Iavus Akhmadov, D.Sc. (Hist.), head, territorial administration of the RF Ministry of Information and the Press in the Republic of Chechnia (Grozny, Russian Federation)

The Beginning

Just like its North Caucasian neighbors Chechnia entered into political relations with the Russian centralized state in the middle of the 16th century as a result of Muscovite Czardoms insistent efforts to push its frontiers further to the southeast. We know from documents and chronicles of the 16th century that the mountaineer princes became vassals of the Moscow state as a result of one of the six patterns: an address to the czar with a request to be accepted as subjects; an oath of allegiance to local Moscow administrators; an embassy to Moscow received by the czar that pronounced an oath of allegiance at a sumptuous ceremony; a document and salary the czar paid to the prince; an amanat (hostage) who remained at the czars court as a token of loyalty; inclusion of the vassal territory in the czars title.1

The Moscow Czar and His Vassals in Chechnia

In 1588-1589 ambassadors of Shikh-murza Isherimov who ruled a part of Chechnia (then known as the Okotskaia Land) asked for a reward for his services to the Russian czar. The document that Czar Fyodor issued to Shikh-murza said: We know that you have served us and we want to repay your services on a grand scale. We are prepared to protect you and your possessions and defend it against all your enemies. The document described the duty of the Russian czar in relation to its newly acquired ally and the latters services Moscow expected from him. It was obvious that it limited the Chechen princes foreign policy initiative by banning him any contacts with the Turkish and Crimean rulers, etc. The czars authority stopped at the princedom boundaries: its internal life entirely belonged to the jurisdiction of Shikh-murza. In 1589 as a result of similar acts the royal title was extended with Head of the Kabardinian land, of the Circassian and mountaineer princes. In this way, the larger part of Chechnia (the Okotskaia Land) became the Russian czars feudal possession.2 It should be noted that the local North Caucasian princes exchanged their services to the suzerain for the royal compensation in money, weapons, and luxuries.

In the late 16th century the relations between the Chechen princes and unions of Chechen auls (villages) with the Russian czars were mostly of an objectively allied nature. Many of the princes from the Caucasian mountains filled high posts in the Muscovite Czardom: in the 16th-17th centuries members of Kabardino-Circassian nobility commanded the Russian army, headed offices (ministries), and large regions. Some of them were even related to the ruling dynasty.3

The above should not be taken to mean that the relations between Russia and the mountaineers, including Russias relations with Chechnia, were peaceful and remained within the sovereign-vassal pattern. First, the local princes did not get any landed possessions from the Russian czar and therefore had nothing to lose if they refused to serve Moscow. Second, in the 16th and 17th centuries Russian czars practiced frequent wide-scale inroads into the mountains. Third, the mountaineer princes protected themselves with similar patronage agreements with the Crimean khan, the Turkish sultan, and the shah of Iran. When studying the charter of allegiance issued by the shamkhal (ruler) of Tarki to the Russian czar, the officials of the Posolskiy prikaz (foreign ministry of Russia) were amazed to discover that the seal affixed to the document called him a loyal slave to the shah.4 One should bear in mind that in the 16th and 17th centuries the Caucasus was declared an object of international agreements between Iran of the Safavids and the Ottoman Empire while Muscovite Russia as a state of secondary importance until 1724 was excluded from the division of the lands in the Caucasus.

On the whole, the exchange of the documents between the mountaineer princes and the Moscow czar was a form of a personal union: the so-called possessions were not included in the Moscow state while the czar was proclaimed the supreme patron of specific princedoms. The death of one of the sides made the document legally void and demanded another exchange of documents.

