(Eyes of the British and American war correspondents)

Currently, the perception and understanding of the events of the Russian history of the people of other countries and cultures is an urgent problem. To form a full image of the country, its culture and history is necessary to use a variety of domestic and foreign sources. The study of the past is essential for the modern Russian historical science and is reflected in the growth of publications on the subject image of the Russian state and society. Thus, historians and other researchers are able to conduct a more thorough, careful and thorough research that help to further analyze these or other questions of national history.

The Chechen conflict is a complex and sensitive issue for Russia today. This is reflected in the historical closeness of the conflict and the fact that many people were somehow involved in it. Foreign sources provide us the opportunity to otse string interpretation of the first Chechen campaign with a different position and to supplement its analysis of the facts and their interpretation. This article attempts to identify and assess the perception of the first Chechen campaign, foreign correspondents, identify their perception of the main causes and characteristics, to understand how their views complete the picture of the study of the conflict, as well as to find out on whose side were the sympathy of foreigners.

It is important to note that for learning a foreign perception and interpretation of the first Chechen campaign will be used by the English-language sources started only British and American war correspondents, moreover, unknown wide range of local researchers. The predominance of the work of war correspondents is because, firstly, Chechnya is far from the main tourist routes, and secondly, the dangers and risks associated with the description of a military conflict.

All found sources are professional in nature, most of them are prepared upon request of a particular company. Among the memoirs on the subject of the first Chechen campaign, we should mention some of the most important. Firstly, it is solid work K. Gall and A. Lievina, describing and analyzing all the conflict and its history. On the history of the town of Samashki and personal feelings of the author tells in his memoirs correspondent T. Golttsa. In the paper by Mayer describes his perception of events in Chechnya in the Russian historical development in the context of the early 1990s. Correspondents popular publications such as the New York Times and the Moscow Times also provide valuable information about various aspects of the conflict.


The history of the Chechen conflict is rooted in the depths of Russian history. In the XIX century. joining Northern Caucasian solved by the military. This process lasted for more than 50 years, and seriously affected the life of Russia, its society and ordinary people. T. Goltts quotes a Chechen clarifying the perception of confrontation in the Caucasus, the local population: "The current conflict - it is only the most recent attempt to erase Russian Chechens face of the earth. It's part of the genocide of the Chechen people. " The author draws attention to the fact that the conflict was not unexpected, but on the contrary, the historical patterns for the Chechens. A "historical aggression" in Russia, in the opinion of foreigners, can not be assessed otherwise than genocide.

The catalyst for the conflict was the collapse of the USSR. September 6, 1991 J. Dudayev and his associates produced the storming of the building of the Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet. More than 40 MPs were beaten, and the chairman of the City Council Terrible V. Kutsenko was either thrown out the window, or crashed while trying to escape. Dudayev was elected president of Chechnya and declared independence from the Soviet Union and the RSFSR.

This event was estimated to Russia, as a coup, violates the Russian Constitution. Council of People's Deputies of the RSFSR declared the illegality of the act, but no steps to curb the violation has not been done. Also failed several attempts to relieve the federal government of Dudayev, using vnutrichechenskie conflicts. One of them was an operation carried out by November 26, 1994, which was attended by "volunteers" from several elite units of the Russian army. The Kremlin denied the accusations of his involvement in the clashes vnutrichechenskim. But, one way or another, all the operations have been unsuccessful, pushing the federal government to look for other ways to resolve the Chechen problem.

Foreign correspondents point out that Russia is taking certain steps to overcome the arisen situation in Chechnya, but they were ineffective. Of great interest is the desire to foreign journalists to show the historical pattern of the events of the 1990s. in Chechnya, thus justifying the behavior of Chechen fighters.

