From Vol. 2
(1) - Winter 2008
Russia, Iran, and the
Conflict in Chechnya
is (civilian) researcher and CIS area specialist at the
Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management of the
National Defence Academy in Vienna (Austria).
The reactions in the
Islamic world to Russia’s wars in Chechnya from 1994 to present
were by far not as strong as the ‘Islamic solidarity’ claim
might have suggested. Theocratic Iran was no exception.
Sceptical remarks from some Iranian officials were immediately
softened by reservations: Chechnya is an “internal affair” of
Russia whose territorial integrity Iran would certainly continue
to respect. At the beginning of the
second war in Chechnya in 1999, Iran was chairing the
Organisation of the Islamic Conference
and made ostensible efforts to keep its role as a means of
criticising Moscow as small as possible. Russian
President Vladimir Putin showed himself not to be very familiar
with matters concerning international or only Russian Islam. On
many occasions he made patronizing comments about Islam, without
triggering a sharp reaction from Iran or other Islamic states
Chechnya, Islam, separatism, Organisation of the Islamic
Iran and Chechnya
separatism as of 1991 was not motivated by Islam (or even
Islamism) but developed on a “purely secular basis of
socio-cultural and political protest.”
In fact, Islam was not mentioned in Chechnya’s separatist
constitution of 1992. Instead, article 43 (paragraph 1) reads:
“Freedom of conscience is guaranteed. The citizens of Chechen
Republic have the right to profess any religion or profess no
one, to execute religious ceremonies and to conduct any other
religious activity not contradicting the law.”
When the Russian army
withdrew from Chechnya in 1992, it left behind a considerable
weapons arsenal. In 1994, Russian President Boris Yeltsin
deployed forces to Chechnya, anticipating a “small-scale war”
and an easy victory. However, Chechen resistance turned out to
be much stronger than expected, and in August 1996 guerrilla
fighters, lead by Aslan Maskhadov, were able to re-capture the
capital Grozny. By early 1997 the Russian troops had withdrawn.
In late summer 1999, Yeltsin and his new Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin launched the second Chechen war which is still ongoing.
the beginning of the second war criticism was voiced in Iran.
For instance, Ayatollah Abdul Vaez-Javadi-Amoli said on 15
January 2000 that Russia “will be destroyed and disgraced if it
continues with the killing of the innocent Muslims in Chechnya.”
At the same time Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Russia’s
Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin that a continuation of
the war in Chechnya would be “unacceptable for the Islamic
world” and added his concern about the “picture from Russia to
the region and the Muslim world.”
Nevertheless, such and similar statements had no obvious
consequences for the official bilateral relationship. In early
January 2000, President Sayed Mohammed Khatami congratulated
Putin on assuming office as (then provisional) President and
expressed hopes to further intensify contacts with Moscow. On 14
January 2000, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti
commented on Iran’s position as follows: “It is very important
for Moscow that Iran has again confirmed its pro-Russian
position on Chechnya […] and recognizes its right to punish
terrorists and bandits” (i.e., the Chechen rebels, M.M.).
The then Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Sergei Ivanov
(today Minister of Defence and First Deputy Prime Minister)
thanked Iran for its “by and large constructive approach.”
Iranian criticism of Russia’s Chechnya policy was occasionally
voiced, as for example by the newspaper Dschomchürjye eslami,
allegedly loyal to Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali
Chamenei, on the occasion of a hostage-taking in a Moscow
musical theatre in October 2002. Also the moderate Russian press
reacted to that with headlines such as “The Ayatollahs Supported
Sceptical remarks from Iranian officials on Russia’s war in
Chechnya were immediately softened by reservations: Chechnya is
an “internal affair” of Russia whose territorial integrity Iran
would, of course, respect. Neither for Iran nor any other Muslim
country the recognition of Chechnya’s self-proclaimed
independence of 1991 was ever a serious point of discussion.
