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eXile Classic / April 19, 2013

This article was first published in The eXile on August 10, 2007.

I am one of 100,000 Chechens in Moscow. There are another 30,000 Ingush living here. Together, we belong to the “Vainakh” ethnolinguistic group and make up roughly one per cent of Moscow’s population.

Yet very few Muscovites have any idea what we look like, or what makes us different from other “chernozhopye” (“black-asses,” a pejorative used by Russians when referring to peoples from the Northern and Southern Caucasus, as well as those from Central Asia).

With a total population of 1.5 million, Vainakhs form one percent of Russia’s total population of 145 million, and so would seem a natural presence in the capital. Still, a lot of people think, “What the fuck are they doing here! Let them go back to their Chechnya and die under our bombs!”

Who is that average, one-in-a-hundred Vainakh lurking among you, and how can you spot him or her? I will help you answer that question. Because it’s important that you should be able to spot in a crowd the very species that’s survived a grinding 15-year war.

The truth is there is no average when we talk about Chechens. Not that I mean each Chechen is so unique, or that the very word “average” grates on our ears. It’s just that Chechens are, well, “different.” Different from each other and different from you. And long live different. Fuck average.

In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, when the level of persecution and harassment against Vainakhs was particularly high, many Vainakhs living in Moscow and other Russian cities did their best not to look Vainakh – to blend in. They wore “futsinsky” clothing (from the word “futsin,” meaning innocent and stupid weakling), practiced the difficult-to-imitate gait of a typical botanik, (“walks like botanik,” meaning a guy who has an unassertive, non-proud and non-aggressive walk and stance – what you call a “twerp”), purchased fake prescription glasses, and did a lot of other things to fool the militsia’s Vainakh-radar. And you know what? They soon gave up. It almost never worked against Petrovka 38′s operatives, who knew their Vainakhs well. The reason was simple: Chechen pride always remained in their eyes, in their expressions, and in their every move.

I remember being stopped once in a bank in the center of Moscow in 1997 by a group of six police operatives. I’m fair-complexioned; at the time I had a Belarusian passport; and I speak Russian without an accent. They took a quick look at me and my passport, asked a couple of questions, and were about to leave me alone when one operative, who was clearly the most experienced with Chechens, almost screamed, “Guys, don’t let him go! Let’s bring him to Petrovka and study him and his docs well! I’ve got a hunch that he is a Chechen – look in his eyes! Look in his cold insolent eyes! It’s a purely Chechen type of expression!”

Unfortunately for him, I was too hard a target. I shouted back in my special “nachalnichesky” (big boss) deep-voiced bass-tone, which I use on special occasions like these. “Are you fucking crazy!? I will turn your lives into misery, idiots!” And they slinked off.

But that taught me a good lesson. We are very easy to spot, indeed. One just needs to grasp the profound pride in our eyes, because we cannot get rid of it, not like we can change our clothing or the way we walk. We can’t hide, not even behind fake prescription glasses.

This pride is present in the way we walk and in the way we talk, especially in the way we look; but mostly in the way we live and understand the universe. This makes us a nation and this holds us together.

Ours is not a haughty pride, not the pride of a medieval Spanish Baron. It’s the pride of a free man, of one who has earned that pride and is continuing to earn it. And every generation of our ancestors has done so by their blood and sweat. It’s not easy to describe, but once you spot and study the outward manifestations of Chechen pride, you will be able to spot us without doing headcounts or asking for passports. It’s the kind of pride that only dies with its bearer. It’s not paraded about arrogantly, but you always feel it. It’s totally different from the display of pride you find in peoples from other southern nations, including the Caucasus. The Vainakhs’ pride is cold, not boastful and full of vanity. It’s not for show; it’s kept inside.

