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This is the eleventh in a series of guest publications and translations which The Henry Jackson Society is producing by arrangement with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. This publication was written by Amina Umarova, a Russian commentator and translated by Arch Tait.
Fifteen years ago, in summer 2000, the so-called “active phase of military operations” of the Second Chechen War came to an end. Akhmat Kadyrov was appointed head of the Chechen administration, and control of the republic’s territory was gradually transferred from the Russian military to local self-government and self-defence forces. It was a slow process, and only nine years later, in April 2009, was the regime of a “counter-terrorist operation” on the territory of Chechnya terminated. Since then a further six years have passed and the situation in Chechnya today is completely controlled by the administration of Ramzan Kadyrov. To this day, however, there are still hundreds of Chechens incarcerated in Russian prisons who were only indirectly involved, or in many cases completely uninvolved, in the bloody confrontation between the local insurgency and the federal Russian armed forces. The conditions in which they are held are appalling and their hopes of release vanishingly small.