The Khaibakh massacre was a mass execution of the Chechen civilian population of the aul (village) Khaibakh, in the mountainous part of Chechnya, by Soviet forces under a NKVD Colonel named Mikhail Maksimovich Gveshiani (1901–66) during the Chechen deportation of 1944.
The massacre took place on February 27, 1944 during Operation Lentil (the Soviet mass deportation of Chechens to prison camps in Kazakhstan). Russian apologists claim that it was impossible to convoy Chechen deportees to the railway stations in the plains due to a snowstorm, which is why according to them over 700 villagers, including "non-transportable" elderly, women and children, were locked in a stable fortified with dry hay and burned alive; those who broke from burning stable were shot. One of the witnesses assigned to the military unit, interpreter Ziautdin Malsagov, recalls that NKVD commander Gvishiani called the two newborn children in the stable "bandits" before ordering to burn the 704 people alive. After the incident, Gveshiani was reportedly congratulated for his success and good work by Lavrenty Beria, who promised him a medal.
The aul of Khaibach was rediscovered through archaeological finds in Ukraine. World War II archaeologists found the remains of North Caucasian scouts who died during an operation behind enemy (German) lines. Letters addressed to their relatives were found in their water-resistant pockets, addressed to aul Khaibach. Stepan Kashurko, one of the archaeologists, accompanied by a former Soviet general, decided to inform the families that the bodies of their relatives were found, but they learned that the settlement no longer existed. In continuing their search, they discovered that while the Chechen soldiers were dying at the front, their relatives were burned alive by the Soviet soldiers.
Assertions of historical falsification
In a refusal to permit the release of a film about the Soviet mass deportations of entire ethnic groups, the Russian Ministry of Culture stated that it had searched three Russian state archives, and that "as a result of the investigation, no documents were discovered proving the fact of the mass burning of residents" from Khaibakh. Finally, the Ministry stated: "This allows us to conclude that claims of this 'event' are a historical falsification."
- Gammer, Moshe. Lone Wolf and Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule. London 2006. Page 170. ISBN 978-0-8229-5898-7
- Dunlop, John. Russia Confronts Chechnya: The Roots of a Separatist Conflict. Page 65. ISBN 978-0-521-63619-3
- Годовщине депортации народов Северного Кавказа посвящается... [Interview with Stephan Kashurko, president of the special 1990 commission investigating the Khaibakh massacre] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2008-06-14.
- Дешериев Ю. Жизнь во мгле и борьбе: О трагедии репрессированных народов. ISBN 5-86020-238-5 (Russian)
- "Russia bans 'historically false' film on Stalin deportations of Chechens". AFP. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
The ministry said it had searched three Russian state archives including the files of the NKVD security forces that carried out the deportations and Stalin's personal files. "As a result of the investigation, no documents were discovered proving the fact of the mass burning of residents," the ministry said. "This allows us to conclude that claims of this 'event' are a historical falsification."
- List of massacres in the Soviet Union
- "Khaibakh: Investigation is Ongoing...", a book in Russian by T. Chagaeva and S. Gaev. (Russian)