On February 20, 2000, a discussion on “The Moral Crisis of the Chechen People and Possible Ways of Overcoming It” took place in Nazran, Ingushetia. The discussion was organized by the Center for Chechen Culture “LAM” [Mountain]. The refugees from Grozny who participated in the meeting adopted the following appeal addressed to:
The Government of the Russian Federation
The United Nations
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The International Monetary Fund, The World Bank
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
The European Union
The Council of Europe
The United States, Japan, and other donor countries
Grozny, once one of the most beautiful cities in the North
Caucasus, now lies in ruins.
Our school buildings, hospitals, homes, universities and libraries, as well as the infrastructure necessary to support urban life, have been destroyed.
But even now, after the storm of Grozny has been completed, they are continuing the barbaric destruction of our city, justifying this by their concern for the safety of civilians.
Almost every day, multistoried buildings are blown up and leveled on the pretext that they cannot be restored and are a safety hazard. This is done without any preliminary inspection and without the decision of a competent commission.
Before September 1999, two thirds of Chechnya’s population lived in Grozny. The former inhabitants of Grozny are now living in inhuman conditions in tents and other temporary shelters in Ingushetia and Chechnya. They can and they will return only to Grozny. They have nowhere else to go.
We demand: an immediate halt to the further destruction of Grozny; the creation of a special commission to inspect the condition of the remaining buildings; faster demining of Grozny’s streets and rendering harmless unexploded ordnance; free access to Grozny for civilian residents of the city; and assistance for the quickest possible reconstruction of apartment buildings, homes, and utilities.
International observers must be granted access to Grozny in order to monitor the human rights situation. International humanitarian organizations must be provided with the necessary safeguards and conditions so that they can provide needed assistance to Grozny’s civilian population.
We believe that the reconstruction of Grozny is the moral duty of democratic Russia and the whole civilized world.
Musa Akhmadov, Member of the USSR
Writers Union, senior lecturer at the University of Chechnya
Said-Magomed Dibiev, Professor of the Grozny Oil Institute
Ovta Salamov, Professor of the University of Chechnya
Abdullah Arsunkaev, Director, Institute for Educational Problems of the Grozny Oil Institute
Ruslan Goitemirov, Rector of the Chechen affiliate of Moscow’s University of the Humanities
Deni Sumbulatov, Editor of the newspaper Daimokhk
Said-Emin Elmirsaev, Member of the USSR Union of Artists
Kyuri Idrisov, Psychiatrist, member of “Doctors of the World"
Abdullah Saidov, Engineer
Zuleikhan Bagalova, Actress, Executive Director of LAM
Lecha Ilyasov, Candidate of Science, Philologist
Taus Serganova, Candidate of Science, Philologist
Nazran - February 20, 2000