Chechnya

Between 1994 and 1996 a catastrophic war resulting in the deaths of more than 100,000 civilians was fought in Chechnya, in the Caucasus, between the Russian armed forces and Chechen independence fighters.  In August 1996, under the terms of the Khasavyurt Accord signed by Russian General Lebed and Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov, the Russian government withdrew federal troops from Chechen territory and granted the country de facto independence.

In the period immediately after the war, WorldPR advised the government of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov on the establishment of its identity as a new state on the international scene.  Two international delegations, including Imran Khan, the current prime minister of Pakistan, visited the razed city of Grozny accompanied by journalists, bankers and investors.  Working with the actress Vanessa Redgrave and Jeremy Corbyn MP, a parliamentary information campaign was organised to brief MPs and gather support for the fledgling country.  Vanessa Redgrave stated, “The important thing is to seek for truth, to help, to do something.”   In March 1998 Aslan Maskhadov made his first visit overseas, looking “to Britain and our friends in Europe to help rebuild our country”.  While in London, Maskhadov dined at the Ritz Hotel with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, met with Foreign Office officials and attended a glittering party at Church House attended by, among others, Imran and Jemima Khan, Lord Tebbit, Lady Annabel Goldsmith and European leaders of the Caucasus diaspora.  The celebrated British writer Simon Sebag Montefiore later described this extraordinary event, at which the Chechen president was saluted by an Honour Guard courtesy of the H.A.C, in a colourful article for The Sunday Times.

Chechen dreams of independence were extinguished in September 1999 when Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered Russian armed forces to re-occupy the country.  President Aslan Maskhadov was killed by Russian special forces in the village of Tolstoy-Yurt on 8th March 2005.