Colonial Policy of Peter the Great and His Descendants in the 18th Century

Starting with Peter the Great Russia was pursuing purely colonial aims in the Caucasus and Chechnia as its part. Oaths of allegiance pronounced by mountaineer princes and documents they had to issue survived but were no longer regarded as legal acts. The Russian czar was not interested in a number of newly acquired subjects (allies) in Chechnia but in fertile lands, mineral wealth, oil, control over trade routes, possibility of starting silkworm breeding there, etc. It was planned to replace the local Muslims with loyal Christians by moving in Russians and Christians from Iranian and Turkish possessions. It was under Peter the Great that Russia became a side in the Caucasus-related agreements (the Istanbul Peace of 1724) followed by the Ganca Treaty of 1735, the Belgrade Treaty of 1739, the Kuchuk Kainarji Peace of 1774, the Yassy Peace Treaty of 1791 and other international agreements that extended Russias control in the Caucasus.

As a result of these treaties Chechnia, Daghestan, Ossetia, Ingushetia, and Kabardia began to be viewed as the zone of exclusively Russian interests, yet the czarist generals had no illusions about their grip on the territory and its peoples: the mountaineers remained de facto independent.

In the 18th century Russia built a chain of fortresses and Cossack villages in the Northern Caucasus stretching from the Caspian to the Azov and Black seas. It was a line of defense behind which Russian nobles shamelessly snatched the best lands. New fortresses and outposts were placed further south that divided the local peoples. Russians practiced inroads against mountaineers.

The so-called peace agreements between Russia and the Chechen princes and elders were no longer importantthey were never discussed at the imperial court and left to the discretion of the local commanders. At the same time, the czarist administration wanted to bind as many mountaineer villages as possible with oaths of allegiance. It was the task of the generals serving at the Russian borders to organize oath taking: the oaths were written from dictation according to a single pattern. Some of the princedoms were given direct Russian protection and Russian troops were deployed on their territories. This reminds, to a certain degree, the relationships between the East India Company and Indian principalities.5

It is irrelevant whether the documents were legally binding or not: there were hundreds and thousands of them in the 18th centuryall of them a mere formality which the sides treated as a temporary measure. Russia continued to conquer Chechnia by force and arms, yet in the last quarter of the 18th century it formulated a project of a Caucasian federative state with the Russian emperor as its supreme ruler, his power stemming from a personal union. Those of the major mountaineer feudals who agreed to abandon the political scene were awarded a rank of a general and pensions.

The Imamate

A new stage of relations between Russia and Chechnia started in the 1820s-1830s. The Russians were still devoted to the use of force while both the subject of conquest (Russia) and the object of conquest (Chechnia) had changed. The Chechens entered the 19th century as, to quote a document, the strongest Caucasian people. The rich Chechen communities with developed agriculture and handicrafts and armed with a developed ideology of liberation rooted in Islam launched a struggle against the pressure of the czarist government. A process of setting up a mountaineer state accelerated in Chechnia and among the fraternal peoples of Daghestan. In 1834 when Shamil was proclaimed imam the process ascended on a higher level. By 1840 he fortified his positions as the ruler of Chechnia and Daghestan: he had set up a permanent army, introduced a tax system, a new administrative division, and state institutes. This was a strong and closely knit state that for decades was successfully opposing Russia, the strongest military power in the world.6

Shamil was engaged in official correspondence with the sultan of Turkey and shah of Iran, with French and British diplomats. All of them recognized him as the leader of the Caucasian mountaineers while Turkey promised him a title of the king of the whole Caucasus. The ruling circles of Russia, too, discussed a possibility of Shamils official recognition. The Imamate was a de facto independent state: its prolonged existence radically changed the earlier traditional picture of the relations between Russia and Chechnia.

In 1859 the Imamate suffered a complete military defeat. Chechnia was occupied by czarist troops. At the same time, international legal agreements played an important role in the process of incorporation: the Transcaucasus was joined to Russia under agreements with Turkey and Iran of 1813-1856; individual mountaineer princedoms joined Russia on the strength of agreements on allegiance to St. Petersburg.7

Chechnia became a Russian colony. The local people not covered by the general Russian laws were ruled by a military administration that survived till the 1917 February revolution.