Assefi, a representative of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, announced in 2003:
all measures of Russia that are peaceful in nature and aimed at
respecting and guaranteeing the rights of Russia’s multinational
population, including the Muslims. Iran welcomes the respect the
Russian Federation pays to the many representatives of the
Islamic faith and, by all means, considers the problem with the
Chechen Republic to be an internal Russian affair.”
the Chairman of the Federation Council
(Upper House of Parliament), Sergei Mironov (a Putin
loyal), had no difficulty with telling the Iranian Parliament in
2004 that Russia “greatly appreciated” Iran’s “principle
position” on the situation in Chechnya. According to Mironov,
Iran’s support for “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
the Russian Federation” would have positive effects on the
present and future bilateral relations.
Iran also received credit in Russia for not admitting
representatives of Chechen separatists (as did several CIS and
the German Caucasus expert Uwe Halbach, Middle East governments
– including Iran – were, in general, (even) more reluctant to
criticise Russia’s war in Chechnya than officials in the EU and
North America. Some Islamic states (including Iran) and
organisations provided humanitarian aid to Chechen refugees.
“Volunteers” from several Islamic states joined the Chechen
rebels in their fight.
However, Chechnya never had the “attraction” that other
conflicts with Islamic involvement have had. In general, the
reactions in the Islamic world to the events in Chechnya were
“by far not as strong as the ‘Islamic solidarity’ claim might
Chechen President Maskhadov, undoubtedly a secular-oriented
leader, in vain approached even Pope John Paul II for help, as
the Islamic world appeared to be indifferent to the fate of the
The death toll
figures in Chechnya since 1994 vary strongly, depending on the
source and reach up to 200,000. In any case, one can work on the
assumption that tens of thousands of civilians were killed and
that hundreds of thousands had to flee their homes – in a
Republic that had approximately one million inhabitants in 1991.
From both wars there are reports about numerous massacres,
committed by Russian troops against the civilian population, and
about random shootings and bombings of gathered crowds as well
as about the establishment of “filtration camps” (where people
of both sexes and all ages were sent, who were accused by
Russian troops of having connections with the rebels). At the
beginning of the second war in Chechnya, Russian troops and
intelligence services systematically targeted alleged and actual
symbols of the Islamisation that had taken place in the
and even cemeteries were damaged or destroyed. The possession of
a copy of the Koran alone could lead to arrest for allegedly
“sympathising with the rebels”, and men wearing beards could
raise suspicion of being “Wahhabis.”
In Russia the
terms “Wahhabi” and “Wahhabism” were gradually stripped of their
analytical content and came to be frequently used catchwords and
ciphers for all movements that Moscow perceived as radical,
militant, or terrorist and “steered from the outside” within the
“Islamic renaissance” that was taking place in the “post-Soviet
In addition, both terms point to Saudi Arabia, which in Russia
is all too readily accused of financing Islamic extremists in
the CIS and particularly in Chechnya, while they simultaneously
A researcher at
the Moscow-based Institute for World Economics and International
Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences noted: “In
today’s Russia the attitude towards ‘Wahhabism’ as an enemy
ideology recalls the attitude of the official authorities during
the Soviet era towards ‘Zionism’.”
