Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus
Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (Russian: Конфедерация горских народов Кавказа) is a militarized political organization composed of militants from the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation. This controversial organization, later renamed into the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus (CPC), was formed on the eve of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1990. The Confederation and its mercenaries are primarily known for their key role in the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict and the contribution to the secessionists’ victory in the 1992-1993 hostilities. The CPC has been accused of committing war crimes and ethnic cleansing of Georgians during the conflict in Abkhazia. These allegations are currently being investigated by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The CPC persists to this day, but plays no role in the current political situation.
On November 4, 1990, in Nalchik, the Assembly of North Caucasian Peoples voted to establish a "Mountain Peoples Confederacy." 16 nations of the Caucasus joined the Confederation. The Assembly elected the president (Musa Shanibov) and 16 vice-presidents. Yusup Soslanbekov was the chairman of the Caucasian Parliament and Sultan Sosnaliyev was appointed the head of the Confederation's military department.
War in Abkhazia
In 1991 the Confederation interfered into Abkhaz-Georgian relations, asking the Russian Federation to "give political evaluation to the situation".
At the end of August 1992 the Confederation held the 11th Session of Parliament in Grozny to discuss the Abkhazian issue. A clear purpose of the establishment of this organization became obvious after this Session. The Confederation created assault detachments of volunteers with that were later deployed in Abkhazia during the war. The confederation raised about 1,500 volunteers, half of them reportedly from Chechnya. It has also been reported that notorious Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev became commander of CMPC forces in 1992.
The president of the Confederation Musa Shanibov and the chairman of the parliament Iysuph Soslanbekov made an official statement:
"As there is no other way to withdraw Georgian occupants' army from the territory of the sovereign Abkhazia and in order to implement the resolution of the 10th Session of the CMPC, we order:
- All headquarters of the Confederation have to dispatch volunteers to the territory of Abkhazia to crash the aggressor militarily.
- All military formations of the Confederation have to conduct military actions against any forces who oppose them and try to reach the territory of Abkhazia by any method.
- To announce Tbilisi as a zone of disaster. At that use all methods, including terrorist acts.
- To declare all people of Georgian ethnicity on the territory of Confederation as hostages.
- All type of cargoes directed to Georgia shall be detained."
The Central Headquarters of the Confederation led by Yusup Soslanbekov had been in charged to implement practical measures against the "enemies of Abkhazian people". CMPC forces took place in the storming operation of Gagra where hundreds of civilians were killed.
On September 27, 1993 the Abkhaz side violated the UN-mediated cease-fire agreement (Georgian side has agreed to pull out all heavy artillery and tanks from Sukhumi in return for cease-fire) by storming defenceless Sukhumi. The Confederates moved in Sukhumi and started to sweep through streets of the city. As the city was engulfed by heavy fighting, civilians took refuge in abandoned houses and apartment buildings. Some of the civilians of Georgian ethnicity were massacred after the discovery by the Confederates. By late afternoon the remainder of Georgian troops surrendered to the Abkhaz side. Majority of Georgian POWs were executed on the same day by Abkhaz formations and Confederates. Few civilians and military personnel managed to survive the massacre. The massacre continued for two weeks after the fall of Sukhumi (See Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia).
Following the Abkhazian war, the Confederation went into a period of decline due largely to the feuds among its pro- and anti-Kremlin factions. It experienced a brief revival in December 1994, when Shanibov rallied thousands across the North Caucasus to block roads to the Russian forces heading to Grozny. However, the change of power in Shanibov’s home republic, Kabardino-Balkaria, in favor of strongly pro-Moscow leader, prevented him from exerting any political influence in the region, forcing him to retire from politics in 1996. Since then, the organization has had no role in the Caucasus affairs. It never disbanded, but has been completely inactive since Shanibov’s successor, Yusup Soslambekov, was assassinated in Moscow on July 27, 2000.
- Collier, Paul; Nicholas Sambanis (2005). Understanding Civil War. World Bank Publications. p. 272. ISBN 0-8213-6049-3.
- "Шамиль Басаев: враг России номер один". BBCRussian.com. 1 November 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Chervonnaya Svetlana, Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia and the Russian Shadow, p. 131 (Russian)
- Human Rights Watch report GEORGIA/ABKHAZIA: VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS OF WAR AND RUSSIA'S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT, March 1995.
- Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994
- U.S. State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994, pp 877, 881, 891
- Sobaka Dossier on Musa Shanibov
- Central Asia – Caucasus Analyst article "Who’s afraid of Yusup Soslambekov", by Miriam Lanskoy
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