What are we proud of? Chechens are one of the most culturally self-sufficient nations in the world. Some may get closer to other peoples’ cultures and even enjoy it, but the complex Chechen system of moral codes doesn’t really allow for any alien ideas and values. The Chechen perception of the world is dominated by a philosophical category of beauty known as hozal. Everything we do is judged according to this standard. If you record even a very casual conversation between Vainakhs (any Vainakhs) in their language, do a word-for-word translation, and put it on paper, you will be shocked at the number of words which have “beauty” as the root-word. Being morally subdued or broken is the ugliest thing a Vainakh can think of. And pride in oneself is the most beautiful thing that any Vainakh can ever achieve.

Think you can spot a Vainakh? Take this photo. This whole crew shown above is made up of Chechens. But do they look like they all belong to the same tiny ethnic group? That’s where your vigilance is required. As my babushka would say: “Nothing worth doing is easy in this world!” Or as a Chechen saying goes: “It’s a hard work to be a Vainakh.” So if it’s hard work to be a Chechen, why should it be easy for you to be able to recognize one?

These crafty Chechen females are camouflaging themselves as innocent graduating students from a Russian vocational school. Even the one at the far end would easily pass for, let’s say, an Armenian. But they are all Chechens, believe me. Scared yet?

And this Chechen girl? If you were a Moscow metro policeman, would you approach her and demand to see her passport? I always say that the best investment in security is through public education.

How about this guy? If you were a Russian skinheads or soccer hooligan, would you attack him with metal pipes from behind? No, you’d walk right past him, totally ignorant that you’d just missed a good opportunity.

How to tell these Chechen gopniki apart from other black-assed gopniks?

The body language and the expression can be different, depending on background and education but pride exudes from every Vainakh, as it exudes from these two masons from rural Chechnya.

I am pretty sure that you would suspect this group of guys. But how do you really know that they are Chechens, and not, let’s say, Georgians, or Armenians?

And what about this Ruslan Baisarov-type?

This article was first published in The eXile on August 10, 2007.

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29 Comments

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  • 1. Terry Washington  |  April 20th, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Hmm- are you CERTAIN that the men and women in these photos are REALLY Chechen – they seem so fair skinned that they could almost “pass” for Russians, Ukrainians or even Poles!( Full disclosure here: I tend to go by what I see on the media, I was surprised to come across blonde Irish women because I though they were all dark!)

    Terry

  • 2. Stepan  |  April 20th, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I am russian from Moscow – fuck all muslim chechen, they are silly monkeys.

    THE A.E.C. RESPONDS:
    So you had your asses handed to you by “silly monkeys”?

  • 3. joe  |  April 22nd, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Fuck yeah, comments are back. You should re-post the War Nerd about the battle of Grozny where a Russian tank column waltzed right into a spanking machine of Chechen rpgs.

    Here it is:
    http://exiledonline.com/war-nerd-whats-a-chechen/

    Here is another interesting article:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/study-majority-of-americans-not-informed-enough-to,32124/

  • 4. George  |  April 22nd, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Chechens deserve their freedom. The problem is, that USA is playing against Russia with every nation around. If leaving Chechnia to America is too dangerous to Russia (and it is) – than the Russians prefer to deal with a lesser trouble, the Chechnia itself.

    When Russians left Poland or Czecho-Slovakia (now two different countries) at the beginning of 1990-ties, than USA soon filled the place. Now the NATO or American rockets or radars protrude toward Russia.
    But no Russian rockets or radars, so far, in Mexico or Canada. Not even in Venezuela or Cuba.
    USA didn’t keep its promises after retracting of the Soviets from East Germany and several other countries. That creates the problem today for Chechnia. Russia will not retreat from Causassus, to weaken further itself.
    I understand this.
    I am from Poland, a country formerly Chechen-like.
    It is interesting to observe the American occupation of Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, presence in dozen other countries (over 200 bases, they say…). Never left. Always ready to deploy MORE troops if only any of those countries will came to the stupid idea of removing the bases. But they won’t, thee political systems there is corroded. Corrupt. Like the Polish one – allowing for tortures on the Polish soil. And this crime nullified the Katyn, Sobibór, Smoleńsk massacres by the Soviet KGB in 1941 and later.
    George

  • 5. Fissile  |  April 22nd, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has engage in a covert policy of destabilizing Russia. The “oligarchs” would not have been able strip mine the economy of Russia without the help of Washington and London. Most of the so called “militant” separatists in Russia receive CIA backing….money, weapons but most importantly, intelligence.