Initially, people in Chechnya were happy with the self-proclaimed independence, because for them it seemed a manifestation of the national will to achieve ethnic and political freedom. However, not all representatives of the Chechen community share this opinion. In intellectual circles, tuned in opposition to Dudayev, it believed that the takeover was made a radical group. This, according to the Chechen historian D. Gakaev, was the result of the lack of intellectuals in Chechnya. If the Baltic countries popular fronts led by intellectuals, the Chechen struggle for independence took the people from the marginalized sections of society. Correspondents point out that the marginal part of the government's top easy to be influenced by some prominent leaders such as D. Dudaev. Therefore, in many ways it was easier to carry out satisfying his personal interests policy.

before the conflict

Analysis of the situation in Chechnya in the run-up to the conflict, conducted by foreign authors, helps evaluate the performance of D. Dudaev and legitimacy of open hostilities on the part of the federal leadership.

As the journalist writes, Chechnya was not a state (or rather, the fact that there was formed, it was a far cry from the state). K. Gall points out that President Dudayev was more interested in the idea of ​​independence, than in its practical implementation. "From the very first days of the reign of Dudayev was unable to create a tribute to the government or to develop a program of economic reforms."

Correspondents, so do not believe this policy can achieve success in the future of the Chechen leadership. It is likely that the image of Dudayev-hero who had appeared immediately after the declaration of independence, it could be replaced by a less impressed.

Besides Dudayev he has often stated that "the basis of its policy is to prepare for war with Russia," but A. Lieven notes that preparations for it had not been maintained. More precisely, they developed plans for military action, but it was not made any serious attempts to somehow implement these plans. "Tens of thousands of Chechens who came to the defense, did it not by design of the state, as a result of spontaneous actions of Chechen society."

Moreover, Chechnya for several years after independence, received money from the federal budget. But in 1993, the Chechen Republic has been excluded from the federal budget. This affected primarily at children, retirees, state employees and others. With this measure, the Kremlin was able to achieve that in the spring of 1994 Dudayev regime was at its lowest level of popularity. The country was growing discontent, there was dominated by hunger, poverty and social insecurity, so many residents fled Chechnya. Frequent robberies and murders of representatives of various ethnic groups in Chechnya. It is surprising that John. Dudayev did not show even the slightest initiative to bring the self-proclaimed state of crisis.

British and American correspondents are the following reasons for the beginning of the first Chechen campaign.

1. Most of the authors indicates that the control over the oil resources is a major cause of conflict. "The presence of an important oil refinery in Grozny guaranteed by the government of Dudayev physical control of millions of tons of oil. That was enough to get the support of corrupt officials anywhere in Russia ", - says B. Clark. Moreover, the multi-billion dollar deal for the exploitation of new oil fields in the Caspian Sea was to be signed in Azerbaijan in 1995, the international oil consortium, which consisted of a Russian company "Lukoil". There were several possible ways by which oil could be transported to the West, and they had some difficulties in the operation. The most inexpensive way lay through the port of Novorossiysk, and accordingly, Chechnya.

2. Describing the relationship between power and the mafia, B. Clark points out that "for the first two years of the Russian Federation Russia has been unable to defend the independence of many of the economic organization. He took advantage of the Mafia, which has taken control of certain business structures. Gradually, however, the situation began to change; mafia organizations have realized that they are more favorable to an alliance with a strong state than to destroy it from within. " "Unpardonable sin of Chechnya was not that there were criminal organizations, and that they were not Russian criminals." Here the author points to the perception of Russia in the West as the country in which the universal legal norms were not represented. The state was like a mafia structure, and does not express the interests of the organization of the population.

3. Another major cause of the conflict was the desire of some representatives of the federal elite prove yourself to Yeltsin. Many understood that the person who decides the Chechen problem could be his political heir. It was obvious that Yeltsin could not rule the country forever, so many of his entourage tried to achieve a "special place" in the president.

4. It is also a possible cause of the conflict is the fact capture Russian soldiers Kantemir and Taman divisions, which was made the troops of Dudayev. These units were supported Yeltsin in October 1993 and in many ways helped him succeed. In Chechnya, they were put in front of cameras and reporters were told that their participation in vnutrichechenskom conflict was initiated by the federal government. The capture of elite military units shame Russia within the country and abroad, and, moreover, pointed to the direct involvement of Yeltsin.

