Staunton, Sept. 6 – Thirty years ago today, the National Congress of the Chechen People headed by Dzhokhar Dudayev declared independence from the Soviet Union, taking a step that many other republics did at the same time following the collapse of the August coup attempt and the successful recovery of de facto independence by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The timing is important because Moscow continues to insist and many in the West continue to believe that Chechnya declared its independence from the Russian Federation when in fact, it did no such thing, having already declared independence form the USSR and having refused to sign the federative treaty that marked the birth of the Russian Federation.
Today, on this anniversary, Alla Dudayeva, the chairman of the presidium of the exile Government of the Chechen Republic-Ichkeria issued a statement expressing regret that the action of the Chechen people on September 6, 1991, was insufficient to secure broad international support for their independence (chechen-government.com/обращение-президиума-правительства-2).
The decision taken 30 years ago, the declaration continues, “corresponds to the natural right to the de-occupation of its state which was occupied by the Bolsheviks in 1918.” Had Chechnya been recognized for that, the tragedies of the last three decades might have been avoided, it says.
“For the thirty-year period, our state had only three years of more or less peaceful existence,” Dudayeva says. All the rest of this interval of history found our land in a war or its territory illegally occupied by the Russian Federation-Russia. More than 250,000 of our citizens were killed, many more remained invalids, MIAs or prisoners.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters and Our Friends throughout the World!” the appeal concludes.
“We are confident our people will restore legitimate authority throughout tour country relying on the support of the international democratic community. [We know that] a nation which does not have its own statehood is doomed to extinction” and that the culture and commitment to national liberation remains alive in the hearts and minds of the Chechen people.
Tragically today, there are some who call themselves Chechens who are collaborating with the occupiers but they are “traitors of the Chechen people. The key to the success of the Resistance is being forged in every family and in every soul of those fighting for human dignity and freedom.”