Ethnic Development in Chechnia between 1917 and 1957

Between February and October 1917 local ethnic self-administration bodies were formed in Chechnia and elsewhere in the Northern Caucasus. On 1 May, 1917 the mountaineers set up a Union of Allied Mountaineers of the Northern Caucasus that planned to form a democratic state of all mountain peoples. No social group or political movement except a very limited part of the local Islamic clergy wanted to detach the region from Russia.

The 1917 October coup changed everything: for the sake of the revolutions victory the communists declared the right of nations to self-determination up to and including secession. In the unfolding Civil War all sorts of political forces tried to realize mutually exclusive projects. On the one hand, it was announced that the Imamate of the Mountaineers of Chechnia and Daghestan was restored. In 1919 it was transformed into a North Caucasian Emirate of Uzun Khaji. On the other, in March 1918 the pro-Soviet ethnic councils formed a so-called Terek Peoples Republic that recognized the power of the communist government of Russia headed by Lenin.

In May 1918 representatives of all sorts of political groups of mountaineers met in Sukhumi and passed a decision on setting up an independent North Caucasian Federative Republic. It survived till 1919 and was officially recognized by Turkey and Germany. In its turn in 1919 the Emirate of Uzun Khaji obtained from Georgia diplomatic recognition and entered into an agreement with the R.S.F.S.R.

As soon as the communist dictatorship won in the 1918-1920 Civil War, the future of the peoples was sealed without their consent, without signing any treaties or any legally binding documents.

On 17 November, 1920 a regular congress of the Terek peoples set up a Soviet Socialist Republic of Mountaineers in which Chechnia was an autonomous unit. Very soon, on 20 January, 1921, the R.S.F.S.R. All-Russia Central Executive Committee issued a decree that formed an autonomous Mountaineer Republic as part of Russia. In 1922 this decision was followed by another one that formed a Chechen autonomy. In 1934 two autonomous regionsChechnia and Ingushetiaformed one administrative unit which in 1936 was transformed into a Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. by a decree of the R.S.F.S.R. ARCEC. In this way the Chechens undoubtedly acquired certain conditions for self-realization but still strictly limited within the totalitarian party dictatorship.

The Chechen Society in Soviet Times

In the 1970s-1980s, the period of so-called developed socialism in the Soviet Union, when all ethnic specific features were more or less unified, the Chechens stood apart from all other socialist nations due to several reasons: nearly 50 percent of unemployed; the low educational level and the striking demographic situation (the youngest among the Soviet nations), a deliberately limited admission of Chechens to the party, Soviet, economic, and administrative structures and higher educational establishments.

By 1991, before the Chechen revolution started, the Checheno-Ingush Republic had the highest share of people of the title nationality among all other post-Soviet autonomous state structures. The republic was home for about 1,240 thou people (700-800 thou of whom were Chechens, about 250-280 thou Russians, and 180-200 thou Ingushes). There was a certain number of Nogais, Armenians, Kumyks, Tartars, Jews and members of other ethnic groups all of them numbering from 10-15 thou to several hundred.

In Chechnia, like in all other Muslim regions of the U.S.S.R., it was the local intelligentsia, older people and the clergy who shaped ethnic awareness. During perestroika new movements brandishing democratic slogans of complete realization of ethnic interests, revival of ethnic culture, etc. appeared. It was very much comme il faut to say that a new Chechen ethnic state would be a secular and democratic one, a civilized member of a new Union, world community, and so on. This was very naïve but not dangerous since the weathered party functionaries retained political power.

It should be said that in the late 1980s there were no anti-Russian slogans in Chechnia: the advanced part of the Chechen society looked at Russia and its leaders as an ally in the struggle against the accursed past. At the same time, while recognizing the advantages of continued existence as part of Russia the advanced intellectuals in Chechnia pointed to the fact of an open ethnocide practiced by Bolsheviks in the past and hoped that greater economic and political independence would give the Chechens a chance to develop their potential.

