- capital: Moscow
- area: 17m sq.km
- pop: 146m (2000)
- govt: republic (USSR disbanded in 1991)
- currency: ruble
- language: Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Armenian, Georgian, many others
- religion: Russian Orthodox Christian 25%, non-religious 60%
- conflict in Chechnya:
- 1830's: Tsar Nicholas I invades Caucasus meeting stiff resistance
- 1858: Russia wrests control of Caucasus from Ottoman Empire. Chechnya
beaten after Iman Shamil's rebels fail to establish Islamic state.
- 1944: thousands of Chechens deported to Siberia & Kazakhstan by
Stalin on pretext of collaboration with Nazis.
- 1991: Soviet Union collapses, President of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev,
declares independence from Moscow.
- Dec 1994: Russian troops invade Chechnya, war ensues, 100,000 people,
many of whom were civilians are estimated to have been killed.
- June 1995: Chechen fighters seize hospital in Russia, more than 100
hostages killed in botched rescue. Russians forced to let hostage takers
- Jan 1996: Chechen commandos seize hundreds of hostages in village in
neighbouring Dagestan, before escaping Russian seige.
- May 1997: Pres. Yeltsin signs formal peace treaty, leaving unresolved
question of independence. Chechnya sinks into anarchy & under
influence of militant Arab Wahhabi fighters.
- Sept 1999: Chechen fighters stage incursion into Dagestan, residential
blocks blown up in Moscow & Volgadonsk killing 300. Chechen
insurgents blamed. War breaks out again.
- Feb 2000: Russian troops capture Grozny. Acting Pres. Putin imposes
direct rule from Moscow.
- Oct 2002: Chechen rebels take 800 hostages in Moscow theatre. Russian
forces use knockout gas but kill 100 hostages and most of the rebels
with the gas.
- May 2004: Moscow-backed Chechnyan President Akmad Kadyrov
- Aug 2004: Two Russian passenger jets blown up, killing 89.
- Aug 2004: Female suicide bomber kills 10 people & herself outside
subway in Moscow.
- Sept 2004: Chechen militants take over 300 children hostage in school,
most die when bomb accidentally goes off, hundreds injured in subsequent
gunfire with Russian troops.
Former states of the Soviet Union:
- capital: Astana
- area: 2.7m sq.km
- pop: 16.7m (2000)
- govt: republic (admitted into USSR in 1936; USSR disbanded in 1991)
- currency: Kazakhstani tenge
- language: Kazakh, Russian
- religion: Sunni muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox Christian 44%, Protestant 2%