February 23 marks the 73th anniversary since 1944 deportation of the Chechens and the Ingushs
February 23 marks the 73th anniversary since 1944 deportation of the Chechens and the Ingushs.
Rallies to commemorate the tragic date took place in Ingushetia. About five thousand people came to the Political Repressions Victims Memorial in Nazran. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the head of the republic, addressed the rally and called those responsible for the deportation “terrorists”.
The operation “Chechevitsa” meant to deport the Chechens and the Ingushs in Kazkhstan and Middle Asia lasted from February 23 to March 9 1944. Mass desertion, draft evasion in war time and preparation for armed rebellion in the Soviet hinterland were stated as the reasons for the deportation of almost half a million people from Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The Chechens and the Ingushs started to come back to the home places only in 1957. The law on the rehabilitation of the repressed peoples was passed in the USSR only in 1989.
According to the estimates, about 100 000 Chechens and Ingushs have died because of hunger, cold and deprivations as the result of the deportation.
The date has not been officially memorized in Chechnya for the last 4 years. In 2011 Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic issued an order to transfer the date of the Memory and Grievance Day to May 10 (the Chechen President Akhmat Kadyrov was killed in a terrorist attack on May 9, 2004). Kadyrov explained, that he did not want the grievances day to coincide with the national holiday (February 23 is the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Russia).
According to the Caucasian Knot, in February 2014 Ruslan Kutaev, the leader of the Caucasian Peoples Assembly, came up with criticism of the ban on mourning events in Chechnya on February 23. He was later detained and convicted for 4 years for drug possession.
Human Rights Watch considers his arrest and conviction were caused by his comments on the deportation day.