Using the identified sources allows us to clarify the views of foreign correspondents in the contradictory situation on the eve of the conflict. The economic interests of individual companies, institutions and government, ambition Yeltsin and his entourage were, in terms of the analyzed authors, causes the ensuing war. Foreign correspondents in his analysis of the causes of the confrontation, provide fairly one-sided picture, since they do not pay enough attention to the policy of the Chechen Republic in the early 1990s. and personality Dzhokhar Dudayev.

The balance of forces

K. Gall gives relevant statistics to the beginning of hostilities, "to face the 40,000 Russian invasion had an army that hardly amounts to 1000 soldiers. several times the number of volunteers increased soon, but the number of military-trained men were only a few hundred. " The author assesses the situation of Chechens as "suicidal." Federal troops were superior in the number of Chechen soldiers, but inferior to the level of their preparedness. "Russian soldiers were so poorly trained that they did not know how to defend themselves. They were all 18-19 years old, and have never had a training practice fighting in an urban environment. " The author continues and gives comparative characteristics of the Chechen soldiers: "The Chechens were fearless and ruthless. They were people who from early childhood learning the use of weapons. "

In this assessment, there is sympathy for the mountaineers, as they were ready to defend Chechnya by Russian troops, despite their numerical minority. A similar position is taken and Lievin, who admits that he admires the courage and honor of the Chechen people. This position can be seen as a whole from Western journalists, who believed the Kremlin aggressor. But if K. Gall and A. Lievina was not the original task or order to act on someone's side, and they expressed a more moderate position, T. Goltts quite categorical: "It was necessary to remove uniserial documentary film about" Chechen spirit. " And that motivates Chechens, losing in the number of weapons, continue to fight against the power of the Russian army. " At the same time , he noted that the attitude of the Chechens in the West during the first year of the conflict has changed to positive, because even before the collision about them in the press wrote, as "a big joke mafia" .

Correspondents point out that, in spite of the numerical superiority of the federal army, she did not have high morale and adequate military training. In Chechnya, in contrast, were highly motivated people who are ready to defend the independence of their land, brought up in the war and the concept of "oppression" of his people. In fact data presentation style of foreign correspondents observed their desire to show the world the incredible heroism of the Chechen Kremlin and cruelty. Here is traced, the authors largely preserved perception of the Kremlin's policies in the 1990s. within the policy of the USSR, and they could not move away from the typical to the era of the Cold War analogy to assess the actions of the federal authorities, "How David attacked Goliath."

The decision to warfare

Of particular interest and importance is the question of how the decision was made to go to war 1 and the introduction of troops into Chechnya. According to K. Gall, this decision is a typical example of the Kremlin's policy of the Soviet era. It was made in secrecy and without a written order. Order the "invasion of Chechnya lies with the collective responsibility of the Kremlin security council and a president who could take this decision without consulting the parliament."


A description of all military operations, is available in the identified sources, is very voluminous and therefore may not be fully reflected in this study. It will discuss only the key events that will help to make the overall picture of the conflict and to identify the perception and evaluation of war correspondents.

In December 1994, Grozny has undergone a series of chaotic bombings of the federal air forces. As noted by A. Lievin in his work: "The bombing was very intense, but at the same time chaotic." This created the impression of a lack of original plan by the feds, the troops that "aimlessly bombed" the city, terrorizing the civilian population of Grozny. After the evacuation of civilians was not undertaken.

A. Lievin emphasizes the incredible endurance and heroic behavior of Chechen fighters during aviaatak. Russian population of Grozny hate refers to the action of the federal troops, who did not defend them, "are mad." However, not only the Kremlin is to blame for the conflict. Ordinary Chechens and Russian thought that in all that happens and blame Yeltsin and Grachev, and Dudayev, as they have failed to achieve a compromise solution. Moreover, A. Lievin indicates that such views were among the Chechen fighters.

