Grozny Grozny is the capital of the Chechen Republic in Russia. The city lies on the Sunzha River. According to the 2002 All-Russia population census, the city had a population of 210

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Grozny is the capital of the Chechen Republic in Russia. The city lies on the Sunzha River. According to the 2002 All-Russia population census, the city had a population of 210,720 people (a little more than half of the population a decade before).

In Russian "Grozny" means "fearsome" or "terrible" (for example, the figure known in English as "Ivan the Terrible" is called "Ivan Grozny" (Иван Грозный) in Russian). Chechen separatists sometimes refer to the city as Dzhokhar or Djohar (Chechen: Djovkhar Ghaala); it was named so after Dzhokhar Dudaev, the first president of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. As of December 2005, the Chechen parliament voted to rename the city Akhmadkala after Akhmad Kadyrov, a proposition which was rejected by his son Ramzan Kadyrov, the prime minister of the republic.

The city is divided into four administrative city districts: Leninsky, Zavodskoy, Staropromyslovsky, and Oktyabrsky. All of the districts are residential, but Staropromyslovsky district is also the city's main illegal oil drilling area, and Oktyabrsky district hosts most of the city's industry. However, nearly all of Grozny was destroyed or seriously damaged during the Chechen Wars. Grozny was also known for its modern architecture and as a spa town. It has a university and is home to FC Terek Grozny.

The Groznaya fortress was founded in 1818 as a Russian military outpost on the Sunzha River by Terek Cossacks and was a prominent defence centre during the Caucasian War. After the pacification of the region, the military use of the old fortress was obsolete and in December 1869 it was renamed to Grozny. (The change of the name ending follows the rules for adjectives when the modified noun was changed from the feminine gender ("threatening fortress") to masculine ("threatening town"). As most of the residents there were Terek Cossacks, the town grew slowly until the development of Oil reserves in the early 20th century. This spiralled development of industry and petrochemical production. In addition to the oil drilled in the city itself, the city became a geographical centre of Russia's network of oil fields, and also in 1893 became part of the Transcaucasia - Russia Proper railway. The result was the population almost doubled from 15.6 thousand in 1897 to 30.4 in 1913.

The next day after the October Revolution (November 8, 1917), the Bolsheviks headed by N.Anisimov seized Grozny and established a Proletariat control. As the Russian Civil War escalated, the Proletariat formed the 12th Red Army, and the garrison held out numerous attacks by Terek Cossacks from August 11, 1918 until November 12. However with the arrival of Denikin's armies, the Bolsheviks were forced to withdraw and Grozny was captured on February 4, 1919 by the White Army. Underground operations were carried out, but only the arrival of the Caucasus front of the Red Army in 1920 allowed the town to permanently end up with the RSFSR on 17 March. Simultaneously it became part of the Soviet Mountain Republic, which was formed on 20 January 1921, and was the capital of the Chechen National District inside it.

On 30 November 1922, the mountain republic was dissolved, and the national district became the Chechen Autonomous Oblast (Chechen AO) with Grozny as capital. At this time most of the population was still Russian, but of Cossack descent. As Cossacks were viewed a potential threat to the Soviet nation, Moscow actively encouraged the migration of Chechens into the city from the mountains. In 1934 the Chechen-Ingush AO was formed which then grew into the Chechen-Ingush ASSR in 1936.

However in 1944 the whole population of Chechens and Ingush was deported after accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany and about 10,000 died. All traces of them in the city, including books and graveyards, were destroyed by the NKVD troops. Grozny became capital of the Grozny Oblast of RSFSR, and the city at the time was again wholly Russian. In 1957 Chechen-Ingush ASSR was restored, and the Chechens were allowed to return. Once again migration of non-Russians into Grozny continued whilst the ethnic Russian population, in turn, moved to other parts of the USSR, notably the Baltic states. By the late 1960s, Chechens and Ingush outnumbered ethnic Russians.

At the same time much development was fueled into the city. Architecture spiralled and like in many Soviet Cities was marked in periods beginning with the Stalinist apartments in the centre as well as administrative buildings including the massive Council of Ministers and the Grozny University buildings. Late construction includes the high rise apartment blocks prominent in all Socialist cities and a city airport. In 1989 the population of the city was almost 400,000 people.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Grozny became the seat of a separatist government led by Dzhokhar Dudaev. At this time of chaos, many of the remaining Russian minority were expelled by groups of militants, adding to a harassment and discrimination from the new authorities. These events are perceived by some as an act of an ethnic cleansing, although this was never confirmed by the Russian government or the international community.

