Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus
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|Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus|
Конфедерация горских народов КавказаParticipant in War in Abkhazia (1992–93)
Musa Shanibov (1990–1996)|
Yusup Soslambekov (1996–2000)
|Area of operations||Caucasus|
Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (Russian: Конфедерация горских народов Кавказа) was a militarised political organisation in the Caucasus, active around the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, between 1991 and 1994. It played a decisive role in the 1992–1993 war between Abkhazian and Georgia, rallying militants from the North Caucasian republics to defend Abkhazia against Georgian forces. Its forces have been accused by Georgia of committing war crimes, including the ethnic cleansing of Georgians. The Confederation has been inactive since the assassination of its second leader Yusup Soslambekov in 2000.
On the initiative of the Abkhaz ethno-nationalist movement Aidgylara, the Assembly of the Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus was established in Abkhazia's capital Sukhumi on 25 and 26 August 1989. On 13 and 14 October 1990, the Assembly held its second congress in Nalchik, where it was transformed into the so-called Mountain Republic. On 4 November 1990, in Nalchik, its membership was expended, and it was renamed Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus. 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
Following the outbreak of war as Georgian troops entered Abkhazia in August 1992, the Confederation held its 11th parliamentary session in Grozny. 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 had agreed to pull out all heavy artillery and tanks from Sukhumi in return for cease-fire) by storming defenceless Sukhumi. The Confederates moved into 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 their discovery by the Confederates. By late afternoon the remainder of Georgian troops surrendered to the Abkhaz side. The 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.
Its forces have been accused (inter alia by Georgian State Commission of Ascertaining Facts of the Policies of Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide) of committing war crimes, including the ethnic cleansing of Georgians.
- Stanislav Lakoba (August 1998). "Chapter 7 – Abkhazia, Georgia and the Caucasus Confederation". Georgians and Abkhazians. The Search for a Peace Settlement.
- Shamba, Sergei (17 December 2008). "Сергей Шамба о 20-летии движения "Аидгылара" и национально-освободительной борьбе народа Абхазии". REGNUM News Agency. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- 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. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Chervonnaya Svetlana, Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia and the Russian Shadow, p. 131 (in 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
- ЗАКЛЮЧЕНИЕ Государственной комиссии Грузии по установлению фактов политики этнической чистки — геноцида, проводимой в отношении грузинского населения Абхазии, Грузия, и передачи материалов в Международный трибунал