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Khasavyurt Accords

End of the First Chechen War

Committee Objectives:

  • Understand what causes the First Chechen War and what objectives both sides hoped to accomplish
  • Analyze why the Khasavyurt Accord failed to stop the outbreak of the Second Chechen War
  • Negotiate a peaceful ceasefire and end of hostility that will last 

Committee Structure

Committee Instructions

The committee will run as a crisis committee, with chairs accepting personal crisis notes and directives from the beginning of the day. Delegates will be playing the roles of negotiators from both Chechnyan and Russian delegations and will be tasked with creating a stronger peace accord with the hopes of preventing a second war. Delegates should work alongside other advisors and their general to fully argue for provisions to be included in any created treaty. Delegates will be able to interact with the crisis staff throughout the day. Additionally, delegates will be able to hold “delegation caucus” style unmoderated caucuses, where the two sides will be split up, and only allowed to talk amongst themselves. This can be motioned at any time and is to be requested just like one would request a moderated or unmoderated caucus. 

Both generals should be knowledgeable in the broad negotiations, as well as the results their respective governments want. Delegates playing the roles of negotiators should focus their research on the niche assigned, through learning about economic, political, and militaristic events, systems, and players in the area.

Committee Goals 

The overall goal of the committee is to create a document (in traditional MUN format) that would broker an immediate peace deal between Chechen and Russian forces in Chechnya and would contribute to lasting peace in the region. Delegates should work to include economic, political, and social solutions into their resolutions in addition to any militaristic actions taken. Remember, the goal is to sustain peace through holistic multilateral measures. 

Position List

General Lebed
General Maskhadov
Russian Negotiator Political
Russian Negotiator Economic
Russian Negotiator Military
Russian Negotiator Security
Chechen Negotiator Political
Chechen Negotiator Economic
Chechen Negotiator Military
Chechen Negotiator Security

Topic History

Origin of Chechen-Russian Tensions

The Chechen Wars fought between the region of Chechnya and the Russian Federation have been characterized as a bloody conflict that had severe losses on both sides. First invaded by Russia in 1994 to suppress Islamist separatist movements, the end of a decade’s long ethnic tension begins to reach a violent boil in the modern-day.

Beginning in 1858, the fall of Imam Shamil at the hands of Russia is a piece of history that best encompasses the vast future difficulties (ethnic and cultural) Chechnya would pose to the Russia Federation. Imam Shamil, a revered Mujahadin, brought Islamist revival to the Northern Caucus through the introduction of Islamic (Sharia) law, customs, madrassas, and most importantly, the fight against anti-Islamic legislation that the Russia federation brought upon the North Caucus (location of Chechnya). Through the creation of an Islamist movement against Tsarist Russia, Imam Shamil created a coalition of feudal tribes (Dagestan and Chechnya). While the resistance movement did cause considerable damage to Russian forces, the sheer manpower and numbers behind the Tsar slowly suppressed it. 

While defeat occurred, the battle encompasses a central piece of Chechnyan identity which is that the sentiments of the Chechnyan people surrounding their desire for an Islamic autonomous system and a return to their claim of Muslim identity. The forced annexation of Chechnya into the Russian Federation posed a barrier between Russian attempts of crafting a sense of national unity. Chechnyans simply did not desire to be Russian, nor accepted their rule. This theme proved true during the Russian Civil War when the Chechnyan region declared itself a sovereign state until the USSR forcibly suppressed them again by an additional invasion. As if this wouldn’t be enough to ensure that anti-Russian sentiment would become permanent, the bloody decision making of Stalin solidified modern-day tensions between the two entities. The Russian’s distrust of the Chechnyans is just as rampant as the converse, and this resulted in 1944 forced westward migration of the whole Chechen and Ingush population to Siberia due to Moscow suspicions that they were aiding Nazi Germany during World War 2. This forced displacement of people resulted in the deaths of thousands, and only after more than 10 years (1957), Nikita Kruschev allowed the displaced people to return to Caucus and the return of the Chechen-Inguis Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

Chechen Independence and Buildup to Russian Invasion

Following the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, demands for autonomy and change erupted throughout all former Soviet satellites, which still remained under the control of the newly recognized Russian Federation. Around that same time, former Soviet General Dzhokhar Dudayev launched a political party in Chechnya with the goal of declaring independence from Russia. When elected President, he continued his plans to separate from Russia, exacerbating tensions with Moscow. The formal declaration came in 1993, and lead to a civil war in the nation, a coup d’etat, and multiple Russian attempts to overthrow Dudayev, all which failed. Since more undercover attempts to remove Dudayev failed, Russia began to draft full-scale militaristic invasion plans in December of 1994. The Yeltsin administration finally approved plans to send three divisions of Russian armor, pro-Russian Chechen infantry, and internal security troops — a force including secret units detailed from the regular armed forces — invaded Chechnya on 10-11 December 1994.

The War in Chechnya

This was the start of the first Chechnyan War. What was believed to be a quick assertion of dominance and to cause the swift downfall of the rebel groups, turned out to be the opposite. The guerrilla tactics of the separatist rebels proved an unexpectedly tough challenge to the Russian Federation, and heavily prolonged the period of warfare that Chechnya faced to 20 months. This directly contributed to the large loss of life the region faced, with more than 100,000 (majority) civilian deaths.

