Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Caucasus Report

Banned Chechen Movie Screened At Moscow Film Festival

A screen grab of the film "Ordered to Forget," which looks at a reported atrocity that occurred during the Chechen-Ingush deportation of 1944.
A screen grab of the film "Ordered to Forget," which looks at a reported atrocity that occurred during the Chechen-Ingush deportation of 1944.
The Chechen film "Ordered to Forget" («Приказано забыть») which tells how some 700 residents  of the Chechen village of Haybakh were burned alive at the time of the February 1944 deportation of the entire Chechen and Ingush nations on Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's orders, was screened on June 20 at the Moscow International Film Festival.
 
The premiere had originally been scheduled to take place in Grozny last month, but Russia's Ministry of Culture refused to certify the film for public distribution on the grounds that, since the archives of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD, the forerunner of the present-day Interior Ministry) contain no evidence that the atrocity ever took place, the film constitutes "a falsification of history" that  could give rise to interethnic hatred, according to its Chechen producer Ruslan Kokanayev.
 
According to Kokanayev, it was intended to give an impression of life in the Checheno-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) during the period 1939-1945, i.e. at the height of the Stalinist terror. "We try to show that the story of Haybakh is interwoven human tragedies," he explained. "Some were forced to give orders, others to carry them out. A few tried to resist, a few refused to kill [people]." 
 
WATCH: A trailer for the film "Ordered to Forget"
Sulban Khasimikov, director of the Grozny film studio, said the movie, which was financed by Chechen businessmen, is not about the 1944 deportation as such. He said it is in part a love story, which at the same time showcases the customs and traditions of the Chechen people and the "difficulties" of life at that time.
 
Kokanayev says the Ministry of Culture did not raise any objections when he first submitted the scenario for approval, and that, when the finished film was first screened in Moscow in early February, Union of Cinematographers of Russia First Deputy Chairman Sergei Lazaruk praised it and said he hoped it would be a success. Kokanayev plans to contest the ban in court.
 
The rationale for the Haybakh killings was shockingly banal: Stalin's Mingrelian henchman Lavrenti Beria had issued orders that the entire Chechen and Ingush nations (an estimated 485,000 people) were to be rounded up, loaded onto trains and deported to Kazakhstan and Central Asia within 15 days (February 23-March 9).  Some local officials realized that they would be unable to meet that deadline due to logistical constraints (inclement weather conditions, lack of transport or gasoline), and so, rather than incur the wrath of the regime by failing to comply, they simply killed the population of some villages on the spot.
 
In Haybakh, some 700 people, including twin infant boys born that morning, were herded into a barn that was set alight. Those who tried to escape the flames were mown down by mortar fire. Some 200 people died on the same day in the Ingush village of Targim. Similar mass killings took place in the Chechen mountain village of Melkhesty and at Kezenoy-Am, the mountain lake that Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov is transforming into a resort.
 
In his landmark "secret speech" to the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in February 1956, then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's crimes,  including the deportations of the Chechens, Ingush, Crimean Tatars, Balkars, Karachais, Kumyks, and other ethnic groups, and gave the green light for their rehabilitation and return home. 

It was Khrushchev, too, who ordered the first investigation into what happened in Haybakh after meeting with Dziyaudin Malsagov. As a senior official in the Checheno-Ingush ASSR Justice Ministry, Malsagov had witnessed the events first hand and subsequently submitted written reports, first, in January 1945, to Stalin, and then  to U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers Chairman Georgy Malenkov.
 
The findings of the Khrushchev-era probe were never made public, however, and Haybakh remained a taboo subject until the late 1980s, when then CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev launched his policy of glasnost. First to raise the issue was young journalist Said Bitsoyev, now deputy editor of the Moscow daily "Novye izvestiya." In response to his article, the prosecutor's office in Chechnya's Urus-Martan district opened a criminal case in 1989.
 
Ruslan Tulikov, former ideological secretary of the local Communist Party district committee, now deputy administrator of Urus Martan district, described in a recent interview how he and a group of others began digging in the ruins of Haybakh and found charred bones, together with coins, earrings and spent bullets. He recalls how Malsagov showed up a few days after they started digging and explained to them precisely what happened.
 
