The First Chechen War: A Background
The First Chechen War was a conflict rooted deep in the history of the Chechnya region.According to Lee Banville of PBS, the area first experienced turmoil as early as 1722, betweenMuslim tribes and czarist Russian forces, setting the tone for the region. It would continue to beembroiled in intermittent violence into the mid-twentieth century when, in 1944, Stalin deportedthe Chechens as part of his communist purges.
This event exaggerated the ethnic divisionexisting between Chechens and Russians, and, in 1991, Chechnya ultimately seized theopportunity brought by the collapse of the Soviet Union to demand its independence. Led by ex-Soviet General Dudayev, the Chechens (under the title “Republic of Ichkeria”)
refusedPresident Yeltsin’s offer of autonomy, electing to instead fight Russia as secessionists. Thisdeclared independence would go formally unrecognized by both the Kremlin and theinternational community, and armed conflict shortly followed, with Russian troops enteringChechnya in 1994.
After nearly two years, the conflict reached its climax.
The capital of Chechnya, Grozny, had been captured by the Russian forces, but lack of pay, quality equipment,and training for Russian soldiers led to the city being recaptured by the severely outnumberedChechen rebels.
An estimated 100,000 people had lost their lives over the course of theconflict, and both international and domestic pressure resulted in an agreement that would put “afull stop to 400 years of history” of violence, according to then-president of Russia Boris N.Yeltsin.
In May of 1996, about 18 months into the conflict, leader of operations for RussiaGeneral Lebed, and Aslan Maskhadov, who replaced the deceased Dudayev as leader of therebels, engaged in their first formal negotiations and developed the Khasavyurt Accord in neutralKhasavyurt, Republic of Dagestan.
This accord formed the framework for what would then