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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.

MEMORIES OF WAR: FRANCESCO BENEDETTI INTERVIEWS ILYAS AKHMADOV

There are people who know the recent history of Chechnya, and people who do not know it. The former will certainly have heard of Ilyas Akhmadov. The latter, perhaps, no. Yet this interview, as well as others that will follow, could be interesting for both categories of readers. The first will have the opportunity to read, after a long time, the words of one of the most brilliant exponents of independent Chechnya. The latter will be able to learn from his personal history, which is imbued with this interview, a great deal of things about themes that, in the West, seem to remain in the memory like scenes from an old film. I think about words like “idealism”, “sacrifice” “war” “exile”. Experiences that literally constitute the framework on which our societies have been built. But which, after so many years of apparent peace, seem to be difficult to visualize as real experiences. The following words are not the plot of a series airing on Netflix. These are the real experiences of a man who could look down on many of Western political leaders, strengthened by the gigantic proof that he, like thousands of his compatriots, have given to the world. And yet he accepted to share his memories with me with a disarming kindness and availability.


This interview is one of the conversations I am having with Akhmadov as part of the making of the second volume of “Freedom or Death! History of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria ”. In the course of these conversations some of his memories emerged which, although they could not find a place in a historical monograph, in my opinion represent a human heritage that could not in any way be sacrificed.

FRANCESCO BENEDETTI INTERVIEWS

ILYAS AKHMADOV

Your “Baptism by Fire” was between the Elektropribor factory, and the 2nd Sovkhoz, close to Staropromislovsky highway. Could you tell me about that fight?

I actually did very little at this fight, I was just a spectator. By the time I got there with another Chechen the fight was basically over. The Chechens were shooting at Russian soldiers who were running away. From our family’s house, the fight was approximately two or three bus stops away. Staropromislovsky highway is the longest road in Grozny and goes through the entire district. To describe what the fighting area looked like: it was at the northern edge of a suburb and a big field approximately three or four miles long laid ahead.  On the morning of the fight, my neighbor and I heard explosions. I only had two grenades and a pistol. He had a Kalashnikov. By the time we got there, there was a group of local volunteers and a unit of Gelayev’s men. I can’t recall who the leader of this volunteer group was, we had no time to ask –you often just ran from one unit to another trying to find someone that you knew.

We were at the end of the city and in front of us was a long field with state farms like Sovkhoz #2. The Russian column (under Pulikovsky’s command) had one self-propelled cannon 76 mm (самоходная артиллерийская установка САУ) several APCs, I don’t remember seeing any tanks. Their goal was to cross the long field and reach the highway which would allow them to move straight to the middle of the city.  I don’t think they thought they would encounter any heavy resistance from us. They began shooting and crossing the field. The first ACP rolled forward and it was followed by a self-propelled cannon. They reached the avenue intersection and several guys with grenade launchers took them out. The rest of the Russian force stopped their advance and spread out. It was then that I arrived and saw our men shooting at the retreating Russians. 

In total, it was not a big Russian column. There were around two or three platoons, several APCs.  3 APCs were destroyed –two that had actually entered the streets in addition to the ACP and self-propelled cannon that I just discussed. A combination of Gelayev’s men and a volunteer group were the ones who had taken them out with grenade launchers. The launchers were just basic RPG-7s and RPG-2s. I remember ten of fifteen Russian bodies at the north edge of the suburb. There were also probably some Russian bodies in the field that had been shot while trying to retreat. There was no ground attack again from that direction in the northwest on that day. A couple hours later though, helicopters attacked the area with rockets. Throughout the day, the Russians attacked along different sections of the long Staropromislovsky highway. In four or five other sections along the road I saw the same exact scenario as in the section I discussed. On the sections closer to the center of the city, however, I saw bigger columns and our resistance groups were greater too. There were a lot of Russian bodies and destroyed armored vehicles. 

Earlier you referred to a group of “local volunteers”. How were these units organized?

During the war, there were a lot of local volunteer groups of five or six men, sometimes they were all relatives. It was very important to find a group that you knew. If you linked up with someone from your village, street, block, or family then you had a 90% guarantee that they would not leave your body if you were killed or wounded. If no one from a group knew you, they didn’t want you. It was understandable from both sides. If something happened they wouldn’t be able to locate your relatives to bury you. It was very important to make sure you’d be returned to your family. 

What Memories do you he have about the so-called “New Year’s Onslaught?”   

*Ilyas paused for an unusually long time before beginning to answer *

We ran like mad in those days. I was trying to reach the Presidential Palace. Shamil was there as the chief of the Grozny garrison, with his men acting in the center of the city. I still only had two grenades and a pistol.  We were going through Staropromislovsky highway and hopped on a big truck with five or six fighters, one who was my relative under Gelayev’s command. He was a young man who died later form wounds.,. We reached the Printing House near the Red Hammer factory (Красный Молот) at the end of the highway. Everything was under heavy artillery. There was one civilian who had come to find his relatives and was on his way back to Shatoy. We went underneath the Printing House. There were many different groups. There was one commander, I can’t remember his name, but he asked if anyone wanted to step forward to help our sniper find the Russian sniper who was hitting our position. I volunteered and went up to the ninth floor with a borrowed Kalashnikov to protect our sniper. Just when we got to the top I remember the ground beneath me feet violently shaking. The artillery was battering the floor below us. We couldn’t find the enemy sniper because our sniper couldn’t properly work in that kind of chaotic situation. We went back downstairs. It’s a miracle we got back down.