Moscow and its Chechen accomplices are seeking to make a
distinction between “evil” “Wahhabism” and “good” (because
pro-Russian) “traditional Islam.” According to prevailing
Russian opinion, those who declare jihad on separatist rebels in
Chechnya are “good Muslims,” whereas those who conversely
declare jihad on “Russian infidels” and “national traitors” (a
hint at Chechens siding with Moscow) are “Wahhabis” and,
therefore, have to be fought and “wiped out.” There was,
however, a general “Chechenisation” of Russian perceptions of
Islam, which manifested itself in anti-Islamic prejudices within
parts of Russia’s Slavic population in general and, in concrete
terms, within the political elite and articulated itself in
reprisals against believing Muslims who obviously had nothing to
do with the Chechen rebels. As a result, not only in contested
Chechnya, but also in other North Caucasus regions Muslims faced
grievances or the ban of Arabic and Islam instruction as well as
collective mockery, harassments and even arrests, when praying
On the surface,
Iran’s official reaction was surprisingly indifferent to those
events. Neither the war in Chechnya itself nor Russia’s related
self-presentation in international relations harmed the
relations between Tehran and Moscow. According to Alexei
Malashenko and Dmitri Trenin, the first war in Chechnya did not
overshadow Russian-Iranian “pragmatic” cooperation and the
second war even unchained “the hands of those Russians who
advocated closer ties with Iran. This process brought the
interests of Russian military leaders as well as of circles of
the weapons industry and the nuclear industry to the fore.”
Cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, initially published in a
Danish provincial newspaper in late 2005 and early 2006,
provoked much more indignation and violent protests in many
Islamic states (including Iran) than did the Russian war in
Chechnya with its enormous death toll and property damage.
Iran’s Chechnya policy as a violation of the Iranian
constitution, which obliges Iran to be “fraternally committed”
to all Muslims and provide “unsparing support to the
of the world” (article 3, paragraph 16). Official Tehran
justified its stance towards the Chechen conflict mainly by
pointing out that the rebels were backed by “external forces”
which were enemies of Iran and Russia alike. “In doing so,
Tehran makes practically no effort to conceal the fact that by
such forces it means, among others, the U.S. and Turkey.”
These two countries as well as NATO were repeatedly accused by
Russian politicians and the press of supporting the rebels or at
least wanting to use the Chechen conflict for their own aims. It
is, therefore, a widespread opinion that “neither Russia nor
Chechnya needs war and instability in Chechnya, regardless of
their views. It is the West who needs the war, in order to
create an internal enemy image in the form of Muslims within
Russia and turn Muslims and Orthodox Christians against each
also explained Iran’s position of straddling the fence between
indifference and de facto partisanship with Moscow, regarding
the conflict in Chechnya, with Iran’s own multi-ethnicity and
voiced the opinion that the Azerbaijanis in the north-west, the
Arabs in the south, the Balujis in the south-east, and the
Turkmen in the north-east might also develop separatist or
In the “Treaty about the Basis of Mutual Relations and
Principles of Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the
Islamic Republic of Iran” both countries obliged themselves not
to open their respective territory to “aggressions, diversions
and separatist activities” (article 2).
This is merely a declaration, though, for Russia has signed many
bilateral and multilateral documents within the CIS containing
references to respecting territorial integrity, while, at the
same time, it supports armed separatists, especially in Moldova
(Transnistria) and Georgia (Abkhazia, South Ossetia).
In late 2005,
the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph claimed to have
knowledge of incidents which would equally violate the
aforementioned passage of the Russian-Iranian Principle
Agreement: Referring to “Western intelligence reports”, the
newspaper read that in the “Revolutionary Guards’ Imam Ali
training camp, located close to Tajrish Square in Tehran”,
Chechen rebels were secretly trained “in sophisticated terror
techniques to enable them to carry out more effective attacks
against Russian forces”. In addition, the Chechens would receive
“ideological and political instruction by hardline Iranian
mullahs at Qom.” All this would be taking place with the
knowledge and approval of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
– Later, however, the Sunday Telegraph report only met with
denials and criticism. The Chechen
separatist Kavkazcenter website called the report
“complete nonsense” and added:
has long been common knowledge that in relation to Chechnya,
Tehran has always taken a clear and unambiguous position. Iran
in every way justifies Moscow's occupation of Chechnya and will
never put its military-economic ties with Russia under threat
because of the Chechens.”
Moscow-based newspaper Izvestija
talked about “another shot fired
in the information war that the West is waging against the
Iranian regime,” adding that “a quarrel between Tehran and
Moscow would make the Western diplomats’ work easier.”