    The most vicious and murderous of this group have been the Chechens, and initially they were the darlings of the CIA. The Chechens were motivated by revenge. During WWII Stalin had them all deported to Siberia for collaborating with the Nazis. Only in the 1950s were they allowed to return to their homes. Since then they have harbored a deep resentment against the Russians. The CIA took advantage of this, and helped them plot an “insurrection” against Russia which resulted in a the First Chechen War. The Chechens were really tops in slitting the throats of Russian grandmothers, and raping Russian school kids, and this gave guys like Dick Cheney a stiffy, but there was a problem. The Chechens are Muslims, and this inserted a wildcard into the game. So the same Chechens who the US media/gov dubbed “freedom fighters”, when they were blowing up subways in Moscow, began turning up as Jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The CIA tried to find replacement proxies in the Georgians. The Georgians were also from the Caucus Mountains, and they hated the Russians, but the Georgians were nominally Christian. What’s not to like? A few years ago, the CIA instigated a war between the Russians and Georgians, and the Georgians promptly got stomped. No one has heard a peep out of them since. Oh well, so much for that idea. Back to the Chechens. In 2011 the Chechens managed to bomb the airport in Moscow. Apparently the CIA was able to get them focused again.

    Well, Pooty-Poot had enough. Yes he could air-fuel bomb a dozen Chechen villages in retaliation, but that is not his real problem, his real problem is the CIA and Murica. Since then the Russians have been very carefully infiltrating Chechen terror cells. Eventually, the same kind of human bomb nitwit that the CIA was using to blow up Moscow waltzed into one of these Russian controlled “Chechen” camps. From there on out, it was easy to convince this Chechen/Murican that US of Murica was the Great Satan. “Here’s some money, training and map of greater Boston. Soon you be in paradise with 72 virgins!”

    To sum up: Boston is Putin’s payback.

  • 6. VVV  |  April 23rd, 2013 at 5:43 am

    I’m sorry, George, but your post doesn’t really add up. There are American troops in the countries you mentioned, large because either 1) those countries do not want to pay for their own defense; or 2) if those countries DID build up their own armies it would trigger regional arms race (i.e., Japan and China). To suggest that these are occupying forces — no different from US forces in Afghanistan — is nonsense. (Though, like many Americans, I would like to stop paying for our troops to serve as a tripwire defense for other prosperous countries.) And while I agree that the US torturing suspected jihadis on Polish soil is horrible, to suggest that it “nullifies” Soviet massacres of hundreds of thousands of Poles is a bizarre thing to say.

  • 7. zoner  |  April 25th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    To be honest, those guys in the picture all look like they’re from the same ethnic group. I do have trouble distinguishing between different brands of white people, though.

  • 8. tzar  |  April 25th, 2013 at 10:09 am

    It’s easy to recognize Chechen cunts : just tell their boyfriends to 1. undress the bitch for you and 2.go get a beer, and they answer with “Yes Massa Sir”

  • 9. Paulie Buttafucco  |  April 25th, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    “During WWII Stalin had them all deported to Siberia for collaborating with the Nazis.”

    Kazakhstan.

    Read up on a little wide spot in the road called “KHAIBAK.” Then, if you have Google Earth, find it. It’s still there, but a little difficult to identify. After Stalin and his butt boy Beria finished with it (and fried its citizens for suspected collaboration with Adolf’s ground pounders), all that was left were a few building foundations, which are clearly visible on G-Earth. “That one’s a house. And that one’s a barn. Looky, izzat a KFC outlet? Noooooo. Wasn’t no KFC in 1944. Oh . . . indigenous manufacturing? Right over there. They make 5-Year Plan pressure cookers.”

  • 10. Andy  |  April 26th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I only have one question – why do you choose to live in Moscow?