The building was mostly empty but every now and then a Chechen would run up to the second or third floor and fire at Russian vehicles. When the Chechens took out an APC, and if was possible, they would run to find ammo in them. Also, the building was in the center of a lot of fighting and afforded an advantageous view in three directions. This is probably why the Russians worked so furiously to destroy it. Around 4 pm, the five fighters who I had hopped on the truck with and the civilian started towards the Presidential Palace only about 1.5 miles away. But, with the hell around us, that was a very long distance. It was difficult to understand where the Russians and Chechens were. You can imagine what it’s like when you put 100 hungry dogs in a cage, it was the same thing. 

We slowly ran from street to street trying to reach the Palace. The Russian artillery was working furiously. Sometimes in a small yard you’d see two or three explosions at the same time. When we reached some courtyard, there were two Russian babushkas asking for bread. We wanted to help but didn’t have anything and we strongly advised them to return to the basement. To ask for bread in the middle of this hell was almost funny. 

There was a row of buildings and we hopped from one to the other. Suddenly in front of us, two guys came out from behind a building. They both had black jeans and a black jean jacket. In those times, when someone didn’t have a uniform they would wear heavy duty jeans and a jean jacket. I was very surprised the way these two men jumped out from behind the corner, however. We stopped and looked. In those first few days, “Allah Akbar” became like a password to identify oneself as Chechen. It was very stupid because the Russians caught on and lured and killed some of our men this way. I was right behind of the men in my group, who was only able to let out “Allah–” to the two men who suddenly appeared, before my instinct kicked in and I tackled him to the ground.

The Chechen “uniform” was often just heavy-duty jeans, a jacket, and a wooly hat. These two men were wearing this uniform but something about their hat caught my eye. Hats have a folded band around their bottom but the band was very very thick on these two mens’ hats. I realized they were balaclavas which had been rolled up. They were the same balaclavas that the Russian spetsnaz especially used. The moment I tackled the friendly in front of me down, as he let out “Allah–”, these two Chechen men with rolled-up balaclavs started shooting and a platoon of Russians popped out from behind the corner and joined them. The knocked down man and I crawled into an open door of a government building on the right side of the street. The men who had been behind me ran into the same building but through a basement entrance. The Chechen collaborators and the Russians were ahead in the building diagonally from us on the left side of the street.   

The Russian babushkas, who had just asked us for bread, started pointing and yelling “они там, они там!” (They are there! They are there!) They were helping the enemy find us. I was laying down and the Russians started firing machine guns at the door we had entered through. I still only had a pistol and the other man had a Kalashnikov. He was very confused about where we had been fired upon from. I pointed out it was from the direction of the two Chechens who suddenly appeared in front of us. 

They started shooting into the building’s iron-bar windows one-by-one with the grenade launchers on their guns. We ran around inside the building as their hits got closer to us but everything was closed. The civilian we had met earlier when we were picked up on the way to the Printing House was actually killed by one of them in the basement. The grenade lodged into his chest and ripped everything open when it exploded.  The Chechens who had run into the basement were able to escape under the cover of smoke. They recovered the civilians’ body later that night. I was furious with the Russian babushkas who had pointed out where we were hiding. As the grenade launchers were exploding all around the building, we finally found one window on the other side, where the iron bars had been bent or destroyed for an opening, and left. We returned to the Printing House that night. The civilians’ body was brought back too. There was still shooting all around. This is how I spent my New Year’s, in this Printing House. 

I still think about those two babushkas…only ten minutes before they wanted our help and then wanted us dead moments later. I’m not sure what happened to them, we had a full-time job running. It took me three months to stop thinking about those two Chechens collaborators. It was a shock for me. It’s a miracle that in that mess my instinct caught onto their strange hats. This feeling saved my life. Unfortunately, that civilian had died in the fight. He was very calm and pleasant. When I had met him on the truck I observed him: very clean clothes and had just freshly shaven. We were all sweaty and muddied. He must have sensed he could die soon. It was important for Chechens to die clean. Poor guy, poor guy.

I remember when we had initially set out from the Printing House to the Presidential Palace there was a big square where mortars were falling heavily. We had to hit the ground and run a few times to cross it. When we had fully crossed I realized I was missing one of my nice leather gloves. It must have fallen out of my military cargo pants’ pocket. I could clearly see the dark glove on a white patch of snow. I had to run and hit the ground twice before I reached it. Mortars were still falling. No one understood what the hell I was doing. When I returned they asked me what I had run for, I smiled and held my glove up in the air. “Idiot!”

To sum up those days, it was a complete mess. You could pass a courtyard that was ours five minutes ago and now the Russians’. Nobody had any plan. When you saw the enemy, you shot him. The Russians were bewildered. I remember our first POWs said that their goal was just to reach the Presidential Palace and were promised that the second we saw their tanks we would run away. When they infiltrated the city with all their armor, the Chechens gave them hell. Imagine a bull entering a China shop and being teased from all directions, the Russians similarly went crazy and just shot everywhere, everywhere at anything that moved!

Between Janurary 19 and February 4, 1995, federal forces consolidated control on the left bank of the Sunzha., while the Chechen forced barricaded themselves on the right bank. Do you remember those days? 

During the devastating crush of the Russian advance on New Year’s their troops were stopped from the north direction, which was under the command of General Rokhlin, at Pervomaiskaia Street. From the northwest direction General Pulikovsky was stopped and his forced were almost entirely wiped. From the west came Bibchev. He was stopped by peaceful civilians for a couple days. Surprisingly he didn’t act cruelly like other Russian generals. This slowed him down.    

They understood their initial plan wouldn’t work. It was a crazy circus. The tanks were running in every direction disoriented. Some Russian troops were surrounded and tried to run out of the city. On every street, Chechens were darting around with grenade launchers and when they heard tanks they raced to destroy them. I even once saw two Chechen groups fist fighting each other over who had taken out a tank and who deserved the loot inside. It was hard to understand who specifically destroyed this or that tank because you had guys shooting down on them from many different floors, from different buildings, and directions. 