Likewise, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow combined its rejection
of the report with a (further) statement that it saw the Chechen
problem “as being in the competence of Russia and its internal
matter.” There was only the very cautiously phrased additional
suggestion that “the government of Russia and the sides to the
conflict should put forward all proposals for settling the
Already in 2002, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow had
“categorically” rejected a statement by the convicted criminal
Beslan Gantamirov, a pro-Russian Chechen politician and
high-ranking staff member of the office of the
Plentipotenitary envoy to the Southern Federal District
(to which Chechnya belongs), according to which Tehran would
support the “terrorist activities of Chattab” (a Chechen fighter
of Arab origin who was killed by the Russians in 2002).
The Chechen Problem
in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev tried in vain to achieve
the accession of Chechnya into the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference (OIC). However, the initiative failed. The final
communiqué of the 7th Conference of the Heads of
State and Governments of the OIC in Casablanca in December 1994
dedicated only one single sentence to Chechnya, which did not
contain any direct criticism of Moscow: “The
Conference expressed its concern over the recent developments in
Chechnya and called on all concerned parties to exercise
restraint and avoid more bloodshed and to work for a peaceful
settlement of the problem, in the framework of the territorial
integrity of the Russian Federation.”
At the beginning of the second war
in Chechnya in 1999, Iran was chairing the OIC and made
ostensible efforts to keep the role of the OIC as a means of
criticising Moscow as small as possible. From that two
well-known Russian scholars deducted that Iran, as chair of the
OIC, had “supported Moscow and its policy in Chechnya.”
Russia’s highest political establishment saw it similarly,
because Mironov thanked Iran for its role in assessing the
“developments in Chechnya” in the framework of the OIC.
Kharrazi offered Russia, provided it would give its
“permission,” to negotiate a ceasefire in Chechnya on behalf of
the OIC, but it was easy for Moscow to reject the proposal – on
the very basis of Iran’s own assessment of the Chechen conflict
as “interior Russian matter.”
Iran nor the OIC felt affronted. Criticism of the
“commensurability” of the Russian military operation and regrets
about the large number of civilian casualties continued to be
moderate. The OIC positions on the question of Chechnya
(including those adopted in Tehran) contained mostly factual to
reserved and carefully formulated wordings and expressions of
“concern” or “grave concern” as well as calls for negotiations,
but no ultimatums or emotional criticism of Russia; they were
always accompanied by the “respect
for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian
Federation and non-interference in its internal affairs.“
This was in clear contrast to the regular biting OIC statements
concerning other crisis zones with Islamic involvement
(especially the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,
although there were far fewer casualties than in Chechnya). OIC
observers even called the more than controversial election in
August 2004 of Moscow’s protégé Alu Alkhanov to President of
Chechnya – who allegedly gained 73.67% of the votes (on an
85.25% turnout) – “legitimate.”
played an important role in the OIC framework, even though
several member states made it clear that they would have wished
an active and critical position of their organisation in this
respect. Particularly Saudi Arabia has been accused by Russian
sources of having acted in favour of separatist Chechnya within
the organisation. Like in Western Europe and North America, the
interest of the Islamic world in the conflict steadily decreased
with its duration. In 2005 – i.e. during the second war in
Chechnya – Russia obtained observer status in the OIC. Iran was
one of the first OIC members to push for this, for which Putin
thanked Ahmadinedjad profusely at a meeting in June 2006.
During the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Baku in
the same month, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented
Russia as an observer.
