Open wound

Chechnya 1994-2003

In 1944, Stalin accused the Chechen people of collaboration with the Nazis and exiled them to central Asia and Siberia.

Over the following decade Soviet citizens of numerous ethnic backgrounds came to live in Chechnya, starting a process of integration. It was only in 1957, during Khruschev’s time, that the Chechens themselves slowly began to migrate back to their homeland.

With the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chechnya's goal to become an independent Islamic state received surprisingly little reaction from the Kremlin. The reply finally came in late 1994, as Yeltsin began to hint at an armed solution to the situation.

In December 1994, during a military build-up in Chechnya, Russia’s Defence Minister, Pavel Grachev, boasted that he would need only hours and one division of storm troopers to take the Chechen capital, Grozny. The attack began on New year's eve, 1994. It was to become the beginning of one hundred years of War.