Problems like that were symptoms of our disorganized volunteers. Two men: Basayev and Maskhadov went through tremendous trouble to organize the chaos. You must imagine without real communication –we had only a few Motorolas in those days. I think the chief of staff of Basayev’s battalion Eli aydayev whose nickname was “Lambada” he had a Motorola radio. After he was killed we stopped using them for some time because the Russians found his radio. He was killed in a train depot where there was terrible fighting and his body was never found. We had some military radios from destroyed APCs but it was very easy for the Russians to intercept our communications. 

Even now, I can’t understand how Basyev and Maskhadov accomplished what they did. They were always on the frontlines, moving around and between all the troops, speaking with them, forcing them to organize.  When Babichev and Rokhlin linked somewhere around Red Hammer Factory and the Printing House they cut the Staropromislovsky district from the rest of the city. By that point there was no point in defending the district because the main movement was moving towards the city, where the Presidential Palace was.  

When the Russians linked, they started using bombs which cut through floors and can reach underground shelters. It was after they started using these bombs, which hit underground shelters where even Russian POWs were being treated, that Dudayev and Maskhadov made the decision cross to the other side of the Sunzha. They conducted a very organized crossing even as they faced heavy advancement from Russians. It was much more organized than the first few days of the war. In the New Year’s days, everyone was his own field marshal.   

When our forced first crossed the Sunzhun Maskhadov established headquarters at City Clinic #4. Then the headquarters was moved to a massive branch of the Red Hammer factory. We later joked about it, because his staff had a habit of setting up HQ under very big and visible landmarks/buildings.  

What did you do after Grozny fell in Russian hands?

After New Year’s I had a severe cold and was coughing up blood so I spent two weeks with some relatives in a village. When I came back to the city in the end of January I ran into Basayev. Shamil said to me, “What are you doing running around, you will probably die in 2-3 days. You can be much more profitable in some other way, Maskhadov is organizing headquarters and he could use someone like you to help.”    

He told me to go to Argun and find Abu Mosayev, the head of our Department of State Security (Департамент государственной безопасности ДГБ) . I went and I knew no one there. After several hours, I noticed that security began looking at me suspiciously. They probably thought: “This guy, with ammunition, speaking with no one, and walking around the grounds is up to no good.” However, one afternoon came Basayev’s brother and he introduced me to Abu Movsayev. In the evening Basayev came himself. I remember he never had guards around him, he drove alone. During this time, the sky was on fire with non-stop Russian artillery. Basayev took me to Maskhadov, this was my first time seeing him in person. 

I know Maskhadov and his staff continued to look at me a little suspiciously.Initially I wasn’t aware of the competition and rivalries between different commanders. I eventually understood that they thought Basayev had sent me to be his “fly on the wall” on Maskhadov. It was funny. I was insulted because I was very idealistic in my young days and this war –we had to fight together. Despite this, at that time Maskhadov and Basayev were quite close. You must admit these two men organized these chaotic –you can call them “tribe warriors” haha – into one of the best infantry in the world in just a couple weeks, all the while, dealing with one of the biggest armies in the world But yes, competitions eventually did begin to develop between the two of them.

Over the next few days, the Chechen garrison withdrew from grozny, while Basayev covered the barricaded retreat in the suburb of Chernorechie. Do you remember of those days?

Basayev did a great job with the retreat. There were many groups which did not have communications with the main forces and he checked every corner of the territory under his control, gathered all these men, and orchestrated an orderly retreat.  The timing of our retreat from one bank of the Sunzha to the other was partly unintentional. We could have held out a little longer. There were many different groups running around shooting any enemy they could see. Some of these units were not from the city and they would come fight for 3-4 days then retreat home and relax for a week in their village. When a unit from the city would ask where they were going it was embarrassing to say, “we are going home” so they said, “we have orders from Maskhadov to retreat” instead. With no way to verify this and no reason to doubt their explanation, they also retreated across the Sunzha. This sped up the move to the other bank.

We only had a few walkie-talkies and some radios from APCs but they were useless. The Russians easily intercepted them and of course we did the same to them. We would sometimes trick them. Basayev took lessons from that retreat to the other side of the Sunzha and applied them to the major retreat out of Grozny. He went around to all the units, checked them, organized and grouped them in Chernorechie and took them through the forest.   The Russians tried to mine the retreat from the air. Despite this, someone told me that Basayev was at the head of the column with a little stick in his hand, singing some funny Russian song and led the way. After they crossed the Chernorechie forest they split off into two directions. Those who fought under Gelayev went southwest. Baseyev’s group went to the Southeast. 

Dudayev and Maskhadov made the right decision to retreat into the mountains. Just outside of the city, it was harder to fight the Russians. It was like position war: we built many trenches but had no artillery and the Russians were firing at the positions all the time. To describe the big picture: First we moved from one bank of the Sunzha to the other after causing devastating casualties for the Russians. Afterwards, the Russians used a new tactic: they bombarded blocks for 2-3 weeks before slowly moving in. When our fighters destroyed a tank and killed 10-15 of their men the Russians would retreat and resume their bombardment then slowly return. We ran out of ammunition after a while. Many Chechens died trying to retrieve trophies form Russians. We turned away many civilian volunteers who wanted weapons because we simply did not have enough to give out and we didn’t need people needlessly dying.  We didn’t have real, organized communication.

It was obvious we could not keep the city for too long hence why we moved. Dudayev and Gelayev were doing a good job organizing in the Southwest direction. Maskhadov and Basayev were responsible in the Southeast. The retreat from Grozny was very well organized. It wasn’t a frantic run like the Russians pretend. You can really only appreciate how well executed it was if you could be there to see it and understand that 70% of out fighters hadn’t even served in the military. The Russian advancement was absolutely massive. Their artillery was raining down constantly. Except on some foggy days, their aviation was always working too. When I came back to Grozny 6 months later, for peace negotiations, I didn’t recognize the neighborhood I was raised in all my life. It was a half-empty desert.   With only a few thousand men with Kalashnikovs, it was a miracle what was accomplished.

