On 73rd anniversary of deportation, Chechnya and Ingushetia divide on Stalin and his crimes

Monument to Ingush and Chechen people who perished during the deportation by Stalin to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Erected in Nazran in 1997.

Monument to Ingush and Chechen people who perished during the deportation by Stalin to Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Erected in Nazran in 1997.  

Analysis & Opinion, History, Politics

Seventy-three years ago today, Stalin the two Vaynakh nations, the Chechens and the Ingush, thousands of whom lost their lives in the process before being allowed to return to their North Caucasus homeland after the dictator’s death. But this year, the two nations are treating that anniversary and Stalin very differently.


Ingushetia and Chechnya

Ingushetia not only marked the anniversary as it has done every year since perestroika times, but its republic parliament unanimously passed on first reading a law banning Stalin monuments of any kind and making it illegal to express support for the Soviet dictator.

One Ingush parliamentarian said that praising Stalin was “blasphemy” given that he had “deported dozens of ethnic groups” and “killed or jailed tens of thousands of members of the intelligentsia and military,” a remarkable position to take about a man Vladimir Putin has praised as “an effective manager” and one the Russian people as a whole view increasingly positively.

But in neighboring Chechnya, officials there said there would be “no official activities devoted to this anniversary of the Stalinist deportation” because Chechens would be celebrating the Russian Day of the Defender of the Fatherland. Not all Chechens are happy about this, however.

In addition to wanting to conform to Putin’s preference, Ramzan Kadyrov and his government have two reasons for not marking the deportation anniversary on its actual date:

  • On the one hand, Kadyrov in 2011 moved that anniversary to May 10, and Grozny has marked that date ever since.
  • And on the other, Dzhokhar Dudayev, the first president of Chechnya-Ichkeria, established February 23 as the Day of National Rebirth of the Chechen People. No one in Moscow would want that recalled.

But as the Kavkaz-Uzel portal noted, “the residents of Chechnya do not agree” with Kadyrov’s and Moscow’s arrangements and believe that they should recall the tragedy of their people on the day it began. And they are especially furious at Kadyrov for suggesting that the Chechens bear responsibility for the deportation.

“How were our elderly, our women and our children, who died from hunger, cold and illness guilty” of this crime? One Chechen asked. “How can one say such bestial things?”



Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Do I smell TROUBLE brewing in the North Caucasus for Kadyrov and the dwarf, or doth my nose deceive me????

  • zorbatheturk

    There are the mad, the bad, and the sad. Ramazan is all three. This guy is an accident waiting to happen. If I sold a life insurance policy on him, I would be fired.

  • Alex George

    Kadyrov the strong man is in control.

    Until he isn’t.

  • Alex George

    Kudos to the Ingush for having the courage to call Stalinism for what it was – mass murder.

  • Eolone

    The first sentence is confusing: “Stalin the two Vaynakh nations”. Error in translation? This led to (at first, ancient) history: “The Chechens and Ingush…managed to successfully resist the Mongols, twice. Unfortunately the state of Dzurdzuketia was utterly destroyed, and the Vaynakh suffered heavy losses.” (The Mongols also were twice annihilated by typhoons when they tried to invade Japan. Thus the origin of “kamikaze” — divine wind).

    The two peoples have much grievance: fifty years after the 1944 deportations and killings, the Russian-Chechen war killed another quarter million people under Yeltsin and Putin.

    • MichaelA

      they are both the vainakh
      no ethnic difference between ingush and chechens

      • Eolone

        Thanks, that’s a start.