  • 11. Egor Gaidar  |  April 30th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    The source of Chechen pride escapes me. These people can hardly do a google search on a computer, never had any literature, music, science to speak of. Chechens dislike any work that involves producing anything other than drugs. so what are they proud of?

  • 12. Kurt Reckling  |  May 4th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    You may hate me because I like russian culture and I don’t like the arabian/turkish hordes that screw Germany, but because russian culture I discovered the amazing world of chechens and another Caucasians. This description… Is very power-nietzschean. I loved it. A pride without vanity, an ancient culture, woah, amazing. Greeks, Chechens, Norseman, are to me, the most interesting and cultural European peoples of Europe. Cheers from Germany.

  • 13. DtD  |  May 6th, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Hey, 12. Norsemen? Seriously? Ahahahahaha
    I’m an American of Swedish/Norwegian descent that spent alot of time over there growing up, and I can tell you that the whole damn place is full of pussies.
    The only people with any balls up there are the black metal kids. And they aren’t all that different from badass kids in any other country.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they have it in them. But they are so terrified of the idea of nationalism and all that, at least form my experience. . .
    Also, a German getting a boner off of Scandinavian mythology and culture? Didn’t you guys already try that once?
    Someone with a better sense of history remind me how that turned out, please. I think it had something to do with invading Russia and getting bitchslapped, but could be wrong.

  • 14. Rehmat  |  May 8th, 2013 at 3:57 am

    “Chechnya sides more with Turkey-Israel, though Tehran is still hoping to win it over. (In the crazy-quilt pattern of these matters, a leading Chechen figure, Khoj-Ahmed Noukhaev, has asserted that his sympathies are “with the small Jewish nation” against the Arabs; and Chechnya’s defense minister happens to be a Jordanian national and former military officer),” wrote one of the top Jewish Islamophobe Dr. Daniel Pipes in November 1998.

    http://rehmat1.com/2010/12/04/chechnya-the-israeli-connection/

  • 15. Saman  |  May 17th, 2013 at 2:20 am

    I’m Iranian/Persian, I got into a fight with a chechen and punched him directley in his mouth and a piece of his teeth jammed into my knuckles, he was bleeding all over the place yet was still coming at me. Chechens are some crazy ars people.

    They remind me of the ancient Iranic tribes who used to live in the central asian steppes.. Iranic People like the Scythians and ancient Persians etc.. very warlike yet peaceful people.

  • 16. Chechen  |  June 20th, 2013 at 3:24 am

    All you bastards and russian (I refuse to type it with capitals, slaves are lowlives) subhumans who comments all kind of bullshit here – fuck you. Why we are proud? Because we love freedom and have never submitted to any nation who came to Caucasus to enslave us. We don’t have culture? Either you’re stupid or just liar – just look at the architecture, arts, language and culture of the Chechen people. It’s rich and it’s ancient. And to iranian cunt over here – yeah well, anyone can get his ass kicked, Chechens aren’t superhumans, but they way you type sounds more that you just had a dream. Once Islamic nations rise- first thing we will do is to wipe off the earth all you shit/shite/shiite/fuckever it’s spelled.

  • 17. Фёдор  |  June 20th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Let them go home to feed the sheep!!!!

  • 18. jantarmantar  |  July 30th, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Lol French look like him = poor guy?
    Looks like one angry writer had his gf get stolen away by a Frenchman again ;)

  • 19. crazy  |  August 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Perhaps blowing up flights, buildings killing unarmed school children, passenger and other civilians, raping women are also the cause of chechen Pride!!

  • 20. Chechen  |  September 18th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    To that Tzar piece of shit. Say to that to mine or any other Chechens face and see what happens to you fucking russian scum. I’d kill you in cold blood if you would dare say a word.

  • 21. Zurab  |  October 7th, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I Georgians living in Russia . This article made ​​me laugh . I know many Chechens. I was also born in the Caucasus . In this article, a lot of hype and boasting. Chechens love to show off. But it is actually not the case.