Есть люди, которые знают новейшую историю Чечни, и есть люди, которые ее не знают. Первые наверняка слышали об Ильясе Ахмадове. Последнего, пожалуй, нет. Тем не менее, это интервью, как и другие, которые последуют за ним, могут быть интересны обеим категориям читателей. У первых будет возможность прочесть спустя долгое время слова одного из самых ярких представителей независимой Чечни. Последний сможет узнать из своей личной истории, которой проникнуто это интервью, многое о темах, которые на Западе, кажется, остаются в памяти, как сцены из старого фильма. Я думаю о таких словах, как «идеализм», «жертва», «война», «изгнание». Опыт, который буквально составляет основу, на которой построено наше общество. Но которые, после стольких лет кажущегося покоя, трудно представить себе как реальные переживания. Следующие слова не являются сюжетом сериала, транслируемого на Netflix. Это реальный опыт человека, который мог смотреть свысока на многих западных политических лидеров, подкрепленный гигантскими доказательствами, которые он, как и тысячи его соотечественников, дал миру. И все же он согласился поделиться со мной своими воспоминаниями с обезоруживающей добротой и доступностью.


Это интервью — одна из бесед, которые я веду с Ахмадовым в рамках работы над вторым томом «Свобода или смерть! История Чеченской Республики Ичкерия». В ходе этих бесед всплыли некоторые его воспоминания, которые, хотя и не нашли места в исторической монографии, представляют собой, на мой взгляд, человеческое наследие, которым ни в коей мере нельзя пожертвовать.

РУССКАЯ ВЕРСИЯ

(translated by google translate)

ФРАНЧЕСКО БЕНЕДЕТТИ ИНТЕРВЬЮ

ИЛЬЯС АХМАДОВ

Ваше «Крещение огнём» было между заводом « Электроприбор » и 2- м совхозом, недалеко от Старопромысловского шоссе. Не могли бы вы рассказать мне об этом бое?

Я на самом деле очень мало сделал в этом бою, я был просто зрителем. К тому времени, когда я добрался туда с другим чеченцем, драка уже практически закончилась. Чеченцы стреляли по убегавшим русским солдатам. От дома нашей семьи драка была примерно в двух-трех автобусных остановках. Старопромысловский тракт — самая длинная дорога в Грозном и проходит через весь район. Чтобы описать, как выглядел район боевых действий: он находился на северной окраине пригорода, а впереди лежало большое поле примерно в три или четыре мили в длину. Утром в день боя мы с соседом услышали взрывы. У меня было только две гранаты и пистолет. У него был автомат Калашникова. К тому времени, как мы туда добрались, там была группа местных добровольцев и отряд гелаевцев . Не могу вспомнить, кто был лидером этой волонтерской группы, у нас не было времени спрашивать – часто просто бегали из одной части в другую, пытаясь найти кого-то, кого вы знали.

Мы были в конце города и перед нами было длинное поле с совхозами вроде Совхоза №2. Русская колонна (под командованием Пуликовского ) имела одну самоходную пушку калибра 76 мм ( самоходная артиллерийская установка САУ ) несколько БТРов, танков не помню. Их целью было пересечь длинное поле и добраться до шоссе, которое позволило бы им двигаться прямо в центр города. Я не думаю, что они думали, что столкнутся с сильным сопротивлением с нашей стороны. Они начали стрелять и переходить поле. Первый АКП покатился вперед, а за ним самоходная пушка. Они дошли до перекрестка проспекта, и несколько парней с гранатометами их вывели. Остальные русские силы остановили свое продвижение и рассредоточились. Именно тогда я приехал и увидел, как наши люди стреляют в отступающих русских.

В общем, это была не большая русская колонна. Там было около двух-трех взводов, несколько БТРов. Было уничтожено 3 БТР — два, которые действительно вышли на улицу, в дополнение к БТР и самоходной пушке, о которых я только что говорил. Уничтожили их из гранатометов сочетание людей Гелаева и группы добровольцев. Пусковыми установками были обычные РПГ-7 и РПГ-2. Я помню десять из пятнадцати русских тел на северной окраине пригорода. Также, вероятно, в поле было несколько русских тел, расстрелянных при попытке отступления. Наземных атак с этого направления на северо-западе в тот день больше не было. Однако через пару часов вертолеты обстреляли район ракетами. В течение дня русские атаковали на разных участках протяженного Старопромысловского шоссе. На четырех или пяти других участках дороги я видел тот же самый сценарий, что и на участке, который я обсуждал. Однако на участках ближе к центру города я видел большие колонны, и наши группы сопротивления тоже были больше. Там было много трупов русских и уничтоженной бронетехники.

Ранее вы упомянули группу «местных волонтеров». Как были организованы эти отряды?

Во время войны было очень много местных добровольческих отрядов по пять-шесть человек, иногда все они были родственниками. Было очень важно найти группу, которую вы знали. Если вы связывались с кем-то из вашей деревни, улицы, квартала или семьи, то у вас была 90% гарантия, что они не покинут ваше тело, если вас убьют или ранят. Если никто из группы не знал вас, они не хотели вас видеть. Это было понятно с обеих сторон. Если что-то случится, они не смогут найти твоих родственников, чтобы похоронить тебя. Было очень важно убедиться, что тебя вернут в семью.

Какие воспоминания у него остались о так называемом «Новогоднем натиске»? 