Sovereignty à la Dudaev

Together with other important factors the disintegration of the Soviet Union destroyed the legal basis on which it had been standing until 1991. This probably explains why the new leaders of Russia hastened to lay foundations for a new federation.

On 27 November, 1990 the Supreme Soviet of the Checheno-Ingush A.S.S.R. passed a Declaration on State Sovereignty, which made the republic a legal subject able to sign a new union treaty. (Back in 1924 the treaty that formed the U.S.S.R. was signed by the R.S.F.S.R. without consultations with the autonomies.)

The 19-21 August, 1991 putsch in Moscow led to a political crisis in Chechnia (that had started somewhat earlier, on 27 November, 1990, when the Declaration on Sovereignty was passed). On 6 September, 1991 the republics old Supreme Soviet liquidated itself under the pressure of mass rallies. On 1 November the nationalist-extremist clique of Dudaevs that came to power declared independence of Chechnia. While resolving the questions of Chechnias state structure the new leaders completely disregarded laws, a possibility of organizing proper elections, referendum, etc. It should be said that the general atmosphere in Russia and in the world for that matter was conducive to such developments. Two trendsdemocratic and authoritarianwere competing in Chechnia and in the rest of Russia. In Chechnia the process took two years: between November 1991 and spring-summer 1993. On 12 March, 1992 the parliament of the Chechen Republic adopted the first constitution of the sovereign republic that formalized its new state order.

This created an absolutely new situation in the relations between Russia and Chechnia. The Russian leaders naturally wanted to preserve the former autonomies within the federation, yet I am convinced that the process of acquiring sovereignty of Chechnia was partly of an objective nature. It was for the politicians and academics to find the best possible alternative within the legal field to the use of force and other illegal methods. The status of the Russian Federation changed, therefore the status of Chechnia changed accordingly. The new realities called for novel approaches.

It seems that Russia should have recognized sovereignty of the Chechen republic as the first step toward restored normal relations within the legal field. This could have created the legal basis for an interstate treaty that would have amounted to the Chechen Republics voluntary joining the Russian Federation. Regrettably, this ideal remained unrealized.

Collapse of Traditional Political Ideas and Systems

By 1991 Chechnia found itself in an intertwining of Russias and world political interests that destroyed precarious social equilibrium inside it. Everything was done to teach the people to absorb the positive national ideas as the ideas of confrontation and aggression. Few intellectuals and weak administrators were suppressed by mobocracy.

The national (or pro-Russian) political elites of the Northern Caucasus preserved their leadership everywhere except Chechnia, though the conditions in Daghestan were much less favorable. There was an illusion that stability could have been preserved by the ethnically homogeneous society. In 1991 in Ingushetia the local administrators together with the deputies managed to retain their control over the situation and prevented the disorderly crowd from imposing its rule on society. Why did Chechnia follow a different course? There were several reasons for this. First, the policies of the Center in the republic during Soviet power failed to create conditions conducive to fully-fledged local administrative elite forming in Chechnia. The perestroika was too short for the ethnic elite in Chechnia to strike root. In addition, it was compromised by its prolonged cooperation with the communist colonial administration (power in Chechnia was always associated with communists).

The August 1991 coup in Moscow was followed by a street riot staged by Djokhar Dudaev, retired major general of the Soviet Army, supported by the RF special services. It wiped away the legal structures of power of the Checheno-Ingush republic. A thin layer of knowledgeable administrators, academics, and artists (all of them Chechens) who tried to fill in the vacuum of power formed by the withdrawing Russians and the collapsed communist system were easily pushed away by the mob. The socially marginal people who seized power in Grozny were extremists hostile to Russia. They were actively squeezing all Russians and moderate Chechens first out of their offices and then out of the republic.

In 1992-1993 businessmen started leaving as soon as they realized that the local power under Dudaev did not intend to improve the economic situation and raise the living standards. It obviously intended to dedicate itself to the struggle for freedom and independence. In 1993-1994 administrators, academics, doctors, engineers and democratically minded politicians who lost power in the struggle with Dudaevs regime started trickling out of the republic. First political emigrants from Chechnia appeared in Russia. They were persecuted by the repressive structures of Chechnia for their political convictions, participation in mass rallies, etc.

