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Conflict in Chechnya

Chechnya has long been ruled from Moscow in Russia. In 1922, the Chechen Autonomous Region was created, but power was still based in Moscow. Most people who live in Chechnya are Muslim.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Chechens made a move towards independence. Rising tension between the territory and Moscow began.

The president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, declared independence. But in 1994, Russia invaded Chechnya to stifle the uprising for independence. Russian troops attacked the capital of Grozny, but the Chechen forces managed to fight off the attack and capture some Russian soldiers.

The president of Russia demanded that Chechen forces disarm and surrender. The Chechens refused, and Russia attacked again. President Dudayev declared war. Russia attacked Chechen targets from the air and fierce fighting broke out across the country.

Russia was unable to crush the rebel attacks, so in 1995 opted for a peace treaty. But fighting continued. When President Dudayev was killed in 1996, a second ceasefire agreement was signed. The agreement was supposed to give some power back to the Chechens. The war left more than 100,000 people dead and the region in ruins.

Sadly, in 1999 fighting began once more. Muslim uprisings in Chechnya, demanding full independence from Russia, led once more to a Russian invasion. Russia captured Grozny in 2000.

The Russian president pulled troops out of Chechnya and put pro-Russian Chechen Ashmed Kadyrov in control. Today, fighting continues as rebels pursue their campaign for independence. Police and soldiers are killed almost daily in rebel raids.