. He was a brilliant man, very competent, who was not afraid to confront power. Perhaps that is why, unfortunately, in 1996 he was kidnapped and killed. Most likely his opposition to Bazgiev has something to do with it, but at the time the investigation was never carried out, and the culprit of his murder was never found.

Land reform

Let’s go back to 1990. The gathering we organized lasted seven and a half days, and in the end Zavgaev removed Bazgiev. At the next party meeting, Shepa Gadaev was elected in his place. We had achieved our first victory. Thus, we continued the preparation for the elections for the District Council, and the Village Council, and in the elections we managed to conquer many positions, assigning them to people loyal to our movement. Among these was also: I was one of the 30 members of the Village Council. Me and a colleague we were the promoters of the creation of an alternate commission for the implementation of the agrarian reform in our village.

At that time the Soviet central government had already passed three laws: the “Land Code of Russia”, the “Peasants and Agriculture Law” and the “Land Reform Law”, all of which went in the direction of restoring private property. of the land, but the domination of the bureaucracy and the party slowed down all initiatives, and blocked reforms. Yeltsin, in Moscow, had issued a resolution on the imposition of land reform, allowing the District Committees to set up farms by allocating up to 10% of the arable land of the Sovkhozes and Kholkhozes to private companies. The Land Commission we set up immediately appealed to this right, requisitioning 150 hectares of arable land from one Sockhoz and another 64 (later increased to 75) from another, and set up private farms on these land. Even today, 15 of the farms built on the smaller land are still fully operational. The others, unfortunately, closed due to various reasons. I, too, set up my own private farm on land alienated from the Commission. Then I formed a consortium of farms, called “Commonwealth”, leading it until 2004. I am convinced that it was also thanks to the consortium that these farms managed to survive. The assignment of the lands was made on the basis of the applications submitted by the citizens who intended to work on it. One of these questions was asked by my father, and when the privatization of the land began, he too got his piece of land. As far as I know, the land allocation was not affected by corruption. Of course, the head of the process, Mitrishchev, gave land to three of his brothers, favoring them, even if none of the three managed to build solid companies. But in general, farmers got their land without having to pay bribes. The agrarian reform continued even after independence, because the Parliament, once elected, published a law identical in all respects to the Russian one (only the title changed: from “Russia” to “Chechnya”), however limiting the size maximum of the land that can be sold by each state-owned company to 50 hectares. State funds were also allocated to finance the start-up of agricultural activities: 10% of the budget allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture was donated to the Association of Republican Farmers, which assigned funds to new agricultural enterprises. These funds were not very large, and generally ran out by spring.

Between 1992 and 1994 I tried to set up a thriving farm. In two and a half years I put together a whole set of agricultural tools and machinery, including two tractors and a truck. I was the most successful farmer at that time, in Achkhoy – Martan. All the company’s products were brought to the markets of Grozny and Vladikavkaz. I took care of it personally, with my truck: I sold the products at the market or along the road, to the residents.

As time passed, land reform began to get bogged down. For the government, the issue was not considered a priority, as it was first necessary to obtain official recognition from the independent state. Local authorities were not interested in losing their power, and few attempts by deputies (including Shepa Gadaev ) to revive the privatization of land. The same agricultural reform was repeatedly contested.

From Committees to Prefects

When Dudaev became President and Parliament was elected, a very special situation developed in the Republic. District Committees hostile to Dudaev’s leadership began to sabotage the work of the new administration. On the contrary, the village administrations strongly supported the new course. There was, in essence, an intermediate level of administration that prevented the transmission of orders from the central government to the territory. For this reason, in one of our Popular Front meetings, we proposed to dissolve the District Committees and abolish that intermediate level, putting local administrations directly in contact with the Grozny government. Shepa Gadaev , who in the meantime had been elected deputy, was the promoter of this initiative in Parliament. Dudaev intervened, abolishing the District Committees and introducing the figure of the Prefect by presidential nomination. In our District the President appointed Alvi Khatuev , a former party official. He had been First Secretary of the Komsomol in our district, then he had run a small milk processing plant in the village of Valerik . In that capacity, he had made himself known and named Prefect. Khatuev never found a common language with local administrations, because there was no law that identified precisely what his rights and duties were. Parliament had not passed any, perhaps due to the inconsistency between the position of the president and the parliament in matters of strengthening district power structures. And in the subsequent elections for the village administration, Khatuev ran Mayor of Achkhoy – Martan and was elected.

