Exactly a quarter of a century ago, power in Chechnya passed into the hands of the separatists, resulting in two bloody wars. It is believed that Dzhokhar Dudayev was a fanatic with whom it was impossible to reach an agreement, and a radical Islam dictated a political agenda in Grozny at that time. In fact, these are just excuses with which the federal authorities tried to cover up their mistakes.
The date when the Supreme Council of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic declared a state of emergency in Grozny in connection with an attempt to forcibly seize power was considered to be almost the day of the proclamation of independence of Chechnya, although in fact this is not quite the case.
Moscow is silent
The seizure of power then began with a rally (we will not call it “Maidan,” although in Chechen the “square” is called the same way) in the center of Grozny, which had already manifested its national identity by the evening - the people began to dance zikr. But the main specific feature of Chechnya's summer of the year 1991 was the dual power. The united congress of the Chechen people (OKChN) gradually crowded out the Soviet and post-Soviet local authorities, replacing them with informal ones. The OKCHN itself grew out of the Chechen National Congress, which took place a year earlier, and initially represented the unification of the local intelligentsia and “respected people discussing issues of national culture”, which was usual for that time. By this he did not differ from the Lithuanian Sajudis or the Armenian National Movement (ANM), if not to consider that the Chechen Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic is not a union republic, but autonomy within the RSFSR without constitutional grounds for secession from the federation. But then such organizations appeared in almost every national region, and no one considered it necessary to fight them at the federal level, since they all "supported perestroika" and fit into its essence. And by and large, by that moment the federal government could not really fight with anyone, although it still blew its cheeks.
Under pressure from the OKChN, the Supreme Council of the Chechen Republic of the USSR back in November 1990 of the year adopted the “Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Chechen-Ingush Republic”, which the federal center missed. It was believed that local authorities should establish order by themselves, since for the first time in Soviet times, a Chechen by nationality, Doku Zavgayev, was appointed the first secretary of the local regional committee (formerly in the troubled republic all the top officials — from the first secretary to the KGB chief — were mostly Russian). Moreover, the Chechen-Ingush declaration of sovereignty seemed like a minor nuisance against the background of similar declarations of Tatarstan and Bashkiria. The general situation in the country was such that a single Ulyanovsk region imposed a ban on the export of meat and dairy products from its territory, threatening to put armed customs on the "border" - and she is alone.
It is considered that the catalyst for the sharp exacerbation of the situation in Chechnya was the Emergency Committee. This is not at all the case, since back in July 1991 of the year, more than a month before the putsch, the OKChN proclaimed itself the supreme authority in the Chechen Republic of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, renaming the republic Nokhchi-Cho. On the night of 1 on 2 of September, 1991 of the year OCN announces the overthrow of the Supreme Council and the “transfer of power” to its Executive Committee, which will later be renamed the Provisional High Council (BBC). At the same time, he forms the National Guard, headed by the leader of the Islamic Way Party, Bislan Bes Gantamirov, a street gangster who picked up the likes of this guardian and “fraternal” to him.
The chairman of the OKCHN executive committee at that time was Major General Dzhokhar Dudayev, the former commander of the 326 th Tarnopolsky heavy bomber division stationed in Estonia (now there is a NATO base). Dudayev was considered to be an excellent handler, he was followed by a heavy reputation as a carpet bombardment specialist; he personally flew to the Khosta region in Afghanistan at the helm of Tu-22, working on the Mujahideen with a volume explosion bombs. He was considered a hot-tempered but honest officer, albeit strangely. He received the general and the Order of the Red Banner for his excellent organization during the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the establishment of a charter order based in Estonia. At the same time, the path to the rank of general was revealed to him that he was a member of the CPSU and married to a Russian (Chechens and Ingush were reluctantly promoted in service, and, for example, the decision to award Ruslan Aushev the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the defense of the Salang Pass was made directly to the Politburo) .