Against Terrorism” in Chechnya
officials were and are heard saying that Russia was the main
target of international terrorism. The “threat from the south” –
i.e. alleged or actual attempts of Islamic fundamentalists and
terrorists to gain a foothold in the Central-Asian CIS Republics
as well as in Russia itself – was intermittently the main topic
in Russia. Chechnya is considered to be one of the focal points
in that respect. The first war there (1994-1996) was officially
described in Moscow as an “operation to restore the
constitutional order.” This phrase hardly came up, however,
during the second war (since 1999). Instead, Russian officials
as well as directly or indirectly Kremlin-controlled media
consistently spoke of an “anti-terror operation” (or a “fight
against bandits”). However, one must bear in mind that the
Russian leadership considers any Chechen resistance against its
predominantly violent repression to be “terrorism.” With
consistency Moscow does not regard the rebels’ activities as
combat or war operations but as “terrorism.” The terms
“terrorists” and “bandits” are intended to discredit the rebels
as criminals abroad and at home and deny that they have
legitimate political reasons to act. In doing so, Moscow also
justifies its refusal to enter into any kind of negotiations.
“terrorism,” as predominantly understood by the Russian elite as
well as the public, is strongly focused on the “anti-terror
operation” in Chechnya. Minister of Defence Ivanov made this
clear when he said that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq could not have
anything to do with terrorism simply because no Iraqis were
identified among the fighters from 30 to 40 states on the side
of the Chechen separatists.
About Iran Ivanov said that it was not supporting any “terrorist
activities” in Chechnya while “other Middle East countries did.”
This was obviously a reference to Saudi Arabia.
rights activists, among them the well-known NGO Memorial, point
out the high casualty tolls of the wars in Chechnya and, in
turn, accuse the Kremlin of “state terrorism,”
but, with that, belong to a tiny and politically unimportant
minority. Also in Western Europe and North America politicians,
the media and political observers have used this accusation only
as exceptions. Particularly after 9/11 in the U.S., Moscow
gained success in its efforts to present its intervention in
Chechnya as “contribution to the fight against international
terrorism.” It denies that the conflict has deeper roots and
strives to put its war in Chechnya on the same level as the
ongoing U.S.-led combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan and
Al-Qaeda since 2001, and to give the impression that Russian
Armed Forces were confronted with an entire “Islamist terrorist
army” or with an “Islamist aggression.” Moscow has repeatedly
claimed that Al-Qaeda was responsible for attacks and
hostage-takings (as, e.g. in a school in Beslan in the
autonomous Republic of North Ossetia in 2004). However, there is
poor evidence for that. Chechnya has always been at the low end
of Osama bin Laden’s list of priorities. In Jihad texts and
videos released on the Internet it rarely appears as individual
conflict but is usually included in listings of crises with
Muslim participation, anywhere between Bosnia-Herzegovina and
the southern Philippines. Russia is hardly ever condemned, nor
its downfall wished for in the way, as is the case with the
U.S., Israel and other “crusaders.” Jihadist texts sometimes
even accuse the U.S. of having supported the Russian military
interventions in Chechnya.
In fact, this allegation cannot be completely rejected.
Excursus: Putin About
Putin has shown
himself to be not very familiar with matters concerning
international or only Russian Islam. In 2000, for instance, he
said in an interview on CNN that “mainly Shi’ites” lived in the
North Caucasus and “that caused a certain revolt on the part of
the population there.”
Indeed the Shiites (particularly Azerbaijanis and a small part
of the Lezgins and Dargins in Dagestan) are a disappearing
minority in the North Caucasus region.
That same year the Russian President warned, with obvious
exaggeration, of the threat caused by Chechen separatists: “If
extremist forces manage to get a hold in the Caucasus, this
infection may spread up the Volga River, spread to other
republics, and we either face the full Islamization of Russia,
or we will have to agree to Russia’s division into several
In 2002 Putin, answering a journalist’s question about Chechnya,
said that “Islamic terrorists” wanted to “establish a Caliphate”
first in Chechnya and then “in the whole world.”
Also on many
other occasions Putin made patronizing comments about Islam,
without triggering a sharp reaction from Iran or other Islamic
states and organisations. In 2002, answering a question from a
reporter about the war in Chechnya, he said that all Christians
and allies of the U.S. were threatened by Chechen separatists.
