The plight of Chechnya

By Jen Wiebe
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winker, Manitoba

Chechnya--a war-torn land of devastation. At the hands of Russian officials, the Chechen people are bombed, beaten, raped, tortured and shot. Hundreds upon hundreds of people have been killed.

The only reason given for the cause of the war is ethnic cleansing. The Russians want Chechnya without the Chechen people.

Memorial to the victims of
Russian repressions

The tension goes back to 1994, the first Chechen war. Russia wanted control over an oil pipeline running through Chechnya. When Chechnya resisted, the Russians attacked.

"From 1996 (the end of the first war) till now, we lived through a period that was neither war nor peace," says Adam, a Chechen refugee.


People are fleeing the country as fast as possible. There is no place within its borders that remains safe. The previous war is looked upon as "paradise" compared to the torment experienced today.

Refugees travel through the night, many kilometres on foot, through the snow. When they reach the border, they must hand over all or most of what they have left to pay for an overpriced taxi.

Many refugees criticize the indifference of the West, namely Canada and the United States. As free people, it is important for us to inform ourselves of the circumstances of those in other countries, and to help where we are able. These situations are also a reminder of the freedom we possess and that it should not be taken for granted.