*Ильяс непривычно долго помолчал, прежде чем начать отвечать*

Мы бегали как сумасшедшие в те дни. Я пытался добраться до Президентского дворца. Шамиль был там начальником грозненского гарнизона, а его люди действовали в центре города. У меня остались только две гранаты и пистолет. Мы ехали по Старопромысловскому шоссе и запрыгнули в большой грузовик с пятью-шестью бойцами, один из которых был моим родственником под командованием Гелаева . Это был молодой человек, который позже скончался от ран. Добрались до Типографии возле завода Красный Молот ( Красный Молот ) в конце шоссе. Все было под тяжелой артиллерией. Был один гражданский, который пришел за своими родственниками и возвращался в Шатой. Мы прошли под типографией. Было много разных групп. Там был один командир, я не помню его имени, но он спросил, не хочет ли кто-нибудь выйти вперед, чтобы помочь нашему снайперу найти русского снайпера, который бил по нашим позициям. Я вызвался и поднялся на девятый этаж с одолженным автоматом Калашникова, чтобы защитить нашего снайпера. Когда мы добрались до вершины, я помню, как сильно тряслась земля под моими ногами. Артиллерия била по полу под нами. Мы не могли найти вражеского снайпера, потому что наш снайпер не мог нормально работать в такой хаотической ситуации. Мы вернулись вниз. Это чудо, что мы вернулись вниз.

В основном здание было пустым, но время от времени чеченец забегал на второй или третий этаж и стрелял по российским машинам. Когда чеченцы доставали БТР, и если была возможность, то бегали искать в них патроны. Кроме того, здание находилось в центре многочисленных боев и открывало выгодный обзор в трех направлениях. Вероятно, поэтому русские так яростно работали над его уничтожением. Около 16:00 пятеро боевиков, с которыми я запрыгнул в грузовик, и гражданский двинулись к Президентскому дворцу всего в 1,5 милях от меня. Но с адом вокруг нас это было очень большое расстояние. Трудно было понять, где русские и чеченцы. Вы можете себе представить, каково это, когда вы сажаете в клетку 100 голодных собак, это было то же самое.

Мы медленно перебегали с улицы на улицу, пытаясь добраться до Дворца. Яростно работала русская артиллерия. Иногда в маленьком дворе можно было увидеть два-три взрыва одновременно. Когда мы дошли до какого-то двора, там две русские бабушки просили хлеба. Мы хотели помочь, но у нас ничего не было, и мы настоятельно посоветовали им вернуться в подвал. Просить хлеб посреди этого ада было почти смешно.

Там был ряд зданий, и мы прыгали от одного к другому. Внезапно прямо перед нами из-за здания вышли двое парней. У обоих были черные джинсы и черная джинсовая куртка. В те времена, когда у кого-то не было униформы, они носили плотные джинсы и джинсовую куртку. Однако меня очень удивило, как эти двое мужчин выскочили из-за угла. Мы остановились и посмотрели. В те первые дни «Аллах Акбар» стало паролем для идентификации себя как чеченца. Это было очень глупо, потому что русские спохватились, заманили и таким образом убили некоторых наших людей. Я был прямо позади мужчин в моей группе, которые смогли только выкрикнуть «Аллах-» двум мужчинам, которые внезапно появились, прежде чем мой инстинкт сработал, и я повалил его на землю.

Чеченская «униформа» часто состояла из плотных джинсов, куртки и шерстяной шапки. Эти двое мужчин были одеты в эту форму, но что-то в их шляпах привлекло мое внимание. Шляпы имеют загнутую ленту по низу, но на этих двух мужских шапках она была очень- очень толстой . Я понял, что это балаклавы, которые были свернуты. Это были те самые балаклавы, которые специально использовал русский спецназ. В тот момент, когда я сбил стоящего передо мной товарища, когда он выкрикнул «Аллах-», эти двое чеченцев в закатанных балаклавах начали стрелять, а из-за угла выскочил взвод русских и присоединился к ним. Сбитый с ног мужчина и я пролезли в открытую дверь правительственного здания на правой стороне улицы. Мужчины, которые были позади меня, вбежали в то же здание, но через подвальный вход. Чеченские коллаборационисты и русские были впереди в здании по диагонали от нас по левой стороне улицы.

Русские бабушки, которые только что попросили у нас хлеба, начали тыкать пальцем и кричать « они там , они там !” (Они там! Они там!) Они помогали врагу найти нас. Я лежал, и русские начали стрелять из автоматов по двери, через которую мы вошли. У меня по-прежнему был только пистолет, а у другого был автомат Калашникова. Он был очень озадачен тем, откуда нас обстреляли. Я указал, что это было со стороны двух чеченцев, внезапно появившихся перед нами.

Они начали по очереди стрелять в решетчатые окна здания из гранатометов на автоматах. Мы бегали по зданию, пока их снаряды приближались к нам, но все было закрыто. Гражданский, которого мы встретили ранее, когда нас подбирали по дороге в типографию, на самом деле был убит одним из них в подвале. Граната застряла в его груди и разорвала все вокруг, когда взорвалась. Забежавшим в подвал чеченцам удалось спастись под прикрытием дыма. Позже той же ночью они обнаружили тела мирных жителей. Я был в ярости от русских бабушек, указавших, где мы прячемся. Поскольку гранатометы взрывались по всему зданию, мы, наконец, нашли одно окно с другой стороны, где железные прутья были согнуты или разрушены для открытия, и ушли. В тот же вечер мы вернулись в типографию. Привезли и тела мирных жителей. Вокруг по-прежнему стреляли. Вот так я провел свой Новый год в этой типографии.