According to a version taken from Russian television footage and
translated by The New York Times, Putin actually said:
“If you want to become a complete Islamic radical and are ready
to undergo circumcision, then I invite you to Moscow. We are a
multidenominational country. We have specialists in this
question as well. I will recommend that he carry out the
operation in such a way that after it noting else will grow.”
In 2005, the Russian President being in the Netherlands rejected
allegations that the Russian Armed Forces have been too
heavy-handed in attempts to put down the rebellion in Chechnya.
Then he accused some European leaders of being “more Muslim than
Nevertheless, on 12 December 2005, at the opening of the Chechen
parliament in Grozny – installed by Moscow – Putin declared that
“Russia has always been the most faithful, reliable and
consistent defender of the Islamic world’s interests.”
On 7 February 2006, Putin called the abovementioned cartoons
satirizing the Prophet Mohammed an “inadmissible” provocation
At the same
time, according to Putin, Russia was preventing the expansion of
Islamic fundamentalism into Europe.
Against this backdrop, he practically justified the Soviet
intervention in Afghanistan: At the time, the USSR was “the
first to resist Islamic fundamentalism and organised terrorism.”
The Russian war
in Chechnya has never posed a big problem for Tehran. Iranian
“nuclear trade with Russia flourished particularly during those
years in which the Chechen capital Grozny was levelled to the
Tehran’s pragmatic attitude towards Moscow’s activities in
Chechnya did not go unnoticed (Svante Cornell: “Iran’s attitude
to the Chechen conflict has reaffirmed the predominance of
realpolitik in Iranian foreign policy”,
Clement Therme: “This abandoning of Islamic solidarity for the
profit of a fragile economic and strategic partnership with
Moscow is proof that the foreign policy of Tehran isn’t
Russia itself hardly acts less “pragmatic.” It established close
ties to theocratic Iran, regardless of the fact that Islam is
viewed with suspicion in large parts of Russia’s Slavic
population and its political elite. Many perceive Islam as a
religion and ideology that is seen in Russia as weakening
However, common interests preponderate between Russia and Iran.
Above all, they share an opposition towards what they perceive
as “expansion of the West” – and particularly of the U.S. and
NATO – in the CIS, the Caspian Basin and the Near and Middle
East. This common approach will not change in the foreseeable
future. Other global political actors, including the EU, should
adjust to this attitude.
Chechnya – Constitution,
(accessed 30 October 2006).
Quoted from: RFE/RL Iran Report, vol. 3, no. 6, 7
Sekretar Sovbeza RF provel peregovory s Sekretarem
Vysshego Soveta Natsionalnoy Bezopasnosti Irana.
Obshcheekonomicheskie novosti, yanvar 13, 2000 g.,
11 November 2007).
Yusin, Maskim, Ayatolly podderzhali terroristov.
Izvestiya, 31 October 2002, p. 2.
Only the Taliban in Afghanistan had “recognized”
Chechnya (in January 2000), though their own regime was
not internationally recognized.
RIA “Novosti”, 2 March 2003,
(accessed 13 November 2007).
Quoted from: Mironov: v Rossii vysoko tsenyat pozitsiyu
Irana po Chechne.
RIA Novosti, 12 December 2004,
(accessed 11 March 2007).
Pylev, Аlexey I., Iran i Rossiya kak strategicheskie
soyuzniki: istoriya i sovremennoe polozhenie,
(accessed 11 August 2006).
The Kremlin occasionally propagated that the Chechen
resistance was steered from the outside and would,
therefore, not be autochthonous. It also tried to create
the impression that the Russian Armed Forces were
confronted with an entire Islamist “army of terrorists,”
in which foreign mercenaries play a substantial role. In
fact, there had probably never been more than two to
three hundred foreign fighters in the Republic (Malashenko,
Aleksey and Trenin, Dmitriy, “Vremya
Rossiya v Chechne, Chechnya v Rossii”.
