Here, however, a great many of the components of the ex-USSR have been facing another major problem: Under Soviet nationality policy the different peoples of the U.S.S.R. were trapped in the midst of three incompatible processes - nation-building by the different titular groups, the construction of 'Soviet patriotism' and the forging of 'proletarian internationalism'. Suggested is the need for a collective initiative in joining for a rewriting of history and a redefinition to be given to cultural heritages and it is stated that this is a great need for the Chechen people in the following paragraph:" (Gammer, 2002)
In tradition Chechens either have subscribed to the Sunni Islam Shafi'I Islam, which is the least as to restrictions as any other form in Islam and is not a faith that is laced with intolerance. Sufis are the most peaceable of the Muslims and is focused on spirituality as well as tolerant treatment of others, education and beliefs are more important that are revenge for wrongs. Women are accepted as being equal member of society among the Chechen Sufis. The women are included in the role of righting and in the event of a divorce it is the man who is the main caregiver to the children in the Chechen society. The many years of warring with and being ruled by the Soviet Union has effectively erased the memory of the knowledge in religion out of the minds of the Chechen people.
The Russian Rule of Chechnya
There exists a long history in relation to the Chechen people in their struggle for independence from the harsh and violent rule of Russia. From the year 1824 until the year 1859, the communist Revolution of 1917 was witness to Dagestan making a declaration of independence with the Bolshevik forces once again conquering the North Caucasian Republic in 1919 but due to support given the Islamic rebels by the Bolsheviks the anti-Bolshevik forces were forced to withdraw into retreat. The year of 1921 was witness to the setting up of Socialist Autonomous Mountain Republic that was comprised of the Chechens, Ingush, Ossetian, Kabardians, Balkans, and Karachai. In the year of 1988 a proposal was put forth for the construction of a biochemical plant in the area and the resulting upheaval was instrumental in the formation of the Chechen-Ingush Popular Front. The purpose was quickly shifted in focus from the concern of environmental to being a national concern. The election of Zqvgayev to the position of First Secretary of the Communist party of the Chechen-Ingush Republic occurred in 1989. The Chechen National Congress was formed in 1990 with independence being declared by the CNC. The Separation of the Ingustetia and Chechnya occurred in September 1991 and when the Soviet Union collapse the Chechen people declared independence. From the year 1991 to the year 1994 there was no de facto rule over Chechnya by the Soviet Union.
In December of 1994 Russia advanced into the Chechen capital of Grozny and the fighting began but by the summer of 1996 the Chechen people took back the capital city and once again defeated a super military force with their pitiful and shabby military. Yet, it is a mere few years later when the Chechens:
Again face the horror of war, military occupation and slaughter. Again their lands have become the crucible for Russian domination over the Caucasus. And once again the 'new world order' steps bravely into the bloody footprints of the old." (Ferguson, 2000)
Until sometime in the 19th century the Chechen people were fairly set apart from the civilization in their fortress of mountains and forest lands. Their language was their own and their society was a reflection of the simple way in which they lived. The Chechen were independent with solidarity in family for survivals' sake and grew their own food and raised livestock. These people were those who kept to themselves and didn't interfere with or intermingle in the society of the world. They wanted only to be left to their autonomous way of life to live. However when the Russians invaded threatening everything dear to the Chechen people those same peace-loving individuals resisted and did so with lusty vigor to protect their family and their homes. The following is stated of the 19th century revolt of the Chechen people:
The Chechen revolt of the 19th century is therefore one of the most remarkable instances of resistance in modern history. It inspired the opponents of reaction across Europe, including Marx, who sang the praises of its foremost leader, Imam Shamil. The wars lasted half a century, costing Russia tens of thousands of lives. At their heigh 200,000 tsarist troops were engaged. In 1845 in just one of many Russian defeants, Vorontsov's 10,000 strong army was forced to flee having lost three generals and 3,628 men."(Ferguson, 2000)
The Russians have been determined over a very long period of time to crush the Chechnya people. The problem for the Russians is that the Chechen resistance appears to be unlikely and nigh impossible to completely crush. Propaganda by the Russian government has attempted to portray the people of Chechen as criminals complete with violence and organized crime. The Director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Valery Tishkov stated that:
Thanks to the press not only in Russia but also abroad, an image of Chechen Mafia has been created, which neutralized the sympathy towards Chechen that had formed internationally as a result of the war. If it were not for that image, the international support for Chechens that had formed internationally as a result of the war. If it were not for that image, the international support for Chechens would have been more tangible. I also do not agree with the image of "medelin cartel' or criminal zone that has been thrust upon people. This is a myth. The level of crime among Chechens is no higher than among Georgians or Russians in Moscow. At the same time Chechens are very successful in business." (Maltsev, 2002)
In a report entitled Chechnya must have the Right to Self-Determination: Down with the Russian Invasion of Chechnya" stated is that the facade of fighting rebels was used by Russia for the justification of having invaded Chechnya. The Chechens as well as the people who are dark skinned are being forced out of Moscow and various areas of Russia. It was reported that Yeltsin and the parties in opposition are attempting to shift the Russian workers from righting the elements that actually have caused them to exist in abject poverty and under such heavy oppression. Reported in the Chechen Times on the 5th of March 2005 it was related that the President of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov had said that a meeting of only thirty minutes would be sufficient to end the ten-year running conflict in the country of Chechnya. The President stated that a dialogue in peace could be established by an agreement:
Guaranteeing the security of the Chechen people and protecting Russia's regional and defense interests in the North Caucasus." (the Chechen Times, 2005)
Further stated is that:
The Russian government has labeled President Maskhadov a terrorist and has persistently refused to deal with him. It promises to pay a $10.3 million reward for his capture. Maskhadov was elected president of Chechnya in 1997 and removed from power in fierce fighting with the invading Russian army in 1999." (the Chechen Times, 2005)
Reported in the February 3, 2005 issue of the Chechen Times was the following figures of individuals that have come missing during the counter terrorist operation of clean up in Chechnya.
Some stated 1,500 have disappeared
Human Right Activists state 5,000 have gone missing since 1999
These figures clearly indicate something amiss in the fact that 3,500 individuals either missing or not is quite a large discrepancy. The article states that human rights activists have been and continue to disappear regularly. (the Chechen Time, 2005) However, conflicting reports are the norm in relation to the events occurring in Chechnya and the actions on the part of the Soviet Government towards the Chechen people.
This work has sought to determine and to confirm that the Chechen people are not a warring group of people and that Russia has used propaganda and other devices in the perpetration of their violence and abuse on the people of Chechnya. The historical and background evidence clearly shows that the Chechen people are actually a peace loving and tolerant people. Determined is a description that can be used in relation to the Chechen people as to their strength in standing against the opposition and never giving in.
The thesis of this work is supported through the references already stated within this work and finally upon the February 24, 2005 report in the Chechen Times that relates the fact that the European Court of Human Rights has passed…