First Battle of Grozny

November, 2, 1991


November, 3, 1991


Grozny, Chechnya, Soviet Union


Temporary Russian victory and occupation, start of Second Russian Civil War


Chechen Militants, Islamists

Russian Troops and security forces


Local militia leaders

Pavel Grachev


Several hundred militia men

1000 Soviet Troops, Several dozen private security

Casualties and Losses

19 killed (official soviet report) 152 captured, unknown number wounded, 63 dead civilians, hundreds wounded

32 Soviet troops, three private security, 12 captured, unknown number wounded

The Battle of Grozny began moments after Boris Pugo finished his Grozny Declaration, which criticized the Chechen secessionist movement and stated in no uncertain terms that any secessionists and anti-Soviet Russians are traitors and will be punished harshly. Moments after the speech was done Islamist Chechens fired On Pugo hitting him twice in the abdomen, critically wounding him. Several of his security team member evacuated him, one of whom was shot in the head well trying to shield him. A Russian battalion stationed nearby took several minutes in getting to the center of Grozny, by then several more of the security force had died. The militants were mixed in with the crowd and both security forces and soldiers fired indiscriminately, causing a large number of civilian casualties. Russian forces eventually drove the militants to a remodeled office building were a large number of them were captured. However, the soldier casualties were brought to a high level by sniper high from surrounding buildings. By the next morning the fighting in Grozny had all but ceased and the occupation of the city began. The fighting in the rest of the republic however continued and that battle was the beginning of the Chechen War of Independence.

The Cover-Up

The Soviet Government was very worried about the effects the Battle of Grozny would have on the people of Russia, the other secessionists' groups, and the world's view of Russia as a whole. So within hours of the battle the decision was made to deny that the battle had ever occurred. It worked fairly well and it was weeks before the international audience hear of the battle.

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