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1940-1944 Chechnyan insurgency
Part of World War II
Date February 1940 - February 23, 1944
Location Chechen-Ingush ASSR, Soviet Union
Result Soviet victory, Operation Lentil (Caucasus)
Chechen, Ingush and other mountaineer rebels
Nazi Germany German paratroopers
 Soviet Union (58th Army, NKVD)
Khasan Israilov 
Mairbek Sheripov
General Khomenko (NKVD)
5,000 (November 1941)
6,540-18,000 (February 1943)[1]
Several dozen Germans [2][3]
110,000 (Operation Lentil)
Casualties and losses
At least 4,368 killed (combatants)[2] 12,000 killed[3]

The 1940-1944 Chechnya insurgency was a revolt against the Soviet authorities in the mountainous Chechnya. Beginning as early as in June 1941 under Khasan Israilov, it peaked in 1942 during the German invasion of North Caucasus and ended in the beginning of 1944 with the deportation of the Chechens and the Ingush people.

However, the resistance in the mountains lasted until autumn 1947 and the last rebel was killed only in 1976 at the age of 70.[citation needed]

During the insurgency rebels had no control over the plains of Chechnya and its capital Grozny.


Beginning of the Insurgency

By February 1940, Khasan Israilov and his brother Hussein had established a guerrilla base in the mountains of south-eastern Chechnya, where they worked to organize a unified guerrilla movement to prepare an armed insurrection against the Soviets. In February 1940 Israilov's rebel army took Galanchozh, Sayasan, Chaberloi and a part of Shatoysky District. The rebel government was established in Galanchozh.[3]

After the German invasion in the USSR in June 1941, the brothers convened 41 different meetings in summer 1941 to recruit local supporters under the name "Provisional People’s Revolutionary State of Checheno-Ingushetia", and by the end of midsummer of that year they had over 5,000 guerrillas and at least 25,000 sympathizers organized into five military districts encompassing Grozny, Gudermes, and Malgobek.

In some areas, up to 80% of men were involved in the insurrection. It is known that the Soviet Union used bombers against the rebels, causing losses primarily to the civilian population.[3]

Khasan had planned the insurrection to begin on January 10, 1942, but a stalled German advance, combined with poor communication between the hundreds of guerrilla units spread throughout the region, aborted his plans. Soviet counter-insurgency efforts were also stymied by the mountainous terrain - Soviet bombing raids twice attacked suspected mountain hideouts of Chechen guerrillas in spring of 1942, but the mountain guerrillas escaped the sustained attacks virtually unscathed.

By January 28, 1942, Khasan had decided to extend the uprising from Chechens and Ingush to eleven of the dominant ethnic groups in the Caucasus by forming the Special Party of Caucasus Brothers (OKPB), with the aim of a pan-Islamic 'armed struggle with Bolshevik barbarism and Russian despotism'. Khasan also developed a code among the guerrilla fighters to maintain order and discipline, which stated:

• Brutally avenge the enemies for the blood of our native brothers, the best sons of the Caucasus;
• Mercilessly annihilate seksoty [secret agents], agents and other informants of the NKVD;
• Categorically forbid [guerrillas] to spend the night in homes or villages without the security of reliable guards.[4]

In February 1942 Mairbek Sheripov organized rebellion in Shatoi, Khimokhk and tried to take Itum-Kale. His forces united with Israilov's army relying on the expected arrival of the German Wehrmacht. In neighbouring Dagestan rebels also took the neighbourhoods of Novolakskaya and Dylym.

German support

Abwehr's Nordkaukasische Sonderkommando Schamil landed in several points in Chechnya, coordinating strikes with rebels. On 25 September 1942, German paratroopers landed in Dachu-Borzoi and Duba-Yurt and took the Grozny petroleum refinery, to prevent its destruction by the Red Army in case of its retreat. Then they united with the rebels, trying to hold the refinery before the German First Panzer Army arrived. However, on 25-27 September, the German tank army was defeated and the saboteurs were forced to retreat.

The Germans made concerted efforts to reach a concerted effort with Khasan, but they found his refusal to cede control of his revolutionary movement to the Germans, and his continued insistence on German recognition of Chechen independence, led many Germans to consider Khasan Israilov as unreliable, and his plans unrealistic. Although the Germans were able to undertake covert operations in Chechnya - such as the sabotage of Grozny oil fields - attempts at a German-Chechen alliance floundered.

The insurrection provoked many Chechen and Ingush soldiers of the Red Army to desert. Some sources claim that total number of deserted mountaineer soldiers reached 62,750, exceeding the number of mountaineer fighters in the Red Army.[2]


By 1943, as the Germans began to retreat in the Eastern Front, the mountain guerrillas saw their fortunes change as many former rebels defected to the Soviets in exchange of amnesty. On December 6, 1943, German involvement in Chechnya ended when Soviet spies infiltrated and arrested the remaining German operatives in Chechnya.

After the German retreat from the Caucasus, almost 500,000 of Chechen and Ingush people were forcibly resettled to Kazakhstan en masse, resulting in a large number of deaths among the deportees. During this operation the Chechens showed little resistance. In the mountainous part, some war crimes, such as the Khaibakh massacre, had occurred.

However, some rebel groups stayed in the mountains, continuing the resistance. Rebel groups were also formed in Kazakhstan.[2]


  1. ^ (Russian) Операция "Чечевица"
  2. ^ a b c d (Russian) Эдуард Абрамян. Кавказцы в Абвере. М. "Яуза", 2006
  3. ^ a b c d (Russian) Александр УРАЛОВ (А. АВТОРХАНОВ). Убийство чечено-ингушского народа. Народоубийство в СССР
  4. ^ "Jeffrey Burds. The Soviet War against ‘Fifth Columnists’:The Case of Chechnya, 1942–4". Archived from the original on 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 

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