Major Wars Of 20th Century
Russia vs Chechnyan Secessionists
Years 1994 2007 Battle deaths 17,601 Coinciding with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, part of Chechnya declared independence from the Russian Federation. Simmering debate over independence ultimately led to civil war in 1993. The First Chechen War began in 1994 when Russian forces entered Chechnya to restore civil order and central rule. Following a 1997 ceasefire agreement, Russian troops were withdrawn from Chechnya.
The 1997 election of separatist President Aslan Maskhadov led to turbulence within the country and a chilly relationship with Moscow. Further tensions arose in January and February of 1999 as Maskhadov announced that Islamic Sharia law would be introduced in Chechnya over the course of three years. In March of that year, General Gennadiy Shpigun Moscows envoy to Chechnya was kidnapped and ultimately killed.