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    Chechen Republic (Chechnya)


The Chechens were part of the multiethnic Alan state from the 8th century until its destruction by the Mongols in the 13th century. A mountain-dwelling people organized in clans, the Chechens first descended to the plains in the 15th and 16th centuries. There they both fought against and traded with the Russians and the Georgians. Beginning in the 16th century, the Caucasus became the focus of political and military competition between Safavid Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and tsarist Russia. In the mid-18th century Sheikh Mansur, a Chechen, led a resistance movement against the foreign invaders of the Caucasus. Mansur was captured by Russian forces in 1791 and died several years later. He remains a legendary national hero of the Chechen people.

In the decades that followed, the Caucasian Mountaineers began to forge economic ties with the Russians. Beginning in the 1840s another resistance movement formed in Chechnya and Dagestan under the leadership of Imam Shamil. Shamils rebellion successfully held off the Russians for more than a decade, but in 1859 it collapsed and Chechnya was annexed by the Russian Empire. The Chechens rebelled again during the civil war that followed theRussian Revolution of 1917, clashing with local Cossacks and the anti-Communist White forces as well as with the Communists Red Army. With the establishment of Soviet authority in the region, the Chechens joined with other peoples of the Caucasus to form the Republic of the Mountain Peoples in November 1920. Later, the Soviet government divided the North Caucasus along ethnic lines, separating the Chechen Autonomous Region from the Republic of the Mountain Peoples in 1922 and abolishing the republic itself in 1924.

During the 1930s Soviet leaders forced many of the Chechens onto collective farms and made efforts to restrict their religious practices. The Chechens suffered under these policies and fought fiercely for their beliefs and traditional way of life. In 1934 the Chechens and Ingush were united in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region within Soviet Russia. In 1936 the region was raised to the status of an autonomous republic. In February 1944, during World War II, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the Chechen and Ingush peoples of collaboration with the Nazis and deported them to Central Asia. The Chechen-Ingush republic was abolished and was not restored until January 1957, when its former inhabitants were allowed to return from exile.

By the end of XXI century Chechnya saw two wars with Russia. The first lasted from 1994 to 1996 and resulted in the country's de facto independence from Russia as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. The second war started in 1999 and sporadic fighting still continues in some areas.




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