    Among the Chechens have good people , but they are few. Since ancient times, the Chechens are known as bandits . The main occupation of their tribe are attacks on Georgia and neighboring nations . Plow the land and work with them was considered a disgrace . Men have been taught from childhood to be warriors . They only knew how to fight. Therefore, they have never had the great artists , musicians and scientists. Even the society was based on the military system . The Chechen nation has “tukhums”. ” Tukums consist of” tayps . ” ” Tayps “consist of families. Chechens do not recognize nor any laws other than sharia and adats . Adat laws are ancient peoples of the Caucasus . Example vendetta . Still exist tayps and tuhumov . Still exist there is a blood feud . girls from Chechnya prohibited from marrying people of other nations. If Chechen girl is friends with Russian guy, Georgian, German or Kazakh , she is killed or driven out of the tribe.
      Children of the exiled Chechen woman called prohibited . Chechens live by the laws of the barbarians.

    Many modern Chechens working in the crime. Extortion. Trafficking in human beings . The arms trade . The drug trade . Contract killings . Therefore, the police treated them more closely.

    We all remember the Chechens seized Dagestani women and children Budeonovsk . The Chechens were beheaded European ambassadors . The Chechens attacked Dagestan . The Chechens seized a theater in Moscow. Remember metro bombings . The explosions at the airport. Explosions in Volgodonsk. Explosion in Boston in the United States. Chechens killed many innocent people . Chechens killed many women and children . Therefore, other nations do not like the Chechens.

    Of course, not all Chechens are terrorists . There Chechen businessmen , farmers, and so on. But the terrorists have tarnished the face of the Chechen people . And the police in Russia , the U.S., Georgia and Poland inspect the Chechens , not because the evil police . Police stick to the Chechens because there are reasons . It is to be understood .

    If the Chechens want a good relationship to him, let him change. Let be given the terrorists. In tuhumov everyone knows where they are, but are silent. Let Chechens refuse adats and of Sharia law. Let Chechens leave the crime. Stop slaughter sheep on the streets during Ramadan. Stop shooting at weddings. Let the will of European civilization . Then we’ll feel good about the Chechens.

  • 22. oweu  |  November 9th, 2013 at 5:06 am

    There used to be another kind of very “proud” people in that region and they also fought for their “freedom” against Russians once. The Circassians.

  • 23. Erik  |  December 31st, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Haha. Proud? Of what? Goatfckng? Killing russian children? Chechen extremists sure seem like the worst scum on on the planet. Terrorist-jihad-rapist-criminal-drugdealer filth. Please stay in your shithole country.

  • 24. Mr Pakistan  |  January 1st, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I think all russians are not supporting the invasion of chechan land, for god sake leave chechan alone, Irony with russian people is most of the time russians love to kill each other, good example when stalin purged russia with death of 20-30 million killing after WW2, gosh for what communism hah.. my friends in this chat room please respect each other and there limits we have no right to invade some country and dictate them what to do, too many wars create too many problems so dont complain if you see chechan walking down moscow subway and living down in your neighbour, question is why your govt (russian forces at that time ) invaded chechan country why …look at the distruction caused by russian in chechan land dont you see ? you only see retaliations caused by stupid terror groups poor kids lost lives in school due to mad action of chechan mad men. my point is every action have a re-action some time re-action is so dirty we forget about action. no chechan wants to leave his country and live in foreign land, give them freedom and everything will be fine. Russian people should blame war for refugees in russia instead of refugees any way its my opinion and i stick to that.
    to irani boy who mentioned he punched chechan man :) really this irani man is from iran but he have little brain, dear dont think on national bases when you fight with someone lol, if i got punched by mexican does it mean all maxican hates pakistani no. so please think wise. finally i know all russians are not same and now most of the people love peace and respect. enjoy life dont think with narrow mind we are all same,difference of skin is to make this world more beautiful.

