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Russia engaging in crimes against humanity in Chechnya; Chechnyan rebels reciprocating:

Russia considers Chechnya an integral part of their country. There is a strong faction within Chechnya who seek independence from Russia.

The Chechens "periodically rose up against Russian rule through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. In 1944 Josef Stalin ordered the deportation to central Asia of the entire Checen population, along with other nationalities in the many as three out of every ten Chechens died during the transport, resettlement, and first years of exile. Not until 1957 were the Chechens allowed to return home." 1 The leaders of Chechnya declared independence in 1991, as the former Soviet Union dissolved. The resultant two year war, 1994 to 1996, resulted in more than 30,000 civilians killed and 600,000 displaced. The most recent conflict has raged there since 1998-SEP-5. 2

The Russian army maintained at least four major concentration camps which were used to detain Chechens. At least one, known as PAP-1, held up to 1,500 Chechens, many of whom were never seen again. A makeshift incinerator cremated four or five bodies at a time. "A central torture room inside the building still remains much as it was during the war, with a large metal rack with blood stained spikes and steel cables hanging from the walls. On one wall, it is still visible where a Chechen under detention wrote his name in blood. Blood stains on the floors and walls are highly visible throughout the facility." 3

Russia has blamed Chechen terrorists for blowing up apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk. Chechen Muslim terrorists held hundreds of people hostage in a Moscow theatre during 2002-OCT. During the attack by the Russian army which ended the event, over 100 hostages died of gas poisoning. Since then, "Russian forces in Chechnya have stepped up the widely hated 'mopping-up' operations in which villages are sealed off while troops search for suspected rebels and collaborators." Rumors of numerous civil rights abuses have trickled out of Chechnya. Cechens "...are disappearing, possibly seized by Russian servicemen or police...troops summarily kill some of the people they seize, spirit away others -- whose corpses are occasionally found months later --commit rapes and loot houses" 2 Small groups of people have been tied together and blasted into small fragments by explosives. "...the Russians fail to thoroughly investigate most human rights violations. They also impede access of international monitors, human rights and humanitarian organizations, and the media." 1

Chechens and human rights groups have denounced the operations. On 2002-JUL-23, Aaron Rhodes, Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) reported: "According to documentation by Memorial Society and other organizations, the numbers of disappeared Chechens in recent months indicate a continuing assault against the Chechen people that borders on genocide...While the authorities will release no statistics, human rights groups are documenting that between 50 and 80 bodies are recovered in average months and in some months the figures are much higher, and they report a clear trend toward increasing overall numbers of the disappeared. Those dying are generally men in their productive years. The Russian forces are often beheading, burning, mutilating, and otherwise destroying bodies in an effort to conceal this process, which is claiming more lives than the bombings during the two military campaigns. But corpses are also often dumped alongside highways." 4 The IHF meeting in the Hague in mid 2002-NOV, revealed the existence of evidence of murders, torture, and rape by Russian forces...It urged the Russian government to find a political solution to the long-standing conflict. Russia denies its troops have been involved in systematic abuses, and says excesses are investigated and punished. IHF executive director Aaron Rhodes told a news conference in the Netherlands: "We have characterized this as a process which borders on genocide." 2

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Terrorist attack on a Russian school:

On 2004-SEP-01, a group of about 30 to 35 Chechnyan terrorists, apparently supported by some Arab-Muslim militants, attacked a school in Beslan. That is located in the southern Russian region of North Ossetia, near Chechnya. Hundreds of hostages -- many of them children -- were killed when a standoff turned violent. The Terrorism Knowledge Base reports 338 fatalities and 727 injuries. There is a suspicion that the violence was triggered by an accidental explosion.

"A Russian parliamentary commission, which was set up, found in January 2005, that high-ranking military officials aided the gunmen in this attack. Two such officals [sic] were arrested. On 4 March 2005, Russian police killed five people and arrested four in a raid in southern Russia. All nine were suspected of helping to plan this attack." 6

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The causes of the Chechynan - Russian war are complex. Racial, cultural, economic, religious, memories of past atrocities, and other factors are probably involved. The vast majority of Chechens are Muslim. Most Russians identify themselves as Atheist or Christian. Religion appears to play a relatively small role. However, according to the Voice of the Martyrs: "In January 2002 Chechen rebels included all Christians on their list of official enemies, vowing to 'blow up every church and mission-related facility in Russia'." 5

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  1. "Genocide Watch: Chechnya," Committee on Conscience, United States Holocaust Memories Museum, at:
  2. "Leader of Chechens ashamed of 'missing:' Moscow-backed official critical; Too many residents disappearing, he says," Associated Press & Reuters, in the Toronto Star, 2002-NOV-16, Page A29.
  3. "Genocide in Chechnya," Chechen Republic Online, at:
  4. "Adequate Security Conditions Do Not Exist in Chechnya to Allow the Return of Displaced Citizens --A Pattern of Increasing Disappearances 'Bordering on Genocide'," International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, at:
  5. "Russia," The Voice of the Martyrs, at:
  6. "Incident Profile," Terrorism Knowledge Base, at:

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Site navigation: Home page > Laws & religion Genocide > here

or: Home page > Religious violence Genocide > here

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Copyright 2001 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-NOV-16
Latest update: 2005-APR-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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