It is noteworthy that Dudayev quickly found a common language with the Estonians, and after the events in Lithuanian Vilnius he even declared that he would close the airspace if Soviet troops entered Estonia. Technically, he could not do it, but the Estonians liked it. Similarly, the artillery colonel Aslan Maskhadov - at that time the chief of staff and chairman of the officer corps of the Vilnius garrison - actually sabotaged orders from Moscow and from the headquarters of the Baltic Military District in Riga.
But back in Grozny. September 4 "guards" seize television and Radio House, after which Dudayev read out in a local broadcast statement that the Air Force assumes all power in the republic "before democratic elections." But we must understand that in the Air Force itself, unity was not even close. On the same night, an internal coup almost occurred there, and the result was a rapid radicalization of the situation in the city. In the morning of 5, the “guardsmen” seize the House of Trade Unions, in which the Air Force sat, and transfer all power to Dudayev. The following objects of seizure were the KGB building and the prosecutor's office, as well as the remand prison, from which all prisoners were released.
The Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR woke up only on September 9 and demanded that the "Guardsmen" surrender weapon and free the captured buildings, but Moscow - neither federal nor Russian - no longer controlled the situation in Grozny. Dudayev declared the demand of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet "provocation of an international scale aimed at perpetuating colonial domination," and for some reason declared Gazavat, although from a religious point of view he had no right to do so and apparently did not understand the religious meaning of these words.
In face-to-face communication, Dudayev did not make the impression of a psychopath as he began to represent him. The oddities of his behavior were more likely to be counted by one-off actions in order to be remembered, to hit a stranger, or to shock his own environment to raise tribal authority.
In the presence of the author of these lines in the fall of 1991, Dudaev suddenly started a conversation that Moscow was ready to use “seismic weapons” against Chechnya, that is, to cause an artificial earthquake. It was a fashionable topic, in the spring an earthquake occurred in South Ossetia, and Armenia has not been forgotten yet, and so delusional for a Soviet senior officer aviation the text was not pronounced for Moscow guests, but for 18-19 year old guys in uniform black suits and short automatons who diligently played bodyguards, having seen enough in the basement video rooms of Hong Kong fighters. In the former house of receptions of the Chechen-Ingush regional party committee, Dudayev then sat on a carved chair with his back to the window (sniper's dream), and young people with machine guns froze in picturesque poses to the sides of this window, representing useless from a military point of view, but almost antique figures . From time to time, they looked behind the curtains, which looked quite comical, especially since before the start of the meeting it did not even occur to them to search the guests.
In those days, Dudayev’s power rested solely on such half-literate boys of two or three related tapes, before whom he played the all-powerful and all-knowing god, which is quite typical of the local mentality. The real power in the OKChN belonged to several gray cardinals from among the professional anti-Soviet nationalistic, but not religious, among whom were the brothers Temeshevs and Movladi Udugov, who were an order of magnitude superior to all others in sophistication of thinking. Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, who is considered to be almost the main ideologue of the Chechen nationalist splash of summer-autumn 1991, was more likely a puppet in the hands of people more cruel, cynical and cunning than the real leader. And what is especially important is that he was not a competitor in the struggle for power in the republic within and around the OKChN, as, say, Bagauddin Bakhmadov, who quickly descended from the arena, who until September 5 was for some reason considered a more promising figure than Dudayev. Ruslan Khasbulatov, who considered Bakhmadov “a threat to 1”, even speaking from the stage at a meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic that ended in self-dissolution, did not take his eyes off him. Bakhmadov himself with a guard-boy in a Versace suit (in hungry 1991, such details were striking) and with the Israeli Mini-Uzi (it was almost impossible to get such in the USSR) defiantly late and wandered around the hall for a couple of minutes choosing a better place (cheap theater gesture, but in Chechnya it worked).