In 1991-1994 the Russian Federation was a scene of extremely contradictory processes: there were numerous centers of power each of which with ideas of its own of how to deal with Chechnia. Certain power and political groups wanted to preserve Dudaev and his regime along with Chechnias sham independence to continue operating there huge illegally earned sums of money.

The Civil War Begins

In 1992-1994 under the pressure of events the Chechens developed a pro-Russian foreign policy orientation. At that time this looked like a choice between civilization and a bandit state. The Dudaev regime proved to be hostile to the people to the extent that after two years of watching political developments the masses turned to the opposition. In June 1993, when the democratic opposition (betrayed by the Russian leaders) had been annihilated, fighting started. By summer 1994 fighting developed into a civil war in the course of which the regime made 11 inroads into Chechen villages in the course of which militants were routed. Both sides lost up to 700 people killed and over 1,500 wounded.

The democratic opposition with which the Chechen clergy sided was supported by certain power structures of Russia while other power structures in the Russian Federation helped Dudaev and sent him latest weapons. In November 1994 the civil war in the republic that the victors called the Republic of Ichkeria developed into a full-scale Russo-Chechen war.

The progressively minded people of Chechnia who had hoped to see order restored with Russias help were repulsed with what the Russian army was doing in the republic and moved away from the Center. The cruel war that defied all rules stirred up patriotic feelings in Chechen society spearheaded against the Russian state and its rulers. By August 1996 the group that had staked on the defeat of the Russian army and the pro-Russian forces in Chechnia won in Moscow. In the Chechen republic those who supported continued armed resistance had come to power. They signed the notorious Khasaviurt agreement with Russia. In January 1997 Aslan Maskhadov was elected president of Chechnia.

Significantly, no less than 80 percent of the voters came to the polls: 7 percent of them cast their votes for Zelimkhan Iandarbiev; 20 percent, for Shamil Basaev, and up to 67 percent, for Aslan Maskhadov. People voted for the politics of peace with Russia and close economic relations with itnot for any particular politician. It was commonly believed that Maskhadov was the most realistically minded among the candidates and the most influential field commander. Yet nearly 25 percent of voters preferred the radical nationalist leaders. This was protest voting. Back in October 1991 only 15 percent of the voters came to the polls during the so-called presidential elections in Chechnia that the opposition and the RF Supreme Soviet branded as illegal. Dudaev got as little as 20 percent of the votes. This explains why the revolutionary leaders had to falsify the results. It should be added that Zelimkhan Iandarbiev who ran for the parliament in 1991 got five votes.

The year 1997 is the most interesting period for those who study political stratification and political orientation of the Chechen society in the last decade of the 20th century. According to applications, the presidential commission of Maskhadov found out that about 50 thou (out of the total population of 800-900 thou) were actively supporting the regime by their participation in mass rallies, as volunteers, etc. Only 4 thou of them were actively involved in fighting: they either fired once (or took part in one battle) or fought from beginning to end. From this it follows that out of 500 to 600 thou adults about 10 percent looked at themselves as a political opposition to Russia; another 10 percent were made up of those who would support any regime. All other adult Chechens (about 400 to 500 thou) were immanently opposed to the regime for political reasons: they were members of the intelligentsia, small and middle businessmen, students, teachers, doctors, workers and peasants who made their own living, old age pensioners, and other groups. It should be added that no less than 500 thou Chechens were living outside the republic, mainly in Russia, and looked at themselves as citizens of Russia.

The So-Called Victors and the People

It should be said that the so-called Ichkeria armed group that captured power in Chechnia knew that it was alien to the people. This forced it to squeeze the opposition-minded people out of the republic by applying the Lustration Law that deprived thousands of people of their jobs and sources of income. It traded in its own subjects (up to 2 thou Chechens were taken hostage at one time or another), it practiced mass plundering and mass murders of peaceful citizens, it built up war psychosis, destroyed the system of education and health protection, encouraged drug trafficking, etc.

