Chechnya is one of the constituent republics of the Russian Federation. It is located in the north of the Caucasus, its territory almost surrounded by other republics and regions of Russia, except for the south, where it borders Georgia.
According to the 2010 Russian census, ethnic Chechens make up 95% of the republic’s population, with Russians at 2% and Kumyks at 1%. Other peoples, including the Nogai, form the rest of the population.
Chechnya, under the leadership of President Djokhar Dudayev, proclaimed its independence in 1991, which Russia rejected. Chechen and Russian forces fought the First Chechen War between 1994 and 1996, which concluded with Chechen victory and the signing of the Khasavyurt Accord, which was followed by the withdrawal of the Russian federal troops from Chechnya. The decision on the final status of the Caucasian Republic was postponed until 2001.
Starting from 1997, Chechnya entered into a phase of political, social, economic and military deterioration, which was linked to the confrontation between Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov —who had signed the Khasaviurt Accord with Russia— and his deputy president Shamil Basayev. In 1998, Basayev resigned from his post and lead an armed Islamist group aimed to put an end to the peace process with Russia and to establish an independent emirate in Chechnya and Dagestan.
Basayev’s group, in August 1999, invaded a part of Dagestan. The militants were expelled by Russian federal forces, who counterattacked by invading Chechnya and putting an end to the republic’s de facto independence.
Since 2000, Chechnya has been under the control of the Kadyrovs —until 2004 by Akhmad and since then by his son Ramzan—, a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Kadyrovs have imposed a tight control over the republic, which several international and Russian organizations denounce as systematically violating human rights and killing opponents.
The Islamist insurgency has continued active until today, under various denominations that aim to establish a Pan-Caucasian state under the Shariah. The most prominent ones are the Caucasus Emirate (until 2015) and the Caucasus Province of the Islamic State (as of 2016).
(Last updated December 2017.)