Я до сих пор думаю о тех двух бабушках… всего за десять минут до того, как им понадобилась наша помощь, а через несколько мгновений хотели, чтобы мы умерли. Не знаю, что с ними случилось, у нас была постоянная работа. Мне потребовалось три месяца, чтобы перестать думать об этих двух чеченских коллаборационистах. Это был шок для меня. Это чудо, что в этом беспорядке мой инстинкт уловил их странные шляпы. Это чувство спасло мне жизнь. К сожалению, этот гражданский погиб в бою. Он был очень спокойным и приятным. Когда я встретил его в грузовике, я увидел его: в очень чистой одежде и только что выбритым. Мы все были потные и грязные. Он, должно быть, чувствовал, что скоро может умереть. Чеченцам было важно умереть чистыми. Бедняга, бедняга.

Помню, когда мы сначала двинулись от Типографии к Президентскому дворцу, там была большая площадь, где сильно падали минометы. Нам пришлось удариться о землю и несколько раз пробежать, чтобы пересечь ее. Когда мы полностью перешли дорогу, я понял, что мне не хватает одной из моих красивых кожаных перчаток. Должно быть, он выпал из кармана моих армейских штанов. Я отчетливо видел темную перчатку на белом пятне снега. Мне пришлось бежать и дважды удариться о землю, прежде чем я добрался до нее. Минометы все еще падали. Никто не понимал, какого черта я делаю. Когда я вернулся, меня спросили, зачем я бежал, я улыбнулся и поднял перчатку в воздух. “Идиот!”

Если подытожить те дни, то это был полный бардак. Можно было пройти мимо двора, который пять минут назад был нашим, а теперь русским. Ни у кого не было никакого плана. Когда ты увидел врага, ты выстрелил в него. Русские были в недоумении. Помню, наши первые военнопленные сказали, что их цель — просто добраться до Президентского дворца, и нам пообещали, что, как только мы увидим их танки, мы убежим. Когда они проникли в город со всей своей броней, чеченцы устроили им ад. Представьте быка, входящего в посудную лавку и дразнящего со всех сторон, русские точно так же сходили с ума и просто стреляли везде, везде во все, что двигалось!

В период с 19 января по 4 февраля 1995 г. федеральные силы закрепили контроль на левом берегу Сунжи, а чеченцы вынуждены были забаррикадироваться на правом берегу. Вы помните те дни?

Во время сокрушительного разгрома наступления русских под Новый год их войска были остановлены с северного направления, находившегося под командованием генерала Рохлина, на улице Первомайской . С северо-западного направления генерал Пуликовский был остановлен и его силы были почти полностью уничтожены. С запада пришел Бибчев . На пару дней его остановили мирные жители. Удивительно, но он не действовал жестоко, как другие русские генералы. Это замедлило его.

Они поняли, что их первоначальный план не сработает. Это был сумасшедший цирк. Танки беспорядочно бежали во все стороны. Некоторые русские войска попали в окружение и попытались бежать из города. На каждой улице чеченцы шныряли с гранатометами и, услышав звуки танков, бросились их уничтожать. Я даже однажды видел, как две чеченские группировки дрались друг с другом на кулаках из-за того, кто подбил танк и кто заслужил награбленное внутри. Трудно было понять, кто именно уничтожил тот или иной танк, потому что по ним стреляли ребята с разных этажей, из разных зданий и направлений.

Подобные проблемы были симптомами неорганизованности наших волонтеров. Двое мужчин: Басаев и Масхадов приложили огромные усилия, чтобы организовать хаос. Вы можете себе представить без реального общения – у нас тогда было всего несколько Motorola . Кажется, у начальника штаба басаевского батальона Эли Айдаева по прозвищу «Ламбада» был радиоприемник «Моторола». После того, как его убили, мы на какое-то время перестали их использовать, потому что русские нашли его рацию. Он был убит в вокзале, где шли страшные бои, и его тело так и не нашли. У нас было несколько военных радиостанций с уничтоженных бронетранспортеров, но русским было очень легко перехватить наши сообщения.

Я до сих пор не могу понять, как Басиев и Масхадов сделали то, что сделали. Они всегда были на передовой, двигались вокруг и между всеми войсками, разговаривали с ними, заставляли их организовываться. Когда Бабичев и Рохлин соединились где-то в районе завода «Красный Молот» и Типографии, они отрезали Старопромысловский район от остального города. К этому моменту оборонять район уже не было смысла, так как основное движение двигалось в сторону города, где находился Президентский дворец.

Когда русские связались, они начали использовать бомбы, которые пробивают полы и могут достигать подземных укрытий. Именно после того, как они начали использовать эти бомбы, попавшие в подземные убежища, где лечили даже русских военнопленных, Дудаев и Масхадов приняли решение перебраться на другой берег Сунжи. Они провели очень организованную переправу, несмотря на сильное продвижение русских. Она была гораздо более организованной, чем в первые дни войны. В новогодние дни каждый был сам себе фельдмаршал.

Когда наши форсировали первый раз Сунжунь Масхадов создал штаб в городской поликлинике № 4. Затем штаб-квартира была перенесена в огромный филиал завода «Красный молот». Мы потом шутили по этому поводу, потому что у его сотрудников была привычка устраивать штаб под очень большими и заметными достопримечательностями/зданиями.

Что вы делали после того, как Грозный попал в руки русских?

После Нового года я сильно простудился и кашлял кровью, поэтому две недели провел у родственников в деревне. Вернувшись в город в конце января, я столкнулся с Басаевым. Шамиль сказал мне: «Что ты тут бегаешь, наверное, через 2-3 дня умрешь. Вы можете быть гораздо выгоднее как-то иначе, Масхадов занимается организацией штаба, и он мог бы использовать кого-то вроде вас в помощь».