Both Kokanayev and the Chechen authorities have challenged the Ministry of Culture's claim that no documentary evidence of the mass killing exists.  Chechen parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov told the official Chechen daily "Vesti respubliky" in early June that "we have such documents and they will be made public in the next few days."  He mentioned in particular Malsagov's letter to Malenkov.  But neither that missive nor any other relevant materials have appeared in the Chechen press to date.
 
Kokanayev, for his part, told Caucasus Knot that, in writing the script for the film, he drew on the expertise of a group of Chechen scholars who co-authored a book on the Haybakh killings based partly on the testimony of witnesses. (One of those authors, Salamat Gayev, was five years old at the time; he, his mother, and three siblings managed to escape death by hiding in the surrounding forest.) Kokanayev further points out that the film includes at the very end footage of Mumadi Elgakayev, one of the last remaining eyewitnesses, a few months before his death. He is unable to speak for weeping.
 
-- Liz Fuller
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 23, 2014 23:24
EVIL RUSSIA, PERPETRATORS, LIE - USE BATTALIONS,
"VOSTOK" AND "ZAPAD" - IN GEORGIA, UKRAINE, CIS:
________________________________________________
Russia plotted with Brits, brought Hitler to power in Germany,
gave him Messershmidt, promised and did "Cristal Night"
In Germany and USSR the same time, encouraged
by promise disarm USSR armies and easy victory,
As Russia did too in 1941. Nazi army stumbled
in Ukraine, partially disarmed by the Russians,
artillery regiment from Kazakhstan and winter.
Disarming mixed Soviet armies in Belorussia,
Russia gave Germans encircle Ukraine North.
Switching Vlasov's Russian army to Germans
encircle Ukraine's army South and South-East.
It was then Russia's promise to Hitler all alone.
The very Cossacks and Monarchists that rebel
now against Ukraine - children of Vlasov's area.
Vlasov's army lead German army and SS South,
Caucasus for Azerbaijan's oil and reinforcement.
It was also Russia's promise to Hitler fix problem.
_______________________________________
Vlasov advised Nazis - force-in North Caucasians
by ultimatum exterminate all nationalities as Jews,
because they in north parts were mixed with tribes
of Israel, pre-Georgians, Huns, Skiffs as Cossacks
to be spared as loyalist of Russian Czar. Still many
joined Nazis and Vlasov, that forced from remnants
of North Caucasians, fighting already for USSR join,
40,000 Chechens and 20,000 Ingushes respectively.
2,000 Chechens and 2,000 other Caucasians, guilty
of war crimes, abstracted justice during trials in 1944.
_____________________________-_____________
Although Vlasov was shot by Russia generals on spot
to prevent him from talking - Cossacks from Caucasus,
Eastern Ukraine and Russian Shauvinist- conspirators,
many of them covering their own complicities or crimes
and ethnic Russian's soviet units encircled Caucasians,
specially Chechen and Ingush villages and towns to kill.
Stalin tried prevent genocide by Russia's and Cossack's
armies, appealing to "National Policy". Russians refused
to withdraw, saying Stalin was covering-up for "relatives".
Also, at that time Russian generals managed kill most of
non-Russian battalions, regiments, divisions, two armies,
Ukrainian and Polish, and became totally arrogant power.
Time was running out and genocide was about to unleash.
National and religious leaders from N. Caucasus proposed
temporary deportation to Central Asia of the 60,000 fighters.
Russian generals, Chauvinists and Cossack became furious.
They planed repopulate North Caucasus by Cossacks, as now
they do it in Caucasus, Georgia, Ukraine and other countries.
Being afraid of executions, 60,000 accompanied by one wife
and a child per a man, it turn to be more than 150,000 or so.
Any brutality that happened than was Russian and Cossack
doing - they were furious, failing exterminating-repopulating.
Nations in the South did what they could supply them with a
transportation and witnesses, to prevent possible atrocities.
________________________________________________
ALL SUCH ARTICLES AS ABOVE ARE TIMED BY RUSSIA
WITH SELFEVIDENT PURPOSE - PIN RUSSIAN CRIMES
ON THEIR VICTIMS, RIZE AMONG THEM BATTALIONS
OF DEATH FOR EXPANDING RUSSIA - REPOPULATE
NON-RUSSIAN COUNTRIES, NOW UKRAINE, AS THEY
DID TO CHECHENS, INGUSHES AND OTHER NATIONS
BEFORE AND WILL DO AGAIN.
What a "sramnaya I bogohul'naya naglost'!"
Very people of Vlasov and their Cossacks use Chechens
and Ingushes they were destroying to destroy Ukrainians
and other non-Russian nations - to breed Varag-Sam-Gad!