This balanced assessment of the perpetrators of the conflict indicates that the American and British correspondents, regardless of their personal sympathy for the Chechens, still represent an objective review of a military clash.

Enter the federal forces in Grozny was a "disaster" for the Feds, which definitely affected the course of the entire campaign in Chechnya. K. Gall points out that after the remnants of Maikop brigade, escaped from the city, get to a safe place, they were overwhelmed and amazed. She was particularly surprised by the fact that the surviving members of the team did not know for what purpose they were heading to Grozny. Scale "massacre" committed against Russian soldiers, was never recognized by the Russian authorities. Other attempts of federal troops to enter the city during January and February 1995 were as hopeless and unsuccessful.

In the analyzed sources highlights the lack of preparation and lack of a plan of warfare from the Feds, which indicates the carelessness and negligence of the central authorities, who sent tens of thousands of soldiers to die. Events start of the war began to blow on the domestic and foreign policy Russia's prestige and determined the desire to Yeltsin and his supporters to continue the conflict.

Description of military events took place in the extensive work of war correspondents, thereby enabling us to trace the sequence of events. It should be noted that the authors evaluate the many events and activities from the standpoint of the federals of the Chechen side, complementing their conversations with the local population, the militants and the government. This has been especially the T. Golttsa, which gives one-sided analysis of what is happening.

The main problem was the loss of the feds and the demoralization of the soldiers and officers, after several months of fighting. According to A. Lievina, this happened because the military heavily "hated" Yeltsin and the Russian government. "The government and the mafia - the same thing. None of them did not think about the country and the army. " "Hate" in the government and the moral decay in a soldier's environment led to the protracted nature of the conflict and the impact on the number of military and civilian casualties.


Hostage taking in Budennovsk was a turning point in the first Chechen war, after which the separatist movement has become more popular in Chechnya. Before Budyonnovsk federal troops were advancing slowly and persistently in the Chechen Republic. In June 1995, the rebels were cornered near the southeastern border of Dagestan.

Operation in Budennovsk, according to foreign correspondents, was an act of desperation, aimed at causing the maximum possible damage to the feds. "For us it was a surprise how easy it was to intimidate or bribe the Russian soldiers and police. Among the rebels there were many important leaders, with the exception of Aslan Maskhadov. "

The events took place from 14 to 19 June and put it in the capture of a group of Chechens led by Shamil Basayev, the hospital in which they were kept hostage for about 1,500 people. According to Basayev, the hospital seizure was a natural and logical riposte Chechen people robbed of her home and family. Therefore, they would like to obtain a review of the whole situation and put forward three main demands: the withdrawal of federal troops from Chechnya, the beginning of talks between President Yeltsin and General Dudayev, meeting with reporters the rebels.

Foreign correspondents, despite the brutality of the act, evaluate it as a manifestation of the desire of the Chechens to end the conflict in Chechnya, and in part to justify terrorist actions of militants.

Unsuccessful storming hospitals and sacrifices made by the hostages and war, forced the Russian government to look for alternative ways out. It should be noted that President Yeltsin was unable to end the conflict or to go to some compromise way. Journalist The New York Times can not understand this and believes that the "Yeltsin lacked any real power or will." Despite the fact that the presidency was in Russia, he did not want to come back from his trip to Nova Scotia.

Thus, there is the inability of Yeltsin rationally respond to a crisis situation. This may have resulted from his lack of ability to deal with conflict through compromise. Authoritarian type of governance and conflict resolution through military means, such as in October 1993, to objectively demonstrate the kind of political line, which was formed with the President of the Russian Federation.

The task of negotiating with the Chechens took over Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. "The fast pace of events and how it is to resolve the crisis, suggest that the Prime Minister acted independently. His telephone conversations with Shamil Basayev led to the release of most of the hostages. " Although he allowed the Chechens to leave and did not punish them for the killing and wounding of Russians, Chernomyrdin, in the opinion of the authors analyzed, has taken an important step towards resolving the conflict. The Prime Minister's actions were highly appreciated by foreign war correspondents.

