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Russia: Annotated Timeline Of The Chechen Conflict

<div class="caption"><div class="watermark"> <a href="http://gdb.rferl.org/BD3C92AF-C58D-4802-B6C0-B93871602C4E_mw800_mh600.jpg" rel="ibox" title="A Grozny street in 2004 (RFE/RL)"> <img alt="A Grozny street in 2004 (RFE/RL)" src="http://gdb.rferl.org/BD3C92AF-C58D-4802-B6C0-B93871602C4E_w203.jpg" class="photo" border="0"></a></div><p>A Grozny street in 2004 (RFE/RL)</p></div>Below, RFE/RL presents a timeline of Russia's troubled relations with the North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya.


July 9, 2006: Radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev reported killed by an accidental blast while he and three other men were loading explosives into a truck in Ingushetia.


June 21, 2006: Doku Umarov takes over as the head of the Chechen resistance movement. He subsequently names radical field commander Shamil Basayev as his vice president and successor.


June 17, 2006: Chechen resistance President Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev is killed in a counterterrorism operation by Russian special forces troops.


December 2005: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening session of Chechnya's new parliament and pledges support for reconstruction efforts.


November 2005: Tight security in place for republican parliamentary elections, which Moscow regards as important for normalization but by separatist forces as a charade. More than half the seats are won by pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party.


October 2005: Radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev issues a statement saying he was in overall command of the forces that launched an assault on official buildings in Nalchik, the capital of the North Caucasus Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria on 13 October. Dozens die in clashes between Russian forces and rebel fighters.


May 2005: Newly named Chechen resistance President Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev signals end to policy of seeking peace talks with Moscow and decrees the organization of a Caucasus Front, in apparent bid to widen conflict with Russia beyond the borders of Chechnya.


March 2005: Russian forces announce that Chechen resistance President Aslan Maskhadov has been killed in a "special operation" in Chechnya.


February 2005: Maskhadov calls a cease-fire and urges the Russian authorities to begin peace talks. The pro-Kremlin Chechen leadership dismisses his overtures and says he should give himself up.

Alu Alkhanov at his 2004 inauguration (epa file photo)


October 2004: Kremlin-backed former Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov sworn in as president of Chechnya following August elections.


September 2004: Hundreds are killed and wounded -- many of them children -- when a siege at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, ends in bloodbath. Putin blames international terrorists with links to Chechen separatist fighters. Maskhadov condemns the seizure of the school, but says it was carried out by people whom he describes as "madmen" motivated by desire to seek revenge for Russian actions against their own loved ones in Chechnya.


July 2004: Acting pro-Kremlin Chechen President Sergei Abramov survives an explosion.


June 2004: Dozens killed in neighboring Ingushetia in attacks reported to have involved hundreds of gunmen. Putin blames Chechen fighters controlled by Maskhadov. Maskhadov's spokesman denies the latter's direct involvement, but acknowledges that Chechen volunteers took part.


May 2004: Pro-Kremlin Chechen President Akhmed-Hadji Kadyrov and numerous others are killed in Grozny bomb blast.


February 2004: Former acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev is killed in explosion in Qatar, where he had been living for three years. Two Russian intelligence agents are subsequently sentenced to life in jail by a Qatari court for the killing, although the Russian government denies involvement.


December 2003: Russian forces kill about a dozen Chechen fighters after band of rebels crosses border into neighboring Daghestan and takes hostages.


October 2003: Akhmed-Hadji Kadyrov is elected president of the pro-Kremlin Chechen administration.


May 2003: More than 50 people are killed in a suicide bombing of a government building in the north of Chechnya. Two days later, Kadyrov has a narrow escape in another suicide attack that leaves more than a dozen dead.


March 2003: The Russian authorities hail a Chechen referendum vote in favor of a new constitution stipulating that the republic is part of the Russian Federation. Human rights groups, among others, are strongly critical of Russia for pushing ahead with referendum before peace has been established.


December 2002: Captured rebel field commander Salman Raduyev dies in a Russian prison under unclear circumstances.


December 2002: Suicide bomb attack on the Grozny headquarters of the Russian-backed Chechen government kills around 80 people. Rebels claim responsibility.


October 2002: Chechen rebels seize a Moscow theater and hold about 800 people hostage. Most of the rebels and some 120 hostages are killed when Russian forces storm the building.


August 2002: Georgia accuses Russia of carrying out air raids in the Pankisi Gorge, close to Georgia's border with Chechnya. Moscow says the gorge is a safe haven for Chechen rebel groups and presses for an international operation to flush them out.


July 2002: UN suspends aid operations in Chechnya for six months after the kidnapping of a Russian aid worker.


December 2001: Captured rebel field commander Raduyev sentenced to life imprisonment on murder and terrorism charges.


November 2001: First official negotiations since 1999 as Maskhadov's representative, Akhmed Zakayev, and Russia's Viktor Kazantsev hold talks on a peace settlement in Moscow.