There was nothing religious in these people. Even the chairman of the Air Force was Hussein Akhmadov - a man of Soviet genesis, a regional historian, of whom there were thousands, but an ardent nationalist who had criticized the stupid Soviet concept of "voluntary entry of Chechnya into Russia" all his life, for which he was banished from the post of researcher at the ChI Research Institute in village teacher. The Soviet government, wherever it could reach, built universities and organized local research institutes, the humanitarian faculties and departments of which eventually became the forge of cadres for the nationalist revolutions and "revivals" of 1990-1991. In many places, "liberated historical thought ”plunged into the process of“ aging of the nation ”. For example, in the same Grozny and Nazran, dozens of pseudo-scientific journals and brochures were published in which the Vainakhs' genesis was carried out directly from the Babylonians and Sumerians (now not only “profile” North Caucasian peoples have joined the uncompromising battle for the inheritance of the Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans) and Ukrainians). And in many cases, at first glance, innocuous and even amusing research quickly turned into anti-Russian propaganda, especially if they were promptly pushed in this direction. But in the end, Akhmadov, having become the head of the “parliament of Ichkeria,” quarreled with Dudaev in just a year, after a couple of attempts to raise a riot in parliament, he resigned, did not take part in armed resistance and until recently taught peacefully in one “academy”, in which Rosobrnadzor has already tried several times to select a license.
Errors should be remembered
We would like to emphasize once again: the nationalist orgy that was going on in the republic at that time was not tied to forms of Islam that were not traditional for the region and later developed into terrorism. Therefore, it is considered that it was possible to come to an agreement with Dudayev, moreover, he could become in the North Caucasus something of a kind of support for the Russian government in the person of Boris Yeltsin, if they showed proper respect for him. However, an armed insurgency in a single region did not provide for negotiations with the invaders (although they were conducted).
It is now comfortable to talk about whether it was necessary to recognize the power of Dudayev and thus legitimize the process of the disintegration of Russia. But it is worth remembering that the main advisers of the Russian leadership (it is already possible to forget about the union leadership) were people who did not have a real understanding of the events, but had rather specific views on the future of Russia as a state. For example, Emil Pain was considered to be the main one on inter-ethnic relations. In 1993, he became the head of the Center for Ethnopolitical and Regional Studies, a member of the Presidential Council, the Deputy Head of the Analytical Department of the President of the Russian Federation and an adviser to the President of the Russian Federation. This native of Kiev and a specialist in urban planning, in fact, led the Russian national policy, within which communications from the field were ignored, and intelligence information simply disappeared or was declared biased. The army did not exist at the same time, and the vertical of power ended behind the Garden Ring.
In turn, a small group of people who manipulated the coup in Grozny and Dudayev personally seriously believed that they would create a new Kuwait in Chechnya, separating themselves from the historical invader and colonizer - Russia. They grew out of the Chechen intelligentsia, created by the Soviet government out of the blue, and thought of themselves within the framework of Russian culture, but used it for their own purposes. Few of them spoke Russian with a characteristic Vainakh accent - it was pure speech on which they grew up. And even if the nationalist coup of the autumn of 1991 was not much different from similar events in the Union republics, it still left room for maneuver and compromise.
It’s another thing that neither Moscow nor Moscow had any desire or physical ability to suppress a local riot. And then Dudayev himself ceased to control his own environment, if at all he could do it at least sometime. Details of the layered layouts in Chechen society, he imagined poorly, which made him easy prey for characters like Udugov.
The detrimental attempts of the center to create a ministry for national affairs headed by academic scientists and third-line bureaucrats only worsened the situation. But Dudayev increasingly believed himself, if not Napoleon, then the new Shamil. This nightmare naturally moved to the denouement, which was aggravated by the monstrous mistakes of the then entourage of Boris Yeltsin, starting with the Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev and then on the list.
Now, a quarter of a century later, it seems that it is quite easy to assess the mistakes of that time, since these mistakes are quite obvious. But in September, 1991 was much better noticed by the shifty eyes of Khasbulatov, the brutal inadequacy of Rutskoi, the “Mini-Uzi” in the hands of the young guard and zikr in the square. No one could have imagined that in a little over two years all this would turn into hell on earth, from which no one would come out renewed. So a nationalist coup in the CI ASSR, which seemed a minor regional revolt in a series of others, turned into almost the main domestic political event of Russia 90-s, eventually turning the dying country into a new state.