Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 15:45 GMT

Chronology for Avars in Russia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Avars in Russia, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38d08.html [accessed 27 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Apr 1991 The autonomous Soviet republic of Dagestan votes on a resolution to create the sovereign republic of Dagestan. 39 out of 54 regional soviets supported the resolution. Most of those opposing it had expressed aspirations for the creation of their own titular states. Among the groups in opposition are the Kumyk, Lezgin and Nogai. Also this month, the Russian Federation passes the Law on the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples. The law requires the return of deported peoples to their former homelands, but establishes no mechanism to facilitate it.
May 1991 The Dagestani assembly reestablishes the Aukhovsky District which was home to the Chechen-Akkintsy prior to the 1943-44 deportations under Stalin. The land is now settled by Avars, Laks and Dargins.
Jun 1991 For three weeks, Muslims in Dagestan demonstrate against the prohibitively high cost of airline tickets to Mecca for their Islamic pilgrimage. A state of emergency has been declared after some of the demonstrators tried to storm the Council of Ministers building.
Sep 1991 Chechens returning to Aukhovsky district demand that mixed Avar-Chechen villages be placed under the control of Chechens. Several Avar national movements (Dzhamagat, the Shamil Movement and the Avar-led Islamic Resistance Party) oppose these demands. The dispute is peacefully resolved after the intervention of Muslim clergy and two Russian Federation officials who are North Caucasians.
Nov 1991 A potential conflict with the Kumyks has led to the Avar Popular Front mobilizing some 30,000 men. The Avars (as well as most Caucasian peoples since the time of Shamil) are renowned for their ability to manufacture arms in their homes.
May 23, 1992 The Shamil People's Front kidnaps several Dagestani officials in Makhachkala. The kidnappers demand the release of three leaders of the front who were arrested on charges of conducting bomb attacks and other terrorist activities. The front claims they were arrested illegally. The Dagestani officials were captured after members of the front captured the building of the city soviet in Makhachkala. Front members also have organized a rally of 500 people in the central square. Government officials have agreed to the demands in order to avoid bloodshed and the kidnapped officials have been released. As a result, a state of emergency has been declared for one month in Makhachkala and Kizilyrut (the place the Shamil Front leaders were originally arrested). Demonstrations and rallies are banned and the activities of all people's fronts, parties and movements suspended. Observers note the move is unlikely to have an effect on the level of violence being exchanged between the various factions and groups.
Sep 5, 1992 A contingent of Chechens, Avars and Kumyks in western Dagestan has blocked the route of a column of Russian troops heading for Chechnya. The citizens have taken two of the division's officers hostage, demanding the column turn around. The column returned to its base and the officers were released unharmed according to the Chechen Minister of Information.
Oct 7, 1992 The Russian Internal Ministry deploys special units to Dagestan and other adjoining North Caucasian districts in response to the recent upsurge in criminal activity in the region. The Ministry stressed that individual rights and freedoms are not being restricted under this move. After the troops entered in one western Dagestani town of Chechens, about 3,000 residents surrounded the temporary dormitory and demanded their removal from the city. The blockade was lifted without incident.
Jan 30, 1993 The leader of the Dagestan People's Front, Haji Makhachev, announces his intention to cease its political activities out of fear they may lead to a destabilization of the inter-ethnic situation in Dagestan. He also announces that he is willing to disband completely if all other socio-political groups do likewise. The organization is made up mostly of Avar and claims to represent approximately 40% of the people of Dagestan.
Jan 1994 It is reported that the Shamil People's Front has successfully negotiated the release of 12 Dagestani nationals from Nagorno Karabakh over the past 2 years. The men are likely Lezgins and Avars, but their connection to Azerbaijan is unclear. It is likely they were Azerbaijani nationals who had family in Dagestan.
Jul 1994 Under a proposed new constitution for Dagestan, each of the 14 largest ethnic groups would have a seat on the ruling state council. In separate referenda, the people of Dagestan reject a presidency as well as private land ownership out of fear it would give one ethnic group too much power and lead to conflict over ethnic land rights.
Jul 16, 1994 Avar separatists in northwestern Azerbaijan clash with police in the Belokanskiy district.
Jan 1995 Candidates are nominated and elections for the new People's Assembly are scheduled for March. Among the candidates, Avars, Dargins and Kumyks are the best represented of the ethnic groups.
Feb 1995 The national movements of the Kumyk and Avar movements have condemned the use of force by Russia in Chechnya.
Apr 1995 The elections for the People's Assembly are declared valid in most districts in March and this month the assembly opened its first session. There are 112 seats filled out of 121 total seats in the assembly. The former chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Dagestan was unanimously elected as speaker of the assembly (by secret ballot). The electoral commission has reported that 57% of the population voted in the elections. I find no report of the ethnic breakdown of the assembly or the voting.
Jan 1996 After Chechen rebels crossed the Dagestan border and took hostages in their bid to win independence, Russian soldiers moved into and destroyed the rebels, and the Avar village of Pervomayskaya, where they had taken residence. (Washington Post 1/14/96 and Scotsman 1/20/96)
Jun 1996 At a meeting in Khasavyurt, leaders of the national movements of the Avar, Lak, Lezgin and Kumyk peoples demanded that the Dagestani leadership take tough measures to ensure order in districts of the republic bordering on Chechnya. All of the groups were subject to kidnappings as a result of the war in Chechnya. (British Broadcasting Corporation 6/24/96)
Aug 1996 The finance minister of the Republic of Dagestan, Gamid Gamidov, and three other people were killed by a car bomb. Gamidov was standing at the entrance to the finance ministry when a car parked nearby blew up. A total of four people were killed and eight wounded in the blast. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. (AFX News 8/20/96)
Mar 1997 The 20th session of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Dagestan opened in Makhachkala. The first order of business was a meeting with residents of four villages in Novolaksky District. The Avars and Laktsi demanded to be resettled to Novy Novolatsky. The Laktsi and Avars had been resettled in 1944 after the Chechens moved into their territory, but in 1993 a Congress of the People's Deputies of Dagestan decided to return the Chechens to their place of origin, but did not have the finances to help the Laktsi move back to Novo Novolatsky. The Avars wanted to keep their close ties to the Laktsi. The People's Assembly was scheduled to submit proposals to the Duma for finances and drafts of laws on forcibly resettled peoples. (TASS 3/31/97)
Aug 1997 Russian President Boris Yeltsin named Ramazan Abdulatipov, deputy to the Russian State Duma, as new Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Ethnic Relations. Abdulatipov was an Avar from Dagestan. (Xinhua News Agency 8/1/97)
Aug 1999 According to Gadzhi Mikhachev, leader of the Avar People's Movement and Vice-Premier of Dagestan, the movement "has put under arms" 1,500 volunteers. Mikhachev said the volunteers were equipped with small arms and grenade launchers and located in Dagestani territory along the Chechen border. He said they were prepared to join in operations to liberate the republic from the invading Chechens. (TASS 8/12/99)

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