ПЕРЕВОД НА РУССКИЙ ЯЗЫК

ВОСПОМИНАНИЯ ЧЕЧЕНСКОГО ФЕРМЕРА

История Хамзата

Я родился в 1959 году. С 1989 по 1992 год был общественным деятелем и участвовал в общественно-политической жизни нашего Ачхой – Мартановского района Чеченской Республики. На первых демократических выборах перестройки я был избран представителем в муниципалитете села Ачхой – Мартан и помог провести аграрную реформу, благодаря которой появились первые частные хозяйства в районе, с приобретением земли в собственность. Участвовал в президентских и парламентских выборах 27 октября 1991 года в качестве члена окружной избирательной комиссии, в выборах первого Президента Дудаева и первого независимого парламента, в 1997 году был членом избирательной комиссии Аслана Масхадов. С 1992 по 2002 год я продолжал свою общественную и политическую деятельность, организовал свое хозяйство. В апреле 2004 г. я эмигрировала в Польшу, с ноября 2004 г. по сегодняшний день живу в маленьком французском городке в департаменте Вандея.

90-е годы для меня были самым счастливым временем в моей жизни. В то время я был моложе. Но это не так. Это было чувство свободы, которое пронизывало всех.

Истоки

В период с конца 1988 по начало 1989 года секретарь ВЛКСМ Ачхой – Мартановского района Руслан Езерханов начал противодействовать тогдашнему первому районному секретарю КПСС Руслану Базгиеву , эксплуатируя гласность и признанную свободу слова. от горбачевской перестройки. В то время местным органом управления был райком во главе с Базгиевым . Из-за его давления Эзерханова сняли с поста, поэтому он начал мобилизовывать людей против районных властей. Я сразу же присоединился к нему, и вместе мы сформировали движение под названием «Народный фронт». Мы хотели осуществить перестройку на нашей территории. В тот момент я познакомился с Русланом Кутаевым , который участвовал в политической жизни на национальном уровне и всячески поддерживал нас.

Народный фронт возник стихийно во многих городах Чечни, и Бисултанов был лишь самой известной его фигурой. Он был участником объединения «Кавказ», организаторами которого были Зелимхан Яндарбиев, Мовлади Угудов, Леча Умхаев, Юсуп Эльмурзаев и другие и целью которого было направить Чечню в нужное русло. Именно они дали название развивавшемуся в стране неформальному движению, назвав его Народным фронтом содействия Перестройке . Через некоторое время Бисултанов был исключен из этой группы, составившей Народный фронт (лишенный других атрибутов) и начал проводить демонстрации в Гудермесе, против строительства биохимического завода по производству лизина, фермента, служащего для роста мышечной массы коровы. Как потом стало известно, он был введен в движение с единственной целью способствовать назначению Завгаева первым секретарем обкома партии, а затем направить движение масс в его сторону. Для этого ему нужно было ослабить позиции Яндарбиева и его товарищей по борьбе, не дав им возможности влиять на ход процессов, происходящих в республике.

После отмены статьи 6 Конституции СССР «О руководящей роли КПСС» в райком было направлено указание о передаче полномочий представительным советам, избираемым на очередных выборах. Мы получили такие указания от члена Комитета, который тайно симпатизировал нам. Мы начали изучать эти директивы, готовясь к выборам местных депутатов. 15 февраля 1990 года мы начали демонстрацию против первого секретаря Базгиева . В то время руководство нашим движением в Ачхой – Мартане перешло от Езерханова к Шепе . Гадаев , будущий депутат республики. Я знал Гадаева уже много лет. Он помог мне, когда в 1984 году из-за конфликта с заведующей больницей, где я работал, меня незаконно уволили. Гадаев был юристом, и с его помощью я смог вернуться к работе, оставаясь там более десяти лет. Это был блестящий человек, очень грамотный, не боявшийся противостоять власти. Возможно, поэтому, к сожалению, в 1996 году его похитили и убили. Скорее всего, тут как-то связано его противодействие Базгиеву , но в то время следствие так и не было проведено, а виновник его убийства так и не был найден.

Земельная реформа

Вернемся в 1990 год. Организованная нами сходка длилась семь с половиной дней, и в итоге Завгаев снял Базгиева . На очередном партийном собрании Шепа На его место был избран Гадаев . Мы одержали первую победу. Таким образом, мы продолжили подготовку к выборам в районный совет, в сельсовет, и на выборах нам удалось отвоевать многие должности, закрепив за ними лояльных нашему движению людей. Среди них было и: Я был одним из 30 членов сельсовета. Мы с коллегой были инициаторами создания альтернативной комиссии по проведению аграрной реформы в нашем селе.