Gendalf , pp. 103-104). By no means, all of those
came from the Islamic world – there were, for example,
also Ukrainian nationalists. And it was particularly
unwelcome in Russia that ethnic Russians (often Islamic
converts) fought with the rebels, though their number
was undoubtedly small.
Halbach, Uwe, Regionale Dimensionen des zweiten
Teil II: Die südliche GUS und die
Aktuelle Analysen des BIOst, no. 2, 2000,
p. 4; Halbach, Uwe, Russlands muslimische Ethnien und
Nachbarn, in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, B 16-17,
2003, pp. 39-46, here p. 45.
In concrete terms, e.g., a mosque in Vedeno (Shamil
Basayev’s hometown), a mosque in Starye Atagi built by
Dudaev’s successor Selimkhan Yandarbiev, and a mosque in
the centre of Gudermes.
The term “Wahhabism” actually refers to the extremely
purist teachings of Ibn Abd al Wahhab (18th
Halbach, Uwe, “Wahhabiten” im Kaukasus und in
Religiöse Konflikte an der Südflanke
Russlands. Aktuelle Analysen des BIOst, no. 19, 12 May
Glinskiy, op. cit.,
Perovič, Jeronim, Am Abgrund. Fehlentwicklungen im
Nordkaukasus. Osteuropa, vol. 56, no. 7, 2006, pp.
33-53, here p. 51.
Malashenko and Trenin, op. cit.,
In this context, the Arab word can be translated as “the
weak” and “the oppressed.”
Shakaryants, Sergey, Aspekty rossiysko-iranskogo
sotrudnichestva s uchetom ego voennoy sostavlyayushchey.
Armenian Center for National and International Studies
(Yerevan), 29 August 2000,
http://www.acnis.am/aspects.htm (accessed 15 May
A. V. Polosin, Head of the Association of Islamic
Journalists in Russia (and former Russian-Orthodox
priest), quoted from: Rossiya i islamskiy mir – problemy,
predposylki i perspektivy dolgosrochnogo vzaimodeystviya.
Vestnik Analitiki, no. 1(19), 2005, pp. 211-224, p. 220.
Samii, A. William, Iran and Chechnya: Realpolitik at
Work. Middle East Policy, vol. VIII, no. 1, March 2001,
Rossiyskaya Federatsiya – Federalnyy Zakon o
Ratifikatsii dogovora ob osnovach vzaimootnosheniy i
printsipach sotrudnichestva mezhdu Rossiyskoy
Federatsiey i Islamskoy Respublikoy Iran.
(accessed 23 October 2006).
Coughlin, Con, Teheran ‘secretly trains’ Chechens to
fight in Russia. Sunday Telegraph, 27 November 2005,
(accessed 13 November 2007).
Report of Iranian Training of Chechens Greeted
Sceptically. Eurasia Daily Monitor – The Jamestown
Foundation, vol. 6, issue 46, 8 December 2005.
Bausin, Aleksey, Anglichane otyskali bazy chechenskikh
boevikov v Irane. Izvestiya, 30 November 2005,
(accessed 5 October 2006).
Chechnya – eto vnutrennee delo Rossii. Posolstvo Irana v
Moskve oprovergaet… Zayavlenie Posolstva Irana v Moskve,
7 December 2005,
23 October 2006).
Zayavlenie posolstva Irana v Rossii.
Kavkazskiy uzel, 30
(accessed 23 October 2006).
The Seventh Islamic Summit Conference (Session of
Fraternity and Revival). Casablanca, Kingdom Of Morocco,
11-13 Rajab 1415h (13-15 December, 1994),
(accessed 25 February 2007).
Malashenko and Trenin, op. cit., p. 205.
Mironov: v Rossii…, op. cit.
So did the Minister for Federal Affairs and
Nationalities Alexander Blokhin, see RFE/RL Iran Report,
vol. 3, no. 12, 20 March 2000.