  • 25. Roman Melnychuk  |  January 7th, 2014 at 2:27 am

    While I could give a fuck about Chechens, I don’t like them.. but would not attack them.. in fact I would like their help inn ridding Ukraine of the ZIONIST pieces of shit in our land. Russians are my biggest enemies.. I don’t like Katsapy in my land at all.

    Ukraine is for Ukrainians only ! Zionists, Gays, Russians.. GET THE FUCK OUT!!! SLAVA UKRAYINI ! HEROYAM SLAVA !! SLAVA BILIJ RASI!

  • 26. Ramzan  |  February 21st, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    It’s interesting to see so many negative comments. Many argue about terrorism and terrorist attacks. Pride of Chechen nation is not in killing innocents. Innocent people die in wars. That’s a sad consequence of wars. Pride of Chechen nation consists in the fact that they never stopped fighting such a brutal, inhuman, cannibalistic empire of slaves who love being slaves and feel that everyone around them must be and do the same. Russia will never be welcome in Chechnya. Yes we slaughtered Russians. And we will continue until the last Russian pig snout has left our country. That’s a natural reaction – anybody will take same actions toward invaders.

    Chechnya is home of Chechens, Russian pigs have nothing to do there. As for the negative comments here – keep barking. It really doesn’t bother us that much.

  • 27. Rayana  |  March 12th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYuxqNG3Jjg please check it out and then judge us please i need this so people know what is happening to us!!!!!!Why is everyone against us before you judge find all the facts and then say bad stuff.we are not terrorist.Please look up every fact.An yes i am chechen got a problem then tell me cause i don’t care what you and the others think but i do care for my country and seeing how much Russians killed us don’t you feel sorry for us.You judge without getting facts right.

  • 28. Borz  |  March 31st, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    If you don’t know something, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
    Chechen people have many artists, musicians, scientists, writers, but if all your interest in Chechens are just to insult them, how can you know them? You don’t want to know anything real about Chechens, that’s why you openly say that we don’t have any culture… You just don’t want to know about it, and that’s not our fault, leave your hatred to yourselves.

    Yes we have a war-like culture in some ways, but that can be understood if you look at where Chechnya is situated, Caucasus throughout the history was a magnet for all kinds of enemy armies who tried to conquer those lands( Mongols, Tamerlane, Persians,Turks, Arabs, Russians and etc) and Chechen people often was on edge of extinction, and had to protect itself.

    And about those hostage takings, you all like to talk about how bad chechens took hostages in Dagestan, or Ossetia, but why nobody talks about how Russian forces took our women and children in hostages, when the got surrounded by our forces? For example in village Shatoy Ulyanovsky specnaz did such things. And that was a common thing in chechen wars, our people and our country was devastated and destroyed for only one reason, that we wanted to live freely, in our own state. And whole world kept silent as thousands of civillians was murdered, bombed, terrorised by Russian war machine. So now you think you have any moral right to judge our people? Since when?)

  • 29. Nima  |  April 8th, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I am an Iranian man and I hate chechen people. I don’t capitalize it when I write chechen because they’re nothing but trash.

    Let me break it down for you. The author says chechens are full of pride. I say they are full of crap. I am an Iranian and Iranian people are peaceful and they mind their own business. This doesn’t mean we’re cowards; on the contrary, I can challenge any chechen man my size and the fight will end with the chechen lying on the ground unconscious. We Iranians are peaceful and we love peace a lot. Yet we have more right to be proud. Why, we have ancient kingdoms, we have a very deep-rooted culture, we have a very rich literature, we have one of the best cinema, cuisine, one of the best music, one of the best-looking people. What right do chechens have to be proud? They are destructive and all they know about is fight like filthy low-life dogs. If you’re that able, that strong, why don’t you try to actually build something, not destroy?

    I don’t know why I hate chechens more, for they’re scums or that I love the Russians?

    Well, whomever chechen has objection to this, don’t bother to comment back, just come to Babol, Mazandaran and ask for me from any shop in the city center, and then I’ll show you who’s the boss.

    Hey, an advice: Just be simple, don’t go brat about how badass you are. Being simple and peaceful is the best.


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