Deemed a human rights disaster by the world media, Chechnya’s capital, Groznyy, faced the worst of it. The height of the bombings during the winter campaign was recorded to be around 4,000 detonations per hour. Not only did this result in a large loss of civilian life like mentioned, but even greater rates of internal displacement. Residential areas were obliterated by air campaigns, in addition to public buildings. What was planned to be several hour sieges of Groznyv by Russia turned to an almost two-year conflict that had many more physical and political repercussions than expected.  While Grozny was taken, large swaths of land outside the city were still under separatist control. Oddly, these human rights violations were denounced by President Yeltsin’s Human Rights Commissioner, placing the blame on the rebel groups.

While both sides had violations of international humanitarian law, the violations committed by Russian troops occurred on a much larger scale. Most of the reasoning is surrounded by the Russian usage of indiscriminate and disproportionate force, denial of allowed citizens to flee areas of violence, and preventing NGOs and other like organizations from delivering humanitarian aid. Cleansing executions were employed by the Russians (called “Zachistka”) in cities where separatist fighters were believed to be hiding, causing the deaths of thousands of civilians living in residential areas. Human rights violations by soldiers were documented by human rights organizations, stating that civilians were raped, looted, and murdered at the dispense of passing by armies (at no regard for their nationality). Disappearances were commonplace among Chechnyan citizens, but both parties utilized the seizure of civilian hostages and torture. The mistreatment of prisoners of war and executions were commonplace as well among both groups.

On April 21st, President Dudayev was killed by a shell fragment to the head from an air-to-ground missile. While Russian officials refused to take accountability for the attack, it is widely believed by experts that Russian aircrafts tracked Dudayev’s phone satellite signal to locate him (radiolocation), thus deploying the missile in his proximity. After his death, Zemlikhan Yandarbiyev succeeds in the presidency. During this time, Chechen rebels staged a successful siege of Groznev, causing the introduction and signature of Khasavyurt ceasefire accords between Russia and the separatist group (under the promise of federal troop withdrawal from the area).

The new president of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov, was formally recognized by the Rusian government after his election win in 1997. The onset of his presidency was marked by the signing of a peace treaty between Yeltsin and him, but the independence of the state was not deliberated on specifically.

The Khasavyurt Accords

After Dudayev’s death, Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent his Security Council secretary, Aleksandr Lebed to meet with Aslan Maskhadov, the chief of staff of the Chechen forces. In the days following August 12th, Maskhadov made several attempts to broker a cease-fire with Russian forces, but agreements both sides reached were ignored by their respective chains of command.

Things began to change when Maskhadov and Lebed met on August 22nd in a village called Novye Atagi, just a few kilometers south of Groznyy. The two spent eight hours drafting a nine-point cease-fire agreement that would detail the withdrawal of troops from both sides and the creation of a joint task force to deal with looting and unrest in urban areas. The deal called the “Principles for Determining the Bases of Bilateral Relations” was signed eight days later in Khasavyurt, thus being called the Khasavyurt Accords. 

While the accords detailed a pullout of all forces from Chechnya by December 31st of 1996, they left the issue of relations between Chechnya and Russia open to discussion, stipulating that a formal treaty need not be ratified until 2001. They also failed to address any question of  Chechnyan independence, deciding instead to make vague references of relations through bilateral law, none of which grant independence to Chechnya. 

Although the Accords seemed like they ended the conflict in the region, optimism was misplaced. The retrospectively weak Khasavyurt accords left much to assumption and failed to bring about the political stability necessary to prevent another war. In 1999, Maskhadov’s former allies set out to remove him from his position and turn Chechnya into a state governed by Islamic law. The rebel forces, led by Shamil Basayev, launched their attack in the summer of 1999, beginning a new war, and destroying all hopes of bilateral relations set by the Khasavyurt accords. 

Current Situation

It is August of 1999, and you are apart of the delegations dispatched to reach a ceasefire and end the brutal war between Russia and Chechnya. Both generals are equipped with advisors who can provide framework and feedback on the niche implications of any terms agreed to. Delegates should come into committee with a clear understanding of the first Chechen war itself, and the shortcomings of the Khasavyurt accord in order to create a stronger document and prevent any other conflicts from breaking out. 

Questions to Consider

As a delegation (Russian or Chechen), what are the most important things to include in any created document?
Where did the actual Khasavyurt accords fail?
What other provisions needed to be included in the original accords in order to prevent further political tension in Chechnya?
Depending on your position (i.e, economic negotiator), what are some solutions I can propose that will aid in achieving committee goals?
How can I use personal crisis notes throughout the committee?
What are the ways you can compare reconstruction efforts in other geopolitical regions that may work in the unique political landscape of Chechnya?
What actions should be taken towards individuals who violated international humanitarian law during the wars from both sides?
Can international entities help economically stabilize the Chechnyan economy?
How can the ethnic, religious, and cultural tensions in the region be handled to prevent another violent conflict?
What means should be utilized to support the generation of youth which grew up during the conflict and ensure they can easily transition to the workforce when they are older?
Through what means can corruption in the Chechen government be removed, and how can we make the government more responsive to the needs of the people?

Additional Resources