В то время советское центральное правительство уже приняло три закона: «Земельный кодекс России», «Закон о крестьянах и сельском хозяйстве» и «Закон о земельной реформе», все из которых шли в направлении восстановления частной собственности. земли, но господство бюрократии и партии тормозило все инициативы и блокировало реформы. Ельцин в Москве издал постановление о проведении земельной реформы, разрешающее райкомам создавать фермы путем выделения до 10% пахотных земель совхозов и колхозов частным компаниям. Земельная комиссия, которую мы создали, тут же апеллировала к этому праву, реквизировав 150 га пашни у одного совхоза и еще 64 (впоследствии увеличенных до 75) га у другого, и устроив на этих землях частные хозяйства . Даже сегодня 15 ферм, построенных на меньшей земле, все еще полностью функционируют. Остальные, к сожалению, закрылись по разным причинам. Я тоже завел свое личное хозяйство на земле, отчужденной от Комиссии. Затем я сформировал консорциум ферм под названием «Содружество», руководил им до 2004 года. Я убежден, что в том числе благодаря консорциуму эти фермы смогли выжить. Назначение земель производилось на основании заявлений, поданных гражданами, намеревавшимися на них работать. Один из таких вопросов задал мой отец, и когда началась приватизация земли, он тоже получил свой участок. Насколько мне известно, при отводе земли коррупция не затронула. Разумеется, руководитель процесса Митрищев отдал землю трем своим братьям, благоволя к ним, даже если ни одному из троих не удалось построить солидные компании. Но в целом крестьяне получали землю без взяток. Аграрная реформа продолжалась и после обретения независимости, потому что парламент, будучи избранным, издал закон, идентичный во всех отношениях российскому (изменено только название: с «России» на «Чечня»), однако ограничив максимальный размер земли что может быть продано каждой госкомпании до 50 га. Государственные средства были также выделены для финансирования начала сельскохозяйственной деятельности: 10% бюджета, выделенного Министерству сельского хозяйства, было передано Ассоциации республиканских фермеров, которая выделила средства для новых сельскохозяйственных предприятий. Эти средства были не очень велики и обычно заканчивались к весне.

Между 1992 и 1994 годами я пытался создать процветающую ферму. За два с половиной года я собрал целый набор сельскохозяйственных орудий и техники, включая два трактора и грузовик. Я был самым успешным фермером в то время, в Ачхой – Мартане . Вся продукция компании была выведена на рынки Грозного и Владикавказа. Я об этом заботился лично, на своем грузовике: продавал продукты на рынке или по дороге, жителям.

Со временем земельная реформа захлебнулась. Для правительства вопрос не считался первоочередным, так как сначала нужно было получить официальное признание со стороны независимого государства. Местные власти не были заинтересованы в потере своей власти, и немногочисленные попытки депутатов (в том числе Шепы Гадаев ) возродить приватизацию земли. Та же аграрная реформа неоднократно оспаривалась.

От комитетов к префектам

Когда Дудаев стал президентом и был избран парламент, в республике сложилась совершенно особая ситуация. Райкомы, враждебные дудаевскому руководству, стали саботировать работу новой администрации. Наоборот, сельские администрации решительно поддержали новый курс. Был, по сути, промежуточный уровень управления, препятствовавший передаче приказов от центральной власти на территорию. Поэтому на одном из собраний Народного фронта мы предложили распустить районные комитеты и упразднить этот промежуточный уровень, поставив местные администрации в непосредственный контакт с грозненским правительством. Шепа Гадаев , который тем временем был избран депутатом, был инициатором этой инициативы в парламенте. Вмешался Дудаев, упразднивший райкомы и введший фигуру префекта по выдвижению президентом. В нашем округе президент назначил Алви Хатуев , бывший партийный деятель. Он был первым секретарем комсомола в нашем районе, потом руководил небольшим молокоперерабатывающим заводом в деревне Валерик . В этом качестве он заявил о себе и был назначен префектом. Хатуев так и не нашел общего языка с местными администрациями, потому что не было закона, который точно определял бы его права и обязанности. Парламент так и не принял, возможно, из-за несогласованности позиций президента и парламента в вопросах усиления районных властных структур. А на последующих выборах в айыл окмоту Хатуев баллотировался на пост главы айыл окмоту Валерика и был избран.