Criticism of Germany's policy towards the Caucasus: looking the other way will lead to more conflicts and to a refugee crisis

70th anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush (February 23)

On occasion of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticizes Germany's policy towards Russia and the Caucasus. "With Germany's policy of ignoring serious human rights violations in the Caucasus region, the federal government will indirectly encourage more human rights violations and force more Chechens to flee from their homes to Germany," said Sarah Reinke, the STP's CIS-consultant, in Berlin on Friday. "Instead of offering these refugees shelter in Germany in order to use their witness statements as a means of fighting impunity in the Caucasus, the refugees are sent back to the EU-country they came from without looking into their individual."

On February 23, 1944, the Red Army started to deport the Chechens and the Ingush to Central Asia, about 460,000 people altogether. 40-50 percent of the people who were deported in trains were children. There are no exact casualty figures, but estimates suggest that about 40 percent of the deported got killed. February 23 is a day of mourning for the Chechens and the Ingush. However, the central memorial place to commemorate the deportation and the victims in the Chechen capital of Grozny is being removed since the February 12, 2014. It was originally built by the first Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudajev in 1992, had then been severely damaged in both wars, but was built up again later. The civil population was not informed prior to the removal of the memorial. The memorial's grave stones are being moved to the "Achmed Kadyrov" square, a memorial site for the members of the Chechen security forces who lost their lives fighting against the Chechen civilians by command of president Kadyrov. Kadyrov also decided to postpone the national day of mourning to May 10th. His father, Akhmed Kadyrov, was assassinated on May 9. After two bloody wars with a total of 160,000 victims, the Chechen society is traumatized by the violence. "Chechnya and the North Caucasus are to be seen as the two European regions with the most severe human rights violations and the most significant violence and arbitrariness in everyday life," said Reinke. "If refugees from the North Caucasus arrive in Germany via another EU state, they end up on a one-way-track to deportation without own rights. The situation of the Chechen refugees who arrived in Germany since spring of 2013 is catastrophic – and many of the fates are shocking. Germany must individually assess their requests for asylum and should no longer deport all of the refugees to Poland."