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Published by Landyn W. Rookard

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Published by: Landyn W. Rookard on Dec 23, 2011
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 Peace in Chechnya: 1996-1997Landyn RookardPOLS 32220.1.2011
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
progress into a treaty signed May 12, 1997, in the Kremlin.
While this was significant in thatthrough the agreement the two principle sides “agreed to abjure forever the use of force or threatof force in resolving disputed issues,” the treaty left open the true identity of the ChechenRepublic of Ichkeria as something to be decided five years in the future, leaving the republic in astate of quasi-independent autonomy.
The document also guaranteed a degree of economicrestitution to the impoverished and war-ravaged Chechnya.
Factor: A compromise is negotiated via offers acceptable to all parties based on theirinterests
The two year conflict was brought to an end as the result of the timely presence of severalpeace-enabling factors. Among these was the presence of a compromise that was acceptable tothe parties at the time based upon their respective interests. In understanding how an agreementwas resolved between seemingly opposite parties, it is first crucial to consider these interests andthe ways they may vary from the publically projected positions. The Russian Federation had avested interest in maintaining its image. It had already lost 14 former Soviet republics with thebreakup of the USSR, and further secessions would have weakened its already-weathered façadeof stability. Furthermore, the Russian economy would have taken a hit if the republic that housedoil fields and an international oil pipeline connection successfully seceded.
Chechnya,meanwhile, sought independence in part as a mean to guarantee that the oppression of theChechen people by Russians (Stalin’s deportation of the entire ethnicity as an example) andsuppression of the majority Islamic religion of Chechnya could not occur again.These interests led to irreconcilable positions for the two parties: Russia refused to allowChechnya to secede while Chechnya sought recognized independence from the Federation. Onlyonce the parties had reached the point of stalemate, as both parties came to acknowledge after

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