Он сказал мне ехать в Аргун и найти Абу Мосаева , начальника нашего Департамента госбезопасности ( Департамент государственный безопасность ДГБ ). Я пошел, и я никого не знал там. Через несколько часов я заметил, что охрана начала подозрительно на меня смотреть. Они, наверное, подумали: «Этот парень, с боеприпасами, ни с кем не разговаривающий, а по территории гуляющий, никуда не годится». Однако однажды днем пришел брат Басаева и представил меня Абу Мовсаеву . Вечером пришел сам Басаев. Я помню, что вокруг него никогда не было охраны, он ездил один. Все это время небо непрерывно обстреливала русская артиллерия. Басаев повел меня к Масхадову , я впервые увидел его лично.

Я знаю, что Масхадов и его штаб продолжали смотреть на меня несколько подозрительно . Поначалу я не замечал конкуренции и соперничества между разными командирами. В конце концов я понял, что они думали, что Басаев подослал меня, чтобы быть его «мухой на стене» на Масхадове . Это было забавно. Меня оскорбили, потому что я был очень идеалистичным в молодости и на этой войне — мы должны были сражаться вместе. Несмотря на это, в то время Масхадов и Басаев были достаточно близки. Вы должны признать, что эти двое мужчин организовали этих хаотичных — можно назвать их «воинами племени», ха- ха , — одну из лучших пехотинцев в мире всего за пару недель, все это время имея дело с одной из самых больших армий в мире. мир Но да, соревнования со временем начали развиваться между ними двумя.

В течение следующих нескольких дней чеченский гарнизон отошел из Грозного , а Басаев прикрывал забаррикадированный отход в пригороде Черноречья . Вы помните те дни?

Басаев отлично справился с отступлением. Было много групп, не имевших связи с основными силами, и он проверил каждый уголок подконтрольной ему территории, собрал всех этих людей и организовал организованное отступление. Время нашего отступления с одного берега Сунжи на другой было отчасти непреднамеренным. Мы могли бы продержаться еще немного. Вокруг бегало много разных групп, стреляя в любого врага, которого они могли видеть. Некоторые из этих отрядов были не из города и приезжали воевать на 3-4 дня, потом отступали домой и неделю отдыхали в своей деревне. Когда часть из города спрашивала, куда они идут, было неловко говорить «мы идем домой», поэтому вместо этого они говорили: «у нас есть приказ от Масхадова отступать». Не имея возможности проверить это и не имея причин сомневаться в их объяснении, они также отступили за Сунжу. Этот ускорил переход на другой берег .

У нас было всего несколько раций и несколько радиостанций от БТРов, но они были бесполезны. Русские легко их перехватили, и мы, конечно, сделали с ними то же самое. Иногда мы их обманывали. Басаев извлек уроки из этого отступления на другой берег Сунжи и применил их к крупному отступлению из Грозного. Он обошел все части, проверил их, организовал и сгруппировал в Черноречье и провел через лес. Русские пытались заминировать отход с воздуха. Несмотря на это, кто-то сказал мне, что Басаев шел впереди колонны с палочкой в руке, пел какую-то веселую русскую песенку и шел впереди. После того, как они пересекли Чернореченский лес, они разделились на два направления. Те, кто воевал под Гелаевым, ушли на юго-запад. Группа Басеева ушла на юго-восток.

Дудаев и Масхадов приняли правильное решение отступить в горы. Только за городом бороться с русскими было сложнее. Это было похоже на позиционную войну: мы построили много окопов, но не имели артиллерии, и русские все время стреляли по позициям. Чтобы описать общую картину: сначала мы перебрались с одного берега Сунжи на другой, причинив русским огромные потери. После этого русские использовали новую тактику: они обстреливали кварталы в течение 2-3 недель, прежде чем медленно продвигаться вперед. Когда наши бойцы уничтожали танк и убивали 10-15 человек, русские отступали и возобновляли обстрел, а затем медленно возвращались. Через некоторое время у нас кончились боеприпасы. Многие чеченцы погибли, пытаясь отобрать трофеи у русских. Мы отказали многим гражданским добровольцам, которые хотели оружия, потому что у нас просто не было достаточно, чтобы раздать, и мы не нуждались в том, чтобы люди умирали без нужды. У нас не было настоящего организованного общения.

Было очевидно, что мы не сможем удерживать город слишком долго, поэтому мы переехали. Дудаев и Гелаев неплохо организовывали юго-западное направление. Масхадов и Басаев несли ответственность на Юго-Востоке. Отступление из Грозного было очень хорошо организовано. Это не был бешеный бег, как притворяются русские. Вы действительно можете оценить, насколько хорошо это было сделано, только если вы могли быть там, чтобы увидеть это и понять, что 70% наших бойцов даже не служили в армии. Русское продвижение было абсолютно массовым. Их артиллерия сыпалась постоянно. За исключением некоторых туманных дней, их авиация тоже всегда работала. Когда через полгода я вернулся в Грозный для мирных переговоров, я не узнал район, в котором воспитывался всю свою жизнь. Это была полупустая пустыня. Всего несколько тысяч человек с автоматами Калашникова совершили чудо.

“BUCHA CECENA” – IL MASSACRO DI NOVYE ALDY

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

OPERAZIONE DI “PULIZIA”

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

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

IL MASSACRO

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

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

COPERTURE DI STATO

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

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

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

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

“Ci sono forze più pericolose di qualsiasi carro armato!” Il primo discorso di Dudaev

Il 23 Novembre 1990 si svolse la prima sessione (e anche l’unica con questo nome) del Congresso Nazionale Ceceno. Al termine di questo evento apparve al grande pubblico ceceno, per la prima volta, il Generale dell’Aviazione Dzhokhar Dudaev. Non ci dilungheremo sulle origini del congresso, né sulla figura di Dudaev quanto sulle parole che egli proferì. Il suo intervento giunse alla fine dei lavori del congresso, quando i delegati avevano già stabilito di votare una Dichiarazione di Sovranità della Repubblica Cecena, e di trasformare il congresso in una piattaforma politica permanente. Pubblichiamo le parole di Dudaev prima di tutto perché il testo integrale del discorso non è mai stato tradotto dal russo, e costituisce una fonte storica fondamentale per capire non soltanto la parabola politica del Generale, ma anche per inquadrare l’evoluzione intera del nazionalismo ceceno.