The covert Russian attempts of overthrowing Dudayev by a means of an armed Chechen opposition forces resulted in a repeated failed assaults on the city. The last one on 26 November 1994 ended with capture of 21 Russian Army tank crew members, secretly hired as a mercenaries by the FSK (former KGB, soon renamed FSB); their capture was sometimes cited as one of the reasons of Boris Yeltsin's decision to launch the open intervention. In meantime, Grozny airport and other targets were bombed by unmarked Russian aircraft.

During the First Chechen War, Grozny was the site of an intense battle lasting from December 1994 to February 1995 and ultimately ending with the capture of the city by the Russian military. Intense fighting and carpet bombing carried out by the Russian Air Force destroyed much of the city. Thousands of combatants on both sides died in the fighting, alongside civilians, many of which were reportedly ethnic Russians; unclaimed bodies were later collected and buried in mass graves on the city outskirts. The main federal military base in Chechnya was located in the area of Grozny air base, and the Leninsky district was location of the notorious PAP-1 "filtration camp" where Chechen suspects were imprisoned without trial and tortured. [3]

Chechen guerrilla units operating from nearby mountains managed to harass and demoralize the Russian Army by means of guerilla tactics and raids, such as the attack on Grozny in March 1996, which aided to political and public pressure for a withdrawal of Russian troops. In August 1996, a raiding force of 1,500 to 3,000 militants recaptured the city in a surprise attack. They surrounded and routed its entire garrison of 10,000 MVD troops, while fighting off the Russian Army units from the Khankala base. The battle ended with a final ceasefire and Grozny was once again in the hands of Chechen separatists. The name was changed to Djohar in 1997 by the President of the separatist Ichkeria republic, Aslan Maskhadov. By this time most of the remaining Russian minority fled.

Grozny was once again the epicenter of fighting after the outbreak of the Second Chechen War, which further caused thousands of fatalities. During the early phase of the Russian siege on Grozny in October 25, 1999, Russian forces launched five SS-21 ballistic missiles at the crowded central bazaar and a maternity ward, killing more than 140 people and injuring hundreds. During the massive shelling of the city that followed, most of the Russian artillery were directed toward the upper floors of the buildings; although this caused massive destruction of infrastructure, civilian casualties were much less than in the first battles. The enormous scale of the devastation prompted numerous comparisons with Hiroshima and other cities leveled during World War II.

The final seizure of the city was set in early February 2000, when the Russian military lured the besieged militants to a promised safe passage. Seeing that there was no build-up of forces outside, the militants agreed. During one day prior to the planned evacuation, the Russian Army mined the path between the city and the open the village of Alkhan-Kala and concentrated most firepower on that point. As the result, both the city mayor and military commander both were killed; a number of other prominent separatist leaders were also killed or wounded, including Shamil Basayev and several hundred rank-and-file militants. Afterwards, the Russians slowly entered the empty city and on February 6 raised the Russian flag in the centre. The seizure was accompanied by civilian killings, most notably the Novye Aldi massacre, and many buildings and even whole areas of the city were systematically dynamited. A month later, it was declared safe to allow the residents to return to their homes, although demolishing continued for some time.

In 2003 the United Nations called Grozny the most destroyed city on earth.

As of 2006, the federal government representatives of Chechnya are based in Grozny. Even though the war is officially over, political murders, bombings and clashes between the Russian forces and the separatists continue but are becoming increasingly sporadic. The city's central Leninsky district has acquired a sinister reputation in 2001 as the police regularly came across bodies of civilians, many ethnic Russians, killed for no apparent reason. In August 2002, an entire residential area near Khankala was demolished by the military in response to the Khankala Mi-26 disaster. On December 27, 2002, insurgent suicide bombers destroyed the republican government complex, killing about 80 people. On May 9, 2004, the Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov and several other top officials were killed by a bomb blast in Grozny. In August 2004 at least 77 people were killed in the night-time rebel raid on the city center.

Meanwhile, reconstruction is underway. By June 2006, out of more than 60,000 apartment buildings and private homes destroyed, 900 have been rebuilt. Out of several dozens of industrial enterprises, three have been partially rebuilt - the Grozny Machine-Building Factory, the Krasny Molot (Red Hammer) and Transmash factories. The railway communication was restored in 2005, and Grozny's Severny airport was reopened in 2007 with three weekly flights to Moscow. Most of the city's infrastructure was destroyed and many continue to live in ruined buildings without heating and running water.

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