The Chechen-Russian History

The fight for independence never ends.Conflict Between Chechens and Russia Is Steeped in Czarist Past, Stalin-Era Exile:

    MOSCOW (AP) – On his tough bricklayer’s fingers, Akhmad Arsamakov ticks off the members of his family who suffered under Moscow’s rule.
    Father deported by Stalin; grandfather joined a hopeless mountain rebellion against the Soviets in the 1940s; great-great grandfather led resistance to Czarist troops in the 1860s, was captured and then disappeared.

    “All of us suffered,” Arsamakov, 51, said. “But this is the story of every Chechen. Not ‘almost’ every Chechen. Every Chechen.” …

    “Russia spreads lies about us,” he said, his steady gaze growing more intent. “They say we were backward people before they conquered us. But we know we lived well and had a better life before the Russians.

    “And so we have self-confidence and have always had the desire to free ourselves from them.”

    Sharply etched folk memories of conflict with Moscow are a big part of being from Chechnya, a Muslim chip in the mosaic of ethnic groups that make up the North Caucasus. …

    The Chechens’ will to resist is often attributed to their “mountain democracy.” Councils of elders used to make most important decisions and settled disputes according to unwritten law. Courts, written laws and government were alien Russian imports.

    They had no aristocracy, meaning top-down authority played little role. Ties between members of extended clans and religious brotherhoods have been far stronger than allegiance to any central government.

    Chechens initially supported Soviet rule in 1918, thinking the Bolsheviks would be better than the Czars. When they learned otherwise, they staged uprisings in 1920, 1929 and 1940, with a few fighters holding out in the mountains into the early 1950s.

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