ST. PETERSBURG -- The Memorial Human Rights Center's branch in St. Petersburg is commemorating the victims of the first Chechen war, which began 15 years ago today, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Russian troops entered the territory of the then breakaway republic and began the so-called "Chechen military campaign," which lasted almost two years.
Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and officers, Chechen fighters, and civilians were killed during the war.
Russia's Yabloko party and the nongovernmental organization The House of Peace and Tolerance helped organize the event.
Memorial member Tatyana Kosinova told RFE/RL that the goal of the event is to remind Russian citizens that with the beginning of the Chechen war the Russian Federation turned into a country fighting its own citizens.
Kosinova said the war completely destroyed Chechnya's economy, culture, and education system and it is hard to say that the war is over.
Two documentaries: "The Crying Sun -- The War's Impact on Villages in Mountains" and "Chechen War: Don't Repeat the Past," will be shown at the event.
Also today, the regional NGO Valor is commemorating all Russian soldiers who were killed fighting in Chechnya.