The republic suffered a great deal because the greater part of the local Russians (mainly in Grozny) were deprived of their homes and were even killed by bandits. President Maskhadov and his government were absolutely impotent in the face of the criminals because these were mainly the same people with whom they had recently been fighting side by side. Common Chechens proved to be the only defenders of their Russian neighbors: not infrequently they too perished at the hands of bandits while trying to help Russians.

Massive hostage-taking that defies imagination became a common feature of everyday life in Chechnia, together with trading in slaves and drugs, an open propaganda of anti-Semitism, Russophobia, and opposition of people of different religions. It turned out that at the turn of the 21st century it was possible to announce Chechnia an Islamic (Sharia) state. This closed the door to the civilized world community.

Flight to the Russian Regions as a Form of Popular Protest

Chechens were leaving Ichkeria of Maskhadov and Wahhabis in great numbers during the period of peace. While in 1991-1994 it was mainly businessmen and members of an active opposition to the regime together with Russians, Jews and Armenians who had emigrated from Chechnia, during the first Chechen war it was tens of thousands of Chechens who left their home republic. A veritable exodus started after the war when hundreds of thousands were moving to Russia. While in 1994 there had been at least 850 thou Chechens in the republic, by the beginning of the second war there were 600 thou (or even 400 thou according to different sources). Up to 90 percent of those who stayed behind remained because they had no money to leave.

The ruling military and political elite demonstrated that it was alien to its own people and hostile to the ethnic rules and principles; it hated those who worked, those who created culture and those who belonged to the intelligentsia. This explains why the slogan of the republics sovereignty and independence was no longer importantphysical survival was on the agenda. This made the Chechens an objective ally of Russia inside the mutinous republic.

The Second Chechen War. Death of Hopes

Carpet-bombing and shelling of settlements deprived of gas and electricity, massive extermination of civilians by the military caused another wave of refugees. In fall 1999 over 200 thou found themselves in Ingushetia, some 50 thou penetrated into other regions of Russia, while nearly 6 thou crossed the mountains into Georgia. In this way, in 2000 there were 350-400 thou people still living in Chechnia (some 30 thou of them were Russians, 10 thou, Nogais, 10 thou Kumyks, and several thousands of Avars and Ingushes). On the whole, there were 1.6 to 1.7 million Chechens living on the post-Soviet territory.

An active phase of warfare in the republic (that lasted from October 1999 to March-April 2000) ended with a complete rout of the main units of militants. It also undermined the previously high degree of trust in the Russian army and the Russian state. It has not yet been restored by the regular payment of pensions to about 180 thou, new jobs, resumed functioning of schools and hospitals because the main rightto life and personal freedomis still lacking. At the same time, no considerable number of men joins the militants because the people had realized that there were no honest field commanders. The people in Chechnia that have found themselves between a rock and a hard place, that is between the 100 thou-strong federal forces and the terrorists, are still objectively inclined to side with Russia.

The New Stage of Gathering Russian Lands

The federative treaty that the former Russian autonomies and regions signed in 1993-1994 meant that the Russian state has adopted a certain system of states as the basis of its political structure. It has its advantages obvious only if the principle of self-determination of nations is somewhat limited.

Geopolitically, this new stage of gathering Russian lands had its own objective regularities created by the fact that Russia was doomed to remain the axis of history in Eurasia stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific and from the Caucasus to the coasts of the Arctic Ocean.

In fact, the problem of sovereignty of Russias ethnically different parts, of which Chechnia is one, depends not so much on the Kremlins imperial ambitions as on the Russian states geographic location, its technological development, its natural wealth, military might, etc. Few countries of the world are truly independent in the geopolitical, economic and military sense. Chechnia that for several centuries was part of Russias economic, energy, transport, and financial zone cannot be counted among them.

