Biography: Dzhohar Dudaev PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 21 April 2010 11:51
Dudaev was born in February 1944, during the forced deportation of his family (together with the entire Chechen, Ingush, Balkar, Kalmyk, Crimean Tatar and other smaller nations, on the orders of Joseph Stalin) from their native village of Yalkhoroi in the abolished Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR). He spent the first 13 years of his life in the internal exile in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

Following the 1957 repatriation of the Chechens and Ingush, he studied at evening school in Checheno-Ingushetia and qualified as an electrician. In 1962, after two years studying electronics in Vladikavkaz, he entered the Tambov Higher Military Aviation School for Pilots from which he graduated in 1966. Dudayev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1968 and in 1971-1974 studied at the prestigious Gagarin Air Force Academy. He also married Alla, a Russian poetess with whom he had three children.

Dudaev served in a heavy bomber unit of the Soviet Air Force in Siberia and Ukraine and also took part in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He rose steadily in the Air Force, assuming command of the air base of the Soviet Strategic Air Force at Tartu, Estonia, in 1987 with the rank of Major-General. Dudaev learned Estonian and showed great tolerance for Estonian nationalism when he ignored the orders to shut down the Estonian television and parliament ( He said he can't bomb to people who ask their freedom); instead he sent a mobile military kitchen. In 1990, his air division was withdrawn from Estonia and Dudaev resigned from the Soviet military (though he never formally left the Communist Party).

In May 1990, Dudayev returned to Grozny, the Chechen capital, to devote himself to local politics. He was elected head of the Executive Committee of the unofficial opposition All-National Congress of the Chechen People (NCChP), which advocated sovereignty for Chechnya as a separate republic of the Soviet Union (the Chechen-Ingush ASSR had status of the autonomous republic of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic).

He returned to Chechnya and was elected speaker of the Chechen National Congress in 1991 and later became the Chechnya's first President.

Initially Dudaev's government held diplomatic relations with Georgia where he received much moral support from the first Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia. When Gamsakhurdia was overthrown in late 1991, he was given asylum in Chechnya and attended Dudayev's inauguration as President. While he resided in Grozny he also helped to organise the first ''All-Caucasian Conference'' which was attended by independentist groups from across the region. Ichkeria never received diplomatic recognition from any internationally recognised state other than Georgia in 1991.

All his offers of a peaceful solution to Chechen independence were ignored by Russia. Shortly before the end of the first Chechen War, Dzhokhar Dudaev was killed by a cruise missile on 22 April 1996.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 08:09

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