In Response

by: Slava from: Atlanta
June 25, 2014 12:26
Well said, but it should include Syria, Moldava, Khazakstan, and all the Asian neighbors under Russia's sphere of influence. The real Chechens (not the russified ones) will eventually rise up again, and come to the aid of their cousins, the Crimean Tartars. Hopefully, this time, they will have worldwide support.
In Response

by: Sag from: Va so
June 25, 2014 18:48
The war is not over. Just because Russians do not report their losses doesn't mean the war is over. In fact it was never over for the past 450 years.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 27, 2014 11:03
I might agree, but I don't interfere in micromanaging of feuds.
One better see a bigger picture of the World in good resolution.
Evil powers like Russia and other empires like divide and rule.
Just like above, playing Chechen and other smaller nations,
Get them on wrong side of Big War, than punish and mule.
We all cousins - I wouldn't play religious card unjustly, too.
All nations deserve live in their land with dignity, some do,
But it should be balanced with Security - Global, regional,
Local, national, nationalities, culture, economy and so on.
Also will be wars all over again - if replace one by another.
______________________________________________
THE PROBLEM IS THAT RUSSIA DESTROYING OTHER
NATIONS DELIBERATE - USING SECURITY ILLUSION
BY KGB CLONES - FEW VENETIAN IN GEORGIA, FEW
LVIVIANS IN UKRAINE, FEW GAGAUZIANS IN MOLDOVA,
FEW ANDIJANIAN BABURS IN UZBEKISTAN, AND SO ON.
LYING SHAMELESSLY ABOUT IT, THEY USE BATTALION
VOSTOK, ZAPAD AND REST OF GRU MORTIFY NATIONS
AND INVADE BY RUSSIA - PLUNDER, CLEANSE, BREED.
_______________________________________________
World understands, nations understand - it is another game
of Russian propaganda - reduce image of nationalities to a
illiterate fanatics - not true! It is based on children of WW2
war criminals, forced to such death battalions, threatening
kill their parents, children raped and enslaved as Russian
Quislings, like Ossetians, kill and die for Russia.
It all will come to its senses when Russia will be walled by
International community they betray and lie too, and when
non-Russian nations will learn give Russia not an inch in
Russia's attempt make non-Russians look bad or wrong...



by: Barry Appleby from: UK
June 24, 2014 19:47
So the Interior Minisitry of the Russian Federation, a non-Communist state, bans a movie because the Communists did not keep written records of what they did during the 1944 expulsion of the Chechen and Ingush peoples. This is akin to saying that Germany should ban all mvoies featuring the Holocaust because written records of the Jews, Poles, Russian POWs, homosexuals, trade unionist and many others who were sent to concentration and extermination camps have not been found. This is a very weak pretext for a democratically elected government. Mel Gibson's film Braveheart is completely at varance with historical facts but nobody suggested that it should be banned. But then Docotor Zhivago was a work of fiction was banned in the USSR because of its alledged cricism of certain aspects of Soviety society, although its essence is really about a man who is torn by his love for two different women.
In Response

by: parvenu from: US
June 29, 2014 01:58
But German documentation of WWII crimes against the peoples you mention has been found. That's the difference. Of course Braveheart is complete fiction. And Dr Zhivago a book of little literary merit.

by: Danil from: Miami
July 01, 2014 12:31
Truly a tragedy, Chechens have been victimized ever since the Soviet regime took over Russia. There were many things the Soviets disliked about the Chechens, first; the democratic nature of the Chechen society, second; its good relationship with its Caucasian neighbors, third; its religious fervor, and traditional ethical and moral values, fourth; the oil fields. and fifth; the military bravery of the Chechens. The deportation of the Chechens, is something the Soviets had in the works since the beginning of their rule of terror. Chechens, don't need to resort to extremism, they have a democratic tradition that was interrupted by the Soviets, and can be restored with the help of their independent nation neighbors, and western democracies.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.