|Part of Second Chechen War|
|Casualties and losses|
|16 civilians killed or missing, numerous injured|
The Tsotsin-Yurt operation was a four-day so-called cleansing operation (zachiska, Russian: зачистка) accompanied by armed clashes in the large village of Tsotsin-Yurt south of the Chechen capital Grozny.
The operation by the Russian special forces started on December 30, 2001, and reportedly resulted in a disputed number of deaths among combatants and civilians, as well as 11 forced disappearances. The Russian casualties included at least two commandos killed and 11 wounded. Three rebel fighters who were surroundered in a house were also confirmed killed.
The Russian government sources, however, presented the incident as a fierce battle in which 21 to 43 rebel fighters died, according to the differing figures by Russian officials.
According to the Russian human rights group Memorial, the sweep was accompanied by gross and massive violations of human rights and the norms of Russian law, including pillage and wanton destruction of civilian property, desecration of a mosque, massive robberies and extortion, and beatings and torture of around 100 detainees in the "filtration point", of which 11 were forcibly disappeared and five were found to be brutally murdered. There was also reported use of human shields by the Russian forces.
Foreign media sources reported the murders of 37, or even 80, civilians during the course of the operation, but this was not confirmed by the Memorial.
According to the April 2002 Amnesty International report, "The fate and whereabouts of the 11 people named in the original urgent action, who were detained by Russian security forces during the December 2001-January 2002 raid on Tsotsin-Yurt, is unknown."
Other cleansing operations in Tsotsin-Yurt
Other notorious "clean-up operations" in the village around this time took place in October to November 2001 and in February 2002 (after attack on a Russian vehicle), also resulting in a various human rights violations, including civilian killings, property destruction and looting. According to a March 2002 open letter, during the war 41 residents of Tsotsin-Yurt died or disappeared during so-called mopping-up operations, more than 20 died of wounds inflicted by gunfire or bombings, five were killed at checkpoints, six were tortured to death, and 12 were picked up for questioning in their homes, some as long as two years before, and had yet to return.
- Myths and Truth about Tsotsin-Yurt, Memorial
- Tsotsin-Yurt residents protested against killing and ‘mopping-up’ operation, Prague Watchdog, February 23rd 2002
- "Mopping Up" Operations in the Village of Tsotsin-Yurt, Memorial
- Chechen Village Sends Out Call for Help, The St. Petersburg Times, March 12, 2002
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