Il discorso di Dudaev al Congresso in lingua originale

Cari fratelli e sorelle. Cari compagni, nostri cari ospiti.

Mi congratulo sinceramente con voi e con me stesso per le prime ore e il primo giorno di cittadinanza di uno stato sovrano. La dichiarazione è stata adottata e sono pienamente convinto che anche se qualcuno avrà l’idea di opporsi, sarà un potenziale nemico del nostro popolo.

I delegati del congresso si sono assunti la straordinaria responsabilità di essere rappresentanti del popolo. L’annuncio di per sè non è così difficile. Ma c’è un detto saggio tra la gente: “non tirare fuori il pugnale senza bisogno, se lo tiri fuori, usalo”.

Il pugnale è sguainato. Ora dobbiamo pensare a come attrezzare uno stato sovrano. Questo è un processo estremamente delicato e complesso. Vorrei avvertire i miei compatrioti che il periodo più pericoloso riguardo a possibili provocazioni, condizionamento delle menti degli individui, che può portare allo spargimento di sangue, sta arrivando proprio ora. Ci sono forze sufficienti per questo. Il giovane che ha parlato prima ha rammentato il pericolo di un’aggressione con i carri armati. Il carro armato è vulnerabile. È ben visibile, puoi sdraiartici sotto con e farlo esplodere con le granate. Ci sono forze più pericolose di qualsiasi carro armato, aereo e qualsiasi arma. Edifici a sette piani (KGB) che si trovano sulla strada successiva. Anche se una persona siede in ogni loro ufficio, si può immaginare quali forze ci siano per questa repubblica. Non una sola repubblica autonoma ha un tale potenziale, anche solo in termini di edificio. Probabilmente anche in basso, un paio di piani sottoterra.

Non importa quanto sia difficile riconoscere e assumersi tale responsabilità: se la repubblica sovrana non avrà le sue forze di protezione, garanti della sicurezza della repubblica, e un Ministero dell’Interno, se non sarà nella disponibilità di effettuare una mobilitazione, di creare le proprie formazioni, una repubblica sovrana, nella fase attuale, non esiste.

Questo conferma il corso degli eventi, la lotta in corso in tutte le regioni. E come è stato detto qui, ora bisogna agire e non aspettare l’aiuto dall’esterno. Se presentiamo un disegno di legge, la mia personale convinzione è che la Russia dovrebbe restare più vicina. Dov’è il parlamento evoluto, dove sono le forze capaci, le forze della democrazia e il maestro generatore della perestrojka. E’ necessario presentare al dipartimento alleato tutti i resoconti di cui stiamo parlando per i danni che hanno subito i nostri piccoli e poveri popoli su questa terra.

L’edificio del KGB a Grozny prima della guerra

Il benessere che oggi è relativamente disponibile nella repubblica rispetto ad altre regioni ed è assicurato, in primo luogo, dalla flessibilità della dirigenza, a cui bisogna riconoscere il dovuto, e non meno dalla saggezza del popolo. Una terra bellissima, uno degli angoli più fertili, la natura fa nascere sempre belle persone: anima, corpo, spirito, volontà, carattere, tutte qualità naturali positive. Delle quali si parla molto…

Ho chiesto ai miei compatrioti di non rivolgere su di loro la gloria del passato, le migliori persone della Russia e di tutti i paesi del mondo hanno parlato di questa gloria. Quando noi stessi ne parliamo, significa che il potenziale spirituale della generazione attuale si è esaurito.

Sembrerebbe…

Quindi, ho tante proposte, che (se interessa il Comitato Organizzatore del Congresso), e con piena convinzione (se fino ad ora c’erano dubbi sulla possibilità di mantenere la democrazia, la creazione di uno Stato di diritto), allora giovani persone del Comitato Organizzatore, che nelle condizioni più difficili sono riuscite a convocare il Congresso del Popolo (l’organizzazione più alta del nostro tempo), poi c’è il potenziale dei giovani, c’è la forza dei giovani.

Il resto delle proposte sul Parlamento, se interessano alla Direzione e al Comitato Organizzatore, le manderò per iscritto.

Grazie per l’attenzione, buona fortuna e avanti.

Dudaev al Congresso del 1990

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dMayrbek Taramov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAYRBEK TARAMOV – MILESTONES OF CREATIVITY

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

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

Mairbek Taramov is the author of the following books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LA PACE PRECARIA – Il trattato di pace Russo – Ceceno

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

Il testo del trattato in inglese e in russo

IL TRATTATO DI MOSCA

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

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

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

Maskhadov ed Eltsin si stringono la mano

IL PARERE FAVOREVOLE

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

Accordi di Khasavyurt: Maskhadov e Lebed si stringono la mano

IL PARERE CONTRARIO

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

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

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

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

INDIPENDENZA “SOSPESA”

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

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

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

AKHMED ZAKAYEV AL TRIBUNALE INTERNAZIONALE DELL’AJA

Il Governo Zakayev ha organizzato una manifestazione davanti al Tribunale Penale Internazionale dell’Aja, per spingere la corte a prendere in esame la documentazione presentata nel 2018 inerente i crimini commessi dalle forze della Federazione Russa in Cecenia. Il raduno, documentato da NEP Prague, verrà proposto dall’emittente in una serie di video. Di seguito pubblichiamo il primo tra questi, corredato di sottotitoli in italiani realizzati da Francesco Benedetti

“Il Tribunale dell’Aia per Putin. 
Il Tribunale dell’Aia per la Russia. “
Sottotitoli in italiano