Cf. e.g.: Resolution no.13/27-P – On the Situation in
Chechnya. Adopted by the Twenty-seventh Session of the
Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, 27-30 June 2000. A verbatim quote is included
in Resolution no.5/30-P – On the Situation in Chechnya.
Adopted by the thirtieth Session of the Islamic
Conference of Foreign Ministers. Tehran, Islamic
Republic of Iran, 28-30 May 2003.
Chechnya: Time For The U.S. to End Ambiguity. Chronicles
Magazine, 1 September 2004,
(accessed 25 February 2007).
Skosyrev, Vladimir, NATO dlya bednykh. Nezavisimaya
gazeta, 16 January 2006, p. 6.
Babaeva, Svetlana, Sergey Ivanov: “Nam obyavlena voyna
bez frontov i granits” (Interview).
Izvestiya, 5 November
2002, p. 2. – The $25,000 reward Saddam Hussein paid to
the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel
was clearly not seen as supporting terrorism by Ivanov.
However, the Russian law ”About the Fight Against
Terrorism” (enacted in 1998) states that financing
terrorist groups counts as ”terrorist activity.” –
Saddam Hussein had always clearly supported Russia’s
”anti-terror operations” in Chechnya. As revenge for
this representatives of the Chechen rebels rendered
support to the U.S.-led war in Iraq in 2003 – despite
Washington putting three Chechen factions on its list of
terrorist groups. The official reason for this was that
U.S. citizens as well as U.S. interests are endangered
by their activities. However, Chechen rebels have never
attracted attention by attacking U.S. targets. In fact,
Washington wanted to convince Moscow to vote for an UN
resolution legitimising the intervention in Iraq. But
this was never an option for Russia.
ist nicht entscheidend”
(Interview). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 6 February
2006, p. 7.
Saidov, Arslan, “Konterror nuzhen lish konkretnym
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Koptev, Dmitriy, Voprosy teologii. Izvestiya, 12
September 2000, p. 3.
Quoted from: Waldman, Amy, Shackles Off, Russia’s
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Quoted from: Reut, Andrey, Putin predlozhil Evrope
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Telegraph), 12 November 2002,
(accessed 7 September 2006).
Quoted from: Fuller, Thomas, Hint of castrating Islamic
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Quoted from: Hanuska, Karl Emerick, Putin, Dutch PM Spar
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Malashenko and Marta Brill Olkott (Eds.), Islam na
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Moskovskie novosti, 13 February 2004,
http://www.mn.ru/print.php?2004-5-46 (accessed 4
October 2006). Many post-Soviet publications still or
again refer to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan
from 1979 to 1989 as “provision of internationalist
assistance to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan” –
as does the deputy head of Putin’s Presidential
and ex-KGB staff member Viktor Ivanov in his official
biography (Pomoshchniki Prezidenta. Ivanov Viktor
[accessed 10 January 2007]). – The military newspaper
Krasnaya zvezda in early 2007 published statements
by General Valentin Varennikov (Ret.) who had spent five
years with the Soviet expeditionary corps in
Afghanistan. He kept to the official version at the
time, claiming that the USSR deployed its troops “on
Afghanistan’s request.” Despite “U.S. fuelled
provocations by the Mujaheddin,” the Soviet troops
“showed patience, generosity, courage, and incredible
self-sacrifice.” The Soviet Army wanted “the people of
Afghanistan to live in peace.” And: “We never intended
to harm the civil population” (Knyazkov, Sergey, General
armii V. I. Varennikov: Nas po-prezhnemu zovut shuravi.
Krasnaya zvezda, 14 February 2007,
[accessed 14 February 2007]).
Randow, Gero von and Ladurner, Ulrich,
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Domestic and International Context of Iranian Policy.
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2001, p. 10.
Therme, Clement, Tehran and the Chechen Question.
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