Grozny without Russian soul28.04.2012 | 11:29
Grozny restored. Grozny is delightfully beautiful and modern. After fifteen years it finally looks like the capital of the republic. Young people are happy. But the older generation both the Chechen and Russian, which was once forced to leave Chechnya, sees the it as a new city, which has no relation to former Grozny, whose soul is "killed", according to the interlocutor of GTimes Boris Asaturov, who was born there and designed high-rise buildings, factories and institutions for Grozny.
Retired Boris Asaturov lives in Kislovodsk for fifteen years. He was born, studied and worked in the city of Grozny. In times of Dudaev he led ethnic union of the republic. But he does not want to come back to the modern Chechnya.
You say Grozny's soul was "killed". Why?
Grozny was established as a Russian city. In the 19th century, in 1862, there was created the city of Grozny, and before that there was a fortress Groznaya, which stood on the defense of the southern Russian border. Chechens, who lived on the border with the city, could enter here only during fairs, for trade business. The Revolution of 1917 erased the boundaries between nationalities. The city became accessible to all. But since there was conducted production and processing of oil, the population was Russian-speaking. Foreigners came generally from abroad (Englishmen and Americans), and from the Caucasus (Armenians, Azerbaijanis). In 1944, the Chechens and Ingush were deported. And people from the towns occupied by the Germans were evacuated there. 200-300 thousand people came from Central Russia. They lived there up to 1957-58, until the rehabilitation of Vainakh. Chechens began returning. Attitude to them was twofold. Those who lived with them prior to deportation were friends. But the evacuees and those, who had not returned to Central Russia, became wary of the Chechens. And hostility began.
You led the ethnic union of nations under Dudaev. And mass crimes against the Russian population in the country began at that time. Did you try to somehow convince the power to stop the exodus of Russians?
Yeltsin sent there Dudaev, since in 1990, Chechen-Ingushetia seceded from Russia, so that later to join the new union as an independent state. Dudaev was to cancel the decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic, which was half Russian, and to dissolve it. He stayed there two or three months and realized that something wrong was going on, and began to continue the department. He was declared a separatist. And so Grozny turned into a cauldron, from which all the Russian government disappeared. Chechen-Ingushetia became a place of anarchy.
Dudaev declared Chechnya's secession from the Chechen-Ingush Republic. And 290,000 Russians of Grozny had to determine their future. That time food cards were introduced. Dudaev did not give cards to non-Chechen population. This is when the Cossacks began a movement for the rights of Russians. They elected me chairman of the ethnic union. We went to Dudaev, saying, "Shall we fight?" He says, "No, let's create ethnic union and live a normal life". But it did not work, because there were many deep conflicts. Benevolence turned into hatred at once. So now, when Grozny took new soul, homogeneously Chechen - this is a completely different city.
Do you miss Chechnya, would you like to return there?
No, I'm a former football player, and if I leave one team for another, I cannot think of the old team. I've left Grozny. I was born there, grew up. This is my everything. I see it in my dreams all the time. I live in Kislovodsk for almost 16 years, since 1996, and I still feel like I'm in Grozny. But what has happened, it's so disgusting, and it is not the fault of the Chechens.
But it was the Chechens who began to use Shariah in relation to the Russians ...
The fact is that the Chechens are different. Two-thirds of the Chechens are loyal to the Russians. And one-third of them are doing what the Islamists tell them to do. You need to know attitude of everyone. In my book, I've described how the tension grew, partly because of the economic, social and moral issues. The reason is mismanagement. For example, in the 1992, Yeltsin announced economic blockade of Chechnya. How could the Russians live there? Personally, I do not feel any grudge to any of the citizens of Chechnya, and no one has declared blood feud to me. They even offered me aid. Being chairman of the ethnic union, I was engaged in eviction of Chechens from their homes. They could bear me a grudge.
But anyway, I don't want return there. I'm old; I've undergone two surgeries. And I do not need adventures any more.