Nation-Building In Chechnya: Current Research Issues


In the 20 th century the Chechen nation gained its statehood. The first practical steps aimed at its creation were taken immediately after the fall of the autocracy. In May 1917, representatives of the mountain elite established the "Union of the United Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan." These processes continued after the October Revolution, but already under the flag of Bolshevism. From November 1920 (Mountain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) to January 1934 (Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region) can be called the historical period of the transformation of the national autonomy of the Chechen people. In 1936, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was formed. Subsequently, collisions occurred, as a result of which the progressive course of its development was interrupted. Certain aspects of these complex processes have been studied in the context of the history of Chechnya and the Chechen people as a whole. The authors, outlining the main stages of national-state construction in this region, simultaneously updated the tasks of their in-depth research. However, in the Soviet era, the solution to this problem was significantly dependent on the political situation. During the period of so-called “developed socialism”, censorship barriers revived again. And only in conditions of democratic renewal of society did their objective study become possible. Academic work on the study of national-state construction in Chechen-Ingushetia in the 80-90s has noticeably intensified. of the same century, as well as the current stage, which, in our opinion, is connected with the tasks of the current moment.

Keywords: HistorypoliticsChechnyanationsocietynational statehood


In the history of the Chechen people - the largest North Caucasian ethnos - the 20th century was the most controversial and most dramatic period in its centuries-old history. Neither the events of the end of the 18th century, nor the drama of the Caucasian war, nor the subsequent attempts of tsarism to suppress the freedom-loving spirit of the mountaineers, taken together left such a deep trace in his historical memory, somehow the heavy burden that fell on his lot in the twentieth century, especially in the Soviet era.

However, it will be fair and objective to state the fact that, despite all these conflicts and trials, it was in this century that the Chechen people got a real opportunity to achieve unprecedented milestones in economic development and cultural construction. During the years of Soviet power, Chechnya has become one of the industrialized regions of the Soviet Union, one of its leading centers in the oil and petrochemical industries.

But all these successes and achievements catastrophically collapsed in the 1990s as a result of the acute political crisis that gripped the republic in the context of the emerging collapse of the USSR and short-sighted actions of the Yeltsin regime.

Undoubtedly, it is impossible to fully reconstruct these complex events within the framework of a journal article. However, it seems to us that one of the main reasons for such a dramatic development of the situation in Chechen-Ingushetia, and subsequently in Chechnya, was the incompleteness of the processes of its national-state structure.

Problem Statement

The problem of national-state construction of Chechnya, in our opinion, has important scientific and practical significance and contributes to a deeper understanding of the historical processes that took place during the period under review.

Research Questions

The subject of the study is the construction and development of national statehood of the Chechen people.

Purpose of the Study

The authors aim to analyze the main stages of nation-building in Chechnya in the 20th century.

Research Methods

The main methods that we used to study the designated topic are systemic and problem-chronological.


The history of the formation and development of the national statehood of the Chechen people - in all respects, including the scientific plan, is a complex, multifaceted problem. It illustrates the process of forming the political and legal hierarchy of an ethnic group, therefore, scientific research should occur at the intersection of related sciences: jurisprudence, political science, ethnology, and others. Without such an analysis, which is necessary as part of a detailed study of a specific topic, in this case indicated, it is hardly possible to formulate the answers.

The historical experience of any nation is rich and unique in its own way, first of all, by an “inevitable specific feature”, due to a combination of objective and subjective factors, whose role in the formation of ethnic identities is a priori subordinated to the “dynamic laws of evolution and progress”. The Chechen people, under the tsarist autocracy, doomed to be on the periphery of political life, and legally, and in fact deprived of the opportunity to create their own institutional hierarchy, are no exception.

The situation changed significantly after the Russian revolutions of 1917. In May of this year, at the initiative of representatives of the mountain elite, a congress of mountain peoples was held in Vladikavkaz. His key decision was the proclamation of the “Union of the United Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan” ( Dzidzoev, 2003; Muzayev, 2012), as a form of their self-determination. Moreover, its founders considered the newly created national-state formation as an integral, but autonomous (self-governing) part of the future democratic Russian state, built on the principles of the federation.

These hopes of the mountain liberal leaders turned into illusions with the coming to power of the Bolsheviks. Therefore, they ended up in a camp of anti-Bolshevik forces, but did not join the Denikin alliance. In turn, the leader of the White movement in the south of Russia, General Anton Denikin, refused to recognize the status of the Mountainous Republic, proclaimed on May 11, 1918 by the founders of the Union of United Mountaineers of the North Caucasus and Dagestan as his successor.

