Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ilyas Khamzatovich Akhmadov (Ильяс Хамзатович Ахмадов) serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Chechen rebel government. He currently resides in the United States, where he was granted asylum. He remains controversial, especially in Russia, because of alledged involvement in terrorism.
From 1978 to 1981 Ilyas Akhmadov studied in the Polytechnic University of Volgograd . After graduation, he served for four years as a Sergeant Major in the Soviet Army's Strategic Missile Forces. He left the army in 1985 as a Third Lieutenant, and in 1991 he graduated with distinction in political science from the Rostov University . Returning to Chechnya, which had declared independence from Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he took a job in the political department of the Chechen Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The First Chechen War broke out in 1994 when Russian forces entered Chechnya to reimpose central authority. Akhmadov fought against the Russians, serving as the public affairs officer to the Chechen army headquarters' chief of staff, Aslan Maskhadov. In 1996, the Chechens defeated the poorly organised Russian army. When the war ended he retired to private life.
On July 29, 1999, a month before the beginning of the Second Chechen War, President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Aslan Maskhadov appointed Ilyas Akhmadov as Foreign Minister. This time, Russian forces were somewhat better organised and succeeded in retaking Chechnya, although their hold on large parts of the republic was tenuous at best. Akhmadov and his colleagues in the separatist government dispersed and went into hiding, with some again taking up arms against the Russians. Akhmadov traveled to the UN, OSCE, PACE, European Parliament, UNHCR, U.S. Congress and Executive branch, and international NGOs to call for observance of human rights during the conflict.
In January 2000, Akhmadov visited the United States, where he met with officials of the State Department. He embarked on a tour of Western capitals, returning twice to the United States in 2000 and again in 2001. This provoked complaints from Russia, which claimed that he was involved in terrorism in Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia. He claimed asylum in the United States in 2002 but his inital bid was turned down after opposition from the United States Department of Homeland Security. However, he gained support from members of the United States Congress and peace campaigners, who saw him as a moderate. Indeed, Akhmadov has repeatedly criticised suicide bombings and hostage-takings by Chechen extremists and has campaigned for peace talks to end the war.
Akhmadov appealed the decision to deny him asylum and in May 2004, a judge in Boston ruled in his favour. The US Government announced that it would seek to overturn the decision but in August 2004 its objections were abruptly dropped, much to the annoyance of Russia.
- Biography on the Chechen rebel government's website
Articles by Akhmadov:
- Russia's Forgotten War in the Boston Globe, February 24, 2005
- A Chechnya Plan: Talk in the Washington Post, 10 December, 2004
- Talk peace in Chechnya in the Boston Globe, 29 September 2003
- The Russian-Chechen Tragedy: The Way to Peace and Democracy: Conditional Independence under an International Administration, February, 2003
- Open Letter to NATO, June 4, 2001
Interviews with Akhmadov:
- Story of Akhmadov's asylum in the U.S., and Followup questions from the Washington Post, March 20, 2005
- U.S. Puts a Low Profile on Meeting With Chechen Foreign Minister, on a Clinton Administration meeting with Akhmadov, from the New York Times, January 14, 2000
- Chechen Foreign Minister of Chechnya Ilyas Akhmadov Visits RFE from RFE/RL, 15 November 1999
- Chechnya fears 'total destruction' from BBC News, November 9, 1999
Stories on Akhmadov:
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