Will war in Chechnya be ended?

There is a sudden change in Chechen war. Every day we hear news of successes of Russian military.
Majority of news relates to killing or capturing terrorist leaders. Gelaev and Basnuklaev have been killed, former “Defense Minister” Magomed Khambiev surrendered. What is really going on in Chechen Republic?

Is there a possibility that President of unrecognized Republic Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov will surrender like Chechen leader Shamil did 150 years ago?

It is hard to give a definite answer under such complicated circumstances. Every detail, from amount of weapons the Chechen terrorists have to the special features of character of Chechen nation, should be taken into account. It is not easy to define what kind of “victory” Russia needs in this war.

The Kremlin’s position is straight: there are illegal military units terrorizing civilians and attacking Russian Army. All their actions are absolutely criminal, there is nobody to negotiate with and no reason for negotiations. “Russia does not negotiate with terrorists, Russia kills them”. Residents of Chechnya have made their choice by voting for the Draft of Chechen Constitution and electing new Head of Chechen Republic in September.

Such a position does not allow to comprehend many details. Meanwhile, conflicts between nations relate to the most complicated ones, their roots are deep in history and the opponents do not understand rational arguments.

Obviously, Chechens had no right to make rebellion, overthrow the legitimate government, declare their separation from Russia, create military units and fight. Proclaiming independence of Chechen Republic produced only bad results: the republic has been ruined by war, thousands of people have been killed and hundreds thousands have been made refugees. However, the common sense sphere ends up at this point  and people start living and acting by other principles.

The entire history of the Chechen conflict has lasted since 1991, it is the history of irrational and deadly actions. Did anything threaten to Chechen nation in August 1991 when people came out on the streets to overthrow Communist leader Doku Zavgaev representing Russian authorities? Was the religion of Chechens banned and new deportation of Chechens prepared? No, at that point the federal authorities became extremely weak, and the republics could demand from Moscow whatever they wanted, and achieve these demands in a peaceful way, like Tatarstan. However, we know from history - when the authorities satisfy rebels’ demands, the rebels may want more, they are not satisfied with what they accomplished, and this may result in revolution.

The choice of military-oriented scenario made by Chechen leaders, played fatal role. Chechen people supported Dudaev and did not think much of the consequences. When Moscow finally tried to intervene after becoming tired of bloody crimes in Russia, Chechens opposed this intervention. Two circumstances: rude actions of Russian military and Chechens’ genetic inclination to help people of their nationality- contributed to the conflict.

In 1996 Chechen separatists seemed to achieve their goals by humiliating Russia and making it sign the peace treaty with them. However, the separatists seem to have always wanted to make the things worse. In 1999 they made military raid in Dagestan. Maskhadov, Basaev and their accomplices cause Russian military response and deploying Russian troops in Chechnya. However, ordinary Chechens still did not condemn these criminal leaders.

“Chechen rebel leaders” activity is supported by “common people”. These “common people” are wise. When Russia presses them, they support the new Constitution of Chechen Republic and new President Akhmad Kadyrov, but if Russian troops leave, these people will be glad to kill Kadyrov and everybody who cooperated with Russian authorities. In December 1995 Chechens elected Doku Zavgaev the President, and in 1997 they elected the President absolute antipode to Zavgaev – Aslan Maskhadov.

It is not the leaders what matters. Killing and capturing terrorist leaders produces little changes. After Arbi Baraev was killed, his nephew Movsar Baraev arrived in Moscow and conducted terrorist acts. There is no guarantee that there will not appear some new “Baraev” in Chechen mountains.

The problem is about re-educating Chechen people and convincing them that being under Russian jurisdiction will bring then benefits. This is an extremely hard job. The task of Russian authorities is persuading Chechens to become preoccupied with material wealth and the opportunity to make savings, and such Chechens will not tolerate terrorists in their land.

So far, Russian authorities are too much in propaganda. Killing some leaders of the separatists has become adjusted to the Russian presidential elections purposefully. Vladimir Putin came to power as the proponent of military resolution for Chechen conflict. Chechnya is still a wound to him. Everybody forgot his promises made four years ago – to destroy the separatists. In any case, there is no hope for the terrorists while Vladimir Putin is in power. He will never agree to negotiations with Aslan Maskhadov. This means prolonging the current situation in Chechnya for 4 more years.

Maksim Artemiev

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Author`s name Evgeniya Petrova