The Bolsheviks also took similar steps, proclaiming the creation in the North Caucasus of the Soviet republics of the laboring masses. One of these was the Terek Republic, proclaimed at the beginning of March 1918 at the second congress of the peoples of the Terek.

Chechnya, as part of the territory of the Terek region, created back in February 1860, each time (in May 1917, and in May 1918, and in March 1918) upon the proclamation of these national-state entities - in fact nominal - has been steadily declared a self-governing composite unit.

With the intensification of the outbreaks of civil war in the region under consideration, these entities have virtually ceased to exist. But their “governments”, not recognizing this fact, continued to be called high titles: the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Commissar, etc.).

In the spring of 1920, the Bolsheviks managed to mobilize their forces, including local ones, and to defeat the counter-revolutionary forces of the South of Russia.

In November 1920, declarations on the formation of the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Mountainous Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic were published. At the respective congresses, on behalf of the Soviet government, they were promulgated by the People's Commissar of the RSFSR for Nationalities I. ( Stalin, 1947).

On January 20, 1921, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted decrees on the formation of the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Mountainous Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic ( ACEC, 1921).

From that moment until the autumn of 1922, Chechnya had the status of an administrative district within this multinational republic. The functions of the district governing bodies were performed either by revolutionary committees or by executive committees. Their change (rotation) occurred depending on the socio-political situation in the region. This happened until the summer of 1924. In subsequent years, the basis of the political system of Chechnya was the Soviets, organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

November 30, 1922 Chechnya withdrew from the Mountainous ASSR. On this day, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree on the formation of the Chechen Autonomous Region ( ACEC, 1922). Thus, the foundation was created for a new level of Soviet national statehood of the Chechen people.

At the end of 1928 - at the beginning of 1929, the Chechen Autonomous Region, the city of Grozny and the Sunzhensky Autonomous Okrug (Cossack) merged into a single Chechen Autonomous Oblast ( ACEC, 1929).

In January 1934, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee united two autonomous regions of two closely related peoples: the Chechen and Ingush ( ACEC, 1934). Thus, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region was created, soon in accordance with the new Constitution of the USSR adopted on December 5, 1936, transformed into the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

This was a qualitatively new stage in the construction and strengthening of the national statehood of the Chechen people. However, during the Great Patriotic War, he was interrupted by illegal eviction of Chechens and Ingush, as a result of which the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was abolished.

For 13 years, Chechens and Ingush were in exile. And only after the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, at which the party leader N. S. Khrushchev exposed the personality cult of Stalin and its consequences, the repressed peoples were rehabilitated. On January 9, 1957, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was reinstated as part of the RSFSR.

In the sixties and eighties, Chechen-Ingushetia was one of the republics where the socio-political situation remained stably calm. Nothing foreshadowed that the situation could instantly change radically. However, in 1991 a tragedy occurred, the beginning of which was laid by an unconstitutional coup d'etat carried out by extremist forces with the connivance of the federal center. On September 6, as a result of pressure, the Supreme Council of the Chechen-Ingush Republic, legally elected in March-April 1990, was overthrown. The entire complex and multifaceted historical path of the formation and development of the national statehood of the Chechen people, which they traveled in the 20th century, was crossed out. Moreover, the consequences of this conspiracy against the legitimate authorities of the republic subsequently led to the tragic development of events of an all-Russian scale. To return Chechnya to the constitutional field of Russia and strengthen its integrity, the state had to pay a very high price.

Today, the Chechen Republic is an equal subject of the multinational Russian Federation - Russia.

The liberation of science, primarily social science, including historical, from ideological dogmas, and so on. the principle of partisanship, which occurred with the beginning of the renewal of Soviet society in the mid-eighties, opened up the possibility of an objective study of historical events.

Time, social needs and trends of ongoing and emerging transformations are dictated by new research, including theoretical and methodological approaches. Modern philosophy of history aims at overcoming inconsistent theoretical formulas, using tools and universal methods that can help adequately reconstruct the experience of the historical past, comprehend the present and learn from all this for the future.

It is known that public interest in the experience of the past increases during the period of radical changes in development, especially radical ones.

Cataclysms in social development, which became possible due to a spontaneous combination of circumstances, and not a consequence of regular processes, especially dictate the need for historical analysis.

For Chechnya in general and the Chechen people in particular, such a need has existed for a long time. But party-directive methodology was a serious obstacle to an objective study of complex and often contradictory historical phenomena. Therefore, the author’s conclusions formulated in the spirit of official discourse, as a rule, were of a opportunistic nature, consistent with political rationality. Because of this, they did not play a special role in the formation of social values, in particular, national identity.

