Hostilities in Grozny. Screenshot of the video "It was hell on earth: memories on the first Chechen war" by Radio Svoboda channel

11 December 2019, 22:12

Chechen residents share their memories on 25th anniversary of war outbreak

A quarter of a century ago, the entry of federal troops into Chechnya did not look like the start of a full-scale war, and people expected the conflict to end by agreement of the parties, say residents of the Chechen republic while recalling their deceased relatives and friends and destroyed houses.

On December 11, 1994, the entry of the Russian troops into Chechnya was launched, and that marked the beginning of the first military campaign in the republic. Eyewitnesses of those events told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that until the very last moment they had a hope for a peaceful resolution to the situation.

"I believe nobody expected that there would be an open war with Russia," said Lema, a resident of Grozny. According to him, on returning back he did not recognize his city, since "the view was terrible, and everything was destroyed."

The war lasted from December 11, 1994, to August 1996. According to the official information, in 1994-1995, about 26,000 people were killed in Chechnya, including 2000 soldiers and officers of the Russian troops and 10,000-15,000 militants. The remaining losses fell on civilians.

On December 11, 1994, Apti, a resident of Grozny, argued with a relative whether the entry of the federal troops into Chechnya was the beginning of the war. "A couple of days later, when I came under fire, I realized that was really serious and that was a real war. One of my relatives was killed during an assault on Grozny by the federal troops on the New Year eve. In total, eight members of our family were killed during those two wars, and I lost 20 of my friends and acquaintances. We lost our house," the man emphasized.

According to General Gennady Troshev, the former commander of the Vladikavkaz Army Corps, the start of military actions in Chechnya "was planned blindly." He admitted that the federal troops "did not know what to do if they met a crowd of unarmed people, what to do if they blocked a road, and how to act when they met armed militants."

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 11, 2019 at 12:39 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: CK correspondent

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