- 18 August 2015
- From the section Europe
The southern Russian republic of Chechnya has long been a boiling point for conflict with Moscow in the restive North Caucasus.
After a decade of unsuccessfully fighting for independence, the autonomous region is now firmly under the control of its Russian-appointed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, although separatist groups continue low-level guerrilla attacks.
In addition, jihadist groups, including those aligned with Islamic State terrorist organization, exist in the region.
Oil-rich Chechnya has enjoyed a period of relative stability under Mr Kadyrov. But critics have accused the pro-Moscow leader and his government of suppressing media and other freedoms, as well as human rights violations including kidnappings and torture.
President: Ramzan Kadyrov
Ramzan Kadyrov, son of assassinated President Akhmad Kadyrov and a former rebel fighter, was nominated for the Chechen presidency by Russian President Vladimir Putin in spring 2007.
His tenure has marked a period of relative stability in Chechnya. Human rights groups have criticised Mr Kadyrov for allowing serious human rights violations to flourish in the republic.
Mr Kadyrov has defended himself against critics, insisting that iron rule is required to bring stability.
Reporters Without Borders includes President Kadyrov on its list of "Predators of Press Freedom". Chechnya has no opposition media. TV is the most popular medium and local broadcasts fall under state control. The Chechen government has also made steps to tighten online control.
Some key dates in Chechnya's history:
- 1858 - After decades of violent resistance, Chechnya is conquered by Russia.
- 1994 - Three years after republic declares independence, Russian troops invade to quash independence movement, the start of nearly a decade of conflict.
- 2003 - A referendum approves a new constitution stipulating that Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation.
- 2009 - Russia officially ends military operation; concerns over human rights and lawlessness persist.
- 2015 - Jihadists, including those aligned with Islamic State and al-Qaeda, remain active in the region.