In Chechnya, during the reign of the Dudaev-Yandarbiev-Maskhadov regimes, history, both as the past and as science, was subordinated to speculative goals. Moreover, the main task was to explain and justify the "regularity" of the current "turmoil" by analogies from the historical past, both pre-revolutionary and Soviet. Thus, the aim was to transplant into the public consciousness, especially into the Chechen national, an adjusted and purposefully oriented understanding of the historical conditionality of the events, their lack of alternativeness and complexity, and therefore the inevitability of errors, miscalculations and costs *. These tendencies are quite clearly traced in the opuses sponsored by Dudaev ( 1993), Yandarbiev ( 1996), Soslambekov ( 1996) and their other associates ( Abumuslimov, 1994; Abubakarov, 1998; Dudaeva, 2005; Dunlop, 2001; Lieven, 1998; Maskhadov, 1997; Usmanov, 1997;).

At one time, Gorky ( 1949), the famous first Soviet proletarian writer and poet, the author of the winged words “born to crawl, cannot fly,” wrote: “We need to know everything that was in the past, but not how it was already it is told, as well as how all this is illuminated by the teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin” (p. 116).

In the same way that the picture of the past and present in Chechnya was drawn in the “teaching” of Dudaev-Yandarbiev-Soslambekov, which was characterized by a peculiar terry mannerism, it was necessary, in the opinion of these orthodoxes of “Ichkeria” separatism, to reproduce the pages of the history of the long-suffering Chechen people. Replacing the facts, vulgarly interpreting them, they tried to create their own sci-fi paradigm of national history, entirely designed to serve their ideological orders and political interests.

In fact, the ideologists and propagandists of these regimes subordinated all the actions taken to the solution of their purely pragmatic task - seizing and holding power in the republic. Therefore, the maxim “the end justifies the means” was a priority in determining tactical intentions and practical actions.

At the same time, in a number of publications, publications, including Internet publications, there is an eager desire of individual authors to establish the historical conditionality of the events that occurred in Chechnya (Chechen-Ingushetia) in the early 90s. XX century. At the same time, the task of showing the existence of mostly objective prerequisites for “revolutionary” actions is completely unambiguously pursued. Thus, voluntarily or involuntarily, the scientific base is brought under unconstitutional actions, as a result of which the legitimate body of the highest state power was overthrown by the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

An objective study of these pressing problems, which we have only schematically outlined in this article, in our opinion, is an important task for researchers. It is quite obvious that without establishing the essence and purposefulness of stereotypes periodically circulated in various audiences and mass media, it is impossible to successfully overcome the so-called syndromes. "Chechen crisis." A significant contribution to the comprehensive coverage of these phenomena of the recent history of Chechnya is the work of such famous scientists as academician V.A. Tishkova and professors D.D. Gakayev, K.S. Gadzhiev and Bugai ( 2006).

The pluralism of opinions and assessments, although ambiguous, is widely represented in collections of articles published under the auspices of the Memorial society, as well as the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center.

Periodically, steps are taken to conduct a comprehensive study of the latest period in the history of Chechnya ( Bugaev, 2006), including with the involvement of new documentary sources ( Katysheva, 2006).


The study of the main stages of the historical development of the Chechen people convincingly shows that a certain sinister pattern has been established that clearly illustrates that after about every half century, trials with incredibly serious consequences fall on it, as a result of which the achievements of previous years are practically destroyed. It should be noted that interest in questions of the history of the previous stages of the formation and development of the national statehood of the Chechen people has noticeably increased, and not only for applied purposes, but also, to a considerable degree, in a theoretical and cognitive sense.

The study of these issues allows us to trace the sequence and progression of these practical steps, sometimes contradictory (inadequate, in particular, from the point of view of theory and politics on the national question, first of all, the Bolshevik proper), occasionally mutually exclusive, and also establish logic (not always explainable, intelligible ) the formation of subordination in the relationship between the federal (union and union-republican) center and subject (Union of the SSR and the RSFSR).

These issues were studied quite widely, especially in the 60s of the last century, which was associated with the political rehabilitation of repressed peoples and the restoration of their statehood, abolished during the Great Patriotic War.

However, there are still no works considering the experience of building the national statehood of the Chechen people not as a series of episodes, although interconnected, but as a holistic process that has historically determined stages of formation and development.


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31 October 2020

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Bugaev, A. M., Gapurov, S. A., Magamadov, S. S., & Alhastova, Z. M. (2020). Nation-Building In Chechnya: Current Research Issues. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1520-1526). European Publisher.