The world’s largest flag of the unrecognized republic of Ichkeria was unraveled in central Kyiv today.
The republic was proclaimed in late 1991 by Dzhokhar Dudayev, the first President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and fought two devastating wars with the Russian Federation, which denounced the secession.
In its initial stages, the Republic of Ichkeria focused on the independence of Chechnya from the Russian Federation. This remained its focus through the First Chechen War (1994-1996); however, the group adopted more violent tactics later on.
While many Chechens consider themselves allies of Ukraine and fight along the Ukrainian armed forces in the Dzhokhar Dudayev international peace battalion of volunteers, others fight alongside the Russian-backed separatist forces. Today’s event was attended by combatants of this battalion, the Georgian legion, and representatives of the Crimean Tatars.
“In the name of the Crimean Tatar people, in the name of all Ukrainians, I want to greet the Chechens who are fighting against the Russian army. Together we will win,” said the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov. In 2014, the Russian occupation authorities of Crimea banned Chubarov from entering the peninsula for 5 years.
“This event symbolizes the fact that our enemies were unable to break our will to victory and our spirit, despite all their efforts. And that our victory is as close as ever,” said organizer of today’s event Amina Okuyeva, a Chechen woman who was a combatant of the war in Donbas on Ukraine’s side.
On 1 June 2017, Okuyeva saved her husband Adam Osmayev from an assassination attempt. Prior to this murder attempt, Russian special services had assassinated 13 Chechen leaders abroad.
In 1944, the Chechens, like the Crimean Tatars, suffered a deportation under Stalin.
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria initially promoted a nationalist and secular ideology. However, during the First Chechen War, its ideology became more religious (Sunni/Salafi) and radical as a result of external organizations, such as Al Qaeda, which pushed the government toward an Islamist and jihadi ideology.
In late 2007, the President of Ichkeria, Dokka Umarov, declared that he had renamed the republic to Noxçiyc̈ó and converted it into a province of the much larger Caucasus Emirate, with himself as Emir. This change was rejected by some members of the former Chechen government-in-exile.
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria still exists but as an underground organization.
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