According to A. Maier, the federal government had no choice but to start negotiations with the separatist Dudayev. Since at the beginning of June, it became clear that the federal forces will not be able to defeat the Chechens because of their high morale and desire to defend their land. "So the Kremlin there are only two options: an endless guerrilla war or a compromise."

Events in Budyonnovsk have pushed the federal government to the second option, because the transition of war to other parts of the Russian Federation was not beneficial to Boris Yeltsin, who was soon to be nominated for a second term. In addition, Russia's population has been set negatively in relation to the conflict because of losses among the soldiers and the events in Budyonnovsk.

J.. Dudayev often acted with criticism of Moscow and its policies in Chechnya. But throughout the conflict, he expressed the opinion that could compromise provided "respect for his person" with the Kremlin party. July 30 signed an agreement on a cease-fire on both sides, the withdrawal of the majority of Russian troops and the exchange of prisoners. But this agreement was not reflected in the actual termination of confrontation.

Immediately after the signing of the agreement, when Imaev, head of the Chechen delegation arrived to Dudayev, it "hit Dudayev's anger." Ten months after the event Imaev explained what he was accused of "Dudaev felt that the negotiations ended without him; neither Yeltsin nor Chernomyrdin did not intend to meet with him personally. Everyone forgot about General Dudayev. "

According to the British and American correspondents in conflict faced the interests of the two authoritarian personalities who were largely incapable of compromise, and were more likely to provoke a new conflict, which would be able to satisfy their interests.

Moreover, Dudayev and Grachev was not profitable to the signing of this agreement. The first had more authority and respect among the Chechens during military action. Defense Minister Grachev sought to further increase funding for the federal army as he could to use the funds for their own purposes.

Among the other events of the conflict, which analyzes in detail the military correspondents, it is worth mentioning the battle for Gudermes, the taking of hostages in Kizlyar and subsequent events in the village May Day.

The killing of Dzhokhar Dudayev

A key episode in the first Chechen campaign is killing Dudayev. In late March, Yeltsin showed a new initiative for a cease-fire in Chechnya. A. Meyer writes: "This initiative was no more than a pretext. Presidential elections were scheduled for June 16, and Yeltsin realized that his chances for re-election based on ending the war in Chechnya. "

The authors point out that it is necessary to Yeltsin was to halt a conflict in any way. He feared that the public would vote for the Communists, who opposed a military solution to the Chechen problem.

But suddenly, April 21, 1996 the President of Chechnya, was killed. This has changed the balance of power and tasks of the parties. K. Gall writes that the reasons for the assassination of Dudayev became a mystery to all. "Most likely, Yeltsin was ready to negotiate with Dudayev, but only if absolutely necessary, and at the same time he was trying to eliminate it."

New Chechen leader Yandarbiyev, "has never been an authoritarian figure", so to him it was possible to build a dialogue. May 27 there was a meeting of Yeltsin and Yandarbiyev, which ended with the signing of the ceasefire agreement. Yeltsin managed to achieve such a release. And as K. Gall said, "it was the most brilliant act of propaganda of his campaign."

In fact, a temporary ceasefire was beneficial not only to Yeltsin, but the Chechen side. All in Chechnya remembered the previous cease-fire and what "benefits it gave them." Temporary cessation of hostilities provided them with much-needed respite.

A week after the presidential elections on July 9 federal troops attacked the village Mahety. This demonstrated the real priorities of the Kremlin and Yeltsin on Chechnya. Fighting continued until 6 August, before the day of Yeltsin's inauguration. A. Lievin believes that this was a day of shame of Russia "in Moscow is very big and fat man, unable to speak for more than one minute, was re-elected for a second term." Here the authors draw attention to the indifferent behavior of the Russian public, who did not want change in politics and was ready to support Yeltsin, incompetent and does not correspond to the image of a political leader.

