The First Chechen War was a conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, fought from December 1994 to August 1996. After the initial campaign of 1994-1995, culminating in the devastating Battle of Grozny, Russian federal forces attempted to seize control of the mountainous area of Chechnya but were set back by Chechen guerrilla warfare and raids on the flatlands in spite of Russia's overwhelming manpower, weaponry, and air support. The resulting widespread demoralization of federal forces, and the almost universal opposition of the Russian public to the conflict, led Boris Yeltsin's government to declare a ceasefire in 1996 and sign a peace treaty a year later. The Second Chechen War, launched by the Russian Federation in 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade (The unit was composed of between 400 to 1,500 militants, most of them Dagestani, as well as Chechens, Arabs, Turks and other foreign fighters) and following the October Russian apartment bombings which Russia blamed on Chechen separatists, Russian troops entered Chechnya. The campaign ended the de-facto independence of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and restored Russian federal control over the territory. During the initial campaign, Russian military and pro-Russian Chechen paramilitary forces faced Chechen separatists in open combat, and seized the Chechen capital Grozny after a winter siege that lasted from late 1999 to the following February 2000. Russia established direct rule of Chechnya in May 2000 and after the full-scale offensive, Chechen guerrilla resistance throughout the North Caucasus region continued to inflict heavy Russian casualties and challenge Russian political control over Chechnya for several more years. As of 2009, Russia has severely disabled the Chechen rebel movement and large-scale fighting has ceased. Russian army and interior ministry troops no longer occupy the streets. The once leveled city of Grozny has recently undergone massive reconstruction efforts and much of the city and surrounding areas have been rebuilt at a quick pace. However sporadic violence still exists throughout the North Caucasus; Occasional bombings and ambushes targeting federal troops and forces of the regional governments in the area still occur. Death City Chechnya by Eric Bouvet Centre of Grozny.  Less than an hour earlier this street had been the epicentre of the fighting.  This woman and her child walked amongst unexploded shells littering the ground. Grozny town centre.  A mortar shell lodged in the ground. A few kilometres south of Grozy I witnessed a ceremony in a cemetery, to remember those (and many were children) who had lost their lives in the conflict.  This man had just found his dead son.  After the initial pandemonium, he sat in silence, slowly caressing his son's head.  It is a scene I will never forget. South of Grozny.  Two days earlier a plane had bombed this house, killing part of the family inside.  The next of kin came to say goodbye to their dead only to be forced to leave the site by the news that Russian soldiers were on their way to verify the bombing. South of Grozny.  A village totally devastated by Russian planes.  The people could not return to their village to see what damage had been done as the bombardments were too frequent and it wouldn’t have been safe. Central Grozny. Bus. An old woman leaving her home with just a portrait of her husband and a rug. Fearing her house was hiding Chechen snipers, Russian soldiers gave her just five minutes to pack her bags and leave before they destroyed her home and everything in it.  Her sons and husband were already dead.  She had lost everything. Centre of Grozny.  Chechen fighters on the front line. A rocket in the centre of Grozny.  Administrative buildings and schools had stood here. Centre of Grozny.  The first shop to re-open in the market place. A Russian plane brought down in the plains south of Grozny by Chechen fighters. These Chechens were forced to flee when the Russians came to take away the carcass. A young Chechen boy in middle of the street.  He shouted, "Fuckers!" at the Russian soldiers. Young female Chechen fighter.  On the front line.
Grozny, front line.  Two hours after the combat, children played in the streets and in and around the carcasses of Russian tanks. A chechnian prisoner taken by russian commandos. This man was killed a few minutes after questioning. Russian commando in the forest near Vedeno.  Waiting to fight. During fight in the forest. The soldier on his back has just been wounded. Early morning, after a night of fighting in the forrest. A soldier took care of his wounded friends. Back to current issue