Having answered the main question by saying that Chechnia has no real choice but to remain with Russia we have to answer another, no less important, question: In which form and on which conditions should Chechnia remain with Russia? What sort of a treaty should it sign with Russia? Today, there is a war in Chechnia. After the war the republic will be able to embrace the following variant: as soon as the Constitution of the Republic of Chechnia is approved through the referendum, the republic will institute its own structures of power and raise the question of signing a treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Chechnia.

The treaty should rest on the huge volume of positive international experience and the experience gained by the Russian Federation, it should take into account the past and present of Chechnia, reflect its role and place in the Caucasus, and to a certain extent forecast inevitable changes in the development of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Chechnia. It is absolutely necessary to decide whether this will be an international legal or a state legal instrument. The experts invited to draft the text should bear in mind the Chechen Republics national interests, its specific approach to building the state and developing its economy, its historical experience and the important place it holds by the will of geography and history on the map of the Caucasus.

The future treaty should take into account the interests of both sides, otherwise conflicts will be inevitable. Objectively speaking, in the last 10 or 11 years Chechnia left the closed ranks of the federation subjects, and the treaty should take this into account. We all hope that the future document will not signify a victory or a defeat of one of the sidesit will become a triumph of reason.

Chechnia and the Chechens at the Crossroads

The Chechens living in Russia have just started protecting their interests by uniting into political organizations. The fact that General A. Aslakhanov was elected RF State Duma deputy in 2000 is highly significant. Yet neither the people nor its leaders, parties and movements that made public and national interests of the republic their priorities evoke interest in Russia or outside it probably because they speak about the national interests. This is undoubtedly an attempt to leave the Chechens outside the civilized community and deprive them of the right to decide their future. Strange as it may seem today, the Chechens should pin their hopes on the supreme federal power of the Russian Federation: the President, the State Duma, and the Government. So far none of the worlds countries or group of countries has demonstrated its readiness to shoulder the responsibility for the future of Chechnia and to guarantee stability and the rule of law in it. If any state or group of states does this, Chechen society will be free to choose another foreign policy orientation.

1 See: S.A. Belokurov, Snoshenia Rossii s Kavkazom. 1578-1613 gg., Issue I, Moscow, 1888, pp. 34, 59, 149-150; Ia.Z. Akhmadov, Pervoe vainakhskoe posolstvo v Moskvu (1586-1589 gg.), in: Rol Rossii v istoricheskikh sudbakh narodov Checheno-Ingushetii (XIII-nachalo XX v.), Grozny, 1983, pp. 18-30.
2 Ibidem.
3 See: Kabardino-russkie otnoshenia v XVI-XVIII vv., Collection of documents, Vol. I, Compiled by N.F. Demidova, E.N. Kusheva, A.M. Persov, Moscow, 1958.
4 See: V.G. Gadzhiev, Sochinenie I. Irbera Opisanie stran i narodov mezhdu Astrakhaniu i rekoy Kuroy nakhodiashchikhsia kak istoricheskiy istochnik po istorii narodov Kavkaza, Moscow, 1979, p. 101.
5 For more details about the Russo-Chechen relations in the 18th century see: Ia.Z. Akhmadov, Vzaimootnoshenia narodov Checheno-Ingushetii s Rossiei v XVIII veke, Grozny, 1991.
6 See: Shakhrudin Gapurov, Metody kolonialnoi politiki tsarizma v Chechne v pervoi polovine XIX v., in: Chechnia i Rossia: obshchestvo i gosudarstvo, Moscow, 1999, pp. 115-116.
7 See documentary collections: Istoria, geografia i etnografia Dagestana. Arkhivnye materialy, Moscow, 1958; Dvizhenie gortsev Severo-vostochnogo Kavkaza v 20-50-kh gg. XIX v., Compiled by V.G. Gadzhiev, Kh.Kh. Ramazanov, Makhachkala, 1958.

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