The merit of the final end to the conflict, according to Western reporters, belongs to A. Lebed and Aslan Maskhadov, the last was the initiator of the cessation of hostilities. K. Gall refers to the fact that Maskhadov was "ashamed" for the state of the Russian army after its defeat in Grozny, and he wanted to avoid further casualties. As a result of the joint efforts of the Swan and Maskhadov succeeded in signing a peace treaty, under which all Russian troops pulled out of Grozny on 31 August.

The end of the war it turned out, on the one hand, the long-awaited, and on the other, illogical. Neither side really has not achieved its goals and objectives in the future lead to a new round of hostilities.

As a result, Chechnya gained de facto independence from Russia. But no foreign country has recognized the independence of Chechnya. A Chechen fate depended on Russia and on its decision to recognize the real independence. Chechen economy was in ruins. Not a single refinery, therefore, Chechnya was nowhere to draw resources for economic development. And the loss of human life, according to the available sources in the studied data, amounted to 60,000 dead and tens of thousands wounded.


War correspondents successfully use the data obtained as a result of personal observations to supplement and clarify many aspects of the conflict and mysteries. Many of their interpretations are based on assumptions, but, in any case, provide useful information on estimates, opinions and perceptions of the conflict.

The big advantage of sources is a live image of the conflict. The authors during their stay in Chechnya directly communicate with many participants of military operations and the residents of Grozny and other cities and settlements of Chechnya.

Moreover, foreign correspondents complement their own opinions and perceptions of links to legislation, monographs, newspaper articles and other materials. As a result, they were able to show in detail the chronology of events, demonstrate the complexity and inconsistency of factors and positions of the leaders that influenced its emergence and development.

First, the analysis of sources, it is clear that the sympathies of the British and American correspondents are on the side of the Chechens. Authors admire their fighting spirit and courage to indicate the difficult initial situation, which turned out to be insurgents. This is not surprising, since foreign correspondents during the conflict were in the territory of the Chechen Republic and basically in contact with the Chechens. The image of warlike mountaineer, defending the freedom of the land, of course, has very effective impact on the perception of the conflict, US and British correspondents. Moreover, foreign authors demonstrate that the Chechens have largely become hostages of the situation and the conflict as a whole. They sought a peaceful solution to the conflict, but were forced to defend themselves when federal troops began military operations on the territory of the republic.

We can not say that foreign authors of negative assessments of the federal forces, on the contrary, throughout the conflict, they sympathize with ill-prepared young Confederate soldier who became parties to the conflict not by choice, but by the will of the authorities.

Secondly, foreign authors emphasize that the first Chechen war was the result of stupidity, greed and missed opportunities. The sources noted that if D. Dudayev wanted to, he could agree with Yeltsin an acceptable agreement and get broad autonomy. But Yeltsin administration was unable to diplomatic efforts to resolve the problem and instead use old Soviet scheme 1 , aimed at intimidating the population and the use of brute military force.

They focus on demonstration of ill-considered actions of the Russian authorities, who initiated the conflict, knowing the history of the Chechen wars. Starting from the desire of some figures of the Yeltsin and Yeltsin, the war led to his downfall personal authority in the country and in the international arena. Policy President, does not care about its people, the army and the resources of the country, led to the pejorative and negative attitude towards him on the part of Russian public and politicians in Russia and in the West. His negligence led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Budyonnovsk and Kizlyar. Moreover, his errors condemned to death tens of thousands of soldiers who not only were not prepared for military action physically and mentally, but also not informed about the purpose of his stay in Chechnya. All this was expressed elk in large and unnecessary loss of life and financial cost. But the most important consequences were the realization that "hope for the democratic transformation of Russia, which began in 1991, when Yeltsin climbed on the tank, was discarded as unrealistic."


Weasels AV

Original: //maxpark.com/community/14/content/2176542

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