Aslan Maskhadov

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Aslan Maskhadov

Aslan (Khalid) Aliyevich Maskhadov (Russian: Асла́н (Хали́д) Али́евич Масха́дов; Chechen: (Масхадан) Али ВоӀ Аслан) (21 September 19518 March 2005) was a Soviet and Chechen politician who served as the third president of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. He was credited by many with the Chechen victory in the First Chechen War, which allowed for the establishment of the de facto independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Maskhadov was elected President of Chechnya in January 1997. Following the start of the Second Chechen War in August 1999, he returned to leading the guerrilla resistance against the Russian army, with Ichkeria ceasing to exist at the beginning of 2000. Maskhadov continued to serve as a President in exile until he was killed in an operation led by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation at a village in northern Chechnya, in March 2005.


  • We are going through hard times now. The enemy is within us but it is invisible. We are one nation, we have one religion but there is no accord between us.
  • The people of Russia will experience constant fear of possible retribution by suicide bombers in revenge for the evil deeds of the [Federal Security Service] and the federal forces in Chechnya.
  • When the interests of Western states and those of Russia collide in the Caucasus, when the leaders of those Western states comprehend the level of danger to the entire civilized world that emanates from Russia, then they will line up and beg us Chechens to agree to end the war.
  • There was also the religious factor. As a military man I knew the capacity of the Russian army. When a Russian column was advancing and you had no proper ammunitions left and you were waiting for them to move 200 or 300 meters to destroy them and you succeeded – these were miracles. That was when the religious factor came into play. You began to believe that the outcome was in the hands of God.
  • If reason triumphs among our Kremlin opponents, we can end this war at the negotiating table. If not, then most likely blood will be spilled for a long time to come but we will not be morally responsible for the continuation of this madness.

Excerpts of Open Letter to the Leaders Of G-7 Nations (2002)[edit]


  • I, Aslan Maskhadov, the democratically elected President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, write this desperate appeal in the name of my people, the victims of a genocidal war whose daily murder has yet to awaken the conscience of the world you lead. We are as wretched, bloody and enslaved as you are rich, mighty and free.
  • You will soon gather in Genoa amidst the splendor and ceremony that befits your place in the front rank of nations. Guards of honour will salute you, you will meet in palaces and the world will listen to your every word. But I write you from a killing ground putrid with slaughter and like my brethren I remain a hunted man in my own country. I too won the privilege and responsibility of leading my nation from the ballot box, but Moscow calls me a bandit, a terrorist and a criminal.
  • Beyond the confines of my tiny country, my words seem to count for little, just as the anguished cry of my people still astonishingly leaves you mute and deaf. So I will continue to write until the silence is pierced.
  • You will join in your summit to consider debt relief for the impoverished developing world. This is a laudable aim, and it is the hope no doubt of countless millions that humanitarian concern motivates the strong to seek an end to indentured misery for the weak. But if you acknowledge the quiet violence of poverty upon the destitute and the hungry why do you turn away from us? We who die in the flames of the Kremlin’s dirty war, are we less worthy of compassion? What has made us invisible to you? I fear I know the answer. I fear the cold exigencies of realpolitik ensure your inaction and seal our fate. Lest you damage an uncertain relationship with a fragile and volatile new Russia, you are willing to overlook the annihilation of my people. In your eyes, for the sake of larger interests we are an expendable nation.
  • Out of a population that once numbered a million, one in seven Chechens is now dead. 250,000 of our civilians are refugees. Bereft of the most basic necessities, many are ravaged by disease and malnutrition, especially the elderly and the young. More than 20,000 civilians and resistance members endure imprisonment in the new Gulags, the so-called filtration camps. Held in dehumanizingly foul and primitive conditions with little or no medical care that far exceed the worst standards of the Russian penal system, life in the improvised camps sees the sadistic and systematic use of torture. Burning with cigarettes, crippling beatings, suffocation, drowning in human excrement, mutilation with knives, high voltage electric shock and sexual abuses are only some of the common practices. Many prisoners are ultimately killed. Surely for some this must be a welcome deliverance from hell.
  • In 1945 you defeated the evils of militarism, fascism and Nazism. Those nations among you that had given birth to the monstrous juggernaut and holocaust of world war, vowed never to repeat the same fatal errors and forged yourselves in a new spirit to stand proudly among the elder democracies.
  • The savagery we must bear is not new. We remember Stalin’s salt mines, his guard towers, barbed wire and unmarked graves. The pain of exodus and genocide we have known before. So we recognise the others with whom we share a terrible kinship of horror. The skeletal Jews and Romani in the ovens of Dachau and Auschwitz. The bayonet fodder of Nanjing. The ancient, wide-eyed children of Biafra. The pleading mother and baby facing the rifles at My Lai. The marsh Arabs of Iraq choked by the clouds of mustard gas. The Tutsi of Rwanda butchered on the Kigali road by the knives of the Interahamwe. They are all our martyred brothers and sisters in the legacy of senseless murder. Only our slaughter, our death is not yesterday’s, it belongs in the living nightmare of the present. How many Chechens will have died in the time you take to read this letter?
  • If you continue to stand idly by while my people vanish in a bloodbath, if you fail to act with conviction and resolve as you did in Rwanda, Chechen ghosts will stain your honour as surely as they do Russia’s. May God grant you the wisdom and vision to serve the cause of peace and justice.

Quotes about Mashkhadov[edit]

  • Like most Chechens of his generation, Maskhadov was born in exile in Kazakhstan, where Chechens had been deported en masse in 1944 under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The exile added fuel to Chechens’ resentment of Russians.

External links[edit]