September 2001: In the aftermath of the 11 September attacks on the United States, Putin urges the Chechen resistance to "halt all contacts with international terrorists."


September 2001: Rebels launch a major offensive on the Chechen town of Gudermes; a Russian helicopter carrying senior officers is downed.


2001: Human rights organizations express concern about human rights violations in Chechnya, including alleged torture and widespread detentions at the hands of Russian troops.


June 2000: Russia appoints former Chechen cleric Kadyrov as head of its administration in Chechnya.


May 2000: Putin declares direct rule from Moscow.


Russian troops in Grozny on February 9, 2000 (epa)

February 2000: Russian troops capture Grozny and much of the city is razed.


October 1999: Many thousands of civilians flee the Russian advance, leaving Chechnya for neighboring Russian republics. Their numbers are later estimated to reach 200,000.


October 1999: The Moscow-based State Council of the Republic of Chechnya is established by former members of the Chechen republican legislature. Moscow recognizes it as the sole legitimate Chechen authority and refuses to negotiate with Maskhadov.


September 1999: A bomb attack on Russian military housing in Daghestan and a series of apartment-block bombings elsewhere in Russia are blamed on Chechen rebels, although responsibility for the explosions has never been established. Some 300 people are killed in the blasts. Russian forces redeploy in Chechnya and Russia's new prime minister, Vladimir Putin, says the campaign is needed to quash terrorism.


July/August 1999: Chechen fighters clash with Russian troops on the Chechnya-Daghestan border. Chechen radicals led by field commander Basayev stage armed incursions into Daghestan in an attempt to create an Islamic state.


January/February 1999: Maskhadov declares Islamic Shari'a law will be phased in over three years. A group of former rebel field commanders announces the formation of a rival body to govern Chechnya according to Shari'a law and calls on Maskhadov to relinquish the presidency.


March 1999: Moscow's top envoy to Chechnya, General Gennady Shpigun, is kidnapped from the airport in Grozny. His corpse is found in Chechnya in March 2000.


June 1998: Amid growing lawlessness, Maskhadov imposes a state of emergency.


May 1998: Valentin Vlasov, Russia's presidential representative in Chechnya, is kidnapped and held for six months. Later in the year, four engineers from Britain and New Zealand are kidnapped and murdered.


May 1997: Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Maskhadov sign a formal treaty on peace and the principles of bilateral relations.


January 1997: Russia recognizes Maskhadov's government following his victory in Chechen presidential elections that international observers evaluate as free and fair.


August 1996: Chechen fighters launch a successful attack on Grozny. Yeltsin's Security Council secretary, General Aleksandr Lebed and Chechen rebel chief of staff, Maskhadov, sign a cease-fire agreement on 22 August followed on 30 August by the so-called the Khasavyurt Accords, which postponed until 31 December 2001 a formal agreement on the relations between the Chechen Republic and the Russian Federation. A separate agreement on Russian troop withdrawals is signed in November.


May 1996: Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chechen resistance acting President Zemlikhan Yandarbiyev sign a peace agreement. The short-lived truce lasts until July.


April 1996: Chechen resistance leader Dzhokhar Dudayev is killed in a Russian missile attack. Yandarbiyev succeeds him.


June 1995: Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basayev seize hundreds of hostages at a hospital in Budyonnovsk in southern Russia. More than 100 people are killed in the raid and in an unsuccessful Russian commando operation to end the standoff.

Russian troops in Mozdok in December 1994, preparing for the incursion into Chechnya (TASS)


December 1994: Russian troops enter Chechnya to quash the independence movement. Up to 100,000 people -- many of them civilians -- are estimated to have been killed in the 20-month war that followed.


1992: Chechnya adopts a constitution defining it as an independent, secular state governed by a president and parliament.


1991: Collapse of the Soviet Union. Communist leader Doku Zavgayev is overthrown, and Dudayev wins a presidential poll. Dudayev proclaims Chechnya independent of Russia.


1957: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev restores the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.


1944: Soviet dictator Josef Stalin deports the entire Chechen and Ingush populations to Siberia and Central Asia, citing alleged collaboration with Nazi Germany. Many thousands die in the process. The Checheno-Ingush ASSR is dissolved and its territory divided among neighboring republics.


1922: Chechen autonomous region established. It becomes part of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) in 1934.


1920: Russia's Bolshevik leadership establishes an Autonomous Mountain Soviet Socialist Republic centered on Vladilkavkaz, and encompassing seven major North Caucasus ethnic groups including the Chechens.


1858: After decades of violent resistance, Chechnya is conquered by Russia following the defeat of Imam Shamil and his fighters, who had aimed to establish an Islamic state.

Crisis In Chechnya


RFE/RL's complete coverage of Russia's war-torn Republic of Chechnya.


CHRONOLOGY

 An annotated timeline of the Chechnya conflict.

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